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Finally. Finally, the advent of a semi-normal summer is upon us. We’ll fire up the grills. We’ll head to the lake. And we’ll finally get a chance to see our friends and family, meaning we’ll be driving somewhere besides the local grocery store for the first time in months.

We’ll also be depending upon our A/C systems to get there comfortably. 

“In April and especially May, drivers in the south will be reaching for their A/C knobs more and more,” says Micheal Smyth, director of training at Automotive Video Innovations (AVI). “And as that heat line goes north, technicians everywhere will be dealing with heating and especially cooling systems as a part of their regular maintenance and repairs.”

As part of the new training options available from The Group Training Academy (TGTA), Smyth operates at ground zero where new technology meets the aftermarket and the technicians, service advisors and owners responsible for keeping drivers safe as they head to the lake.

“TGTA is known for its online streaming training. We already have a slew of AC heating/cooling videos and training on there, but our feature content for May has a unique twist to it. It’s a new course that’s not traditional AC but covers those new components and devices in cars.

“There’s a lot of new things out there that technicians may not be familiar with, so between new tech (and sometimes new technicians), we’re putting together a whole listing of new classes to assist them,” he continues.

From cooling, clutch and three-phase fans to new and upgraded mechanical modules and electronic water pumps, the simple process of blasting AC when you need it is a little more involved than most drivers and shops may anticipate. 

“Electronic water pumps are becoming much more prevalent,” Smyth says, “because they’re installed on more and more hybrid and electric vehicles. Those don’t have traditional pumps.” 

Even more complicated (and cool) are new active grille shutters and air vents. Active grille shutters are louvers that appear in and around the radiator, opening and shutting to assist more efficient heating and cooling depending on the ambient temperature, which not only increases fuel economy but complicates the repair process.

“And active air dams drop below the front bumper to draw up for better cooling and further fuel economy,” he adds. “Those new systems are tied back to the cooling system supplied by the car’s CPU. Our new course on The Group Training Academy also features schematic and controls instruction as well as DVI assistance to help technicians diagnose these systems.”

AC technology and systems courses debut May 1 at thegrouptrainingacademy.com. Later, Smyth says they’re releasing a new ASE / A7 test prep course with a new manual, new online presentation and new practice exam. 

“We’re revamping many of our test prep courses due to new technology and changes in the aftermarket,” he says.

“We’ll also be offering a series of live, four-hour AC training sessions to cover the higher end of AC technologies. That will be a four-hour, in-person instructor-led class around the country. One is currently scheduled for Ohio and others on the east coast and southwest will follow as part of our mobile training program

At the end of April, AVI prepped for a class scheduled in Arizona and is working with multiple sites to host mobile classes from Fort Myers to the west, teaching across the south as the team crosses Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas en route to Arizona. 

“We’d like to do even more,” he says, “the program has been wildly successful and technicians keep asking when we’ll be back. People are emerging from the COVID fog and recognizing the quality of the training TGTA offers. We continue to garner feedback from across the country and will be implementing it well into 2022 and beyond. 

So as the weather warms, don’t forget to clean the grill slats with a sound steel brush, shake out the hammock for some lakeside power napping and remember to check out what TGTA has in store for SAs and technicians this summer. 

Gonna be a hot one!

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