Fancy yourself a virtuoso of cars, trucks, and all things automotive? There’s a misconception that the only job involving cars is a mechanic. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Learning mechanical engineering can give the most accomplished mechanic or software engineer valuable and lucrative lessons about automotives.
Automobile engineering is a subset of this technical discipline that harnesses automotive knowledge for the design, development, and production of motor vehicles.
What Is Automobile Engineering?
Automobile engineering is a branch of mechanical engineering where individuals and teams apply their knowledge to build a car.
This career especially attracts car designers who want to delve deep into what’s possible with today’s technology. Let’s look at how automobile engineering is accomplished.
What Is Automobile Engineering Used For?
You could sum automobile engineering up as the process of designing, developing, and creating cars, trucks, and more.
However, this description does automotive engineering a disservice because the field involves so much more. So what is automobile engineering used for?
- Designing cars. The central aspect of automobile engineering is design. For this, you need to have an excellent grasp on design concepts, measurements, and more to create cars, their safety systems, and to implement quality control methods.
- Testing safety measures. Is a seatbelt enough to ensure the safety of a driver and their passengers? Will the airbag work? Testing the safety of vehicles is paramount, and automobile engineers make it their life’s work to follow principal safety codes in their designs.
- Testing a vehicle’s software. Yes, even software engineers have an essential role to play in automobile engineering. You may have thought that software was only used in social media and coding. But it plays an integral role in engineering.
Cars use advanced software for their operation and these programs need to work perfectly. The last thing a driver would want is for their system to glitch or fail. This is especially important with the rise of the self-driving car. Learning artificial intelligence can be very advantageous on your path to learning automotive engineering.
Types of Automobile Engineering
There are a few distinct types of automobile engineering.
Driving automobiles can be extremely dangerous. Whether you are a veteran driver of 30 years or you just received your license, operating a vehicle can be deadly.
Safety engineering is a branch of automobile engineering that dictates the safety specifications of various vehicles. If you have ever seen crash test dummies in action, you’ll know some of what to expect from this area.
Dedicated automotive engineers plan, test, and troubleshoot safety issues with vehicles. Their tests include recording the integrity of airbags and seat belts. They have a strict code of government regulations to follow to ensure whoever is behind the wheel is as safe as possible.
This is arguably one of the most important aspects of automobile engineering. While all facets of designing and testing are crucial for optimal performance, having adequate quality control can mean the difference between a vehicle making it to the road or not.
Remember the 2009 to 2011 Toyota recalls? A lack of quality control resulted in electrical engineers recalling a considerable number of Toyota’s models for dangerous shortcomings like faulty anti-lock brake software and sticking accelerator pedals. Toyota recalled over seven million vehicles over this mistake.
Quality control ensures that catastrophes like this infamous recall don’t happen after the design process. Automotive engineers need to be vigilant and never cut corners.
Maybe the most rewarding part of designing a car is seeing how the vehicle handles. Does the steering wheel have an excellent response to the driver? Are the acceleration and brake pedals robust and sensitive enough to ensure safety? Does the vehicle drive well? All of these are the main points of car production.
Driveability tests record engine stalls, start and stop times, transmission issues, and how well the vehicle operates under different weather conditions.
Learning Automobile Engineering
Does all of this sound appealing to you? Then you should pursue automobile engineering. But where does one start on this journey? There are a few key facts to know before jumping in. Let’s lay out the fundamentals to give you a better idea of what you can expect.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Automobile Engineering?
It takes about four years to master this field. Learning automobile engineering isn’t exactly a linear path and you won’t get there overnight. Many individuals need to pursue a degree in automotive engineering to learn basic car parts and to study the design process with confidence.
You may have to supplement your car knowledge with other experiences that we’ll get into. Overall, finding great engineering degrees is possible and an excellent idea if you’d like a comprehensive learning path.
How to Learn Automobile Engineering: Step-by-Step
If you’re feeling lost regarding a surefire way to break into automobile engineering, then fear not. Here is a step-by-step guide.
- Get familiar with cars. Frankly, you won’t be able to succeed in automobile engineering without detailed knowledge of vehicles. While you don’t need to be the most knowledgeable, you will need to know the crucial parts of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more.
- Take automobile engineering courses. What better way to learn the ins and outs of the automotive industry than taking a course taught by a professional? This is perfect for anyone at any skill level. You can always learn more about how to design, test, and produce cars.
- Earn a degree in automotive engineering. A fantastic way of beefing up your bona fides is by enrolling in an engineering program at a university or trade school. Trade schools that provide vocational skills can give you a leg up in the hiring process. Whatever you decide, earning a diploma in any related engineering field will prepare you for an automobile engineer career.
- Apprentice with a mechanic. Mechanics do more than just oil changes and state inspections. These are masters of the automotive industry and becoming a mechanic will teach you more than how to wield a wrench or replace a set of tires.
- Apply for an engineering job. Landing a job as an automobile engineer shows that you know the intricacies of vehicle safety, quality control, and more and that you have a firm grasp on what makes cars run. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers earn a median salary of $88,430 per year. Having a degree in automotive engineering only increases your chances of earning this impressive salary.
The Best Automobile Engineering Courses and Training
Now that we have a rough framework of how you can break into the automotive industry, let’s look at the staggeringly large amount of educational resources at your disposal.
Best Online Automobile Engineering Courses
Online classes are fantastic ways to learn valuable knowledge in the comfort of your home and often at your pace. While working on cars in person will be helpful, some of the best knowledge is already at your fingertips.
While there is no shortage of great online software degrees and automotive engineering college programs, let’s look at some standalone courses you can take.
- Provider: Udemy
- Time: Five hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: $50
This online automobile engineering course starts with the very basics: how vehicles perform. While this may seem beginner material, you will soon learn every facet of how motor vehicles work in this course.
Separated into eight sections with 110 lectures, this course contains a little over five hours of excellent video material. Don’t be intimidated by the impressive number of videos, as they all run at digestible lengths. Students learn things like fundamental physics of acceleration, tractive force, the power to weight ratio, and the effect of drive on acceleration performance
- Provider: Udemy
- Time: Two hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: $50
This class tests your knowledge of vehicle diagnostics. An important aspect of automobile engineering is building cars to specification, ensuring they follow regulations and perform at their full capacity.
This course aims to eliminate human error. While you can’t eradicate it entirely, this instruction equips you with the methods, knowledge, and skills needed to spot issues with electrical wiring, faults, and more.
By the end of the course, you can spot electrical malfunctions and remedy various performance issues. And at only two hours, it’s not a huge time commitment. The popularity of this course is a testament to how well it equips participants in the mechanical engineering of motor vehicles.
Best Free Automobile Engineering Courses
Want to dip your toe in the waters of automobile engineering without a financial commitment? That’s good news, as there are a few free courses to give this discipline a test drive.
- Provider: edX
- Time: Seven weeks
- Prerequisites: Degree in mechanical engineering
- Price: Free
Since safety is a central tenet of sound automobile engineering, it makes sense that aspiring professionals should spend time studying safety measures. This free automobile engineering course from Chalmers Institute of Technology examines the importance of road safety and traffic in designing motor vehicles.
Over seven weeks, students learn essential safety functions, the most cutting-edge safety software, and ways to account for traffic in safety tests. This course will cover rigorous data analysis, statistical measurements, and case studies to better understand the impact that basic road safety has on the car design process.
- Provider: National Skill Development Corporation
- Time: 10-15 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: Free
Straight from the masters of skill development comes a crash course in all things automotive. Starting with introductory units like “What is an automobile?” this online course is one of the most useful.
It’s especially helpful if you have never worked in a workshop, garage, or the automotive industry. You will learn all about the importance of electrical systems, software engineering, and technician duties.
While this free automobile engineering course focuses more on the mechanic’s role, it is still a great resource to break into the industry.
Automobile Engineering Certifications
Earning a certification in any number of automobile engineering subfields can help you immensely in your job search. These various certificates exhibit your specific knowledge of different subjects. For example, you can earn a certification in safety testing. Having these on your resume can give you a great advantage.
Electric cars seem finally primed to take off around the world. Companies like Tesla have made great strides in the field. Earning a certificate in the development of these tech wonders could be an extremely worthwhile investment.
In this program, you will receive comprehensive, detailed, and practical education on how impactful the electric car can be in our society. You’ll learn business practices, policies and safety measures, all while emphasizing software development and mechanical engineering.
From Boston’s Ben Franklin University comes the Automotive Service Excellence certification. This is a fantastic all-encompassing certification program that teaches you everything about automotive engineering, from the very basics to more advanced concepts.
When enrolled in the certification program, students learn everything about essential motor vehicle functions like brakes, climate control, acceleration, hybrid functions, and electric-car technology.
This certification program prepares participants immediately for the job market, especially in Massachusetts. But regardless of your location, your resume will shine with this certification.
Best Online Automobile Engineering Resources
If you are struggling with online courses or even deciding whether to pursue a degree in automotive engineering, these resources can go a long way to inform your decision.
This constantly updated hub of automobile engineering is perfect for both the beginner and veteran. It includes a massive amount of blog posts, news items, and educational and career resources. Car Engineer is a one-stop-shop.
If you’re seeking a comprehensive directory for the automotive industry, Automotive Directory is king. Anything you might need assistance with is a click away.
The site helps you navigate a multitude of car resources. Whether you are looking for forums, local listings, or general knowledge, you’ll find it with this directory.
SolidWize is a bit different than the other resources listed. SolidWize is a great CAD (computer-assisted design) tool. If you know about programs like AutoCAD, you’ll be familiar with SolidWize.
The program allows users to create and test automotive designs. Every car designer should give SolidWize’s software a test drive. The application can help you build the most efficient cars and trucks possible. SolidWize offers training, assignments, quizzes, and comprehensive education in design, development, and motor vehicle production.
Should You Study Automobile Engineering?
Now you know what automobile engineering entails. It requires a deft hand, a keen eye for detail, and intimate knowledge of the automotive industry.
Whether you are a designer, software engineer, or merely interested in cars and trucks, automobile engineering may be perfect for you. And if you follow the step-by-step guide, take some quality automobile engineering courses, and utilize the various resources, you’ll have exactly what you need to start this career.
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