The Right Information

Knowledge is key to being able to repair the vehicles of today (and tomorrow).

Technology impacts everyone, from businesses through individuals. This includes shop owners and their customers. Not only are cars and technology changing at an increasing rate, at the same time, we as an industry are trying to keep up and adopt them.

The burden and challenge of safeguarding adopted technology is now a hot industry topic. There are questions about who owns the technology (is it the manufacturer or the customer?) and how we as service providers will be able to not only work on these newer vehicles but also give our customers a level of service that is equal to or better than the dealership. You can’t attend any meeting or event today without hearing discussions on who owns the information. We need to be able to get that information from the vehicle in order to properly maintain the customer’s car.

Direct access

One example I have heard while attending these meetings is with OnStar, which has been around since 1996 on GM vehicles. The owner is a spouse of an automotive shop owner, and she has signed over the information to go directly to her husband at the shop for servicing and maintenance. That is great, but how many customers will be aware that this is an option for them versus having their vehicle go to the dealership?

Our suppliers and tool companies are worried about how they will be able to communicate with new vehicles that have employed security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access to the in-vehicle networks for cybersecurity reasons. Many scan tools are obsolete and unable to perform many of the service routines necessary for safe and proper repairs. You are seeing more tools that are specific to an individual manufacturer’s network.

Data access and data ownership are key issues we are all keeping a close eye upon. As an association, we are looking at these issues with respect to ownership, control of and access to information, plus the data that the vehicles collect, generate and store in electronic forms.

It’s clear that in our connected world, cyber attacks pose a serious threat, and automakers are developing security solutions to prevent attackers from accessing information.

Right to repair

There is no doubt that the repair industry is in for challenging times with the complex vehicles being produced today. Whether you are an independent or a dealership, the repair strategies are becoming quite difficult, and training will be a huge part of adapting to future technology.

All of this puts the focus on the importance of “right to repair” and the ability to perform the maintenance work, tools and information and training on all newer vehicles. We applaud the manufacturers who work with us and see the importance of the aftermarket being able to repair and service their vehicles for their customers.

We are in for an exciting ride in our industry with real time diagnostics and rapidly changing technologies. I, for one, look forward to it!

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