Auto Electrician (Heavy)


Heavy equipment automotive engineers check and repair heavy vehicles such as trucks, bulldozers and tractors. They often specialise in one of the following areas: road transport, agriculture equipment, or plant and equipment (factory machinery).

Tasks and Duties:

  • diagnose faults
  • dismantle engines or other parts requiring attention
  • rebuild engines and other major components
  • repair or replace any faulty parts
  • service heavy automotive equipment
  • may carry out Certificate of Fitness checks
  • test-drive vehicles and make adjustments
  • attend breakdowns


Heavy equipment automotive engineers need to have excellent mechanical skills, including skill in working with diesel vehicles. They must also be skilled in diagnosing mechanical problems, and have an eye for detail.


Heavy equipment automotive engineers need to know about the different types of vehicle engines and parts, automotive electronics, and workshop engineering. They also need to know about Land Transport Safety Authority- Waka Kotahi NZ regulations and safety standards.

Personal Qualities:

Heavy equipment automotive engineers should be practical, responsible, alert and patient. They also need to have good interpersonal skills and be able to think logically.

Physical Requirements:

Heavy equipment automotive engineers must have a good level of fitness, a strong back, and good hand-eye co-ordination. They also need to have good hearing and vision. Stamina is also required, as they may have to work long hours.

Educational Requirements:

Heavy equipment automotive engineers need to have at least three years’ secondary education with NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, science, graphics and workshop technology. Level 2 in the same subjects may be an advantage.

Entry Requirements:

Successful completion of the National Certificate for Entry to Automotive Trades or any other pre-apprenticeship course is recommended before beginning an apprenticeship. These courses may be offered at your local polytechnic and are effectively the first year of your apprenticeship. Apprentices also need to have a current drivers license.

Useful Experience

Electrical work and experience working with vehicles and large machinery is useful for heavy equipment automotive engineers. An interest in machinery and vehicles is also useful.

Training on the job

Apprentices are trained on the job in automotive heavy engineering and on completion gain a National Certificate. Students usually study one of the following three options: road transport, agriculture equipment, or plant and equipment (factory machinery). Further skills are gained on the job.

Work Places

Heavy equipment automotive engineers work both inside and outside, and most of the work is carried out in garages and workshops. Occasional travel may be required to visit machinery on-site, as it is very expensive to transport large machinery, and most problems can be corrected on-site with a well-equipped service vehicle.

Further Information 

Employment opportunities in this occupation are growing in Southland and there is currently a shortage of trained Automotive Heavy engineers.