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Hi-tech service/repair threat

Growing electronic sophistication in modern cars is threatening a service and repair crisis that could cost car owners dear, CAP has warned.

According to Monitor SMR editor, Nindi Mann, already there is a serious skills shortage in the areas of air conditioning and diesel technology leading to mis-diagnosis of faults and huge inconvenience for car owners who are increasingly struggling to find repairers who can tackle even relatively routine faults.

At the heart of the problem is the fact that major advancements are led by the car manufacturers, which naturally keep their technological cards close to their chest and train only those technicians within their own franchise dealerships.

But at the same time, as the car retail industry consolidates, many franchise dealerships are closing - forcing many owners to travel outside their own area for fully expert repairs or maintenance.

Nindi Mann said: "Manufacturers are on a constant quest to reduce fuel consumption and emissions plus enhance driver enjoyment and safety.

"On-board computers and other electronic control systems are now proliferating and we are even going to see the start of a switch next year from the traditional 12 and 24 volt electronic systems to a new 36 to 42 volt standard.

"But without the skills infrastructure in place to tackle today's and tomorrow's increasingly sophisticated technological problems the advantages may begin to be outweighed by the problems. For example, if better performance and fuel consumption comes at the cost of increased electrical faults then the full benefits of technological advancement will be missed."

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