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What is a diesel technician? 7 common job responsibilities

A man wearing safety glasses and standing over an engine inside a maintenance shop.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

Before you become a diesel technician, it’s important to understand what someone in the role does. Once you know what responsibilities come with the job, you can decide if being a diesel technician is a good career for you. 

However, there’s no easy way to answer the question, ‘what is a diesel technician?’ because their responsibilities and day-to-day tasks vary greatly. To make things simple, we listed what most diesel technicians do, regardless of where they work or what type of diesel technician they are. 

What does a diesel technician do? 

1. Complete inspections.

Diesel technicians conduct annual inspections on diesel-powered vehicles, according to manufacturer and company guidelines, to ensure equipment is operating at full performance.

Systems they inspect include:

  • Fuel.
  • Engine.
  • Transmission.
  • Electrical.
  • Brakes.
  • Steering.
  • HVAC.
  • Drivelines.
  • Tires.

2. Do preventative maintenance.

Preventative maintenance is key to avoiding unexpected repairs and costly breakdowns.

During preventative maintenance, a diesel technician may:

  • Check the truck’s fluid levels.
  • Do oil changes.
  • Replace worn-out filters.
  • Rotate tires.
  • Check tire pressure.

3. Identify and diagnose mechanical issues.

When a vehicle has a mechanical problem, it’s up to the diesel technician to carefully examine the equipment to pinpoint the cause of the issue and figure out how to fix it.

Diesel techs use different outlets to research problems and find solutions, including:

  • Parts reference materials.
  • Diagnostic software.
  • Specialized tools.

4. Perform minor and major repairs.

Whether a vehicle has an electrical malfunction or was damaged in an accident, diesel technicians are responsible for restoring the equipment back to a safe and effective operating condition.

A diesel technician may perform repairs such as:

  • Replacing or repairing faulty parts and components.
  • Overhauling the engine.
  • Replacing the transmission.

5. Communicate with customers.

Often, diesel technicians must talk with the person who uses or owns the equipment that needs to be worked on. This conversation is vital for gathering information about how the equipment is malfunctioning, so the diesel technician can better figure out what’s wrong with it.

Diesel technicians also need to communicate things to customers like:

  • What repair(s) they recommend.
  • Why they recommend making the repair(s).
  • How long the repair(s) may take.
  • When the repair(s) are completed. 

6. Use technology.

There’s no doubt being a diesel technician is physically demanding and requires using a variety of tools to get the job done. However, technology is transforming the way diesel technicians work.

From using advanced software for diagnostics to participating in ongoing training, diesel techs are using technology to streamline processes and increase overall efficiency in their work.

7. Work in a shop. 

Besides mobile diesel technicians, who perform on-site or roadside maintenance, most diesel technicians work in a shop alongside other team members. 

Most companies that hire diesel technicians stress the importance of being a good teammate because it’s such a team-oriented role. 

See more diesel technician insights.

From what it’s like to be a diesel technician to what boots are best for the job, see our list of maintenance-focused blogs to get the information you’re looking for. 
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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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