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

Motor mechanics are skilled tradespersons that repair and maintain a wide range of vehicles including cars, busses, and trucks among others. Their responsibilities include inspecting, assessing and repairing the engine components of a motorised vehicle.

Depending on their qualifications, mechanics can also specialize in servicing heavy-duty equipment mechanics, petrol and diesel road vehicles.

Becoming a mechanic requires mandatory mechanic courses, apprenticeship, and hands-on training experience.

Mechanic jobs in South Africa provide a decent income. This craft has promising prospects and allows qualified artisans to choose from a broad variety of sectors of the automotive industry where they can practice their trade.

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What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Mechanic?

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta

SETA: MERSETA

Seta Code: 653109 (engine)

                  653101 (motor)

NQF Levels: NQF 4

SAQA Code:

97990    –  Occupational Certificate

The mechanic specialization enjoys wide appreciation in the South African automotive sector. Skilled labourers can practice their craft on almost any vehicle that works on a diesel engine. This job involves diagnosing puzzling repair issues, and it better suits individuals who have high problem-solving skills.

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

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

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • NQF Level 1 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
  • Be meticulous and accurate
  • Able to work in noisy environments
  • Have great hand-eye coordination
  • Basic welding skills
  • Possess outstanding troubleshooting skills
  • Have good eyesight

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

  • An in-depth understanding of health and safety compliance rules
  • Basic knowledge of hand and power tools
  • 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

What is a Motor Mechanic’s Job?

A mechanic is a service technician that ensures the proper functioning of motors and diesel engines. This job 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 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 motor trade market
  • Ordering new components when necessary
  • Adjusting brakes and tightening bolts
  • Replacing oil, oil filters and air filters
  • Adjusting lights, mirrors, and windscreen wipers
  • Repairing radiator leaks
  • Using hand tools of various types
  • Ensuring the long-term maintenance of motors and diesel engines

After finishing 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

How Much Does a Mechanic Earn in a Year?

With the proper knowledge and mechanical skills earned from courses and hands-on experience, a mechanic can earn an above-average 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 Mechanics is R56.

Depending on your level of abilities and experience, you can earn between R43 and R128 per hour in addition to which you may also receive a bonus ranging between R3,256 and R24,566 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 R132, 000 per year. The most that you can make within 12 months of working as a Mechanic in South Africa is R386k, which is well above minimum wage even after paying the income fees.

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How to Work as a Motor Mechanic in South Africa

South Africa has a wide market for Mechanic jobs, with more than 3000 available listings at the moment.

There is a huge demand for professional mechanics in various sectors of the automotive industry. Applicants that meet the obligatory qualifications and artisan skills have several options available where they can apply for this job.

Mechanic courses present you with a reliable method to gain the required skills for this specialization. The training and information that you obtain from this form of learning give you a competitive advantage over other candidates for the same position.

Working as a mechanic in South Africa means that you are a trained professional in a field that will always require experts. Gaining experience in this craft can help you further your career and even start a private business that offers mechanical service and maintenance.