My fellow technicians, the automotive repair industry is facing advances in technology like never before. We must band together to meet the challenges that will determine the outcome of our profession and provide a certain future for our citizens to remain behind the wheel.
Whew, that was tough. I’m glad I’m not a politician. But seriously, to say we have been faced with challenges over the last two years is an understatement. COVID-19 completely changed the face of transportation. Everyone was working from home, and people were driving less, meaning they needed less maintenance.
Then there was the supply problem. It was well publicized and, while I didn’t notice anything at first, eventually a strange shortage of common parts began to creep in, and the prices slowly worked their way up a bit too. I’m sure many of you noticed the same thing.
There was a lot of concern and plenty of speculation about the future. Everybody had someone to blame. Consumers were getting tight with their money. Drivers were getting more aggressive; there was clearly an unusual level of stress in the world.
But we, as auto technicians, kept up our normal routine. We came to work. We didn’t make excuses. There were still cars to fix, problems to solve. We were the foundation of normalcy through all of this, and it really highlights the importance of our industry.
Our chosen career is all about change. Many of us started when carburetors and cubic inches ruled. Over the span of our careers, we had to learn electronic ignition, fuel injection, turbocharging, front wheel drive, ABS, airbags, TPMS and all-wheel drive. Just when we thought it was safe to peek out from behind our toolbox, hybrid and electric vehicles hit us smack in the face along with advanced driver assistance systems and a complete shift in the way we operate in the shop, utilizing digital inspection tools integrated with our shop management software.
“As with all technology that comes our way, we simply read about it, learn about it and figure it out. We are technicians. That’s what we do.”
Did we freak out? No, we just kept working. As with all technology that comes our way, we simply read about it, learn about it and figure it out. We are technicians. That’s what we do. Then it became clear that our customers working from home wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Sure, go ahead, don’t move the car for a long time. As a matter of fact, we don’t mind if you park it on grass. Do I sense a brake job in your future?
Through all of this and throughout time, our customers still call. They depend on us. The cars still come in and they always will. Even with supply shortages and price increases, customers understand that these things are beyond our control. Increases in repair costs are only a reflection of the same inflation affecting multiple industries.
As an industry, we have come together through the use of databases, repair information sources, and online professional discussion groups and communities. We understand that new technology is best learned by sharing our knowledge and experience with each other. This is the driving force that ensures our success into the future, through and over any obstacle that comes our way. It’s nice to be part of such a great industry. TS