We’re talking with Darren McKay, a crash mechanic from the bodyshop, to find out about his part in fixing an accident damaged car.
What’s your favourite film?
What’s your favourite food?
Steak but it’s got to be cooked rare.
Where do you love to go on holiday?
Have you got any hobbies?
I like going on holiday.
When did you start working with Allied?
I started working here in production 2014. I moved to another company to get back to mechanic work but came back to Allied as a crash mechanic.
Where are you from?
I’m from Drumchapel.
How would you describe your job to others?
I would say I fix mechanical issues with cars that have been in accidents.
Fixing an Accident Damaged Car
Had you done any work like this before?
I’d worked in garages for years, so I had skill with tools. I also had experience of working with Allied in production, so I was pretty comfortable with the work. I had no experience working on accident damaged cars and I didn’t realise how that changes things.
How does working on accident damaged car change things?
You can’t always trust what you see. A car may look completely fine, but you need to be careful of assuming anything. That’s what makes my job so interesting because it’s always different. An engine bay may look completely undamaged, but the sub frame could be bent or there something could be slightly twisted. You’ve to try and work out what problems could be there without always just looking at what’s visible. That’s the difference between just doing this job and doing it well.
How did you learn the job?
I learned from a really good guy that worked here. He was always there if I needed something but let me get on with my work without hanging over me. It made a big impression on me. Now I have three guys learning from me and I want to try and give them the same kind of support I got and teach them in the same way.
Are there any cars that you don’t like working on?
No not really. There’s more difficult ones and less difficult ones but I like the challenge. We’ve had Maseratis, Porsches and top-spec Jaguars but the process is the same when you start working on them. You need to treat every car with the same respect because they all belong to somebody and you need to be just as thorough with a Vauxhall as you’d be with a Lotus.
What does an average day look like for you?
You have a list that you work from every day. My main priority is getting through the vehicles on that list. That means I’ve to find the right balance between being as thorough and as fast as possible. We have a lot of panel beaters working at the bodyshop and only four crash mechanics so sometimes if a lot of bodywork jobs are completed at the same time, we can end up with a lot of jobs ready at the same time. It’s a good group in here so we usually pull together and sort it out.
Have you got any tips for anyone who wanted to work in a bodyshop?
The people you work with make it. You can learn a lot from listening to them. I’d also say you always need to think about what else could be damaged. Always look beyond the surface and keep an open mind.
Darren works in the bodyshop at Allied. Darren moves people and makes a difference to their lives.