Living and working in Moscow, Dmitriy, 38, has amassed a wealth of experience over his 17 professional years. Now working at VDV (ВДВ), a garage founded by ex-paratroopers, he sat down to tell us the some of the interesting things he has learnt and experienced as a professional mechanic. A former Army man, Dmitriy was drawn to the mechanical profession by his brother.
Can you remember what first got you interested in cars?
My brother called me when I was still serving in the army. I spent some time with him on vacation and that was when I felt it, ‘I want it, this job is for me.’
What motivated you to become a technician/mechanic?
The idea of having the ability to understand a car, the way it works and the continual discovery of new things that you didn’t know before. I guess the more correct answer is: my brother!
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt in your career so far?
Cars are constantly being improved as the designs change and engineers adapt. I thought that if I want to keep up with these changes I cannot stand still, I must do everything I can to learn about them. Using this approach, I can develop in-step with the vehicles, sometimes even ahead of them!
Is there one piece of advice you could give to other professionals or car enthusiasts?
Attention to detail. It is important to assess the whole picture during diagnosis. You can use the exception or isolation method to locate the problem. It is important to touch, listen, even smell, if necessary. Only then, once you have all the information can you make a verdict, just like Dr. House.
What are the most technically challenging tasks that you encounter regularly in the workshop?
- Old cars
- Very old cars
With older cars, all the tasks are difficult. The fixtures and fasteners are weak, you have to try to avoid breaking pins or stripping threads. You have to be so much more careful; it is definitely a challenge.
What is your approach to dealing with these difficult tasks or problems?
What do you see as the technical challenges you will encounter in the next 10 years?
I think the tendency to replace instead of repair will continue, which is a real shame. I also think the next generation may not acquire the same knowledge we have; they will not develop a sense of ingenuity from trying to figure out a problem and will just buy new parts or cars.
Why do you like to work with Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ brands?
I work with Goetze, Ferodo, Champion parts. What can I say, around the world cars are being made of them! If the manufacturers trust them, that is a great endorsement and I would be wise to follow their lead.
What is your personal experience with the Garage Gurus program?
I think it is a good idea. Maybe the young people are becoming less technical, as those skills are not as common as they once were. If Garage Gurus can help them figure out what works and learn from their mistakes, then I am all for it!
How important is technical education for the next generation of technicians and young people in general?
It seems that I have accidentally answered this question, but I repeat: very, super, mega-important! They are not just useful skills for fixing a car but for life in general.
What is your most memorable moment in the garage and why?
Replacing the vacuum booster on an Audi A8. For 40 minutes I was lying on the floor of the car with my legs raised on the driver's seat, my head was in the footwell under the panel resting on the pedals. In that tight space, with a lantern on my forehead, it felt like I was there for an eternity. Friends that were passing by created dozens of comical reasons for what I was doing there, in that pose.
What are the essential tools you always carry in-case your vehicle breaks down?
Everything. If I cannot cross a river by car, then I can move it in parts. So that's it – all the tools!
Finally, what is your dream car and why?
It would be a Hummer H1, Americans can make things for men.