Auto mechanics help to inspect, diagnose, and repair any problem a car might have. With proper care and maintenance, auto mechanics can delay the wear and tear on a car’s life. As anyone who has encountered a mild problem or even a car accident can attest to, knowing a good auto mechanic is just as necessary as having auto insurance.
If working with fixing automotive problems is your passion, then ValuePenguin has the best cities for you to work in. Using a combination of factors from salaries, the employment concentration of the trade, and cost of living, we've developed from approximately 400 cities a list of the Top Best Cities for Auto Mechanics. Our methodology and sources for determining the best cities are after the table.
Before we begin diving into the top cities, here are some salary and employment facts for auto mechanics and repairers. The median salary for mechanics in the United States, which ValuePenguin uses as the basis for the rankings, is $35,465 in the United States as of May 2012. The median salary ranges depending on location, starting at $17,670 in San German and Cabo Rojo in Puerto Rico to $53,300 in Fairbanks, Alaska. There are approximately 509,000 auto mechanics working in the United States as of May 2012. The job outlook for automotive mechanics is projected to grow 17% from 2010 - 2020, which is just three percentage points above the national job growth of 14% for all occupations.
Top Five Best Cities for Auto Mechanics
1. Texarkana, TX / Texarkana, AR
Ranking at the top of our list of best cities for auto mechanics is the community of Texarkana. This community of 68,000 residents is home to 520 mechanics - the second highest concentration in this profession in America. Mechanics earn a median salary of $42,020 in Texarkana, which is 18% higher than elsewhere, and enjoy a low cost of living index of 85. Its post office and courthouse building has the distinction of being the only post office to straddle state lines. Also of note, the Tex-Ark Antique Auto Museum, which features a rotating display of 22 vehicles.
Related: Car Insurance in Texarkana, AR
2. Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX
Ranking at #2 is the metropolitan area of Killeen, Temple, and Fort Hood, in Texas. With access to several outdoor lakes (Temple Lake Park and Stillhouse Park) and trails, these city areas provide the outdoor enthusiast and auto mechanic with a number of relaxation options after work. The 1,020 auto mechanics in this low cost of living environment earn a median salary of 40,880.
3. Wichita Falls, TX
This third Texan city on our list was named one of four "Running Friendly" communities in the debut rankings of the Road Runners Club, and is the site of a building known as the world's littlest skyscraper. Coming in at #3 is Wichita Falls, where car mechanics earn a median salary of $38,390, and the cost of living index is 79. There are 410 reported auto mechanics working in this area, which equates to a location quotient of 1.62.
4. Jackson, MI
Jackson, MI scored well on all three factors to come in at fourth place in our study of Best Cities for auto mechanics. This city of 34,000 has an established history in the auto industry, with automotive parts manufacturing and assembly beginning in 1910. Jackson is also known as the location of the Cascades, an engineered system of falls, reflecting pools, and fountains. Among the 260 car mechanics, the median salary reported is $42,050.
5. Lebanon, PA
At #5 on our list is Lebanon, a city of 25,000 located in the Lebanon Valley of Pennsylvania. Lebanon has a well-preserved history, from the Stoy Museum, which housed the county's first courthouse, to the Union Canal Tunnel Park. The median salary for an auto mechanic in Lebanon, PA is $38,730, and with a cost of living index of 88, earnings will go a long way in this city.
Best Cities for Auto Mechanics
|Rank||City||Median Salary||Jobs||Location Quotient||Cost of Living||Score|
|2||Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX||40,880||1,020||1.75||83||91|
|3||Wichita Falls, TX||38,390||410||1.62||79||87|
|8||Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL||36,570||1,030||1.48||86||76|
|10||St. Joseph, MO-KS||40,330||270||1.14||86||74|
|11||Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI||45,130||2,110||1.24||94||74|
|16||Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, MI||34,780||510||1.34||85||71|
|18||Colorado Springs, CO||42,630||1,590||1.43||100||71|
|20||St. George, UT||43,350||280||1.29||97||71|
We ranked U.S. cities based on three key questions:
1. How much money do auto mechanics make in the city?
We ranked cities based on the median annual pay as a substantial factor in the decision process for auto mechanics looking for work. Of course, a high salary in an expensive city may not outweigh a lower salary in an affordable town. That's why we posed our second question...
2. How expensive is it to live there?
In conjunction with the median annual salary for auto mechanics in a city, cost of living helps determine how far your dollar will go. For this particular variable, cities with lower cost of living ranked highly in our study.
3. What is the location quotient for the profession in the city?
A town with a high average salary and low cost of living may seem perfect, but job opportunities may be limited. Our study factors in cities with high auto mechanic location quotient. Location quotient measures the concentration of car mechanics in the city as a proportion of all occupations relative to the national average. We infer a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for mechanics.
1. Median Salary: cities with the highest median annual salary for auto mechanics, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data as of May 2012
2. Cost of Living: cities with the lowest cost of living, with data sourced from Sperling's Best Places COL Calculator. Data as of July 2013
3. Employment: cities with the highest location quotient metrics, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data as of May 2012
Photo Courtesy: Flickr / Auntylaurie