Auto manufacturers constantly introduce new technology with every new model. Features such as back-up cameras, lane drift detectors, ‘smart’ suspensions, and cars that anticipate and prepare for collisions in a split second are only a fraction of what has been rolled out in just the past five years.
Each advance increases interrelationships and dependencies among the various systems in a vehicle. Think of the components of a collision avoidance feature; in a split second, sensors can warn the driver of danger, tighten seat belts, inflate seats for extra support, position head rests in case of whiplash, and de-accelerate and engage the brakes if necessary.
In the past brakes, restraint systems, fuel systems and power seats were independent of each other; you could work on one without affecting the others. Now technicians need a thorough understanding of how each system and component is affected or affects one or more others. A lack of knowledge can be the difference between a correct, profitable repair or an aggravating, drawn out, hands-on experience that frustrates the technician and the customer that ultimately erases profits.
Avoiding costly mistakes during repairs is only one benefit of training. Technicians who feel their boss is committed to helping them become better at their job are more likely to remain with their company. For the technician, training can mean the difference between advancement on the job and more earning power, or even keeping their job or unemployment.
In the past, training meant sitting in classroom and hours away from work; today, training can be accessed on-line and after hours. Many manufacturers offer on-line training specifically for their products. There are also numerous providers available such as ASE, I-Car, CDX and a host of others. Some sites require a significant investment; others offer information such as ASE study guides for free. Content ranges from the basics to YMME specifics. Some time spent researching these resources can help a shop decide what best suits the needs of their business.
For a shop training is as much an investment in a shop as purchasing new tools and equipment. It means not having to turn customers away because no one knows how to do the work. It means fewer come-backs because of incorrect repairs, or worse, damage to a customer’s vehicle. It means a better reputation and more referrals from satisfied customers. Training should be a part of the shop’s business plan as much as pricing, marketing and other business strategies.