Most car technology courses are offered through an associate degree in automotive technology program; however, some schools do offer a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology. Certification by the National Automotive Training Education Foundation (NATEF) is one benchmark for finding a good car technology program in your area.
Some common concepts covered in car technology classes include:
- Automotive computers
- Fuel and emission standards
- Axles, transaxles, and clutches
- Climate control systems
- Ignition Systems
List of Courses
Basic Automotive Systems Course
This class serves as an overview of how automobiles operate. Students learn about the basics of car engineering, hydraulics, electronics, repair work, and the differences between car engines. Some schools also use this class to explain the various nuances of the car industry to students. This class is mandatory and is usually one of the first courses any car technology student would take.
Auto Shop Orientation Course
The auto shop is where problems with cars are diagnosed and repaired, making this class essential for anyone who wants to work as a mechanic. Students learn about the proper way to use hand and power tools, basic maintenance operations, precision measuring, machine equipment, tubing, wiring, jacks, presses, and cleaning techniques. This class is usually the second car technology course offered to students and must be completed before moving on to further studies.
Engine Operation and Repair Course
In this class, students will learn about the science that allows car engines to operate. Topics include the difference between foreign and domestic car engines, accessory units, engine performance, and proper diagnosis techniques. This hands-on course is taught in an automotive shop or lab and allows students to disassemble and reassemble various engine parts to see first-hand how they work. This class is typically offered during the second semester and is usually mandatory for anyone interested in an automotive technology degree.
Brakes are the key safety system in an automobile, making this class valuable to anyone who wishes to work with cars. Students will learn about foreign and domestic brake systems, hydraulic theory, disc and drum systems, parking brakes, power assist units, anti-lock systems, diagnosis and repair, wheel bearings, and related electrical circuits. This class is usually held in a laboratory or shop setting; it is mandatory for anyone wishing to earn a degree in car technology and can be taken at any time.
Electrical Systems Course
Anyone who works in car technology must understand how electronic components work in automobiles. In this class, students will discuss basic electrical theory, circuit designs, wiring methods, storage batteries, starting motors, alternators, lighting, and electronics testing. Electrical systems courses are required by most car technology programs but can be completed at any time.
Suspension and Steering Course
This class discusses the application of automotive suspension and steering systems, one of the most important parts in the operation of a vehicle. The primary goal of this class is to give students a background in the diagnosis and repair of these systems; topics include axles and wheels, wheel alignment and adjustment, and servicing of various components. The proper handling of hazardous materials is also discussed in this class. Suspension and steering courses are usually required and can be taken throughout a degree program.
Transmissions Systems Course
Diagnosing and repairing problems involving an automobile's transmission system is vital for anyone interested in a career in this field. Fluid power, hydraulics, power transmission systems, final drive units, clutch transmissions, and drive lines are the primary topics studied in this course. Many schools offer separate classes for manual and automatic transmission systems. This class is usually taken in the latter part of a degree program and is almost always mandatory.