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Car Care: Bringing service into 21st century
By Jack Biddle • 19/01/2016
Holiday time is an ideal time to relax, let the imagination run wild and debate a number of “what ifs” and “why nots” in an effort to solve some of the world’s biggest issues.
For me, it has been a time to think about alternatives to regular vehicle servicing on the modern motor vehicle. It’s hardly a worldwide crisis, but for most owners it’s a pain to have to take their vehicles in for a routine service. Even when the costs are built into the initial buy price, inconvenience can be a major negative for owners.
I believe there are some challenging and valid questions. Are some vehicles being over-serviced and are there others that require a check-up a little more often than manufacturers recommend? Is vehicle servicing still based around old-school ideas rather than real necessity?
What started me heading down this track was when a family member recently had a defibrillator fitted into their chest to overcome a condition where the heart would suddenly jump out of rhythm. Prior to the operation, it took an external electric shock to restore normality to the heart rate.
Post-op, a consistent heart rate has been set and if there are future issues with arrhythmia, the defibrillator will kick in automatically and help restore the pre-set rhythm and will also log a record of the occurrence.
The beauty of this wonderful medical innovation is that ongoing monitoring can be done via wireless technology. It’s amazing to watch as a device similar in shape to a computer mouse is placed against the patient’s chest while a hospital technician is able to remotely download a past history of heart rate, while also having the ability to fine-tune and make adjustments to the defibrillator. The big bonus for patients and family is future regularhospital check-ups may not be necessary. It’s possible this will be done by hospital staff remotely via a wireless connection.
So my question for the motor industry is this; why can’t a motor vehicle be fitted with similar technology? Surely in this highly technical age we live in, under the bonnet vitals such as fluid levels and condition, brake and tyre wear, plus any of the many high tech on-board electronic components could be monitored and reported on remotely.
And is it possible for any future manufacturer’s electronic upgrades or even fault diagnosing to be carried out without owners having to initially return to a franchise dealer?
Reliability in general has never been better in the motor industry, so there must be a strong argument that suggests a better and more modern way of carrying out routine servicing checks and making electronic adjustments is possible moving forward.
Is it possible to receive regular reminders via mobile phone/ home computers asking owners to carry out their own self-checks from the convenience of the office or home? Wouldn’t a warning such as “brakes need attention or tyre tread depth is marginal” be a great safety message to receive?
I think the first manufacturer to come up with an idea along these lines is on to a winner and has an increased chance of customer retention and long-term loyalty.
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