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Motor vehicle breakdown engineer

Alternative titles for this job include Roadside recovery technician, roadside assistance technician

Motor vehicle breakdown engineers help people whose vehicles have broken down.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

How to become a motor vehicle breakdown engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could take a college course before applying for work as a trainee with a garage or breakdown company.

Relevant courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Competence
  • Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


You can get into this career by completing a motor vehicle service and maintenance technician advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You can apply directly to become a breakdown engineer. You'll need experience and qualifications in motor vehicle maintenance and repair to do this.

More Information

Further information

You'll find more advice about how to become a breakdown engineer from Autocity.

What it takes

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • analytical thinking skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to repair machines or systems
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

  • have a driving licence that includes LGV for lorries, or PCV for buses, if you work with these vehicles

What you’ll do

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • making sure the vehicle, driver and passengers are safe
  • examining the vehicle to find and diagnose the fault
  • carrying out roadside repairs
  • towing or transporting the vehicle to a garage if major repair work is needed
  • filling in record sheets for each job

Working environment

You could work at a garage, from a vehicle or on call-out to wherever the car owner is.

Your working environment may be you'll travel often and outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager, or move into training.

Current opportunities

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Motor Vehicle Apprentice

  • Wage: £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: Newton Aycliffe

Courses In England

Diploma in Vehicle Maintenance

  • Provider: TOR BRIDGE HIGH
  • Start date: 02 September 2021
  • Location: Plymouth

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Provider: HULL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: Hull

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