Vehicles have always increased the technology that they’ve used from manufacturers. In fact, even in the late eighties-early nineties, there were cars that talked to you and it would tell you your door’s open or your battery is low. But now technology is creating another evolution in the automotive profession and that has to do with repairs.
Many vehicles now do not need a mechanic to diagnose the vehicle. 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 is 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 with upgrades and downloads to a system’s computer programming.
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 like valve trains, lifters, rods, internally lubricated parts, and transmissions. Those are the things that break a lot of times or their accessories like O two sensors or EGR valves. With EVs electric vehicles, 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 makes it break. Internal combustion is literally what it sounds like, it’s combustion internally to that engine. There are explosions, there’s metal moving back and forth very quickly; in an electric motor it’s very smooth, and it’s not quite as violent of vibrational energy.
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? Well, 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. With internal combustion engines, you’ve got to have a lot of parts laying around because you know you’re going to need them. With electric vehicles, there are not that many parts. Think about your cell phone. When was the last time your cell phone broke where somebody could actually fix it? Maybe you can replace the screen, but other than that there are not many repairs you can make to a cell phone. Usually, when your cell phone stops working, what do you do? You get a new cell phone. Is that going to be how vehicles are done in the future?
In addition to that, what about collision repair? Meaning body repair. If you get in an accident, God forbid, you bring it to a body shop 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 that damages the vehicle substantially, it may not be possible to fix that vehicle in a way that’s safe for the road. In electric vehicles, the battery is an integral component of the chassis. It’s literally the floor pan of the car, all battery. So if the cars hit and that floor pan is dead then the battery may become breached damaged. And you saw what happened to batteries that were damaged in the Florida hurricane. They caught on fire. So these vehicles may not be repairable.
You may also find the electronics and the sensors in the vehicle are worth more actually than the body. So if you crash your car, the insurance companies might look at it like well if we can recover all these electronics and these motors it might be cheaper just to total the car. Take out the motors and electronics, sell them for parts and give the person money for a new car. So 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 or already fixing for newer vehicles?