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The Always-Evolving Auto Industry

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I've written plenty of articles about how the auto industry has a bad reputation. That's a true fact, which should alarm you as an auto professional. Customers want to work with people who inspire them and earn their trust. If your auto shop gives drivers a bad vibe for any reason, you should assume they might take their business elsewhere.

Most of these issues have two root causes: poor communication skills and mediocre customer service. Drivers don't have a clue what they are paying for, so they falsely assume they are getting scammed. And mechanics don't understand how to explain a repair's purpose in plain English, which doesn't help.

Still, I feel saddened that we have devoted so much time and attention to the auto industry's shortcomings. This perception is a mistake.  

Make no mistake about it: The auto industry has made strides in recent years. Fuel efficiency is better than ever. New emission standards have encouraged automakers to embrace green technology, which will surely improve the environment.

Cars are safer that ever. Once upon a time, the safety belt and airbag were considered “innovative.” New cars come with neat safety features, such as backup cameras and lane departure warning systems. If you get too close to a parked car, you'll have time to tap the brakes. If you drift into the wrong lane, you'll be alerted before any paint is traded.

Self-driving cars will be available from Google soon. I'm not afraid of them. Even if people don't drive, their vehicles will still require service. Even if car ownership becomes less popular than ride sharing, those vehicles will still require service. Regardless of how cars work in the future, I want to be the first (and best) auto professional in line to service them. Do the same and you'll never struggle for business.

Cars have evolved in ways that make auto repair easy. Spark plugs used to need a replacement every 8,000-10,000 miles. On today's engines, some spark plugs can last up to 100,000 miles. (Granted, the repair is more complicated since you have to take half the engine apart to reach the plugs, but it's still an improvement). Oil changes used to be required every 3,000 miles. That's still true in some cases, but certain blends and synthetic oil can last up to 10,000 miles ... Wow!

What does all of this mean for drivers? Cars require less maintenance than ever. That means you have more time and money to spend in other areas. Cars are more reliable than ever. That means you're less likely to break down or get stranded during a road trip. Cars use less gas than ever. That is a huge win for the environment. As much as cars have developed, they aren't perfect. That's why auto shops exist. Auto mechanics are here to improve the safety and performance of every vehicle we lay our hands on. We’re like doctors and nurses for automobiles. Take your responsibility seriously!  

Automakers have made our jobs easier by improving their product, but society still needs auto repair. That will always remain to be true—no matter how advanced the automobile of the future might be. There aren't many constants in life, but this is one of them!

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