The Job of Service Station Attendants in Automotive Industry

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Traditionally, the main entry-level job in automotive service was service station attendant. Although the number of openings in the field is declining, attendants are still in demand. You've probably noticed many self-service lands, but recently there has been some effort to bring back the full-service op-on. The attendant usually checks the oil, radiator coolant level, battery water, belts, and other easily accessible items for signs of wear. He or she then supervises the customer of the status of everything and suggests having an item served, should it be found to be in less-than-acceptable condition.

Besides these basic services, many service stations also offer repair facilities. According to government statistics, there were about 99,000 service stations in 1999. Although about half converted to a food-gas format, the majority are qualified to perform repairs. They employed 141,000 attendants. he scope of repairs may vary from facility to facility, but most offer at least minor repairs and stock replacement items like headlights, windshield wipers, batteries, tires, belts, hoses, and filters. Frequently the attendant is responsible for installing many of these parts and doing minor repair and service work like hanging oil and filters, rotating tires, fixing flats, and lubrication. Most of these repairs are performed with such basic hand tools as screwdrivers and pliers. Some attendants are known as technician-attendants and ay use more sophisticated equipment, such as engine analyzers and wheel alignment and balancing machines.

The service station attendant also collects the money from the customer for purchases and service. The attendant may be responsible for making out charge les slips and verifying customers' credit over the telephone for major purchases.

The attendant is usually responsible for keeping the building and ground clean and attractive. He or she may sweep the shop and driveway, clean the restrooms and the windows, and might also be responsible for stocking shelves taking inventories, setting up displays, and keeping business records. At the end of the person's shift, he or she is usually responsible for taking sales readings from the gasoline pumps, recording gallons and dollar sales on the run for his or her shift. The attendant then computes the total sales for the shift counts the money collected, and balances the books for that shift.

Many service stations also offer emergency road services. The attendant may be responsible for driving a tow truck, boosting dead batteries, changing tires, performing other minor repairs, and towing cars to the station.


Everyone is familiar with the two basic kinds of service stations: those when mechanical repairs and service are performed and those where only motor fuel is dispensed. In both cases, the service station attendant's main duty is to send the customer at the pump island. Most fulltime attendants work about forty ' forty-eight hours per week. Most service stations are open at least six days a week and some are open every day. The majority of the stations stay open in the evenings, and some may stay open twenty-four hours a day. As a result, the attendant may have a schedule that includes some evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Most of the work is outdoors. Therefore, the attendant must expect to work when the weather is sunny and mild and also when it is raining or snowing. In fact, the attendant is most vital when the weather is bad. At those times, main motorists are reluctant to use a self-service island.

The job of service station attendant is an active one. There is a lot of lifting and stooping, and much time is spent on one's feet.

The attendant greets the customer and dispenses fuel. As the fuel is pumped the attendant may check under the hood, examine the oil level and condition and check the battery water level and hose and belt conditions at the said time. The attendant acts as a salesperson and attempts to sell a quart of oil a replacement belt if needed. The attendant checks the tire pressures and adjusts them if necessary.

The service station attendant is at some risk of personal injury. Sharp pieces of metal are inside the engine compartment, and the engine is usually quite hot. If a hose bursts, attendants risk being scalded. Attendants do not often ask to inspect the radiator coolant level unless the engine is cold. Since the coolant is as hot as 200 to 250 degrees and under as much as eighteen pounds of pressure, removing the radiator cap can cause a geyser of hot water and steam to burst forth.

Sometimes the dipsticks for checking the oil and transmission fluid levels are in hard-to-reach places, and one can get scraped knuckles and burned hands when trying to check these items. Batteries produce explosive gases, and gasoline vapors are very volatile. Smoking or sparks from any source can result in violent explosions. The attendant needs to be very safety conscious.

On the plus side for many attendants is the opportunity to deal with a variety of people. In addition, there is the opportunity to work on cars and gain familiarity with them. Many people who start out as attendants aspire to owning or managing their own stations someday.

For the high school student, the service station business provides the easiest option for part-time employment. Many stations do not offer service or mechanical repairs after normal business hours but need trustworthy and courteous employees to handle the fuel business in the evenings and on weekends. It's a way to see if you'd like a full-time job.
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