Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge Pamphlet Auto Mechanics Merit Badge

Automotive Mechanics


Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2009.
(New pamphlet issued August 1, 2008).

New text is in bold GREEN underlined Serif text like this sentence.
Deleted portions are struck through RED italic text like this sentence.

To see the requirements, without the changes highlighted, Click here.

For the previous requirements, Click here.


This Merit Badge was previously named AUTO MECHANICS.

NOTE: Access You will need access to an automobile a car or truck (with and its owners manual )is needed to meet some of the requirements for this merit badge.

  1. Discuss with your counselor the safety equipment, tools, and clothing used while checking or repairing a motor vehicle. Use this equipment, tools, and/or clothing (when needed or called for) in meeting the requirements for this merit badge.
  2. Explain how an internal combustion engine operates and the differences between gasoline and diesel engines.
    3. Demonstrate your knowledge of general maintenance.

    General Maintenance, Safety, and Registration
    Do the following:
    1. Review the maintenance chart in the owner's manual. Explain the requirements and time limits.
    2. a. Demonstrate how to check the fluid level of the following:
      1. Brake Fluid
      2. Engine Oil
      3. Coolant
      4. Power steering fluid
      5. Windshield washer fluid
      6. Transmission fluid (automatic and standard)
      7. Battery fluid (if possible) and condition of the battery terminals
      Check battery fluid, if possible, and the condition of battery terminals.
    3. Show the location of Locate the fuse boxes; determine and the size of fuses. Demonstrate , and demonstrate the proper replacement of burned-out fuses.
    4. d. Review the maintenance chart in the owner's manual. Explain the requirements and time limits.
      Demonstrate how to check the condition and tension of belts and hoses.
    5. Check the lighting in the vehicle, including instrument, warning, and exterior bulbs.
      1. Choose a car cleaner and wax product for the vehicle. Explain clear-coat paint and the precautions necessary for care. Clean and wax the vehicle, both inside and out.
      2. Use a vinyl and rubber protectant (on vinyl tops, rubber door seals, sidewalls, etc.) and explain the importance of this protectant.
    6. f. Demonstrate how to check the condition and tension of belts and hoses.
      Locate and check the air filter.
    7. g. Demonstrate the following:
      1. Check the lighting in the vehicle, including instrument, warning, and exterior bulbs.
      2. Check headlight alignment
      Explain the purpose, importance, and limitations of safety belts and passive restraints.
    8. h. Demonstrate how to check the vehicle exhaust system.
      Find out the requirements for the state inspection in your state, including how often a vehicle needs to be inspected.
    9. Explain the importance of registering a vehicle and find out the annual registration fee for renewing your family car's registration.
  3. Dashboard. Do the following:
    1. Explain the function of the fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, and engine temperature gauge. Point out each one on the instrument cluster.
    2. Explain the symbols that light up on the dashboard and the difference between the yellow and red symbols. Explain each of the indicators on the dashboard, using the owner's manual, if necessary.
  4. Demonstrate your knowledge of the following:
    Tires. Do the following:
    1. Explain the difference between tire manufacturer's and vehicle manufacturer's specifications and show where to find them.
      1. Explain the difference between tire and vehicle manufacturer's information specifications and demonstrate where to find these specifications.
      2. Demonstrate how to check pressure and properly inflate a tire.
      3. Using the manufacturer's jack supplied with the vehicle:
        • Demonstrate how to engage the jack correctly on the vehicle.
        • Demonstrate how to change a tire correctly .
    2. Demonstrate how to check pressure and properly inflate a tire. Check the spare tire and make sure it is ready for use.
      1. Explain the difference between bias-belted tires and radial-belted tires.
      2. Diagram and explain in writing how to rotate bias-belted and radial-belted tires.
      3. Using the manufacturer's guidelines, rotate the tires on the vehicle.
    3. Explain why wheel alignment is important to the life of a tire. Explain camber, caster, and toe-in adjustments on wheel alignment.
      1. Explain the camber, caster, and toe-in adjustments on wheel alignment.
      2. Explain why wheel alignment is important to the life of a tire.
    4. Explain the purpose of the lateral-wear bar indicator.
    5. Explain how to dispose of old tires properly in accordance with local laws and regulations.
  5. 5. Demonstrate your knowledge of engine lubrication. Engine. Do the following:
    1. Explain the purpose of motor oil. Explain how an internal combustion engine operates. Tell the differences between gasoline and diesel engines. Explain how a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle is powered.
    2. Explain where to find the recommended type and amount of oil to be used in the vehicle engine. Explain the purpose of engine oil. Explain the API service code, the SAE number, and the viscosity rating.
    3. Explain the difference in viscosity (10W/30 versus SAE 30). Explain where to find the recommended oil type and the amount of oil to be used in the vehicle's engine.
    4. Perform an oil change and oil filter change on a vehicle.
    5. Explain how to dispose of the used oil and filter properly.
  6. Cooling system Do the following:
    1. Explain the need for coolant in the cooling system.
    2. Explain how to flush Flush and change the engine coolant in the vehicle according to the manufacturer's instructions., and how to properly dispose of the used coolant.
    3. Explain how to dispose of used coolant properly.
  7. Demonstrate your knowledge of a fuel system. Fuel system. Do the following:
    1. Explain how the air and fuel system systems work together and why it is necessary to have an air filter and fuel filter.
    2. Explain how a carburetor works and how a fuel injection system works and how an on-board computer works with the fuel injection system.
    3. Explain how an on-board computer works with the fuel injection system. Show where the computer is located.
    4. Explain why it is necessary to have an air filter and a fuel filter. Locate them and change them according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
    5. Explain what fuel additives are. for both the carburetor and the fuel injection systems.
  8. Demonstrate your knowledge of ignition Ignition and electrical systems. Do the following:
    1. Diagram and explain the parts of the electrical system.
    2. Explain the cylinder engine sequence.
    3. Explain the purpose of the spark plug gap and if practical, change the spark plug. (Use an engine with spark plugs that can be reached without tilting the engine.)
    4. Demonstrate how to connect jumper cables on your battery properly. Explain how to jump-start a vehicle. change the spark plugs in any internal combustion engine (lawn mower, dirt bike, motorcycle).
    5. Explain the difference between electronic and point ignition systems.
      Demonstrate how to safely connect jumper cables to your car battery.
  9. Demonstrate your knowledge of a drive train Drive Train. Do the following:
    1. Diagram the drive train and explain the different parts.
    2. Explain the difference between automatic and standard transmissions.
    3. Explain the types of automatic transmission fluid.
    4. Explain the types of lubricants used in a standard transmission and in the differential.
    5. Explain the difference between front-wheel, rear- wheel, and four-wheel drive.
    6. Explain the gear ratio of the differential.
  10. Demonstrate your knowledge of a brake system. Brake System. Do the following:
    1. Explain the brake system (including anti-lock systems) and how it operates.
    2. Explain the differences between disc and drum systems.
    3. Demonstrate checking conditions on a vehicle how to check the condition of a vehicle's brake system. After checking make recommendations for repairs (if necessary).
  11. Explain the purpose, importance, and limitations of passive restraints.
    Do two of the following:
    1. Determine the value of three different vehicles you are interested in purchasing. One must be new and one must be used; the third vehicle can be new or used. For each vehicle, find out the requirements and cost of automobile insurance to include basic liability and options for collision, comprehensive, towing, and rental car. Using the three vehicles you chose and with your merit badge counselor's assistance, complete the operation/maintenance chart provided in the merit badge pamphlet. Use this information to determine the operating cost per mile for each vehicle, and discuss what you learn with your counselor.
    2. Choose a car cleaner and wax product for a vehicle you want to clean. Explain clear-coat paint and the precautions necessary for care. Clean the vehicle, both inside and out, and wax the exterior. Use a vinyl and rubber protectant (on vinyl tops, rubber door seals, sidewalls, etc.) and explain the importance of the protectant.
    3. Locate the manufacturer's jack Use the jack to demonstrate how to engage the jack correctly on the vehicle, then change a tire correctly.
    4. Perform an oil filter and oil change on a vehicle. Explain how to properly dispose of the used oil and filter.
  12. Find out about three career opportunities in the automotive industry. Pick one and find out about the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

BSA Advancement ID#: 127
Requirements last updated in: 2009
Pamphlet Publication Number: 35861
Pamphlet Stock (SKU) Number: 35861
Pamphlet Revision Date: 2008

Worksheets for use in working on these requirements: Format
Word Format PDF Format

Blanks in this worksheets table appear when we do not have a worksheet for the badge that includes these requirements.


Page updated on: May 09, 2013



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