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Respecting the Auto Repair Mechanic

auto-repair-mechanic1I am a auto repair mechanic. There I said it! Sometimes the bad things that have happened to me over the last 25 years can sour me on the automobile industry as a whole.

But sometimes my bitterness subsides, and I look around at the skill level and dedication of my coworkers and I feel proud. This article is intended to shed some light on the professionalism of the average car mechanic. I will also show you some mind blowing advances on the cars of the near future, like intelligent cruise control.

Because electronics play an important part in the operation of all automotive systems, an understanding of electronics is a must for all auto repair mechanics. In fact a needed level of understanding comparable to that of a designer of these complex electrical systems is required. In many cases, a technician is faced with reverse engineering the circuit completely to discover its malfunction.

wiring-diagramsIn addition to mastering the mechanical skills needed to remove, repair and replace faulty¬† components today’s auto repair mechanic also must be able to diagnose and service the most complicated electronic systems we have ever seen in the auto repair business.

Computers and electronic devices are used to control the engine and its support systems. Because of these complex controls today’s cars and trucks use less fuel, perform better, meet ever-increasing emissions standards and provide a level of safety also never experienced in the automotive industry.

What auto repair mechanics know

Some people just get in their car insert the key, turn and go. This is fine, and this is also why they paid a large amount of money for reliable transportation. I just wanted to identify a few things that happen in this turnkey operation.

Electronic controls are used to activate the shifting in the transmission, eliminate brake lockup in antilock braking systems or ABS. They also improve handling by controlling steering and suspension systems, and even provide a passenger with protection and comfort. The amount of electronics you’re auto repair mechanics are dealing with is increasing with each model year.

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Car repair mechanic keeps learning

automotive-wiringAbout 80% of all functions on a vehicle are controlled by electronics. ABS braking systems were once optional on some vehicles, but they are now standard equipment on most. There are automobiles that use 12 or more different computers to control different systems. Separate computers are used to control the engine, the transmission, security systems, instrumentation, climate control, the suspension system, and steering.

The vehicle diagnostic systems now anticipate breakdowns and contact emergency road service and guide technicians through the repair process. We saw the mandate of a third brake light in 1996. The next wave in this automotive technology will be a brake light that increases in brightness and size related to the pressure put on the brake pedal. This will enable following drivers to identify a panic stop situation.

Headlights now have movable reflectors that allow the lights to follow the twists and turns in the road ahead. Automobiles are now available with an infrared system that provides improved vision at night and in bad weather similar to avionic systems.

Auto repair business near future

Many automotive companies are now deploying vehicles with multiple video cameras to view the area all around the vehicle. This will eliminate blind spots and allow seeing below the rear bumper. So you don’t run over the neighbor’s kid when you’re backing out of the driveway.

Intelligent cruise control devices are one of my favorite developing automobile technologies. The vehicles brakes will be automatically applied to maintain a safe distance between the vehicles ahead of you. When the cruise control is engaged this distance will be monitored by a radar system. I’m sure you all share my excitement in this technology. Especially if you have been on a long trip and had to keep disengaging your cruise control in traffic.

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Automotive technician of the future

Me, along with my friends in the automotive repair business are going to have to go to school to service these high-tech systems that are not only coming. But in some cases have already been deployed.

So even though I get mad at my boss for sending me on a road call on the Skyway Bridge in the middle of a 60 mile an hour wind and horizontal rain. I do not want to lose sight of the dedication of my car repairing coworkers.