The value of an auto repair technician who specializes

You Need an Auto Repair Technician Who Specializes In…

What new skills will the next generation of techs need? Soon, every shop will require an auto repair technician who specializes in what we consider new technology. That includes forward-looking automotive repair software.

As cars evolve, so must the people who fix them. A generation ago, electric vehicles (EVs) were a sideshow as the traditional combustion engine operated the same as usual. Now, techs are working on EVs and self-driving cars or losing business if they don’t.

So, how do you get your shop ready with the people and programs you’ll need? These skills and equipment that will help your shop keep pace.

Ever-changing auto repair technician jobs

It’s no secret that vehicles have grown more complex and introduced a number of service challenges over the past decade. Now, with many vehicle manufacturers committing to more electrification, additional challenges are bound to surface.

Given these complexities, the data we have access to today presents many advantages. On the flip side, today’s technician needs a skillset so they can successfully navigate through the minutiae without going off-track.

For example, given the enormous amount of data available, the technician needs to:

  • know where to look
  • validate the data
  • interpret it in a way that leads to a positive outcome.

Oftentimes, a technician is presented with a vehicle that may have multiple faults that showed up many miles ago. After all, many modern onboard systems do a great job at masking performance deficiencies when problems arise. This, in turn, may encourage motor vehicle operators to delay a service they need.

an auto repair technician who specializes

Shops need an auto repair technician who specializes in these skills

Your shop will need these four critical skills just to keep up:

1. Advanced diagnostics

Special analytical tools, such as data loggers, oscilloscopes or network tools, ultimately, support the analytical process. Most diagnostics don’t require this level of service.

However, strong “gray-matter” decision-making processes can only occur if the service technician possesses such skills. Techs can always ask other professionals for help via the Help Line.

2. Coding and programming

If an auto repair technician is supporting multiple carlines, the stakes are high. A technician with network troubleshooting skills can remove some friction when performing module replacement or applying field service fixes.

3. Cyber security

At this point, knowledge of cyber security is not common. In fact, we will soon need service tools and work environment/infrastructure to meet security minimums. While discussion on this topic is not occurring today, I predict that it will soon.

4. Artificial intelligence (AI)

This has been quietly operating on vehicles for many years now. Neural networks support everything from climate controls to engine management systems. A bigger wave of AI overlies active safety systems and advanced driver assistance, which will eventually enhance vehicle self-driving.

Tools for future auto repair technician jobs

When working on an engine performance or emission-related deficiency, I grab tools that make the job as easy as possible. First, I take an inventory by scanning all vehicle diagnostic modules, plus a visual inspection of anything that could impact vehicle performance.

Any of these could contribute to a positive repair experience:

  • the Human Machine Interface that interacts with the controller
  • fluid levels
  • service state
  • recalls

If the failure relates to OBD emissions, I pull and document multiple modes of data for a full diagnosis.

The ability to document and track all this can overwhelm you unless an automotive shop software like Shop-Ware helps to streamline this process. For example, within Shop-Ware, we have a few analytical-style canned jobs with items, such as checklists, to ensure a comprehensive digital vehicle inspection.

Auto repair technicians jobs - drivability performance analysis

Shop-Ware Canned Job with notes

Additionally, the shop management software allows the user to add other rich content, such as:

  • vehicle health reports
  • scan data log charts
  • oscilloscope waveforms
  • pictures
  • videos and more
Crankshaft angle

Shop-Ware work order note detail

In some cases, I may assist another technician with a diagnosis. When I come across items that may be useful during testing, I will often snip a screenshot. This could comprise:

  • a connector terminal pinout
  • a wiring diagram or
  • a component location

Next, I would add it to the notes section within the repair order.

Auto repair technician jobs - reading data

Shop-Ware work order note detail

An auto repair technician who specializes needs these tools

TNot all scantools have the same power. Although an OEM specific tool usually yields the best results, they are not always the strongest candidate for performing certain tasks.

HPTuner VCM Scanner Datalog

For example, I like to use the HPTuner VCM scanner for most drivability challenges, especially on GM applications. It allows me to configure graphs, histograms and charts to visualize the data.

This tool can document the time and effort that goes into performing diagnostics. As a bonus, it also records the time to validate the repair.

an auto repair technician who specializes in data

HPTuner VCM Scanner Datalog

Network Communications Analyzer

When it comes to network communication challenges, one could get to the bottom of the problem with a meter and an accurate wiring diagram. However, sometimes you need more.

Some of the higher-end oscilloscopes in the marketplace can help, yet network analyser tools can offer that leverage.

Network communications analyzer

Network Communications Analyzer

CAN Frame analysis

If you want to dig further, there are reverse-engineered CAN database files one can surface in some of the computer science repositories that will allow you to see even more!

CAN Frame analysis

CAN Frame analysis

Auto repair programs for future auto repair technician jobs

On Oct. 15, I am presenting a session on Engine Controller Calibrations at a Motor Age / PTEN Accelerate training event. Here’s a sneak peek at what I’ll be presenting that day.

I will use sophisticated, high-performance tuner software tools to take attendees deep into the electronic control units (ECUs) of modern vehicles. Once inside, I can share examples of the calibration tables, functions, and constants within auto repair analytics.

We will also explore overall drivability in-depth. As a result, drivability technicians will gain insight into the strategies placed within challenging modern vehicles.

For those who are also training the next generation of auto repair technicians, you can get free auto shop management software from Shop-Ware. Any ASE-accredited school qualifies, so get more details to set up your local school and pass on the good news!

In the end, we all have a chance to embrace the future rather than put our heads in the sand. By equipping our staff and our shops with the right skills and tools, we can excel rather than struggle.

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