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Article: Anticipated Questions - New technology means...new repair questions

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Anticipated Questions

With all this new technology such as self-driving cars, stop-start vehicles, automatic braking systems, crash avoidance systems, and assisted parking systems, there’s bound to be a few questions and complaints. The car of today can practically think for itself, make decisions, and is aware of its surroundings. They’re programmed to perform their tasks to the best of their abilities, even if we mere humans don’t have a clue what’s going on inside those computer chips.

As with anything new and different, there’s a learning curve for the consumer as well as the technicians. It’s hard enough for the technician to wrap his head around the fact that a car can do things you wouldn’t even dream of years before. Now the consumer has to try and explain some weird goings on to the mechanic. Obviously, the technician will have to understand the inner workings of these technologically advanced systems long before the first car rolls in the service bay. So, as a mechanic/technician you have to keep in mind, once these systems hit the pavement there’s bound to be some issues.

So, to speed things along I thought I’d put together some of the more interesting questions, complaints, and conversations I’ve overheard. Even though these questions and answers are purely fictional they could happen… ya just never know. Considering the years I’ve spent listening to the wacky things people have told me at the service desk I’ll bet I’m not too far off.

Caller: “I told the car to take me to the donut shop but instead it took me to the gym.”

Mechanic: “The passenger presence system was activated. Based on your weight and height infrared readings, your car determined you needed to go to the gym more than you needed to go to the donut shop.”

Caller: “I was trying to give my neighbor a hand by pushing his car out of the street with my car. But, as soon as I got close to his car my brakes locked on and wouldn’t allow me to push his car with my bumper.”

Mechanic: “Sir, your car was protecting itself. The computer system is more concerned with maintaining the integrity of itself than moving an obstruction off the highway.”

Caller: “I just bought this car and the salesman said it has stop/start technology. The first time I tried it the car ran right into a tree. I thought it would stop, and quite frankly... it hasn’t started since I hit the tree either.”

Mechanic: “Sir, that feature is to conserve gas at stoplights. Try keeping it on the road next time.”

Patient: “Doctor, I’m finding myself very aggravated and fidgety these days. I’m constantly badgering my co-workers and my family. I just can’t seem to calm down. What’s wrong with me?”

Doctor: “Did you recently purchase a self-driving car?”

Patient: “Why yes I did. Oh it’s great, because I can put my makeup on and check my email while I’m on the way to work. But, the car will only do the speed limit, it won’t crawl up on the bumper of that slow guy in the left lane, it won’t lurch out into traffic anticipating the green light or go through yellows. Is the car causing my problem?”

Doctor: “You are going through aggressive driver’s withdrawal. I would advise you to take up oval track racing as a hobby. This should alleviate your stress level.”

Caller: “The other day I was fooling around with the A/C cranked up to max. It was really cold, just the way I like it. It was cold outside too, so as I was driving along I rolled down all the windows. Just then the air conditioning stopped blowing as much cold air as before.”

Mechanic: “Ya can’t have both, the processor knows the windows are down, it knows the temperature, and it knows you don’t need the A/C on... nuff said.”

Caller: “I’ve got one of those self-drive cars that I was towing behind my motor home, but I was in an accident the other day. I turned on the cruise control in my motor home and went back to fix myself a sandwich. The next thing I knew I was in a ditch.”

Mechanic: “Your motor home isn’t equipped with the self-drive system only your car is. The car can’t do anything for the motor home just because you’ve got them connected.”

Caller: “I was towing a trailer last week and when I tried to back up the beepers were going off and the car wouldn’t budge. It’s like the brake was on. What’s wrong?”

Mechanic: “Ma’am your car is equipped with a rear crash avoidance system and area obstruction brake sensing unit. You need to turn those features off when towing.”

Caller: “My car asked me a question about my destination, so I answered. Ok, I was a bit upset at the time and I swore at it. How come it doesn’t understand what I want when I’m aggravated?”

Mechanic: “I have trouble understanding most people when they’re aggravated too.”

Caller: “Ok, now what do I do? My self-parking car did a fantastic job of getting me into this parallel parking spot, but now I can’t figure out how to get out of it.”

Mechanic: “You’ll need to learn to drive your car. The system can only do so much for you. If not, try avoiding any of these newer cars for the next few years. By then they’ll have the technology to get you out of your predicament.”

Caller: “My automatic dimming rear view mirror is always too dark in the daytime. How come?”

Mechanic: “Your pike pass is covering the optic sensor. Try moving it to a new location.”

Caller: “I just bought this car and the radio is muted all the time.”

Mechanic: “Put your seat belt on.”

Caller: “I don’t like wearing a seat belt.”

Mechanic: “Then sing to yourself.”

Caller: “My buddy told me the best way to check my transmission is to hold my foot on the brake and stomp on the gas pedal. But the engine won’t rev up, and the service light is flashing...what’s wrong?”

Mechanic: “I scanned your car and the code refers to abusive drive train usage by the operator. Your car is telling me it doesn’t like the way it’s being treated. You’re lucky the auto ejection seat and electric Taser system hasn’t been installed on this model yet.”

Bank Robber: “Yes judge, I robbed the bank. But, how did you guys know it so fast? And, how come my car wouldn’t go over 30 miles an hour, locked all the doors, and then drove me to the police station where it stopped right at the front door. I was trying to get away, and ya caught me red handed.”

Judge: “Your car told us. The surveillance cameras at the bank got your tag number. We then got into the car’s satellite communication through the telematics systems. After listening to your conversation with your navigation system we knew we had ya. So, we took control of your car and guided it in to the precinct with the GPS. Besides, it’s not a good idea to name your destination as the “hideout” on your nav. screen.”

Ok, I made all this up. But it’s true that today’s cars are far more than transportation. It’s an all seeing, all knowing, microcosm world of technology. Ya just can’t do what you used to do. The car will know, and it’s going to tell on you. It’s a different world out there on the open highway than it has ever been in the past, and these changes go a lot further than just the blacktop. So as the world changes so does the modern day auto mechanic change too meet the demand of this new technology. Even if none of these anticipated questions ever come about, there’s no doubt auto repair will never...ever be the same again.

 

 

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