Car Care: Getting the message across
Thanks to everyone who emailed their thoughts about the way the industry should be heading in regards to servicing and the way the vehicle and owner/driver can interact.
A number of readers think personal responsibility is very much lacking in motor vehicle ownership these days — a responsibility that, some say, goes hand-in-hand with vehicle ownership.
If that responsibility is reduced further, or taken away completely and replaced with electronic monitoring, then some believe we are removing the simple tasks owners have been doing since the motor vehicle was invented.
One reply went so far as to say the younger smartphone generation expected to see an app for everything and they need to get off their backsides and do a few simple vehicle checks.
In reply to that particular feedback, let me say this: the younger generation are our future and most of them have forgotten what most of the older generation think they know about all the electronic gadgetry that rules our lives today.
Yes, they may seem a bit lazy when it comes to vehicle ownership but I think it’s more about a general disinterest in motor vehicles in general, including the way vehicle servicing works today.
Yes, they should be encouraged to do some basic checks, such as tyre pressure and general condition themselves, but maybe an electronic reminder would get a much better reaction because that’s the way they operate on a day-to-day level.
As far as the older generation goes, surveys show more than half the NZ passenger vehicle fleet has underinflated tyres, which means many of those vehicles are driven by those who should know better.
Plus, with the recent lengthening of the Warrant of Fitness inspection intervals for many vehicles, we are hearing more stories about vehicles being driven with tyres that are worn well beyond the legal limits.
So it’s not entirely fair to blame the younger generation for lack of attention to their motor vehicles.
Other readers saw merit in having specific service items monitored and reported back to owners/drivers via a remote wireless system.
The majority of vehicle owners/drivers are hooked into the world of electronics of some sort these days and they wouldn’t revert to any of the old systems even if they had a choice.
The modern motor vehicle is also a different beast than it was 20 years ago.
Nowadays, electronics pretty much run the whole vehicle, including looking after the deployment of proactive and reactive safety devices, tailpipe emissions, performance, fuel economy, steering, transmission and most other driver aids.
And if the bonnet was lifted on most of the newer vehicles, many owners would struggle to find the dipstick — and that includes some past mechanics.
Manufacturers are also adding long-life fluids to their vehicles, which in theory means no top-ups or changes are required for what they see as the life of a vehicle — around 10 years or 200,000km.
When I was involved in new model training, a great deal of time was spent explaining to groups, such as the motoring press, what was going on under the bonnet and why. But today, more time is spent on other innovations and the bonnet hardly ever gets raised.
There is no question that personal responsibility is still vital, but maybe it’s how the message is delivered that is the big industry challenge.