Online Automotive Technician Training | Penn Foster Career School

Automotive Technician Training Online School

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Auto Repair Technician Program Overview

Get started on your path to becoming an auto repair technician in as little as six months with Penn Foster Career School's Auto Repair Technician Program. Auto repair technicians can work at established repair shops, car dealerships, and even open their own garages. The Penn Foster Career School Automotive Repair Technician Program includes practical exercises to give you hands-on training while you train at home on your own time, at a pace that's right for you!

Our program includes a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification preparation materials, student discounts from Snap-on, and a digital multimeter and operation manual. Start learning about engine types, automotive fuel systems, suspensions and more with Penn Foster Career School Automotive Repair Technician Program today!

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students to enter the automotive repair field by studying the major automotive systems and the procedures for troubleshooting and repairing those systems.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify automotive systems and engine components, and describe how the systems and parts work together to make a vehicle run
  • Describe the process of removing an engine from a vehicle and performing an engine rebuild
  • Recognize safety procedures that should be followed in an automotive repair shop, and list the various hand tools and specialized tools used when working with automotive systems
  • Recognize the steps necessary to attain certification in the automotive repair field
  • Identify different types of engines and the factors that affect engine performance
  • Describe how to perform routine maintenance procedures, including oil changes and tune-ups
  • Identify the theory and operation of automotive systems, including the cooling, lubrication, ignition, fuel, and electrical systems
  • Recognize how to troubleshoot problems on automotive systems, including lubrication, fuel, cooling, ignition, and electrical systems
  • Explain how to inspect and work on a vehicle's brake system
  • Identify vehicle computer systems, including how they allow technicians to diagnose and repair system malfunctions
  • Describe the steering and suspension systems, including the alignment process, and identify how worn parts affect a vehicle

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Introduction to Auto Repair

In today's fast moving society, millions of people rely on trained Auto Repair Technicians to keep them on the go.


  • Learn the basic operating systems in a vehicle.
  • Understand the operation of a four-cycle internal-combustion engine.
  • Learn how to use automotive tools.
  • Understand workplace safety.
  • Discover the employment possibilities and certification in the auto servicing field.

Unit 2

Automotive Engine Parts and Operation

The most important component in any car is the engine. It’s also the most serviced component.


  • Learn the parts of the gasoline engine.
  • Understand how the engine components work together to make the engine run.
  • Learn the function of the car’s lower-end assembly and upper-end assembly.
Engine Types

The type of engine in a car depends on the size and intended purpose of the vehicle.


  • Learn to identify each type of engine.
  • Discover what affects engine performance.
  • Learn how to enhance engine performance.
  • Explore special engine designs.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Unit 3

Lubrication Systems

Proper lubrication is essential to engine operation to prevent friction and wear. The moving parts must receive a steady supply of oil.


  • Understand the function of each lubrication system component.
  • Learn how motor oil is classified.
  • Learn the steps to complete an oil change.
Automotive Cooling Systems

Proper temperature control is important to engine operation.


  • Learn how coolant flows through an automotive cooling system.
  • Understand the function of each cooling-system component.
  • Inspect, test, and repair an engine’s cooling system.
  • Replace components in a cooling system.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Unit 4

Ignition System Components and Operation

An engine won’t start without the engine’s ignition system.


  • Differentiate between voltage, current, and resistance in a circuit.
  • Learn how a spark plug operates.
  • Know the components of a conventional and electronic ignition system.
  • Understand the operation of spark-advance mechanisms and direct-fire ignition systems.
Ignition System Maintenance

Ignitions systems must be kept in good shape to work properly.


  • Troubleshoot faulty ignition system components.
  • Maintain conventional and electronic ignition systems.
  • Service an ignition system.
  • Perform ignition system tune-ups.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Unit 5

Automotive Fuel Systems Part 1

The function of the fuel system is to store and deliver the fuel that powers the engine.


  • Understand the components of a typical automotive fuel system.
  • Learn how mechanical and electric fuel pumps work.
  • Learn how to service and repair fuel pumps.
  • Understand how the carburetor and fuel-injection systems operate.
  • Learn the purpose and design of the fuel tank, as well as the function of fuel lines and filters.
Automotive Fuel Systems Part 2

The lesson on automotive fuel systems continues with the topics of the fuel-distribution system, the carburetor, and the fuel-injection system.


  • Learn the basic principles of fuel injection.
  • Understand the components of a carburetor and its functions.
  • Make carburetor adjustments.
  • Check fuel-injection system pressure.
  • Adjust the idle speed of a fuel-injection system.
  • Service exhaust systems.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Unit 6

Automotive Braking Systems

No one would want a car with faulty brakes. It’s one of the most important systems of an automobile.


  • Learn how to service and maintain the braking systems.
  • Learn how to repair master cylinders.
  • Understand how the drum brake and disc brake systems operate.
Antilock Brake Systems

Antilock braking systems are more complicated than standard braking systems.


  • Understand the function of an antilock braking system.
  • Learn how speed information is used in an antilock braking system.
  • Understand how the solenoid and motor-driven valves operate.
  • Troubleshoot and service a vehicle with antilock brakes.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: ASE Brakes Exam Prep Book

Unit 7


The suspension system keeps the car firmly on the road, providing stability, steering control and improved comfort.


  • Understand the functions of the suspension system.
  • Learn the operating principles of straight and independent rear-suspension system designs.
  • Learn the components of a specific suspension system.
  • Learn the procedure to maintain the suspension system.
  • Understand the operating principles of adjustable suspension systems.
Steering/Wheel Alignment

Steering and wheel alignment involves the tires, wheel hubs, bearings, steering knuckles, steering systems, and airbags.


  • Learn how to mount, balance, and install tires and wheels.
  • Know how to measure bearing play.
  • Make camber, caster, and toe adjustments.
  • Learn to service steering systems.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: ASE Suspension and Steering Exam Prep Book

Unit 8

Automotive Engines, Part 1

Learn to repair the most important and most serviced component of any car…the engine.


  • Know safety procedures to follow in the auto repair shop.
  • Learn proper vehicle lifting procedures.
  • Understand the basic operation of a four-stroke engine.
  • Learn the methods used to diagnose engine problems.
  • Know the causes of engine noises.
Additional Unit Material

Textbook: Automotive Engines: Theory and Servicing

Unit 9

Automotive Engines, Part 2

The lesson on engines continues here with information about rebuilding an engine.


  • Know the tests used to determine engine condition.
  • Learn the steps involved in performing compression tests and cylinder leakage tests.
  • Learn how to remove an engine from a vehicle.
  • Identify the methods used to time an engine’s valve train.
  • Learn how to reassemble an engine.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: ASE Engine Repair Exam Prep Book

Unit 10

Automotive Electrical Systems

With the introduction of computer controls and electrically powered convenience items, the electrical system has become a big part of a vehicle and its repair.


  • Know how the battery is constructed, charged, and discharged.
  • Understand how to test a lead-acid battery.
  • Troubleshoot and repair the electrical system.
  • Measure circuit continuity and voltage drops.
Computerized Engine Controls

Vehicles today are controlled by computers consisting of switches and sensors, as well as output devices, such as relays, solenoids, lights, and injectors.


  • Understand computer systems in vehicles.
  • Explain open-and closed-loop modes of operation.
  • Understand input sensors and output devices, and their operation.
  • Know how the exhaust gas analyzer is used to check fuel-control performance.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Digital Multimeter
  • ASE Electrical/Electronic Exam Prep Book

Supplement: Multimeter Operation Manual

Unit 11

Advanced Auto Computer Systems

The lesson on auto computer systems continues here with a look at onboard diagnostics that allow the automotive technician to diagnose and repair system malfunctions in a vehicle.


  • Explain how a scan tool is used in computer diagnostics.
  • Understand how trouble codes are related to specific computer malfunctions.
  • Test engine computer control sensors and actuators.
  • Follow a manufacturer’s manual to troubleshoot engine computer control problems.
Engine Performance/Troubleshooting

Engine performance testing involves the testing of various engine systems to make sure they’re operating properly.


  • Identify engine performance tests used to diagnose engine problems.
  • Know the tests that are used for routine maintenance.
  • Understand basic troubleshooting rules and manufacturer’s troubleshooting charts.
  • Identify engine performance problems.
Practical Exercise

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aid: ASE Engine Performance Exam Prep Book

Supplement: Work Experience Option

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Auto Repair Technician sample lesson, click here.

Automotive Repair Certification

Students in this program receive five National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification Exam prep manuals that will help them prepare for ASE certification in five popular automotive disciplines:

Auto Repair Technician Student Discount Program

Classic Car Restoration Club Video Resources
Students enrolled in the Auto Repair Technician Career Diploma Program are eligible for discounted rates for the Classic Car Restoration Club premium online how-to videos. This video resource site can serve as a supplement to your Penn Foster Career School program, but is not required to complete your coursework. Learn more about this offer here.


snap-on student discount Snap-on Student Excellence Program
Students enrolled in the Auto Repair Technician Program are eligible to participate in the Snap-on Student Excellence Program. This program allows students in trades and technology education programs to purchase high-quality Snap-on tools at a preferred student discount. Some restrictions may apply for total purchase and quantities of certain items. Click here to see the new Snap-on Catalog.

State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

auto mechanic school online

Here are a few qualities that capable auto mechanics have in common:

  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Problem solver: Finding the missing piece can be challenging and fun.
  • Persistent: You will work hard until you can successfully solve the problem at hand.
  • Honest: You are ethical in your work for customers.

I am currently enrolled in Penn Foster to further develop my skill sets. It has always been my passion to obtain as much education as possible and never give up in spite of life’s challenges.

- Arnold D., Penn Foster student and Auto Repair Technician Graduate

You learn everything—you learn the theory, how an engine works, what’s better and what you can or can’t use. I really enjoy the mechanics a lot.

- Ivan R., Auto Repair Technician Student

My responsibilities at my current place of employment have been increased to include the auto repair knowledge that I gained from Penn Foster. My employer has offered to give me a raise, as well as an extra title, as soon as I bring in my diploma from my program. Enrolling in Penn Foster is one of the best decisions that I ever made.

- Ernesto O, Auto Repair Technician Graduate

I am self-employed and the training has provided so much opportunity for me to grow in my field and make extra money. Thank you, Penn Foster. Penn Foster's training has a very high educational value.

- Raymond A., Auto Repair Technician Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids, such as ASE certification preparation materials and digital multimeter, included
  • Access to Snap-on Student Excellence Program offering up to a 50% discount on Snap-on products
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Auto Repair Tech academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Are there any resources that will help prepare me for my next step towards becoming an Auto Repair Technician?

You will receive five valuable National Institute for Automotive Service of Excellence (ASE) Certification Exam prep manuals that will help you prepare for ASE certification in five popular automotive disciplines. You are also are eligible to purchase Snap-On tools at a significant discount through the Snap-On Student Excellence program. A link to the Snap-On site will be available on the “My Courses” page after enrollment.

Is there an opportunity to get hands-on training as part of the Auto Repair Technician Career Diploma Program?

Yes! In addition to practical exercises that include suggested hands-on activities, the Auto Repair Technician Career Diploma Program has a Work Experience Option. The Work Experience Option gives students the opportunity to apply the skills they’ve learned in real-life, hands-on situations under the guidance of a professional automotive mechanic. Students are responsible for locating a facility in their local community where they can complete the Work Experience Option.

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