Automotive repair is a field that has changed rapidly over the years and is a profession that now requires highly skilled individuals. For young people interested in cars, it is important to expose them to all aspects of automotive repair. With very few schools offering auto shop as a program at the high school level, students may not get the opportunity to explore auto repair as a possible career path.
For the second year in a row we have been fortunate to host a month long auto shop class with students from Seattle Lutheran High school. In this month long program students learn about vehicle basics, how engines work (old and new), various equipment used to diagnose different vehicle issues, the importance of vehicle maintenance and performing simple repairs.
Students are learning about the many differences between new and older cars. New cars are highly computerized and have many modules and sensors that can fail. It is the technician’s responsibility to find out if the vehicle needs programming updates or diagnostics and students are learning that it takes time and experience to effectively diagnose and repair a newer car. It can take multiple tools, methods and research to get to the bottom of a problem. Shops must invest in sophisticated diagnostic and repair equipment for vehicles that change rapidly. Training technicians to be ready to work on the latest vehicles is also a necessity.
We are also lucky to have classics to expose the students to that are really popular with the class. While classics are not computerized like newer cars, they still take time to repair and finding parts for these cars can be a challenge. Research skills become very important when working with classics as information must be sought out. Working with all cars – but especially classics – takes patience, organization, flexibility and the ability to think “outside of the box.” However their coolness factor helps keep the interest too!
Working with young people is a rewarding experience for the technician and we hope it is for the students as well and look forward to our time with them.