When we think of an auto mechanic, most of us conjure up images of a person in overalls or a work suit, covered in oil, maybe some sweat, and a whole lot of dirt. This is because working on a car can get real messy, real quick. But as many vehicles move away from using traditionally messy products like oil, it appears that an auto mechanic’s job might actually be getting a bit cleaner.
But first, what are some of the main parts of a vehicle that are dirty?
Besides that cup holder that you haven’t washed in who knows how long, and those spills from a late night fast food run you choose to ignore, your car can be a pretty dirty place in the engine area as well. Let’s just say that it’s clear that car cleaning services won’t be going away anytime soon. Whatever grime, dirt and dust you drive on or in will end up under your car’s bonnet in some fashion. Open up the bonnet and take a look, and you’ll likely see caked on dirt all over and perhaps some sticky or wet residue from the car radiator that needs a leak repair (which you need to get fixed ASAP!) This is mostly due to the way the car is built. There’s plenty of open space under the engine area for all of this dirt to come in, and is often unavoidable.
The inside of your engine and its parts can get really dirty in a different way as well. Think of your regular oil change appointment – not just to top up the fluids, the service is also meant to clean out the dirty oil and keep your car running smoothly. Many other fluids in your car need regular cleaning, including transmission fluid, window washing fluid, and a few others like these.
Getting a new tyre fitting is also a pretty dirty job, considering your tyres are the first point of contact with the ground. Between the tyre rims and then the wheel well in which the tyre sits, years of accumulated dirt and grime can make these impossible to clean, and is therefore a fairly grimey job for a mechanic changing your tyres. In case you want to avoid this, here’s an excellent guide for detailing your tyre area.
Why and how are those parts changing?
Okay, so we’ve established that auto mechanics have a messy job at the moment. But how are the auto parts changing, and why are they getting cleaner?
Look around the next time you’re on a road trip or driving a decent distance, and you’ll likely see an electric car charging port. They’re all across New Zealand for a reason, as we continue to see more and more electric vehicles and they become more popular. Electric cars don’t use fuel at all, rather a battery, which means no oil, and no oil stains on mechanic’s uniforms.
You are likely often asked if you want your vehicle’s fluids flushed and changed at your routine auto appointment. With electric cars, these questions are no longer viable. Electric cars use the battery for things like power steering and power braking, which means that those fluids are no longer required, and neither are the hoses that connect it all. This means less leaking, less maintenance, and less grime to deal with.
How is technology changing our cars?
Besides the physical cleanliness of the job, the cars themselves and their emissions are getting cleaner as well. With added technology and uses of alternative powers like electricity, cars are more energy efficient and smarter than ever before. Let’s walk through some of the main technology updates that keep our cars running cleaner and smarter.
Auto updates mean that the car is smart enough to detect when it needs something, or if you’re due for a service. It can also detect big problems that need to be looked at right away. One of the most basic updates that cars have been sporting for a while is an oil change update. Simple, but effective, the car simply keeps track of how many miles that’s been driven and reminds you at the appropriate interval.
Now, auto updates are much more complicated, but are even more helpful. Because cars are now including software in their makeup, automatic updates to fix any broken software, or to update to the latest upgrade is now commonplace. This means that components of the car can be fixed without a mechanic even touching it or looking under the bonnet. Things like your car’s brakes and steering, or your parking assist program or the warning system that beeps when a car is in your blind spot, are all being controlled by software in new cars, which can all be updated and fixed quickly with the right software fix.
These types of automatic updates and fixes means that the mechanic doesn’t need to see your car at all. This can obviously pose some issues with job availability for mechanics, although some reports show that there is a mechanic shortage, and especially a shortage in those who have the experience to work with modern cars.
More computers less grease
Of course, not all problems can be fixed with an automatic update. New cars have to be brought in to a mechanic at some point. However, we’ll start seeing more mechanics behind a laptop than under the hood, as many fixes will still need to be technology based. This means that your mechanic might become more of an IT professional than a grease monkey.
There is not doubt that the future of cars is also drastically changing the future of mechanics. But, change is natural, and necessary in the face of today’s environmental concerns. We can only hope that the auto mechanic world is able to smoothly adjust to the added technology in cars, and that our planet becomes even cleaner than the future of mechanic cleanliness!