Motor Vehicle Breakdown Engineer

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Automotive & Aviation

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • respond to breakdown calls from the control centre
  • make sure the vehicle, driver and passengers are safe
  • examine the vehicle to find and diagnose the fault
  • carry out roadside repairs
  • tow or transport the vehicle to a garage if major repair work is needed
  • arrange transport for the driver of the broken down vehicle
  • complete record sheets for each job


You’ll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to repair systems
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • analytical thinking skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition/drive)
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Motor Vehicle Breakdown Engineer, you’ll need to develop practical skills and knowledge related to automotive maintenance and repair. While there are no specific requirements for this career, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial in preparing for the field. Here’s a list of subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Mathematics: A good understanding of mathematics is important for performing measurements, calculations, and diagnostics in automotive repair.
  2. Science: Basic knowledge of science, particularly physics and chemistry, can help you understand the principles behind automotive systems and the properties of materials used in vehicles.
  3. Design and Technology (D&T): D&T coursework can provide you with hands-on experience and practical skills related to working with tools, equipment, and mechanical systems.
  4. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Proficiency in using computer software and diagnostic tools can be useful for modern automotive repair, where technology plays a significant role.
  5. English: Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are important for interacting with customers, explaining repair issues, and writing reports.

Post School

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.

In the UK, for example, relevant courses include:

  • Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Competence
  • Diploma in Vehicle Technology
  • Level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing


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

This typically takes around 36 months to complete as a mix of learning on the job and study.

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.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 42-44 hours of work. You should be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays on shifts.

You could work at a garage, from a vehicle or on call-out to wherever the car owner is. Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you’ll travel often. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

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