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Types of diesel technicians: 5 careers to consider

A man works on a semi-truck's diesel engine.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

From transportation to agriculture, there are many industries that rely on diesel-powered vehicles and equipment to get the job done. Highly skilled diesel technicians are needed to keep these machines – and businesses – moving forward.

There are many paths you can take when working as a diesel technician. The direction you choose partially depends on the industry you’d like to specialize in.

Here are some of the common types of diesel technicians:

5 types of diesel technicians

1. Diesel service technician.

Diesel service technicians work primarily on large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks and buses, and repair any type of diesel engine.

Job responsibilities of a diesel service technician usually include:

  • Inspecting different parts of a vehicle, such as:
    • Brake systems.
    • Steering mechanisms.
    • Transmissions.
    • Engines.
  • Repairing or replacing faulty parts or components.
  • Performing routine maintenance, such as:
    • Changing oil.
    • Checking fluid levels.
    • Rotating tires.
  • Working on electrical and exhaust systems.

Diesel service techs may work for transportation companies like Schneider, public transit groups or government agencies.

2. Heavy equipment diesel technician.

Heavy equipment diesel technicians specialize in servicing vehicles and machines used in farming, construction and rail transportation.

Job responsibilities of a heavy equipment diesel technician usually include:

  • Diagnosing mechanical issues using computerized tools.
  • Maintaining and repairing hydraulic and electrical systems.
  • Overhauling machinery.
  • Repairing or replacing faulty parts.

Some of the different types of heavy equipment diesel technicians include:

Agricultural diesel technicians

They repair and maintain farming equipment, such as:

  • Harvesters.
  • Plows.
  • Combines.
  • Tractors.
  • Seeders.

Mobile equipment diesel technicians

They service construction and mining equipment, like:

  • Bulldozers.
  • Cranes.
  • Excavators.
  • Graders.
  • Scrapers.

Locomotive diesel technicians

They repair and maintain train engines and equipment, such as:

  • Diesel-powered locomotives.
  • Railcars.
  • Freight cars.

Heavy equipment diesel techs may work for rental and leasing companies, government agencies, construction groups or farm equipment wholesalers.

    3. Marine diesel technician.

    Marine diesel technicians watch, maintain and repair diesel engines, machinery and other important systems in water vessels.

    Job responsibilities of a marine diesel technician can include:

    • Performing routine maintenance, such as:
      • Cleaning exhaust piping and pistons.
      • Inspecting big end bearings.
      • Changing the primary and secondary fuel filters.
      • Checking diesel tanks for contamination.
    • Diagnosing and repairing mechanical and electrical malfunctions.
    • Replacing broken or worn-out engine parts.
    • Repairing faulty hydraulic and steering systems.

    Marine diesel technicians may work at a marina or a large shipping company.

    4. Small engine diesel technician.

    Small engine diesel technicians work on different sizes and types of diesel engines found in some off-road vehicles and power equipment, including:

    • Camping generators.
    • Garden tractors.
    • Snow mobiles.
    • Motorboats.
    • Dirt bikes.

    Job responsibilities of a small engine diesel technician typically include:

    • Going over equipment issues and maintenance plans with customers.
    • Performing routine engine maintenance, such as:
      • Lubricating parts.
      • Replacing spark plugs.
    • Repairing or replacing broken parts.
    • Re-installing components and engines after repairs.
    • Adjusting components based on desired specs.

    Small engine diesel techs usually work for repair shops.

    5. Fixed engine diesel technician.

    Fixed engine diesel technicians service things like diesel-powered generators or remote water pumps used by government agencies and private companies.

    Since these engines can’t move, fixed engine diesel techs often go on-site for maintenance or repairs.

    These diesel techs may be directly employed by a private or public entity, or work for a local shop.

    Jump-start your career today.

    Ready to start a maintenance career but not sure where to start? Check out our five steps on how to become a diesel technician.

    About the author
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    Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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