As vehicle technology evolves and diagnostic and repair tools become more complex, training and new and improved tools take on greater importance in the automotive aftermarket. The VISION Hi-Tech Training & Expo, sponsored by ASA Midwest, has emerged as one of the best opportunities for technicians to stay up to date on new tools and new diagnostic and repair techniques, drawing a larger turnout every year.
Last month’s VISION in Overland Park, Kan. once again gave technicians outstanding training in every aspect of vehicle technology and repair. They also had a chance to see a variety of exciting new tools at the trade show.
Most technicians recognize they have to invest more money in tools and equipment nowadays as tool and equipment manufacturers find new ways to make them more efficient. At the VISION trade show, techs found a variety of exciting new tools such as the Micropod 2 hardware for the Chrysler Witech diagnostic application from AE Tools, the Bolt Buster induction heating tool to remove lug nuts from Lace Technologies, a diesel glow plug reader from Can Do International Inc., a TPMS tool from ATEQ, and a boroscope from Autel.
Many of today’s new tools help techs address the repairs that later vintage vehicles require. This is important since carmakers have redesigned engines and emission systems to comply with increasingly restrictive regulations and at the same time meet performance and comfort standards.
Training, recruitment challenge
The VISION show also gives techs and shop owners an inside view of challenges facing automotive educators. This is important because technician training and recruitment have become one of the biggest challenges facing the aftermarket. VISION, in addition to technician-focused training, includes educator “think tank” sessions that technicians are welcome to attend.
An interactive educator “think tank” webcast organized by the International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) during VISION resulted in a frank discussion about the training and recruiting challenge. (Visit VehicleServicePros.com/11326420). The instructors discussed ways to improve secondary and vocational education, the need for shop owners to be involved in education, and the need for instructors to have relevant field knowledge.
The instructors also noted that while technician recruitment poses a challenge, computerized diagnostic tools are making auto repair more enticing to today’s technology-savvy younger generation. “There is a ton of money in drivability (diagnostics),” one of the educator panelists noted. Hence, the industry has an opportunity to recruit young people.
The instructor panel ignited a lengthy discussion on the iATN website about the need for the aftermarket industry to meet one of its biggest challenges – technician training and recruitment – in a more forceful way. Hopefully, the momentum will continue.
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