Durnacol Skills Hub Diesel Mechanic Training

Diesel mechanics diagnose and repair the mechanical and electrical faults of diesel vehicles and machinery. Diesel mechanics diagnose engine trouble, dismantle the engine when necessary, and replace or repair defective parts. They reassemble the engine and repair mechanical and electrical faults in construction machinery.

Career Outlook

Diesel mechanics currently occupy a very important place in the industrial sector. From the small diesel engines used for portable generators to gigantic diesel power plants driving ocean-going freighters, diesel engines are a central part of the world’s transport and industrial infrastructure.

For this reason, a career as a diesel mechanic is an extremely attractive option for individuals seeking a well-compensated and dependable source of employment.

Essential Diesel Mechanic Skill Set

With an ever-increasing demand for diesel-powered vehicles in today’s commerce industry, companies across South Africa are seeking the assistance of certified diesel mechanics to diagnose, repair, and maintain diesel engines.

From semi-trucks to shipping fleets, diesel mechanics need to have the necessary skills’ set to effectively perform their duties.

Some skills are intrinsic to each diesel mechanic, while others are taught or learned along the way through a diesel technology program or on-the-job training.

Diesel Mechanic Skills – With so many companies turning to diesel-powered vehicles to transport goods across the country, diesel mechanics deal mainly in diesel engine repair and vehicular component maintenance, requiring them to possess a core understanding of part functions.

Crucial parts on diesel-powered vehicles include:
– Fuel injection systems
– On-board computers
– Batteries
– Electrical networks
– Ignition systems

Diesel Mechanics who are just starting out in this industry should be able to assemble and disassemble the entire engine or parts of the engine, depending on the available position. Most companies prefer to hire those who are knowledgeable in the usage of welders, pressure gauges, specialty wrenches, and callipers.

Electronic Skills – Because of the technological advancement in diesel technology, diesel-powered engines can be made up of mechanical and electrical components.

Diesel mechanics need to have a core understanding of the inner workings of the electrical components, including the computer system and software programs. Some software programs cover databases, enterprise management, and word-processing.

Understanding the diagnostic reports and technical manuals is vital to effectively maintaining diesel-powered engines.

Many modern diesel engines consist of electronic programs that monitor and control the electronic systems and main engine.

For this reason, diesel mechanics need to have a thorough knowledge of computerized systems, allowing them to read and understand any electronic reports issued by the diagnostic equipment. Individuals will also need electronic knowledge in:
– Handheld diagnostic equipment usage
– Detroit diesel electronic reader interpretation
– Dial gauge understanding
– Engine diagnosis

Analytical Skills – Analysis plays an essential role in diagnosing diesel engine malfunctions, even if the diesel mechanic utilizes electronic diagnostic equipment.

Whether it is a railway car or a semi-truck, diesel mechanics need to be able to thoroughly exam and diagnose diesel-powered vehicles to identify the source of the malfunction.

In order to successfully identify diesel engine malfunctions, mechanics need to rely on their previous educational training and hands-on experience.

Troubleshooting Skills – Troubleshooting skills work directly with the mechanic’s analytical skills to successfully repair diesel-powered engines.

Once the malfunction is analyzed, diesel mechanics need to implement the correct repair plan, taking into account any components that are potentially aggravating the malfunction.

Interpersonal Skills – Dealing with consumers and other diesel mechanics is something that diesel mechanics need to face on a daily basis.


For this reason, mechanics need to be able to successfully relate to various personalities by practicing basic people skills, such as courteousness to clients and co-workers, a willingness to listen to others, empathy for clients’ concerns, and proper communication to answer customers’ questions.

Diesel mechanics should be able to write up the necessary technical reports and be willing to cooperate with other colleagues.

Leadership Skills – For those who wish to obtain a leadership position at a diesel corporation, having the proper leadership skills is vital to increasing one’s chances of being promoted.

Many of the older mechanics may not possess modern computer knowledge or skills, and younger diesel mechanics can take the reins and teach new and old employees the necessary computer skills to effectively diagnose and repair diesel-powered vehicles.

Entry Requirements

It is assumed that candidates embarking on learning towards this qualification are in possession of a minimum

Grade 12 with:
Physical Science
Technical Drawing
Mechanical Technology(Including Diesel)


N2 Technical qualification with relevant subjects i.e.:
– Mathematics
– Engineering Science
– Engineering Drawings
– Diesel Trade Theory

Course Outline

The course consists of the following modules:
– Induction & Safety
– Tools & Equipment
– Fuel Systems
– Steering and suspension, wheels and tyres
– Brakes
– Engines – Components
– Electrics & Electronics
– Engines – Motive Power Types
– Engines – Cooling
– Engines – Lubrication
– Engines – Rebuilding
– Transmissions & Final Drives
– Tow & Recover
– Vehicle Information
– Pneumatics & Hydraulics
– Gas Welding
– Arc Welding

Institutional Training

This program provides for delivery in a variety of modes, including:
– Self-paced delivery
– Classroom delivery
– Workplace experience
– Simulated workplace delivery
– Combined delivery with other related units

Learning Activities during Institutional Training
During the knowledge modules learners will be required to participate in various interactive activities, which were designed to equip them with the knowledge required. Some of the classroom learning activities may ask them to check their answers with their facilitator or to check them in the learning activities.

During the practical skills modules learners will be required to demonstrate that they can put their knowledge to practice by doing practical tasks in a well-equipped workshop and controlled learning environment. Progress will be monitored by the facilitator and eventually learners will be assessed against prescribed criteria to declare them competent against these practical modules.

Total duration of institutional training required for knowledge and practical skills modules is nine months. During these nine months we will focus on the assessment requirements they need to meet as well as the background knowledge required for successful engineering skills.

Individual learning progress will allow learners to complete the training at their own paste depending on previous exposure to similar knowledge and experience.

Workplace Experience
During the workplace skills modules learners will be mentored and monitored in an accredited workplace under the supervision of a mentor or subject matter expert to ensure that he/she is able to fault find, dismantle, maintain and repair diesel equipment.

Trade Test
Once all the above modules have been addressed the learner will be able to apply for trade test at Durnacol Skills Hub.


There are a wide range of jobs available for diesel mechanics ranging from local neighbourhood mechanics to engineers working with large cargo ships and trains.

– Large transport companies
– Factories
– Mines
– Dealerships

Contact Details

  • Tel: +27 34 622 5040
  • Fax: +27 34 622 5386
  • PO Box 9232, Newcastle, 2940
  • 1 Willow Road, Durnacol
  • dsihadmin@dsih.co.za