How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in South Africa: Qualifications, Jobs and Income

Diesel mechanics are skilled technicians that inspect and service vehicles that run on diesel engines, such as cars, trucks and other types of machinery. Their responsibilities include diagnosing damaged diesel motors, repairing them and ensuring their long-term maintenance.

Professional experts in diesel mechanics must have a broad knowledge of numerous kinds of repairs. They have to inspect and repair electrical systems, retrofit exhaust systems and replace motor components. They earn the necessary skills for this job from mandatory diesel mechanic courses and apprenticeship training.

Diesel mechanic jobs in South Africa provide a decent salary. This trade has promising prospects and allows qualified service technicians to choose from a broad variety of sectors and industries where they can practice their profession.

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What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Diesel Mechanic?

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta


Seta Code: 653306

NQF Levels: NQF 4

SAQA Code:

97592  –  Occupational Certificate

Diesel engines are highly durable and efficient. Still, they need constant updating and maintenance. Repairing the diesel motor of a vehicle requires proficient mechanics skills and experience. That is why the diesel mechanic specialization enjoys wide appreciation in South Africa.

Skilled artisans can practice their craft on almost any motorised vehicle from buses to heavy-duty bulldozers and commercial boats. Their skills are necessary for repairing difficult functioning issues and maximizing fuel efficiency while reducing harmful emissions.

To become a diesel mechanic, one must have a Matric Grade 10 certificate. Some employers may prefer higher certifications or additional school certificates. Registered technicians in this field have to earn their skills and knowledge from short courses and practical learning before they are eligible to earn an entry-level salary.

The job of a diesel mechanic in South Africa is part of the MerSETA (Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) landscape. To be able to apply for this position, you must:

  •   Be at least 16 years old
  • NQF Level 1 with a pass in Mathematics
  •  Intec Diesel Mechanic Certificate or equivalent
  •  NQF Level 1 qualification with a pass in Mathematics
  •    Have 4 years of apprenticeship
  •  Possess excellent knowledge of mechanics and diesel engines
  •  Have a national certificate that shows the completion of mechanic courses


Besides these mandatory qualifications, a Mechanic must also prove the following traits:

●        Be physically fit for heavy work

●        Enjoy working with their hands

●        Outstanding knowledge of auto components and machinery

●        Possess great mechanical aptitude

●        Have excellent manual dexterity

●        Be meticulous and accurate

●        Able to work in noisy environments

●        Have great hand-eye coordination

●        Basic welding skills

●        Possess remarkable troubleshooting skills

●        Have good eyesight and hearing

According to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), having a job as a diesel mechanic also implies these requirements:

●        An in-depth understanding of health and safety compliance rules

●        Basic knowledge of hand and power tools

●        Perfect understanding of electrical equipment and installations

●        An excellent grasp of mechanical equipment

●        The willingness to keep up-to-date with technological advances in the field

●        A great set of communication skills

●        Patience in getting the best results out of a mechanical servicing task

Additional SAQA accreditations that you can obtain by graduating diesel mechanic courses include a Diesel Mechanic Certificate and a Diesel Mechanic Diploma.


What is a Diesel Mechanic’s Job?

A diesel mechanic is a tradesperson that guarantees the optimal functioning of motors and diesel engines. This vocation involves repairing and maintaining vehicles of various types by inspecting potential issues and replacing damaged parts.

The occupational duties of an auto mechanic include:

●        Analyzing the information received about a vehicle

●        Test driving the vehicle if necessary or possible

●        Using electronic equipment to identify and confirm potential electrical issues

●        Using charts and manuals to identify solutions to repair issues

●        Calculating the potential costs of repair and new components

●        Confirming with the vehicle’s owner the costs of the operation

●        Taking out damaged parts and repairing or replacing them

●        Looking for affordable replacement parts on the diesel engine trade market

●        Ordering new components when necessary

●        Replacing oil, oil filters and air filters

●        Using hand tools of various types

●        Ensuring the long-term maintenance of diesel engines

After finishing diesel mechanic courses and four years as an apprentice, one can begin a career as a motor mechanic in sectors like:

●        Automotive industry

●        The motor body manufacturing industry

●        Independent repair shops

●        Bus and public transport companies

●        Vehicle sellers and distributors

●        Service stations

●        Heavy engineering industry

How Much Does a Diesel Mechanic Earn in a Year?

With the proper knowledge and mechanical skills obtained from courses and hands-on experience, a diesel mechanic can gain a high salary in South Africa. Additional training and learning can come with extra benefits and bonuses in the long run.

At the moment, the average hourly pay for diesel mechanics is R148.48.

Depending on your level of abilities and experience, you can earn between R35 and R184 per hour in addition to which you may also receive a bonus ranging between R4,427 and R31,707 calculated for an entire year.

As a student or apprentice, you may earn only the minimum rate at first. However, in time, you can earn an average of R212, 440 per year. The most that you can make within 12 months of working as a Mechanic in South Africa is R411k, which is well above minimum wage even after paying the income fees.

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How to Work as a Diesel Mechanic in South Africa

South Africa has a wide market for Mechanic jobs, with over 720 available listings at the moment.

There is considerable demand for expert diesel mechanics in several sectors of the automotive industry. Candidates that meet the obligatory qualifications and professional skills have several options available where they can apply for this trade.

Diesel mechanic courses provide a dependable instrument of learning and training in this craft. Graduating them should provide you with the necessary diesel mechanic skills and qualifications as well as with a reputable competitive advantage over other applicants for the same position.

Employers in South Africa hold the diesel mechanic trade in high regard. Professionals in this field can earn solid remuneration throughout their vocational careers. Alternatively, they can use their experience and knowledge for private purposes by starting a business that offers diesel-mechanical service and maintenance.