The older a model gets, the harder it is to get replacement parts or find a mechanic who knows how to work on a ‘98 Chevy truck. But now we’re seeing the same thing with cars made this year!
What’s changed? The technology and equipment that goes into today’s vehicles require more specialization and knowledge than a mechanic has, that’s what.
Repair Shops are Struggling to Meet Specialized Demand
Most mechanics know cars, not computers. But EVs, increased advanced technology, and how features are integrated into a car’s system make it impossible to continue being an old-fashioned mechanic.
If things stay the way they are now in the car repair business, drivers might have to get an extended warranty from places like Toyota and Ford to get guaranteed service.
Cost of Equipment and Training
Many automotive manufacturers use unique systems or have specific equipment for creating their vehicles – such as Tesla models or the newest Ford Super Duty trucks. While it’s not a trade secret, it’s also not well-known what goes into making and maintaining technologically-advanced vehicles.
Mechanics will need the same equipment and systems to perform maintenance and repairs on those cars. They also need certifications, special training, and continued education to meet rapidly-changing vehicle needs.
Not only is this costly for businesses, but it isn’t likely to happen – mechanics would have to learn the special methods and equipment for working on one model of car or all of them at once, and neither is a sustainable way to run a mechanic’s service. What if the only person who can perform a Toyota’s extended warranty service is out sick for a week?
How This Impacts Drivers Negatively
As local shops are forced to specialize, limit what they can do, or sell their shops to franchise owners, drivers will find their options limited and prices for service going up.
Parts and equipment, as well as a properly-trained mechanic’s time, will cost more, services and repairs will take longer, and the old neighborhood mechanic may not be around much longer. Getting your car back from the shop could take days instead of hours.
But does that mean all hope for the future is lost already? Not necessarily.
The Future of Automobiles and Auto Repair Centers
Mechanics are already working toward bridging the knowledge gap in service – computer science majors and tech-savvy car fanatics are joining repair shops as their expertise becomes relevant. Automakers and dealerships are offering in-house repairs and maintenance options.
Drivers are also finding ways to make it easier on themselves – they’re looking into Ford and Toyota extended warranty options, which cover the cost of everything from engines to steering wheels for years.
The auto repair industry is seeing a lot of problems right now, but it’s also seeing a lot of growth and change. Now it’s just a matter of seeing where it takes us.