advanced tech in cars

Will Fancy Tech Make New Cars More Expensive and Difficult to Repair?

In some ways yes – fancy gadgets require more specialized parts and training to fix. In the not-so-distant past vehicles were primarily analog in nature. The dashboard dials had more in common with clockwork than computers. That’s all changed in the past decade, and although the advanced sensors and diagnostic suites have made cars safer, they’ve also made them a little more complicated to maintain and repair.

Maybe the most obvious example are Tesla vehicles. They’ve essentially done away with anything that could potentially be considered analog. Nearly every feature in a Tesla vehicle is controlled through digital displays and computerized tech. Most mechanics can’t work on Tesla vehicles – and according to Tesla that shouldn’t be an issue. They’ve essentially tried to design a car that almost never needs major service. Whether that’s how things turn out remains to be seen.

When it comes to vehicle design, the intended goal and reality often don’t align perfectly. Although many Tesla models do have a reputation for reliability, things can still go wrong. That’s one of the reasons why Tesla founded the Tesla START program.

Tesla – as well as many other auto manufacturers that are releasing ever-more-advanced vehicles – recommend visiting the manufacturer’s service centers for repairs. Service centers can have long wait times, especially when every vehicle owner in a metro area only has one or two options to choose from.

Not every Tesla owner will be near a Tesla service center when something goes wrong, which is why they may need a mechanic elsewhere who understands how to diagnose and repair their vehicle. The Tesla START trade school program is intended to help fill that void.

Another example of this shift in auto servicing education is the GM ASEP program. As we wrote about last month, General Motors is aggressively pursuing electric vehicle technology. The mechanics and vehicle techs trained to work on GM commuter and fleet vehicles today and in the not-so-distant future will need to have a thorough understanding of the diagnostic tools and technologies necessary for repairs and service.

Many Auto Shops Aren’t at a Complete Loss

Computers in vehicles aren’t new. Varying degrees of computerization in cars, trucks and SUVs has been occurring for multiple decades now. Most reputable auto shops have the experience and tools necessary to diagnose problems, update vehicle firmware, reflash software and troubleshoot problems with various engine or transmission controls.

Auto Training Changes with the Times

Organizations dedicated to enforcing quality standards in certain industries aren’t static. The National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE) regularly adjusts its various certification testing to ensure up-and-coming mechanics get a relevant education.

Their survival as an organization depends on their reputation for testing new mechanics on the skills auto service centers and repair shops need for modern vehicles. If students started realizing ASE certification wouldn’t help their job prospects, they’d stop paying for trade programs that tailor training to ASE certifications.

Should I Avoid Buying New Cars With Fancy Computer-Driven Components?

One could argue that given the current shortages, having repair needs on a new vehicle could be troublesome. However, there’s also an assumption that new vehicles won’t require big repairs or part replacements right away. If components are recalled or under warranty, you generally won’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for expensive repairs, but you still might have to wait for the job to be done.

In theory, not every mechanic will have the skills or technology to repair every vehicle, especially newer ones. You can still likely get repairs fairly easily, especially if you live in or near major metro areas with a lot of service shops and stations.

If you have your heart set on a newish vehicle, partially because of its fancy tech, you likely shouldn’t let fear of being unable to find an experienced mechanic stop you from getting the vehicle you want.

Get a Great Vehicle With Lots of Gadgets From Easterns Automotive

As a pre-owned dealership, Easterns Automotive sells a lot of great vehicles from the past decade, but we also sell a lot of recent year makes and models, many of which have very few miles. Many of these relatively new vehicles are maker certified and protected by great warranties. They likely feature all the electronic bells and whistles you could want and more.

Browse our inventory to find a great vehicle for your needs or visit one of our eight locations in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland and Virginia.