How to Stay Up-to-Date with Automotive Technology
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
Vehicles just five to ten years old have equipment now considered obsolete.
How can you stay up to date with automotive technology when it moves at such a rapid pace? It’s not easy – and plenty of dedication is required – but it can be done.
How to keep up with the latest trends in auto tech
When you’re young and hip (like your teenage kids probably are) keeping up with technology is easy. As an adult, you’re saddled with a job and never-ending list of responsibilities. The time you once devoted to keeping up with the latest trends is now spent attending little league practice and cooking dinner.
Setting aside time to learn about new automotive technology can be challenging, but it’s well worth it. Staying-up-to-date will increase your productivity while also improving customer satisfaction.
Best of all, you don’t need to go back to school to get educated. These sources will help you stay on top of the latest industry trends.
1. Trade and industry periodicals
You probably turn to online and print periodicals for the latest world headlines (some people rely on social media, but that’s beside the point). Did you know, you can do the same with the auto industry news? Many trade publications are free to professionals and will help you stay on top of the hottest automotive trends. Some of the best include:
• Motor Magazine: A great publication that covers both cutting-edge technology and shop management strategies.
• Automotive Service Professional: Deals with the latest tech, while also giving service and management advice.
• SAE Automotive Engineering: Don’t be intimidated by the fact this magazine has the word “engineering” in the title. Most of the publication is easy to read and covers topics that are pertinent to the automotive service industry.
2. Automotive technology books
Anyone who took automotive technology in school will remember the mile-thick textbooks. While still valuable resources, these hefty texts aren’t the only way to get information. There are many other, briefer options. Whatever topic you're interested in (autonomous vehicles, hybrids, etc.) will have plenty written on it. Performing an Amazon search is an easy way to find titles with user reviews. Sites like AESwave.com and tstseminars.org also have books related to advanced technology.
3. Online classes
If you don’t want to enroll at a community college, no problem. These days there are plenty of training classes you can take online to improve your knowledge. AESwave.com and tstseminars.org offer great web-based training. For hybrids, there’s fixhybrid.com. Motor Age also offers a lineup of on-demand training courses. And these options are just the beginning. A quick Google search is all that’s needed to reveal a long list of possibilities.
4. In-person industry training
For a more hands-on approach, you can take in-person training. Many auto parts companies, such as NAPA and Autozone, offer classes for professionals. Other sources like tstseminars.org and fixhybrid.com also offer live training events. If you’re really devoted, you may also want to take a course or two at the local community college. Many schools are beginning to offer courses on hybrid and electric vehicles.
5. OEM automotive training information
You don’t have to work for a dealership to get OEM training. Thanks to the Right to Repair Act, all automakers offer subscription-based access to their repair information.
Many also allow you to view educational material. Toyota, for example, provides an abundance of training information through its Technician Information System. Subscriptions start at just $20 for two days.
6. Get (and stay) ASE certified
ASE certification may seem like a hassle – and it is – but it also keeps you up-to-date. The tests for both technicians and service advisors get updated on a regular basis. So, to maintain your certification, you must know the latest technology. And if you don’t, you’ll need to study to get your skills up to date. In this way, certification forces you to stay abreast of the latest technology.
Keeping up with the latest technology takes dedication fueled by passion. Those who genuinely love the automotive industry will seek out knowledge and information to stay on top of their game.
Desire and enthusiasm make the difference between someone just doing their job, and someone devoted to their career. Who do you want to be on the service drive?
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