Motor vehicle body repairers (NOC 7322)

About this job

Motor vehicle body repairers, also called autobody and collision technicians, fix and restore motor vehicle body parts, interior finishing, repaint automotive body surfaces and repair/replace automotive glass. This occupational group also includes metal repairers, who fix defective automobile body parts and damage on newly assembled cars.

Common job titles
  • antique car body restorer
  • autobody mechanic / repairer
  • collision repair technician / estimator
  • installer, auto glass
  • renovator, used car
  • repairer, journeyman / journeywoman

Duties

In general, motor vehicle body repairers:

  • Read damage reports and cost estimates, and plan work to be done
  • Repair and replace vehicle front end and other body surfaces including doors, frames and underbody components
  • Hammer out dents, buckles and defects using blocks and hammers
  • Operate soldering equipment or use plastic filler to fix holes, dents and seams
  • Remove damaged fenders, panels and grills using wrenches and cutting torches
  • 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, such as windshields, windows and sunroofs
  • Check repaired vehicles to make sure they work properly

Motor vehicle body repairers may also:

  • Repair/replace interior surfaces, such as seat frame construction, carpets and floorboard insulation
  • Remove components during repairs to access the damage
  • Align and replace steering and suspension sections
  • Work with mechanical and electronic elements, such as air conditioning and exhaust systems as well as with passenger restraint systems, such as air bags and set belts

Work environment

Motor vehicle body repairers usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, with some occasional overtime. Work is typically done indoors in repair shops, which can be noisy and dusty.

This work can be physically difficult and is often done in small and uncomfortable spaces. Health risks include cuts from sharp metal, burns from torches and heated metal, injuries from power tools and fumes from paint. Most shops have dust removal equipment and use paints that are low odour to help reduce these issues. Health and safety rules/regulations must be followed to limit risks to workers.

Insights from industry

Demand for people in this career depends on B.C.'s automotive industry. As the population grows, people are choosing to live in the suburbs and commute to their jobs. This means more vehicles on the road which results in more accidents and a greater demand for auto body repair work. However, new technology in vehicles, such as anti-lock brakes and dent-resistant body panels, helps reduce the number of accidents and repairs needed. Newer vehicles involved in accidents are less likely to be repaired due to the high cost of fixing and replacing complex body parts and electronic components.

The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing as people choose to drive environmentally friendly vehicles. This may have impacts on this career since EVs require fewer repairs. These factors may limit opportunities for motor vehicle body repairers.

Some workers with this career may work on a flat rate which means that they will be paid for the work done as outlined in the rates, rather than by the hour. For those who can work quickly and do a good job, they may be able to earn more this way than by being paid hourly.

There is higher demand for workers who continue their training, learn new technology and know how to work with new materials, systems, tools and techniques.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Motor vehicle body repairers often start their careers in junior positions, 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. With experience, they may move to supervisory positions in motor vehicle manufacturing.

Additional resources