Important Things to Know About the Current Auto Repair Industry
In the present auto repair industry, there’s a lot to know and learn as we grow to incorporate new types of cars like electric vehicles into the auto repair landscape. For many long-time auto repair shops, it’s a new frontier that has unprecedented problems and perks they haven’t seen before. For shops that provide auto supplies to consumers, the new developments in the industry mean that they have to keep up with the demands of car rent consumers in a budding age of advancement. Although the auto repair industry has a long way to go in terms of innovation, there’s a lot to discuss about how the auto repair industry is going and what repairs tend to happen the most in auto repair shops.
Keeping Cars Secure
If you locked yourself out of your car, the first person you would want to call in the current auto repair industry would be a car locksmith. Although there’s a lot of mystery surrounding what car locksmiths do and how they open up cars when the owner locks themselves outside, there are a few common ways in which car locksmiths turn a car from hopelessly locked to unlocked.
According to mach1services.com, “The most common strategy is “jimmying” the car lock open. This involves taking a slim jim — or thin piece of metal — and sliding it between the window and the weather stripping on a car door to access the lock. If you’ve seen any movies, you have probably seen hangers used as well, but the more modern slim jim is a safer alternative with less chance of damaging the vehicle. Still, when the going gets tough, many things can be used as a slim jim if you need to. “Jimmying” a car open works best with older cars who still use real keys and don’t have state of the art alarm systems. For newer cars with more advanced security systems, keys, as we know them, are no longer used. For unlocking a car that does not have a car lock but relies on “keyless remotes”, the auto locksmith reprograms the code (usually using a VATS passcode detector or the like) so that you can gain access to your vehicle.”
While it can be frustrating to lock yourself outside of your car or van, it can also be reassuring. If you have a hard time getting into your car or other vehicle when you lock yourself out, imagine how challenging it would be for a bad actor! One of the main advancements of the current auto repair industry is being able to finetune locks so that they keep people out of vehicles–even if that means inconveniencing car owners who lock themselves out of their cars sometimes.
Providing Specialized Services
Some shops in the current auto repair industry specialize in unique services that are in high demand like a windshield calibration service. While some current auto repair industry customers and even folks who work in the auto repair industry think that calibrating a windshield before replacing it isn’t necessary, the fact of the matter is that we need to calibrate a windshield before attempting to replace it. As current research shows on caliber.com, “Auto glass calibration is necessary anytime the sensors or other ADAS items on or in your windshield are replaced or disconnected. This means any time a windshield is replaced on a car with ADAS features, calibration is required.”
As the article on caliber.com continues, “Not having your ADAS elements properly calibrated after a windshield replacement can result in failure or malfunction of important safety features in your vehicle. That can substantially increase your risk of a collision on the road.” Before the modern auto industry, calibration seemed optional or unnecessary. Today, our advancements in the field show that it’s not only helpful but also needed.
On top of calibrating a windshield, some auto repair shops are also providing services like car detailing and fitting modern sensibilities when it comes to the extra services they offer. Back in the day, certain colors might have been more popular to paint a car that is no longer in style. Additionally, some of the models of vehicles that mechanic shop owners used to see have gone by the wayside. Newer vehicles with more integrated smart technology are making it so that mechanics have to specialize in technology repairs more often than they used to need to do.
Standardizing Routine Maintenance
For routine auto repairs, the current auto repair industry usually dictates that car owners head to an auto body repair shop, tire shop, or auto glass service, depending on what type of maintenance they aim to complete at the auto repair shop. Besides performing inspections, auto repair shops can do a lot of different things to make sure that cars are running as smoothly as possible in this day and age. For some examples, an auto repair shop may replace spark plugs with new ones, ensure that a fuel cap grips tightly to where it needs to seal, change out an old oxygen sensor for a new one, and switch out brakes and brake pads if they’re no longer working the way they were intended to function. Beyond that, most repair shops are used to completing oil changes, tire repairs, rotating tires, checking the ignition and electrical systems, and completing major repairs as needed.
Getting an Education
In the current auto repair industry, most auto repair and transport services workers have to go through specific training and obtain certifications to work in the industry. Gone are the days when someone could simply hand over a resume or a simple handshake and get their foot in the door to become an auto mechanic by doing instead of learning by the book. With so many options for trade schools and other avenues to become a mechanic, it can be hard for people who are looking to enter the field to know where to start. They may drive past their local transmission shop with dreams of working there one day but have zero clues on what it would take to make that desire actualize into a reality.
Becoming a mechanic is not something that happens overnight for the majority of mechanics. As indeed.com points out, “The time it takes to become a mechanic depends on the type of training you want to pursue. To work as a mechanic, you need to earn a high school diploma or GED and enroll in a training program or vocational school. Some mechanics complete vocational programs in high school and can begin working in trainee positions right after graduation, while others may spend one or more years completing their training post-high school. It can take a mechanic two to five years to gain the education and skills necessary for success.”
After years of putting in the work to become a mechanic and pick up all the skills of a trade, some mechanics still aren’t ready to go for their first job. This is because they may be required to get certain certifications before they can work in the industry. While this uptick in regulation helps legitimatize the field and make a clear path for someone to become a mechanic who meets all of the criteria necessary to do well in the field, it does make it harder for those who can’t afford to go to school to become a mechanic or who don’t have the time to put in the work to become a mechanic to work in an auto repair shop.
Some folks who are considering entering the current auto repair industry worry that this field won’t be able to support their financial goals due to a lack of work available to them. Thankfully, jobs are growing in the auto industry. As firestonecompleteautocare.com shares, “A massive amount of cars are produced every day, and with those new vehicles comes the need for people with the skills to fix them. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there are about 73,300 openings for automotive technicians every year. So if you decide to become a technician, you can rest easy knowing that you will always be needed.” This puts all of those fears that you might not be able to get a job as a mechanic to rest. As long as there are cars, there will be a requirement for mechanics. Unlike some jobs that may come and go, mechanics are a crucial part of every society that relies on cars to get them from Point A to Point B reliably.
Changing Work Culture
While being a mechanic used to strictly be a job for a man, it’s becoming more acceptable for women to work in the field. Although women are welcome to work in the current auto repair industry, female mechanics are still far rarer statistically than male ones. According to tradeschoolgrants.com “The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there are 19,236 female auto mechanics (2.1% of all auto mechanics) and a total 130,174 women in the automotive repair and maintenance field. Furthermore, women account for 9.7% of the 1,342,000 total employees in the auto repair and maintenance industry in the US. In contrast, there were only 12,000 female auto mechanics out of 837,000 total mechanics in 1999. Therefore, in 1999 only 1.4% of auto mechanics were women while in 2018 2.1% of auto mechanics were women.” While the number of women in the field is slowly climbing on an upward trajectory, it’s interesting to see how this field is becoming more inclusive of different genders than it was historically inclined to include.
Adjusting to a Higher Cost of Living
Like with every industry, the current auto repair industry is fluctuating to accommodate the higher cost of living that most areas are experiencing at the moment. Since people need to pay rent, some repair shops are paying higher wages to attract the current workforce to work for them. Others may struggle to keep up with the times and shutter their doors because they can’t afford the costs of upkeep for their repair shop.
The current auto repair industry has also been impacted by shortages and changing landscapes on a societal front. This field isn’t seeing the level of production that we used to see. As equifax.com shares, “We have seen a massive decline in auto production, as production was halted for over a month. However, recently we came back and we’ve seen a recovery, but certainly far below where we were pre-pandemic in terms of domestic auto production. Auto dealerships are keeping inventory. One example of a change we observed is how many different versions of a car they have on the lot. However, it is not necessarily going to unwind, and so the auto segment is definitely going to look different moving forward.” The current auto industry may still be recovering from the major world events from the past few years, so there’s no telling what it will look like in the years and decades to come.
Since the minimum wage may be changing for all industries in some states, auto repair shops have to figure out how they’re going to accommodate the new legislation while also taking care of their business needs. It’s a tricky balance that mechanic shop owners are still puzzling out for themselves. The modern auto repair industry faces modern problems and advancements. With the right attitude and approach, mechanics of all stripes will be able to navigate these challenges and survive despite the difficulties ahead of them.
Even though the world doesn’t look the same way that it did back in Henry Ford’s day, the current auto repair industry has taken these changes in stride. The one thing about the auto repair industry that will never change is a willingness to embrace the possibilities of the future. At one point, people thought that it wouldn’t be possible to have a motorized carriage on four wheels that could take you anywhere across the country. Yet, the auto industry made that possible. Even modern developments we take for granted like self-driving electric vehicles and backup cameras were once a figment of someone’s imagination so the sky’s the limit for where the auto industry might end up thirty or forty years down the road.