Don’t mess with this meisie mechanic from Hanover Park, whose family’s yard is permanently full of karre waiting to be fixed.
Despite becoming a mom at the age of 17, Chantal Ruiter, now 22, stayed true to her dream of becoming a motor mechanic.
When the Daily Voice visited Chantal, who doesn’t weigh more than 60kg, she had just replaced a taxi’s starter.
Chantal hasn’t received formal training, instead learning the tricks of the trade from her dad Shane Daniels, 53, who is a qualified auto electrician, and her brother Wageed Ruiter, 36.
The young woman says she would love to study at a tertiary institution but can’t afford it.
Chantal left school when she fell pregnant in Grade 10 and has a four-year-old son.
“I was forced to leave school. But I do want to study further in both fields, auto electrical and mechanical.”
She started helping her dad with the cars to earn pocket money.
“I was 14 years old and I would watch my father and pass him the spanner,” she says.
“When it came to weekends, he said I must earn my pocket money and I would pass the tools to him. I told him I wanted to learn.”
It wasn’t even a year before she knew how to replace a starter.
“I won’t forget it, it was a Mazda 323 and I got it right, and even though they said the part wasn’t placed on right, the car was driving.”
And she will work on a problem until she’s figured it out.
“When I do not know what is wrong, I say to the car, kom praat met my, what is the problem,” she laughs.
Mom Hillary Ruiter, 55, says: “It’s not many girls who can say they can carry a gearbox on their own. I am very proud of her.”
Shane says his daughter will succeed because she’s open to learning and advice.
“She is now learning more about fixing an engine. When she does something wrong, I will show her the right way.”