Car Servicing: It's Only Nuts and Bolts
May 15, 2013
A customer recently said to me, "Mechanics, it's only nuts and bolts!" I politely smiled and quickly moved on, however, it left me thinking: "If only!" I partly agree the routine day to day servicing is relatively straight forward although every make and model of car has its challenges. Pollen filters that require half the dashboard to be removed; service lights that require a 3000 service reset tool to turn the light off the dashboard (we've purchased them all); electronic handbrake controls that require programming with laptops; firmware updates to the various ECUs around the car (computers to you and me) and so on. Statement retracted, there is nothing routine to the day to day servicing of a car and it's definitely not only nuts and bolts!
One of my goals in 2012 was to ensure our garage was totally up to date with diagnostic equipment and tools to ensure we could service and repair all makes and models - job done!
This year (2013) we made a commitment to focus on training. We set a goal to give our technicians the opportunity to get right up to speed on all the latest technology being fitted to the modern car, such as DPFs (very expensive precious metal filters within the exhaust pipe reaching temperatures of over 700 degrees designed to catch soot to reduce our carbon foot print), EGR valves (recycling the exhaust fumes back into the engine, again to help reduce the carbon footprint), variable geometry turbo chargers (a device used to give an engine more power and increased fuel efficiency) and on it goes. So far this year, the guys have covered five courses. We have one technician just completed his NVQ 2 (3 year course), we have three guys completing NVQ 3 (additional 1 year training) and we are now looking into future car technology. These are cars being designed and built to cover Euro 6 emissions standards.
To summarise: gone are the days of servicing a car yourself. Gone are the days of checking your oil on a dipstick - they're a thing of the past - electronic oil level sensor, more like! Gone are the days of entrusting the roadside mechanic to check your car, and gone are the days or servicing a car without a laptop, correct software and a fully trained and qualified technician. Next time I'm told "It's only nuts and bolts", well, we'll see!!
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