WhileDot Transportation, Inc. (DTI)invests in only the best trucks for our drivers, unfortunately no one has invented an indestructible vehicle immune to wear and tear. And for that reason, we have to make sure we have the right team, the right facilities, and the right equipment to keep our fleet running smoothly and safely at all times.
At every Dot Foods distribution center (DC), you’ll find a team of dedicated garage technicians who work hard to keep our trucks operable and safe for our drivers and those with whom they share the road. Typically behind the scenes, the unsung heroes of the garage are essential to the daily operations of Dot Foods and DTI. As our business continues to grow, we depend more and more on our garage employees to keep our trucks in action.
Dot garages operate 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, so any time one of our 1,500+ tractors or 2,500+ trailers is in need of service, drivers can usually get it done pretty quickly without any major interruptions to their normal schedule. And as our drivers are on pace to cross 159 million miles in 2022 alone, you can imagine that our garage techs have no problem keeping busy.
What Is A Fleet Technician?
A fleet technician, also known as a fleet tech or garage technician, is responsible for maintaining and repairing a company’s fleet of vehicles. In the case of DTI, that’s the tractors and trailers that carry food products to customers across North America.
As a fleet technician, your duties may range from performing routine vehicle maintenance jobs such as oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections, to diagnosing and repairing complex mechanical problems, such as engine and transmission issues or electrical and computer system malfunctions. You will also carry out preventative maintenance and safety inspections to ensure that every vehicle in our fleet is in good working condition.
Vehicle Fleet Technicians at Dot Transportation
There are three fleet technician levels in the garage (1, 2, and 3) and the tasks and responsibilities become more demanding with each level. Generally, a new hire will start out as a level 1 tech where they can tackle routine maintenance, washing, fueling, and basic repairs while learning the ropes of the garage and the ins and outs of the equipment.
Higher level technicians will take on more complex assignments like troubleshooting, brake system repair, HVAC, driveline components, electrical systems, engine repair, and so on. Fleet technicians are responsible for all preventative maintenance and repair work to the fleet with the exception of paint and body repair, which are contracted out.
Do You Need Experience and Qualifications to Be a Fleet Technician?
“The best people we can get for DTI jobs are people who want to work for DTI and who are a good fit with our culture. They don’t need years of experience. You just need to be willing to work. We can train you to be a level 1,” says Kevin Buss, director of fleet management.
Though it doesn’t hurt to have some degree of automotive know-how ahead of time, fleet technician positions at DTI are very “learn as you go” jobs. Whether you come to DTI with 20 years of experience in diesel mechanics or nothing more than a curiosity and willingness to learn, every new hire will go through rigorous training on exactly what it takes to keep our fleet running. It’s not at all uncommon for a level 1 fleet technician to join the team with no organized training – and some argue it’s even better that way!
“In some cases, it’s easier to train someone with no experience than it is to train someone who has been doing things a different way for years,” says Kevin Passmore, a level 2 technician out of Mt. Sterling.
Since there is no shortage of tasks to complete in the garage on any given day, there are plenty of opportunities for newbies to get their feet wet and hands dirty while they learn their way around the equipment. As they grow their skills and become more familiar with the trucks, they’ll get the opportunity for more responsibilities, more complex tasks, and more advancement opportunities.
What Does a Fleet Technician’s Day Look Like?
According to Michael Marquez, a level 3 garage technician out of our Modesto garage, you never know what kind of challenges will come your way in a given shift.
“Every day in the garage is different. Every driver is different and everyone that comes into the garage has a new set of problems we need to fix,” he says. “It’s challenging and frustrating at times, but I love that it’s something new every day.”
If you’re looking for a job with a predictable routine, the garage may not be your best bet. However, if you thrive in an exciting workspace with new challenges and opportunities around every corner, you’ll fit right in.
While there’s no such thing as a “typical day” in the garage, you’ll figure out the high and low traffic days pretty quickly. On a high-traffic day, outbound trucks will be your number one priority. On low-traffic days, you’ll have the chance to focus on more time-consuming tasks that might not be as pressing.