Do you know why it’s important to find a good mechanic or a good repair shop to repair your car? The reason: it could save you hundreds of dollars in parts and labor! When we say a “good mechanic” or a “good repair shop”, we’re referring to mechanics who are equipped with the latest technology. You don’t want to entrust your car to a shop with outdated machinery and equipment because it will take longer to arrive at a diagnosis. And the longer a mechanic takes to make a diagnosis, the larger your bill for labor!
Remember that car mechanics charge by the hour.
Car repairs can cover any one or a combination of the following (note that this is not a complete repair list).
• Air conditioning checks
• Air bag checks
• Electrical wiring
• Clutch service and repair
• Transmission repair
• Wheel Alignment
• Heating system
• Oil and lubrication
• Power windows
Much of the troubleshooting that mechanics use to diagnose a problem is facilitated by car repair technology.
Hand tools are still an essential part of an auto mechanic’s tool set. All commercial garages have pneumatic wrenches to make life easier, but hand wrenches or pliers still need to be used in tight spots. A screwdriver set, including flat and Phillips heads, is also a requirement for auto mechanics. Auto mechanics also regularly use grinders, lathes and measuring tools such as micrometers and pressure gauges.
Specialized Auto Part Tools
Mechanical and digital micrometers are commonly used in mechanical engineering applications, and a specialized digital brake micrometer for automobiles has also been developed. Other specialized auto part tools used by mechanics include tire pressure gauges, oil filter wrenches and cutter tools, steering wheel lock plate tools, clutch alignment tools, strut spring compressors and spark plug sockets and gauge tools.
Welding is required in a range of auto repairs, and flame-torch cutting is also used to remove and repair exhaust systems. Most auto welding involves MIG or flux-cored arc auto body work, or spot or stud welding, where a bolt or weld nut is welded to another metal part. Sometimes auto mechanics have to use a spot weld cutter to remove old spot welds.
Lifts and Hoists
Auto mechanics also use a variety of lifts and hoists to give them access to the area of the vehicle that needs to be repaired. Most large garages have pneumatic lifts that raise cars to the appropriate level. Private mechanics might use hoist systems or jacks, or even just an auto dolly to roll under the chassis.
Electronic Diagnostic Equipment
Modern auto mechanics use a variety of electronic diagnostic equipment to help them determine the exact cause of a problem. Most of these diagnostic devices are hand-held or portable on wheels. Mechanics compare the data produced by the diagnostic equipment to the standards provided by the manufacturer. This enables mechanics to accurately diagnose problems based on the latest information downloaded from manufacturer databases.
Ever noticed how some lights on your panel come on when something’s wrong? In most cases, an experienced mechanic will know immediately what the problem is, but there are instances where it will take sophisticated technology to lead to an accurate diagnosis.
Sophisticated technology comes in many forms and one popular one is troubleshooting software. Companies like Auto Tech have a software program that car owners can use to find out what is ailing their vehicle.
Most car owners who were cynical about software programs before should seriously consider purchasing a reliable car troubleshooting software program. For instance, some programs start out by asking you to input your car make and model number, the year of the car and what kinds of equipment it has. The software features a large database of information about all cars in the market and a car owner simply follows the steps when prompted. It employs what the industry calls a “tree diagnosis” where logical steps take you through the entire diagnosis process.
After you’ve keyed in your car’s profile, you use the drop down menu to choose the symptoms that your car is exhibiting. For instance, if you choose “squealing brakes”, the program mimics the squealing of brakes and if that’s the sound you hear, you confirm it and the program recommends a series of steps.
You may not really want to use a troubleshooting software, but imagine how much time and money you could save if you spoke to the mechanic intelligently, letting him know that you’re in the know.
Students who are studying towards certification buy certain tools of the trade. A couple of examples are Snap On and Mac Tools. These two are the most popular in the United States and Canada.
Mechanics now have a wide range of technology tools to help them understand car problems better: digital multimeters (electronic measuring), boroscopes (testing heat exchangers), fuel diagnostic testers (testing and balancing fuel injectors) and other such new technologies.
New car mechanic technologies help shorten the learning curve and speed up diagnosis so that the car owner isn’t saddled with too many labor hours.