Do Mechanical Engineers Work on Cars?

Do Mechanical Engineers Work on Cars

When people think of cars, they may think of the people that work on them. Mechanical engineers could be the first profession that you think of that works with cars and automobiles, probably because of the word “mechanical” in their name.

While it is true that mechanical engineers can work on cars, it is probably not in the way that you are thinking. Mechanical engineers design cars and other means of transport, rather than actually building or repairing cars.

To learn more about what mechanical engineers actually do, as well as the work that they perform on cars and automobiles, continue reading.

Mechanical Engineers and Cars

What is a Mechanical Engineer?

Before we get into how mechanical engineers are related to cars and what type of work they do on them, we will first go over what mechanical engineers are and what their work usually entails.

Mechanical engineers design many different types of machines that produce power. While this usually means that they are working on electric generators and different types of engines and turbines that run off of gas and steam, it also means that they sometimes find their way into the automotive industry.

Because they work on both power-producing and power-using machines, mechanical engineers can find work in a variety of different fields. Aside from designing these things, they also are known to work on many different machines that are found within buildings.

Escalators and elevators are just two that mechanical engineers find themselves handling. They also work on sensors and produce new technology and other things that can be used in a variety of fields in order to increase production and efficiency.

Most mechanical engineers who find their way into the automotive industry come to be known as auto research engineers. Auto research engineers look to improve cars and their performance by innovating and creating new systems to make the car perform and run better.

Some parts of a car that a mechanical engineer may work on include the chassis of the car, which may serve to make the car safer or more aerodynamic, as well as the suspension of the car itself. Another aspect of cars that Mechanical engineers work on is the possible ways that a car can utilize new fuel sources.

How do Mechanical Engineers Work on Cars?

Now that we have an idea of what mechanical engineers usually do, we can get into how they are related to cars and what kind of work they do on them specifically.

As stated previously, mechanical engineers work more on the design of the car itself as well as on ways that they can improve the automobile. This is done before the car is actually manufactured, and is not usually an after-market process.

Mechanical engineers will look at the current model of a car and aim to make improvements and innovations for various parts of the car itself. This can include parts of the car that handle the steering and control of the vehicle, or even how well the vehicle handles its fuel economy.

Making improvements upon the skeleton and chassis of the car are some of the things that mechanical engineers may be taking a look at and working actively on. They aim to make things safer for passengers within the car, while still retaining some design elements that are key to the vehicle.

The aerodynamics of a car is also something that mechanical engineers aim to tackle. By making the car more aerodynamic they can improve fuel efficiency and reduce drag on the vehicle. For racing cars, mechanical engineers are vital. They work to make the car’s drag as little as possible while ensuring that they still remain safe and offer good handling.

Working on the way that a car can utilize different types of fuel sources is another aspect of working on cars that mechanical engineers handle. They will test and find new ways that fuel can be used to power cars while working to make current fuel sources more efficient.

In general, mechanical engineers will work on cars before they are sent out to market. They tend to handle the manufacturing of the cars themselves, rather than repair or modifications after cars have been purchased.

Tackling the design of a car is the job of mechanical engineers. Mechanical engineers are also tasked with analyzing data of the car after it has been in use. They do this so that they can further improve upon the car for later models and bring a safer, and more effective car to the market for consumers.

They do not work on cars in the way that a majority of people may assume. If you are thinking of people who repair and revitalize cars that have already been put to use, or those who modify the car to fit an owner’s specifications, then you are most likely thinking of a mechanic.

Mechanics and Cars

You may have gotten mechanics and mechanical engineers mixed up with one another. While mechanical engineers are most likely capable of fixing a car that has been broken down, they are not the specialists that are usually the ones handling cases like that.

Mechanics, on the other hand, are trained professionals who repair and perform maintenance on cars and other types of automobiles. While they do share some similarities with mechanical engineers, such as knowing how internal combustion works as well as various types of engines and motors, they do not deal with the design or manufacturing of cars.

Focusing on repairing, dismantling and reassembling cars are the duties of a mechanic. Mechanical engineers and mechanics can both work on cars, but they will most likely be tackling different responsibilities and handling different aspects of the car.

If you mean repairing and performing different forms of maintenance on a car when you say “work on a car”, then you are thinking of mechanics rather than mechanical engineers. 

What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Mechanical Engineer?

To become a Mechanical Engineer, you will need to graduate from an accredited university with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. You may choose the subjects you study, but it is advisable that they are relevant to mechanical engineering or other similar fields.

You can also complete a vocational course at TAFE where your studies and work placements will be geared towards Mechanical Engineering skills development.

This qualification gives graduates direct entry into industry as Apprentice Mechanics Engineers, without needing further qualifications such as a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering (or equivalent).

To gain employment as a professional Mechanical Engineer, candidates may undertake additional tertiary education through Master’s degrees or PhD programs which provide advanced knowledge of specialized topics within their chosen field of expertise.

What GPA Do You Need To Become A Mechanical Engineer?

To become a mechanical engineer it is advisable to have a GPA of at least 3.0.

The required GPA to become a mechanical engineer is not set in stone so the best way to find out what it will take for you would be by researching schools and programs, talking with admissions officers or going into school visits.

What Is The Job Market For Mechanical Engineers?

As of right now there are more than 200,000 jobs available that require skills in engineering as well as other hurdles such as educational attainment level and licensing requirements.

In order to secure one of these positions, you need to demonstrate your talent through practice tests, interviews, and job fairs because employers want someone who can contribute on day one while also being able-minded enough to handle any additional tasks given down the road without extensive supervision.

How long does it take to become a mechanical engineer?

It will take at least 4 years of study to become a mechanical engineer. The first two years will be spent on the basics of engineering, such as math and physics. In these classes you will have many chances to choose an area to specialize in during your last two years.

Mechanical Engineering is one option among others within this field; it is not just about motors or engines like most people think- Mechanical Engineers can do anything from designing buildings and bridges to coming up with new medical devices!

What are some other careers considered within the Mechanical Engineering industry?

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Environmental Manager

Is it hard to become a mechanical engineer?

Becoming a mechanical engineer is not necessarily hard, . However, there are a lot of things to take into consideration.

You will need to have a keen interest in math and science, as you will have to take a lot of math courses. You should also be good at problem-solving skills because Mechanical Engineers deal with large numbers of issues in their workday!

How Much Can I Earn As a Mechanical Engineer?

Mechanical engineers on average earn an annual salary of $77,630.

The range was from around $50K up through almost $120K annually depending on what other skills that person possessed outside of engineering (related degrees).

The expected salary depends largely on the level of education that you have completed, as well as the number and type of qualifications that you have. If a person has an engineering degree from a top university then they will likely earn more than someone who does not.

How To Become a Mechanical Engineer That Works on Cars?

If you would like to be a mechanical engineer that works on cars then you need to first get a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Additional qualifications are not required for this type of job, however, having a masters or PhD will help you advance your career further and earn more money

There is also the option to work as an intern at car companies such as Ford or General Motors to get a foot in the door.

Working on cars and designs in your spare time is a great way to keep your skills sharp and be able to show potential employers.

Mechanical engineers work on all sorts of vehicles including cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and even ships. They are responsible for the design of these machines as well as understanding how they will function in order to make them as safe possible

One thing that mechanical engineers do is perform calculations about car components such as engines or transmissions. These calculations help determine many different important specifications including fuel efficiency.

Mechanical engineering also has very close ties with mathematics since so much of it revolves around using numbers and formulas to create designs that can be manufactured at scale for specific applications like working on cars


Mechanical engineers work on the design of cars and help to manufacture and improve cars, while analyzing them afterwards and working towards new innovations for future models. While they do work on cars, it is most likely not the type of work that many assume they do.

Mechanics, on the other hand, work on cars by repairing and maintaining them. They do not handle designing or manufacturing the cars themselves, but rather they work to repair a car, modify it, or maintain it after it has been purchased by the consumer.

While both of these professions vary quite a lot in the responsibilities that they have when handling cars, they are both very important to the automotive industry. Mechanical engineers handle the cars while they are being produced, while mechanics deal with them after they have been released.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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