Trade Schools with Motorcycle Repair Classes
It takes special training to become a motorcycle repair technician. Diagnosing issues with bikes involves different approaches than those used for cars.
Motorcycle repair training usually takes place on the job or in a technical school. Prospects learn unique aspects of the occupation, attending workshops to discover important nuances between manufacturers.
These differences affect everything from fuel efficiency to the techniques used for motorcycle seat repair.
Requirements for Motorcycle Repair Training
Students will likely need a high school diploma or GED for academic programs. Those training with a mechanic will have to meet the shop’s requirements, but most employers will want trainees who have finished high school or an equivalent diploma.
Math skills, manual dexterity, mechanical aptitude, and customer service experience are all important factors in becoming a motorcycle mechanic.
What Do You Study for Motorcycle Repair?
Whether you’re training under a seasoned motorcycle or small engine mechanic or taking a certification course, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of the trade and how to use the tools and products necessary for engine repair and upkeep.
Formal training programs may include topics like:
- Engines & Transmissions
- Precision Measurement
- Chassis & Suspensions
- Electrical Systems
- Vehicle Maintenance
- Engine Troubleshooting and Noise Diagnosis
- Electrical Diagnostics
Certain motorcycle manufacturers offer certification for their brand of bikes, too. Expanding your expertise to popular motorcycle brands like Honda, Yamaha, and Harley Davidson or specializing in repairs for specific types of motorcycle engines is an excellent career option.
How Long Does Training Take?
Some trade schools offer programs you can finish in under a year, but building competency and skills can take up to three years or more, depending on your aptitude for the work and your training path. Employers are often willing to invest in additional certifications and training for those with proven skills.
How Much Will It Cost?
If you’re training with a mechanic, you’ll receive wages for your assistant work while learning new skills and repair techniques.
Formal training through trade schools or industry organizations can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 or more, depending on the program.
However, employers like certified workers, as it cuts down on training time when they need to hire a new mechanic.
Do I Need a License or Certification ?
Other than certifications for specific motorcycle models, which can increase your pay rate, small engine repair technicians typically only need a driver’s license to work as a mechanic in the industry.
How Much Money Can You Make?
The average salary for a small engine repair mechanic is about $39,050 per year. However, your skills, training, certifications, and location can affect how much you make.
Keep in mind that the peak season for motorcycle repair is Spring and Summer, but major repair work and engine rebuilds often support mechanics through the offseason.
What Is Motorcycle Repair?
A worker’s typical day involves diagnosing issues with motorcycles, making adjustments and repairs where needed. Associates perform upkeep on engines and transmission systems, checking for defective parts to ensure safety. Worn or fractured components at times may require immediate attention. Motorcycle techs pinpoint problems with mechanical units, electrical systems, and fuel networks.
For legal and bookkeeping purposes, employees need to maintain records of all work performed. This includes details on any test results or parts used during a job. Tedious but necessary, this ongoing task requires strong attention to detail along with an understanding of mechanical terminology.
A lot of the job involves engine maintenance like replacing spark plugs and keeping parts lubricated. Associates should be experts in motorcycle tire repair and replacement, making sure to swap out old tires when the tread depth shrinks to one-sixteenth of an inch. Employees might service specific makes and models if working for a dealership or manufacturer.
What Are Motorcycle Repair Job Duties?
Motorcycle mechanics need the ability to carry out tasks such as engine diagnostic and repair. Some jobs may deal with small adjustments or quick part replacements, while others can involve complete teardowns of engines. A few of the more complex assignments include spark plug replacement and piston calibration.
Motorbikes require more maintenance than regular cars. Oil changes should take place about every 2,000 miles, as oil lubricates the clutch as well as the engine. Valve adjustments should take place every 15,000 miles. Motorcycle tires need replaced more often than cars, and drive chains need checked for tension and misalignment. While motorcycle miles per gallon are often in the high 30’s, maintenance costs can offset fuel savings.
Discussions with customers deal with the nature of bike issues and solutions. This includes explaining why a bike will not start or operate properly, as well as the work the mechanic must perform. Upon making assessments, motorcycle techs recommend maintenance plans based on a bike’s known issues, age, and level of upkeep.
Other duties for these workers include the following:
- Listening to engines for irregular sounds
- Replacing spark plugs
- Changing brake pads
- Performing computerized engine diagnostics
- Disassembling and rebuilding engines
- Adjusting ignition points
What Types of Skills Should Motorcycle Mechanics Possess?
There are many aspects of a bike to maintain, including oil and brake fluid levels. Workers should check for fuel or coolant leaks and re-apply fork oil if needed. Forks, which consist of the front wheel and axel, need inspection for rust and spring erosion, while steel head bearings need grease for optimal performance. Motorcycle wheel repair involves checking tire pressure and replacing rims if they show signs of rust or other damage.
During inspections, workers look over headlights, blinkers, and horns for any issues. Transmission repairs often involve drive chain and sprocket replacements. Air filters need replaced to keep bikes running smoothly. Brake pad spacing should be tightened to preference. Associates must check clutch level play and tighten as needed for added safety when switching gears.
Jobs can vary in complexity. Workers may need to replace only one part, or they might need to rebuild an entire engine. It all depends on what the customer needs or is willing to pay for. This is why it is important to give accurate cost estimates when assessing big jobs involving motorcycle gas tank repair or transmission issues.
Why Is Work Safety Important for Motorcycle Mechanics?
Motorcycle techs must avoid causing damage to the bikes they work on. Shop owners purchase liability insurance for this reason, just in case something does go wrong. Workers must also practice proper handling of oil and other hazardous substances. In some places, associates who deal with dangerous chemicals may need to acquire HAZMAT certifications.
What Is in a Typical Motorcycle Repair Tool Set?
Throughout a typical day, laborers make use of common hand tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers. Some motorcycle mechanics prefer to work with their own hand tools rather than those owned by employers. However, companies always provide heavy-duty tools, hoists, and testing equipment.
Associates use air gauges to check tire pressure and torque wrenches to tighten fasteners. They use ammeters, voltmeters, and other digital equipment to diagnose engine issues. Workers need enough strength and dexterity to use pneumatic tools powered by the force of compressed air. The following equipment is also used by motorcycle mechanics:
- Impact drivers
- Allen wrenches
- Ratchet and socket sets
- Plastic or rubber mallets
- Motorcycle stands
- Penetrating oils and water displacement sprays
What Are Useful Skills for People in This Field?
- The ability to diagnose and repair engine issues
- Well-organized for keeping track of tools and parts
- A steady hand for connecting components and assembling engines
- A detail-oriented mindset for catching hard-to-find sources of issues
- Ability to decipher motorcycle repair manuals
- Troubleshooting skills to discover and fix problems
- Customer service skills for listening to and answering questions
- Hand-eye coordination for safely operating motorcycle repair tools
Are There Special Requirements for Motorcycle Repair Jobs?
Many motorcycle mechanics enter the trade with only a high school diploma. Some employers prefer to hire those who have earned certificates through community colleges or motorcycle repair trade schools. In order to work legally, motorbike techs usually need a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement.
Motorcycle repair school teaches students how to service complex motorbike engines. Recruits clean carburetors, check valve clearances, and swap out chokes. They also replace blocked or missing overflow pipes that can cause costly fuel leaks.
Many companies require new or inexperienced workers to undergo apprenticeships. Completion takes anywhere between six months to three years, depending on the trainee. Those who have attended a motorcycle repair class usually catch on quicker at jobsites than those who have not.
While face-to-face training is the choice for many, some choose to attend motorcycle repair school online. These courses feature personal instructors offering helpful videos, virtual simulations, and practical exercises for real-world experience.
In order to perform most warranty work, mechanics must attend classes run by manufacturers and dealers. These workshops inform students of the proper way to service brand-specific cars and their unique issues. Employers usually pay for this training, as it gives their companies enhanced credibility. Workers receive a motorcycle repair certification upon completion.
What Is the Outlook for
Motorcycle Mechanic Jobs?
Job growth is at five percent, which is above average compared to all occupations in the United States. There are about 15,000 people employed in the field making just under $40k per year. Experienced mechanics who do specialty work like vintage motorcycle repair can earn yearly wages up to $60k.
Full-time workers in the field often enjoy the following job benefits:
- 401(k) retirement plans
- Life insurance
- Healthcare coverage
- Paid time off
- Sick leave
- Retirement plans
- Vision and dental coverage
- Discounts on vehicle accessories and parts
What Should Workers Expect?
Hopefuls should expect to work long hours in loud, cramped repair shops. Exposure to exhaust fumes is a daily occurrence, and even brief moments of carelessness can lead to severe burns or cuts. Overtime work is common during the spring and summer, with employees often required to work Saturdays or Sundays.
To drum up new business, mechanics advertise their services in yellow pages, local newspapers, and tourist maps. Other effective advertising mediums include industry trade publications, social media sites, and online ad pages.
Where Can Prospects Find Work?
A good motorcycle tech can service anything with small motors, from jet skis to slot machines. Some workers find jobs fixing other motorized equipment when business slows down. Prospects often gain experience with one of the following employers:
- Motorcycle repair shops
- Motorcycle dealers
- Auto repair centers
- Detailing garages
- Powersports stores
- Car dealerships
- Repair and maintenance companies
- Rental services
- Parts stores
- Amusement parks
- Lawn and garden equipment shops
- Sporting goods stores
Throughout the colder months or in their spare time, laborers may also inspect other motorized hardware, including:
- Snow blowers
- Portable generators
- Weed eaters
- Edgers and hedge trimmers
- Lawn mowers
- Garden tractors
- Dirt bikes
Can You Work Remotely?
Those who would like to open local motorcycle repair shops should get associate’s degrees in auto repair. Business classes will prove useful, as well as at least five years of hands-on experience in the field. A degree in management is also relevant.
Before opening, hopefuls must buy a business license from the area’s county clerk. Geographic location is a big factor in attracting business, so try to select garages near areas with robust biker populations.
Do Motorcycle Mechanics Have Any Other Options?
Some motorbike mechanics choose to work for body shops instead of repair garages. Motorcycle collision repair involves fixing up bikes that have acquired wear-and-tear or were involved in crashes. Workers pound out dents, fix handles, and replace kickstands. They buff out scratches, repainting the damaged areas using digital color-matching systems for flawless results.
What Are Alternate Careers for Motorcycle Mechanics?
Experience working with motors can translate to a career in the diesel service industry. Workers, known as diesel technicians, spend their time repairing diesel engines used in trucks and buses. Among many other things, they work on large vehicle electrical systems and retrofit engines with pollution control mechanisms.
The typical entry-level education for this career is a high school diploma. Some prospects attend industry certification, but most companies train their employees onsite over the course of several years. The occupation’s 278,000 workers earn an average of over $22 per hour.