Have you noticed a change in your local lube/oil/filter shop’s service menu lately? If you look closely, many are expanding their in-house services to offer a variety of vehicular maintenance options. There’s a good reason for that, and it’s one that may signal a drastic change in the automotive service and repair industry.
“We’re finding now that a lot of new vehicles will be requiring less maintenance than they used to,” said Vince Klimkosz, owner of the two locations of Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-it in Guelph. “Many new cars are coming with sealed systems. The fluids that come with them you don’t change. They’re meant to last the lifetime of the vehicle.”
As a result of such changes in automotive manufacturing, Klimkosz says a lot of traditional lube shops are being proactive and adjusting their services to remain competitive.
“I think that’s why a lot of lube shops are rebranding their businesses,” he said. “They’re doing tires, they’re doing plugs. Some are doing mechanical services and brakes. You never used to see that. It used to be nothing but oil changes and flushes.”
This subtle change is really the next step in the ongoing evolution of automotive repair. According to Klimkosz, such changes are being driven by the cutting-edge technology constantly being incorporated into vehicle design by the world’s traditional leaders and new emerging players in the automotive sector.
“Tesla is an example of a company that’s really leading the way the industry is headed,” he said. “If you own a Tesla and need any work done on a vehicle, a high percentage of the work, maybe 80 percent, can be done remotely. Tesla remotes into your vehicle to see what you need. If you need parts they’ll have them ordered and shipped to the nearest Tesla repair centre. It’s all controlled from one location. You just show up with your car. It’s flawless. Other manufacturers are trying to catch up with Tesla’s way of doing things. They’re miles ahead of everyone.”
The emergence of the electric car and the incorporation of sealed systems within them could play a significant role in totally reshaping the automotive repairs industry. That could mean job losses for some, but it could also mean opportunities for a new breed of automotive mechanic well-trained in the emerging automotive technology.
“Every electric car on the road is one less car that needs an oil change or a fluid flush,” said Klimkosz. “You’re looking at the dawn of a new mechanical repair industry. We’re just on the cusp of it but it’s starting to change now. In the next five years it’s probably going to be big. You’ll almost need a degree in electrical engineering to work on these vehicles. Unfortunately, the industry hasn’t kept up. We don’t have enough qualified people to fix the cars we have now.”
Klimkosz says the mechanical team at Vinnie’s has managed to stay current with constant training and online courses that help them diagnosis issues in all makes and models of vehicles.
When your vehicle is in need of service, visit Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-It online at http://vinniesmrfixit.com/. Or drop by either of their two Guelph locations: 30 Hayes Avenue, or 41 Woodlawn Road West.