These Days a Car Mechanic Is More Than Just a Mechanic

Cars these days are a far cry from what they were about 50 or even 20 years ago. A car’s system is essentially simple. It has an engine, transmission, chassis, electricals, suspension, carburettor and brakes. These are purely mechanical parts and it is relatively easy to find and fix faults. Today’s cars are not so simple. Computers are at the core. The engines are more sophisticated and rely on sensors to transmit information to the computer that in turn controls fuel delivery through a fuel injection system. Brakes are not comprised merely of mechanical and hydraulic parts—they have sophisticated sensors controlled by computers. These computers are programmed with certain pre-set parameters for fuel efficiency and braking performance. Then there are accessories like air conditioners and alarms as well as emission controls.

Yesterday’s car mechanic 

Car mechanics that had to deal with just the mechanical parts had it easy. It was relatively easy to take apart the engine, install new parts and tune the performance a little. If the brakes had a problem it was a simple matter to fix the shoes and hydraulics. Electricals were easy to fix because there were no electronics involved.

Today’s mechanic 

Today’s mechanic faces a complex mechanism with space age technology. If the technician is familiar only with mechanical aspects he is as good as useless. Besides possessing knowledge of how the car’s components work, and finding faults, he must know more about the technological electronic part of car maintenance and troubleshooting. A typical modem mechanic for cars must be conversant with: 
  • Basic electrics and electronics involved in the car’s circuits, primary ignition and secondary ignition and how they are controlled by the onboard computer
  • Starting circuits and charging circuits that are computer controlled
  • Fuel injection controlled by electronics and sensors
  • Antilock braking systems, EBD and advanced braking that are all computer controlled
  • Sensors and actuators and control modules
  • Programming the onboard computer with right codes
  • Variable valve timing and much more 
A mechanic these days is more than that he needs to be like a car doctor.
Car Mechanic

Finding the right mechanic or repair shop 

If you happen to own a car, with sophisticated computer controls, then it is important to find a repair shop with technicians trained in handling that particular make and model otherwise they will have a hard time finding the fault or worse, they will mess up the system and compound the problem. Car owners have found it a wise decision to go to an authorized service station rather than trust independent car mechanics unless they are exceptionally trained, qualified and experienced. This is important because most problems center on the car’s electrical-electronic computer system and a mechanic who is not conversant with a car’s control unit is just out of his depth.

The safe way is to choose an authorized dealership with its own service station. They have factory trained car mechanics conversant with mechanical, electronic and electronic side of car diagnostics and repairs. If an electronic module is faulty they have that part in stock and you know your car will be checked thoroughly after repairs are carried out. If you think such authorized dealers are expensive (and they have reasons for high prices) then you may look for an independent car mechanic shop. In that case, you will have to check references, obtain testimonials and be absolutely sure they have competent car mechanics to handle your specific model and make of car. You may be surprised but some of them do have experts. Try them with a small repair job or ask for engine fine tuning and see how it works out before entrusting them with a major repair job. 
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