When dealerships get shiny new cars on the lot, they start the process of readying the vehicles for potential buyers. This includes a vehicle check by pre-delivery inspection technicians, or PDI technicians. These techs perform any needed repairs and maintenance on the vehicles to ensure consistency and compliance with dealer and factory standards, like making sure the heat, air conditioning, radio and windshield wipers work properly.
Education and Experience
PDI technician positions require at least a high school diploma or equivalent. You can enhance your job prospects by completing vocational or other post-secondary training in automotive service technology. Some service technicians get a two-year associate degree with supporting coursework in English, basic math, automotive repair and electronics. Employers often require that candidates for PDI technician jobs have prior customer service experience, a valid driver's license and the ability to lift up to 50 pounds.
Some employers may require that PDI techs get EPA licensing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires all technicians who work with refrigerants to be licensed in proper refrigerant handling. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many trade schools, unions, and employer associations offer training programs designed for the EPA exam. After one to two years on the job, an employer might also require PDI technicians to get Automotive Service Excellence certification.
Not only are PDI technicians responsible for putting the finishing touches on new vehicles to ensure they operate properly, they are also expected to perform inventory control by keeping track of work done and parts used. They must also submit, in writing, detailed reports of all repairs made. Attentiveness and troubleshooting skills are important to a PDI technician. They must be able to identify and resolve any issues with the vehicle quickly and efficiently.
Salary and Job Outlook
The BLS reports that automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an average of $35,790 a year or $17.21 an hour as of May 2010. The Indeed.com career website put the average pay for PDI techs at $16 to $19 an hour as of 2014. Employment in the field is expected to increase 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is above the 14 percent projected growth rate for all occupations. Candidates with formal education and training will likely fare better in this sector. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for qualified applicants is very promising, as some employers report having a hard time finding employees with the right mix of skills and education.
- US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook -Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
- US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook -Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics - How to Become One
- Lexus of Richmond Hill: Frequently Asked Questions
- Indeed: PDI Technician
- National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence : About ASE
- US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook -Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics - Job Outlook
Olivia Johnson covers issues relating to the U.S. workforce and human resources. A professional journalist since 2001, she has worked in print and broadcast media for news outlets including ABC affiliates in Tennessee and Alabama, CBS Radio News, Westwood One and public radio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and is currently based in Tennessee.