The Evolution of Automotive Repairs

  • Increasing technology in vehicles
    Vehicles have always increased the technology that they’ve used from manufacturers. In fact, even in the late 80s and early 90s, there are cars that talk to you. They would tell you if your door is open or if your battery is low. But now, technology is creating another evolution of the automotive profession, and that has to do with repairs.
  • Advanced Diagnostics and Repair Technologies
    Many vehicles now do not need a mechanic to diagnose them. There are computers, chips, and sensors scattered all throughout the vehicle that will give a diagnosis of what might be happening with the vehicle. This goes beyond just plugging into a diagnostic port that most vehicles have had for 20 years. This is very advanced technology. In fact, some of these new technologies don’t even require a mechanic to fix them. The repairs can be done with software upgrades and downloads to a system’s computer programming.

Mechanical Components vs. Electric Vehicles

  • Shifting Focus in Repairs
    As we get more into electric vehicles, the mechanical components will be less likely to be what’s wrong with the car. With an internal combustion engine, you’re going to find that most of the things that break are mechanical. Valve trains, lifters, rods, internally lubricated parts, transmissions—those are the things that break a lot of times, or they’re accessories like O2 sensors or EGR valves.
  • Reliability of Electric Motors
    With EVs, the moving parts and the components that drive the vehicle—the electric motors—are much more reliable. They don’t have as many violent motions inside the engine that make it break. An internal combustion engine involves combustion internally, explosions, and metal moving back and forth very quickly. In an electric motor, it’s very smooth. It’s not quite as violent of a vibration.

Implications for Vehicle Owners and Repair Services

  • Challenges for Vehicle Owners
    So, what happens to the car mechanic? Will there even be auto mechanics, and is it going to be better or worse for a vehicle owner? One of the things that could be worse is how long you have to wait for a repair. Without a need for constant maintenance and repairs, there may not be as much availability of replacement parts.
  • The changing landscape of collision repair
    In addition to that, what about collision repair, meaning body repair? Currently, on a vehicle, if you get in an accident, you bring it to a body shop or a collision repair shop. They pull off the dented panels, pull the frame straight, put on new panels, repaint it, and send you on your way. With electric vehicles or even vehicles that are still gasoline but computerized, if you get in an accident and damage the vehicle substantially, it may not be possible to fix that vehicle in a way that’s safe for the road.

The Future of Automotive Repairs

  • Shifts in Repair Methods
    This conversion to electric vehicles, electronics, and computers might actually completely change the way automotive repairs are done, both on the mechanical side and the collision side. Let us know what you think in the comments about the future of automotive repairs, and if you’re in the business, what are you seeing already for fixing newer vehicles?