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What You Do Is Who You Are
Dustin Marais developed a passion for cars at a young age. Both his father and grandfather were mechanics. It is therefore no surprise that he himself is one today. Working at one of the leading car dealers and workshops in the country, Zimmermann Garage, Dustin feels he too can own his own place one day. He talked to Namibian Sun about his love for cars and what it is like to be an auto mechanic.
Auto mechanics fix vehicles. Mostly the job is about the mechanical problems that vehicles have. I’m firstly responsible for stripping off the parts according to the job ticket and replacing the items with new parts, if need be. Sometimes I just do the repair work according to the job card.
Briefly describe your normal day at work
I first read the job card about what particular job needs to be done on a vehicle. I then load the vehicle onto the Express Service Lift, which will give me a better view on what I need to do on the car. Sometimes I will just fix the car while on the floor, depending on what problem it has. If there are additional parts needed for the car, that are not in stock or that we have ordered, I send a quotation for any additional parts. I make sure that I have all my tools with me and then start the job.
What personality skills do you need to be an auto mechanic?
You must energetic. Sometimes you need a bit of muscle to remove heavy or difficult parts from a car. One must also be patient with the work because some items are not easy to fix and you can get frustrated. So, you must always take it easy and see to it that you do a proper job, otherwise you will make a mess of it and your boss and the client will never be happy with the end-product.
What are the major challenges in your job?
I face a lot of challenges, especially with the new vehicles that are so technologically advanced. So, everyday is a learning experience for me, especially when I do jobs on the newer models. The good thing is that we have all the equipment and tools to carry out these jobs and the guidelines that are set out to fix some of these cars are also a great help.
What tools or equipment do you use on a daily basis?
You must have a complete socket set, special tools, spanners, screw drivers as well as the Express Service Lift. These are the basic tools that we use on a daily basis, but sometimes you must also check things on the computer, especially for specifications and other information, to carry out the work.
How did you get involved in this type of job?
I did not actually study for it, but I was interested in it from a young age because both my dad and grandfather have been doing it for years. I fell in love with it and luckily got an opportunity to work for one of the main garages in town. It is actually a natural talent I have, so I make use of it.
Do you think it is rewarding enough?
My job is extremely rewarding because we get compliments from customers who are satisfied with the service we do on their cars or just simply fixing broken parts and so on. I enjoy working at this place because of the cooperation from my colleagues and that in itself is a rewarding experience. Since I am still young, I learn a lot from some of these experienced colleagues and I find it fascinating by the knowledge they have in dealing with certain tough jobs.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I wish to open my own workshop. I want a One-Stop Workshop where you can have services in panel-beating, spray-painting, auto mechanics and even installing sound systems. I would like it old school because nowadays you don’t find these type of facilities.
Would you recommend this job to anyone?
I will surely recommend this job to anyone who wants to work with their hands. You must just have a passion for this and must be hard-working. You must enjoy it and never give up when you are faced with a difficult situation at work.