Tech Stuff

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Making lemonade

It’s hardly a secret that today’s vehicles feature much more complex systems as compared to the pre-electronic control era. While some curse the increasingly sophisticated management systems that we must deal with, the fact that the use of ever-advancing electronic monitoring and management is here to stay, and it’s only going to increase and expand.

Consider what we face today: fly by wire controls that were once activated by mechanical linkage or cables; ever-tightening emissions standards that prompt increasingly complex engine management systems; heads-up windshield displays that in theory help keep drivers’ eyes on the road; electronic steering systems; back-up cameras; lane change warning sonar systems; a host of communications functions that connect the vehicle to manufacturer “help” sites; and of course a dizzying array of “entertainment” and communication systems that enable access to cell phones, music, movies, Bluetooth, WiFi, email, texting, etc., etc. In the not-too-distant future I wouldn’t be surprised to see automatic seat massage systems that sense the driver’s muscle tension and body temperature or blood pressure monitors via sensors in the steering wheel (assuming of course that steering wheels will remain in common use), resulting in a bio-tech control module automatically steering the vehicle to the nearest hospital, regardless of what the driver wants to do.

Can you service a trailer back-up assist camera system on a Ford F-150 pickup truck?
<p>Can you service a trailer back-up assist camera system on a Ford F-150 pickup truck?</p>

While an old racing adage that hinted at vehicle reliability was K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid), today’s environment seems to follow a new trend of K.I.C.K. (we’re Keeping It Complex, Kiddies, whether you like it or not).

We may not be thrilled with much of what the automakers develop, in terms of having to diagnose and repair these systems, but if we don’t keep up with training and continue to embrace new technologies, we get left behind. All of the cursing and moaning in the world won’t accomplish anything. We can complain about it or we can take advantage of it. The answer is to sweeten our knowledge and skill base in order to cash in on business that will only patronize those shops that are up-to-date.

Lemons may taste bitter, but when you add a bit of sugar, tasty cash starts piling up in the register. It’s a cliché, but the reality is that any challenge can be turned into an opportunity.   ●

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