The Importance of Automotive Training
By Kelsey Scherf, Marketing Manager, ETE REMAN
In the automotive industry, time is money. When working on fixing or repairing a vehicle, the last thing you want to do is waste time. The best way for a shop to be most efficient and profitable is by highlighting the importance of automotive training.
Knowing the ins-and-outs of diagnostics, how to stay ahead in the automotive space, and knowing industry trends can help your shop get more customers both in and out the door.
There are a lot of assumptions when it comes to diagnosis of a vehicle. Making sure your employees have the proper training can help avoid these common assumptions and mistakes. For example, the transmission is not always to blame! Other common diagnostic oversights include:
- Brake circuit issues
- Incorrect tire size
- Programming issues
- Many more!
Let’s say someone comes into the shop with a burning smell to their car. We all know nothing good can come of it, BUT is it the transmission? Possibly, but it could also be …
- A fluid leak hitting the exhaust
- Brake problem
- Electrical short
- Heater/air-conditioner issue
Everyone at your shop should know how to look for these issues before wasting precious time and money on solving a problem that doesn’t exist.
Alright, I could go on and on about possible issues, but let’s take a look at some real-world examples. Maybe a BMW comes into the shop with a shift sequencing problem. By only feathering the throttle, an upshift will occur. It may even get into 3rd gear, but with the slightest throttle increase, the transmission downshifts into 1st gear. Just by easing on the accelerator!
Let’s say a Land Rover shows up with a very bumpy coast down shift with later and irregular upshifts in relationship to the throttle opening. Next, the same issue is occurring with a Nissan Maxima … when it rains, it pours. Followed right behind is a Chrysler 300 experiencing inconsistent shift sequencing related to the throttle opening and speed.
Think you’ve got it figured out? Any diagnostic codes you’ve pulled aren’t pointing you in the right direction, and you’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out a solve. So, what’s the issue?
Tire size can be the common cause to all these issues. Causes such as:
- Wrong tire sizes
- Underinflated tires, or
- Overinflated tires
These issues cause wheel speed differences which negatively affects curve recognition. The curve recognition program in the traction control system is designed to recognize when a vehicle is in a turn to prevent unnecessary shifting while in the turn. When wheel speed signals are different while driving straight, this program assumes it’s in a turn which will negatively affect normal shift scheduling.
There are countless other examples where the innocent transmission gets the blame, when it could be something much simpler … and much cheaper. Don’t worry, you are not the only person who has faced these diagnostic issues, and you won’t be the last.
Demand for automotive service technicians is expected to change at an average rate in the next decade (down 4%), with the last 20 years showing inconsistent trends. This would mean an estimated decline in around 27,800 jobs in the industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.)
Seemingly against those stats, the number of cars on U.S. roads has jumped by 10 million in only four years due to a variety of factors:
- Increase in the driving age population
- Multi-car families
- Population growth in wealthier areas
- Increased travel by cars (more mileage needed)
- Lack of proper public transportation
These stats are unexpected by many automotive professionals. You may be asking: with this growth rate of cars on the road, why is the demand for automotive service technicians not higher? It basically boils down to proper automotive education. Americans are getting pickier and pickier with who services their cars, and those without extensive training will have trouble growing or finding a job in the industry. Many automotive professionals will retire in the next decade, requiring more educated talent to keep up with the years of experience the retirees possessed.
The BLS suggests experience in computer systems, hybrid fuel systems and advanced diagnostic techniques to set yourself apart. Working Nation, a non-profit organization following our nation’s labor trends, even goes as far to say that mechanics and automotive professionals in today’s world need to be analysts to keep up with the ever-growing number of cars on the road.
All these suggestions to set yourself apart are great to know and perhaps some of you have already begun that journey. But one thing is for sure, “experience” will always be a primary factor in continued learning. As we see a greater variety of vehicles coming in, a wider array of problems come along with it. Familiarizing yourself with different models and transmission types instead of focusing on one area can really amp up your skillset. The age old saying, “practice makes perfect” still applies in the automotive setting.
Want to go the extra mile? Dedicated automotive training outside of the shop can really set you apart from those who do not. Many of these presentations come from “experience” placed in a class room for you to excel. Around the United States, there are many tradeshows and events dedicated to teaching those in the industry new information and ways to build on their current skills. For example, AAPEX is a trade-only event for the automotive aftermarket taking place Nov. 1 through Nov. 3 in Las Vegas.
On Nov. 1, the Automatic Transmission Service Group (ATSG) will provide four hours of training asking the question, “Is It the Transmission or Not?” and how to properly determine the root cause of the issue and how to solve it. In addition, ATSG will present, “Best of ATSG’s 2022 Confirmed Transmission Fixes,” on Nov. 2. More training information is available on the AAPEX website.
ATSG is the industry’s leading authority on technical support and repair. With our over-the-phone diagnosis and repair guidance by expert techs, hundreds of manuals and tech guides, and a newly expanded Tech Library, ATSG is ready to help you tackle any transmission job…big or small! Our priority is to focus on how we can better serve the automatic transmission shop, total car care shop owner, and other technical professionals. We turn problems into solutions to save our members time and money!
ETE REMAN is the world’s best remanufacturer of automatic transmissions for import and domestic cars & trucks. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, our production facilities support more than 3,600 different transmissions and transfer cases for over 30,000 import and domestic vehicle applications. Utilizing our centralized distribution network, we’re here to support your reman needs quickly and efficiently. With the best remanufactured transmissions, customer service, and tech support, you can install confidence with ETE REMAN.
August 10, 2022