Motor vehicle breakdown engineer

roadside recovery technician roadside assistance technician
Garage services

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would help people whose vehicles have broken down or won’t start. You’d go out to where they are and either fix the problem there or get them and their vehicle to a garage.

If a car, van or other vehicle has a problem during a journey, then the person driving would call their breakdown service. The call centre would then tell you where they are and what they know about the fault.

You would drive out to the scene of the breakdown.

Then you would:

  • Make sure the driver and any passengers are safe
  • Examine the vehicle
  • Ask the motorist for a description of what happened
  • Find the fault
  • If possible, do the repairs at the roadside
  • Tow or transport the vehicle to a garage, if it needs major repair work

The people who have been stranded by the breakdown will probably be annoyed or worried by the delay to their journey. You’d need to reassure them and explain what has caused the problem.

You would normally work on patrols – covering a certain area – and carry spare engine parts, a battery charger and full tool kit. You might also use computerised fault-finding equipment.

You’d fill in a record sheet for each job you attend. You’d need to be interested in motor mechanics and be aware of health and safety issues.

Working conditions


You would work on a 24-hour shift system, including weekends.


You would be expected to repair vehicles outdoors in all weather conditions. You would normally wear protective overalls and high-visibility clothing.


This job involves a lot of driving.

UK employment status



Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Helping customers
  • Working with your hands
  • Repairing and fixing
  • Using computers
  • Coping with pressure

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


To be a qualified motor mechanic or vehicle technician you must gain relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Automotive (SVQ level 2/3) or City & Guilds qualification.

You could complete a Modern Apprenticeship to gain relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in light or heavy vehicle maintenance and repair (SVQ Level 2/3).

You do not need formal qualifications to commence an apprenticeship, but many employers look for a good general education (SCQF level 4/5). 

Useful subjects

  • Maths
  • English
  • Science subjects
  • Technologies subjects

You will also need

A full current driving licence.

You may have to pass:

  • a driving assessment
  • written tests
  • an aptitude test
  • a medical examination

Helpful to have

  • A Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence
  • Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) from the Institute of the Motor Industry