The nature of cars and mechanics is changing big time as our vehicles become more and more like computers and less and less like mechanical machines.
Back in the early days of the automobile industry, cars were relatively simple and were mostly the same. Back then there were no on-board computers and there were certainly no cars that could park themselves!
Today though, cars come jam-packed with space age technology. Cars don’t just park themselves, they have cruise control, environmental control, built-in GPS and more!
What all this means is that it’s harder than ever for mechanics and garages to fix your cars and in the future it may even become illegal for garages to make repairs – or for you to even make your own repairs.
That’s all thanks to some laws pertaining to copyright for software. Because cars are so technological, they now classify partly as computers and this means that manufacturers can sue you for copyright infringement if you should tamper with the hardware or software on-board.
It sounds crazy but actually it makes sense. How can you or a garage possibly be expected to fix the self-parking aspect of a car? That is advanced computer science – and if you tried to fix it and you got it wrong, you could end up injured which would be very damaging to the car manufacturer’s reputation.
The Future of the Automotive Industry and the Present
As you can see, car repair is changing in a big way and it’s only going to get more and more complex.
Electric cars are a great example of this. If you want to repair an electric car, you have to find a specialist garage where they’ll be capable of replacing the battery or understanding how it all works. This is a whole different field of expertise even though it still comes under the same banner of ‘car repair’.
But right now, we’re actually living in a time that offers something of a ‘golden age’ when it comes to DIY mechanics. Right now, there is no law against repairing your vehicle and most cars aren’t so complex as to be impossible to tune at home.
At the same time though, cars are clever enough to have on board diagnostics systems that can inform you or a mechanic as to what is going on inside them. And to keep things simple, all manufacturers conform to a set of standards called OBD-II.
That’s right: your car knows whether there’s a problem with the engine or with the chassis. It also knows the nature of the problem and it knows how to report that precise issue to the mechanic via a code called a Diagnostic Trouble Code.
If you plug a device into the OBD-II connector in any car, you can get this car and then look up precisely what the problem is.
And guess what? You can get devices at home that allow you to do this without a mechanic!
These devices are called VCDS which stands for ‘VAG-COM Diagnostics Systems’. Using a VCDS you can simply plug in and look up on your computer precisely what is going wrong. The VAG-COM packages will come with software included, which means you can get precise instructions on how to solve a range of issues as well as seeing precisely the status of various components in your car.
Combine this with the power of the internet and the huge amount of information available through there and we have a time where the mechanic is already becoming a little less in-demand. You just need the confidence to use a VAG-COM and to try and make the repairs yourself.
Why You Should Use VAG-COM Instead of a Mechanic
But why use VAG-COM instead of going to mechanic?
The most obvious reason is the price. Many mechanics will charge $250 an hour – rather cheeky for an industry that is fast becoming obsolete! They will charge this while running diagnostics too – using precisely the same kinds of tools as the VAG-COM you can buy yourself. Why pay them for the privilege when you can do it yourself at home?
Likewise, most mechanics will then repair the problem for you and charge you for the parts. Only they charge well over the odds for the parts because that’s one of the ways they make profit. As you can imagine, it makes much more sense to buy the parts yourself directly from the manufacturer or from a store and then to install them on your own.
All this also means that you will end up having a better running car. Why? Because with VAG-COM you can run diagnostics on your car whenever you want for free. That means you’re more likely to do it and more likely to do it often.
By using VAG-COM, you can check your car is in peak condition whenever you want to ensuring it is as safe as possible on the road and that it is highly fuel efficient too.
And finally, making your own repairs is very satisfying. This way you become less reliant on a garage and more independent. It’s a great feeling when you diagnose and solve an issue on your own and it’s something everyone should learn.
Technology is changing pretty much every industry on Earth right now. At this current point in time, it’s able to put the power back in the hands of the car owners – so get VCDS and start saving some money!