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5 Differences between Machinists and Mechanics

Have you ever wondered about the differences between a machinist and a mechanic? You may have heard a few people say “mechanic or machinist, they’re both the same thing.” However, this couldn't be further from the truth. 

Although they may have similar sounding names, but their duties are vastly different. But what are they? What makes them so different from each other?

Continue reading to five differences between a mechanic and a machinist.

What is a machinist?

A machinist is someone who utilizes various machines to produce or modify parts that are made of wood, metal or plastic. Let’s explore the works of an automotive machinist. They work with one of the most important components of a car, the engine.

Here’s what a machinist can do with an engine:

  • Perform routine maintenance
  • Boost the performance of the vehicle
  • Repair specific parts of the engine
  • Install any required replacement parts
  • Install various upgrades to the engine to improve the function of the car


A better and easier way to think about a machinist is to think of them as a vehicle engine specialist. Most machinists have careers in the competitive industry of racing. This is because the engine plays a massive role when it comes to zooming to victory.

What is a mechanic?

Similar to how we can think of a machinist as a specialist, we can safely think of a mechanic as the repairman. Unlike a machinist who focuses on one aspect of the vehicle, a mechanic focuses on the entire vehicle. In other words, a mechanic is someone who runs tests on the entire vehicle and makes the necessary repairs and adjustments. 

Here’s what’s involved in a mechanic’s job:

  • Run various tests and diagnostics of the vehicle
  • Make necessary repairs and adjustments
  • Change, install or rotate the tires
  • Calibrate the balance to replace a timing belt
  • Install a new car battery


Mechanics specialize in a wide variety of repairs and handy work. They mostly work in places such as auto repair shops, tire centers and garages. Mechanics have organized shops with tools in heavy duty storage cabinets. It's important to keep organized and have every tool have a place. 

As you can see, machinists and mechanics play two completely different roles in the world of machines. In other words, machinists modify or create machines while mechanics repair them. Be sure to continue researching further if you have any more questions.

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Tags: auto, cars, classic, maintenance

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