Automotive technology

Four on the ground? No problem, say TSTC automotive tech students

SWEETWATER – Years ago, many motorists used a clutch to change gears in their automobiles.

With the growth of technology in the automotive industry, drivers have moved away from a manual transmission vehicle. But at Texas State Technical College, automotive technology students recently spent a day learning how to disassemble a manual transmission to broaden their skills.

“How to take apart a manual transmission has become a lost art,” said instructor William Parker. “It will help our students when it comes time to interview employers.”

Students know the importance of learning to work with a manual transmission.

“It will give us a leg up on anyone applying for a job,” said student Trey Beavers. “William is really good at explaining how it should be done.”

Parker helped each team of students with any problems. He picked up his tools to disassemble the transmission while offering his knowledge to get them past any sticking points.

“The main thing I wanted the students to learn from this exercise was to make sure they were calm,” Parker said. “I had to tell them more than once to calm down and not to panic. This is an important aspect of being a good mechanic. They must be able to disassemble any component of a vehicle and to raise it.

Student Jamand Clark said it was an exciting unit for another reason.

“I pulled a manual transmission out of a truck I was working on,” he said. “It certainly had its challenges. I can’t wait to get back to working on the truck after spending time in class.

Clark said having Parker available to help paid off.

“He was there when we had a problem, especially when we needed an extra helping hand,” he said. “But he also wanted us to fix the issues so that we could do it without a problem.”

Student Matthew Rivera, who has some experience working on a manual transmission, also found it difficult.

“I never worked on the internal part of the drivetrain,” he said. “It was harder than anything I’ve done in this program. But it was a good experience. »

Rivera said the hands-on experience will help every student when asked to fix a transmission in a shop.

“I wanted to learn how to work on a manual transmission because that will go well on my resume,” he said. “A lot of shops have people working on automatic transmissions and not manuals. If anyone walks into the shop, I’ll be ready to work on them.

The need for qualified automotive service technicians is expected to increase in Texas over the next few years. According to, Texas has more than 60,000 of these technicians employed statewide, and that number is expected to reach 65,000 by 2028. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is 46,680 $.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician Certificate of Completion at campuses in Harlingen, Sweetwater, and Waco. Several other certificates, including Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair, Chrysler Specialization, Tesla START Technician, and Toyota T-TEN Specialization, as well as a Basic Automotive Vocational Skills Award, are also available, depending on the location of the campus.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit