With the increasing complexity of most vehicles, many auto mechanics are feeling the pressure to adapt. While you don’t necessarily need to be a computer expert to be an automotive technician, you do need to learn how to use certain computerized tools to work on the newest vehicles.

How are vehicles becoming more computer-oriented?

Vehicles today often have central computer systems that monitor every part of the vehicle. These centralized computer systems will sometimes need to be accessed by a technician to ensure everything is working correctly. However, programming this computer system isn’t usually necessary. It’s more likely the mechanic will need to access the diagnostic portion of the computer system to determine faults.

There is one exception. There are vehicles that are becoming more advanced in terms of driverless capabilities and driver-aiding capabilities, such as lane departure warnings and self-parking. It is likely this will be a separate and distinct specialization within the auto repair field due to the precision required to ensure these systems are safe.

How do technicians interact with the computer system?

A technician typically connects to a vehicle’s computer system using a special electronic device; these devices are rapidly becoming staples for most automotive service shops. Once connected to the computer, the technician is able to read the vehicle diagnostics to determine the source of any problems or malfunctions. Thus, the technician is saved a significant amount of time and effort by using this tool. Though considered somewhat expensive, these tools allow for higher volumes of work because the diagnosis is reached more quickly.

What do today’s technicians need to know?

Automotive technicians should be up-to-date on the newest computerized systems, but shouldn’t be concerned that they need to become computer experts overnight. Vehicle computer systems today are primarily accessed by technicians for diagnostic purposes. A technician will not need to reprogram the vehicle’s computer system, only understand the output of the vehicle. Of course, older vehicles will still need the same mechanical expertise. Thus, a technician’s knowledge of mechanics that has built up over the years does not become obsolete; they simply need to learn new ways of diagnosing complex problems as well as common system faults.

As vehicles continue to advance, those that work on them need to become more familiar with computerized systems. There are many online resources for mechanics who want to learn more about the new technology within automobiles and how it will be shaping the future of vehicles.