I have been developing and hosting training webinars lately with manufacturers and parts distributors on a wide variety of topics, including new technologies. The most challenging aspect of developing training is to avoid the “doom and gloom” scenarios.
No two ways about it, the next decade will be a challenge for independent repair shops. When you hear some people talk about ADAS and telematics, it sounds like an aftermarket apocalypse. But, I think it will be a renaissance that will elevate shops that invest in training and tools. It will be a slow transformation, but it is already happening.
Just look at a task as simple as battery replacement. Back in the day, all you had to do was exchange the battery under the hood. The greatest inconvenience was that the drivers lost their radio presets. On some vehicles made during the past decade, replacing the battery requires extra steps to reset the power management system. Also, sensors like the steering angle cluster need to be calibrated. Shops are already performing these services and charging customers to do it!
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of training on ADAS and telematics that does a better job of scaring shop owners and technicians than helping them prepare for the inevitable future.
These ADAS and telematics training webinars degenerate into people complaining about the OEMs implementing new technology that makes it impossible to repair a customer’s vehicle. It is what I like to call BMW training: bitching, moaning and whining.
The reality is that ADAS and telematics have foundation technologies that technicians can learn now. Both systems need serial data networks like CAN to operate. Also, most current and future ADAS systems need the ABS and electric power steering systems to operate.
Attend training for diagnosing the foundation technology first before you take training for telematics and ADAS. It will give you a leg up on the competition. The same goes for basic electrical classes. If you can’t use a meter or scope, chances are you will not be able to solve an ADAS or telematics problem.
Andrew Markel is the Director of Content for Brake & Front End, ImportCar and Underhood Service. He has been with Babcox Media for more than 19 years. He is a former technician and service writer who holds several automotive certifications from ASE and aftermarket manufacturers.