Rome wasn’t built in a day and automotive technicians won’t become experts in servicing electric vehicles overnight, advised an industry expert.
The best tool in the toolbox of a technician is their experience, said Ben Johnson, director of product management at Mitchell 1.
“When we look at a problem on a car, the first time we see a symptom on a particular vehicle, it might drive us crazy figuring it out,” he explained during his presentation Preparing for Electrification — What Shops Need to do to Get Ready at AAPEX 2021.
“But once we figure it out, it’s up here,” he added, pointing to his head. “And the next time we see that vehicle, which is inevitable, we’ll do it that much faster. And the next time that much faster.”
He reminded technicians as part of the Let’s Tech on the AAPEX Stage at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas that you may lose a little money on the first new vehicles you see, but then you quickly make it up and then some through the repair process.
So with electric vehicles, it’s going to be the first time technicians see a number of issues.
“So don’t try to be the hero,” Johnson warned. “Make sure you look at that repair information to make sure you don’t get hurt.”
One important piece of advice he gave was to make sure EVs are in a mode where they can be serviced. It may seem like common sense but techs need to remember that they’re not dealing with internal combustion engines.
“So don’t try to be the hero Make sure you look at that repair information to make sure you don’t get hurt.”
“We’re used to walking through a car, hearing the engine run — or not — and if the engine is not running, we pretty much assume we can pop the hood and do what we want because it’s not fired up,” Johnson observed.
With EVs, the vehicle could still be active unbeknownst to the technician.
“Maybe the car still active. Maybe if I … tap that accelerator pedal, it’ll just start moving. And we don’t want that,” Johnson said. “It seems like, ‘OK, dummy, you deserve what you get.’ But it’s going to take us a while to get used to making sure that the key’s off and that everything’s in the mode that it needs to be so that I can service that vehicle safely.”