Don’t rely on the Internet to help diagnose auto issues
More information doesn't always translate into the right information when it comes to automotive problems.
Since the Internet was founded, search engines have proven to be an effective tool for accessing information quickly and easily.
But the old adage ‘too much information can be a bad thing’ is applicable to the car industry when consumers seek solutions to mechanical/electrical vehicle problems.
The following scenario is fictional, but I’ve seen similar situations in real life: A customer is driving a five-year-old sedan and hears a vibrating noise at high speeds. They go home and do a quick Internet search to find out the problem.
In this case, the search provides an unlimited stream of potential answers: a loose engine mount, a broken radiator fan, a stuck brake caliper. Emboldened by this self-diagnosis, the car owner checks under the hood for evidence of the problem, as was suggested.
Convinced that they have the answer, the car owner visits their local car dealership and tells the service advisor that the car shakes badly at high speeds because the brake calipers need replacing.
Later on, the car owner gets a call from the service advisor expecting to be congratulated on their expert self-diagnosis. Instead, the service advisor says, “It’s not your brake calipers that’s the problem. Three tires are worn out unevenly, and that’s what’s causing the vibrations.”
The service advisor informs the car owner that Internet searches are great but not perfect.
If readers want verification of how boundless information can be online, try conducting an Internet search for “weird engine noise” and see what happens. I conducted this exercise and got 449,000 results!
These search results came from a variety of sources, from personal blogs, automotive forums and technology journals to YouTube videos, Reddit threads and financial websites. Many of the sources seemed legitimate and accurate.
However, the problem with search engines is that there’s an overabundance of information on every available subject under the sun. But, finding the right information pertaining to an issue that’s unique to your vehicle — that’s where the expertise comes in.
To accurately diagnose an auto-related problem and to prescribe the right fix requires extensive training and experience. It’s no different than healthcare workers and civil engineers, who rely on years of schooling, training and experience to solve problems in their respective fields.
Information has become a huge advantage for consumers and dealerships in the Internet age. Information about vehicles, manufacturers and dealerships can be found in the blink of an eye with a search on the Internet.
But more information doesn’t always translate into the right information.
Even with the most current information, computers and tools available at new car dealerships today, automotive technicians play a vital role in properly diagnosing and repairing automobiles.
Automotive technicians possess a multitude of skills and a strong aptitude for learning. They have a solid understanding of the latest diagnostic tools, PCs and wireless, hand-held computers in troubleshooting problems. Their skills training and learning are ongoing, and their on-the-job experience working on the same brand, over and over again, is also an advantage for customers.
Today’s vehicles come equipped with sophisticated computer systems, alternative fuel and propulsion technologies, advanced braking and cooling systems, and steering/drive train components. Indeed, automotive service technicians now require an extraordinary degree of skill and ongoing training to troubleshoot and repair vehicles.
The next time you have an issue with the operation of your vehicle, don’t conduct an Internet search and wing it. Instead, bring your vehicle to your local new car dealership, where a certified automotive technician will eliminate the guesswork in diagnosing a problem, and you will have peace of mind knowing that the issue will get fixed accurately.