Motor vehicle body repairers (NOC 7322)

About this job

Motor vehicle body repairers repair and restore damaged motor vehicle body parts, and interior finishing, repaint automotive body surfaces and repair or replace automotive glass. This occupational group also includes metal repairers, who repair defective automobile body parts and damage to the bodies of newly assembled cars.

People in this occupation:

  • work for automobile dealerships, automobile body repair shops and automobile appraisal centres
  • also work for motor vehicle manufacturers
  • should be mechanically inclined and have good manual dexterity
  • should have essential skills that include math, critical thinking, job task planning and organization
  • should enjoy problem solving and diagnostic work
  • must be comfortable dealing with customers
  • must continuously update their skills in order to respond to new and advanced lightweight materials, as well as respond to new regulations that will impact the profession
Common job titles
  • antique car body restorer
  • autobody mechanic / repairer
  • collision repair technician / estimator
  • installer, auto glass
  • renovator, used car
  • repairer, journeyman / journeywoman
  • antique car body restorer
  • autobody mechanic / repairer
  • collision repair technician / estimator
  • installer, auto glass
  • renovator, used car
  • repairer, journeyman / journeywoman

Duties

Workers in this group perform some or all of the following duties:

  • review damage reports and estimates of repair costs, and plan work to be done
  • repair and replace front end components, body components, doors and frame and underbody components of motor vehicles
  • hammer out dents, buckles and other defects using blocks and hammers
  • operate soldering equipment or use plastic filler to fill holes, dents and seams
  • remove damaged fenders, panels and grills using wrenches and cutting torches, and bolt or weld replacement parts into place
  • straighten bent frames using frame and underbody pulling and anchoring equipment
  • file, grind and sand repaired body surfaces using hand and power tools
  • mask and tape auto body surfaces in preparation for painting
  • mix paint, blend and match colours
  • apply primers and repaint surfaces using brush or spray guns
  • repair and replace glass components such as windshields, windows and sunroofs
  • repair or replace interior components, such as seat frame assemblies, carpets and floorboard insulation
  • inspect repaired vehicles and test drive vehicles for proper handling

Work environment

Motor vehicle body repairers usually work a regular 35- to 40-hour workweek, with some overtime required on occasion. These employees typically work indoors in automobile body repair shops, which can be noisy, dusty and have unpleasant odours. However, most body shops are equipped with the latest dust removal equipment. In addition, the introduction of water borne paints has greatly reduced the unpleasant odours associated with this environment.

The work can be strenuous and is often done in cramped and awkward spaces. Potential hazards include cuts from sharp metal, burns from torches and heated metal, injuries from power tools and fumes from paint. Safety precautions are taken to limit the risk of injury.

Insights from industry

Due to the size of this occupational group, a number of opportunities will arise from worker turnover and the need to replace retiring workers.

Industry sources report that there are currently not enough new graduates in the occupation to replace the workers who will retire over the next several years, and that there is currently a shortage of qualified technicians in B.C. However, industry sources expect new advances in materials and working conditions to spur interest in the occupation, which should help alleviate the shortage of technicians in the future.

Demand for these workers depends on B.C.'s Automotive industry. The number of cars, buses and trucks in use are increasing due to population expansion and tourism traffic. Greater numbers of motor vehicles typically leads to more accidents and a greater demand for auto body repair work.

However, technological improvements in modern cars, such as anti-lock brakes and dent-resistant body panels, will tend to reduce the numbers of accidents and associated repairs. Newer vehicles involved in accidents are also less likely to undergo repair due to the high cost of fixing and replacing complex body parts and electronic components. These factors may limit opportunities for motor vehicle body repairers.

Workers who have specialized, current knowledge of the technology and construction materials used to build new vehicles will be in greatest demand.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Motor vehicle body repairers often begin their careers as entry-level employees, such as shop hands. Most graduates start apprenticeships once they have completed a collision repair course.

Experienced workers may progress to supervisory positions or start their own businesses.

Metal repairers may move into motor vehicle repairer positions by completing an apprenticeship program, or with experience, they may progress to supervisory positions in motor vehicle manufacturing.

Additional resources