Alternative Fuels and Mechanics

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maintenance
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#1

I’m going to be entering school soon to begin training to become a mechanic and was wondering what effect you guys think alternative fuels will have for the auto repair industry? I just can’t figure out how to best prepare myself to work on whichever kind of car (hybrid, hydrogen, etc.) will replace that of the internal combustion engine. Obviously they would still need things like tires and shocks, but what about oil changes (in terms of hydrogen, obviously hybrid would still need oil) or other major vehicle repairs.


#2

I don’t think there will be any shortage of internal combustion engines to work on for quite a few decades. If/when some other form of vehicle becomes to predominate form of transportation, you will have to learn the skills to work on them. Auto repair is very slow to change compared to some other fields, like computers and telecommunications.


#3

The best way is to study hard and learn the basic principles as “soundly” as you can. Your program will touch on some of these subjects, but in reality conventional gas engines will still be the norm for very many years to come.

And you’ll be in the field, attending manufacturer’s training sessions, studying specific things as they’re developed to get additional ASE certifications, and generally enhance your understanding. And much of the car will be unaffected by power plant technologies…but may change in and of its own…like brake systems and the advent of ABS.

Realize that as in all areas of technology nobody knows everything in detail. That’s why there are specialists, and why some problems truely are better at a dealer’s because they have the factory training.


#4

There are a number of different technologies out there. Some are in the market place right now (like hybrids) and others that are still in the conception stage. Most will not make it to the market and some of those that do make it, will not last. No one knows what the future will bring other than change.

I would suggest learning what is there now and take the time to learn the new stuff as it comes to the market.


#5

I would think that both of the above replies are correct, and add that the school itself should be a place that is very much on top of what may be coming on the horizon. I would check out what they have in terms of training toward the future.


#6

Automotive technology has changed very slowly over the years, compared to other thign like office machines. Computers become obsolete evry 5 years, and photography and Televison/music recording/playing has changed very rapidly.

Piston engines will be with us for quite a number of years. What will change it what is attached to them, such as electric motors in hybrids.

You will need strong electrical and electronic knowledge in the future.

That is already evident.

Don’t worry about fuel cells, the major successor; it will be atleast 15-20 years before you will need to fix any.


#7

Most changes are evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. If, as other posts have suggested, if you learn the principles behind the technology of today, you will be ready to learn the technology of tomorrow. In my early college days, the vacuum tube was being replaced by the transistor. The function for the vacuum tube and the transistor is the same. In the vacuum tube, one controls the flow of electrons between the cathode and the plate with a voltage applied to the grid. In the transistor, on controls the electron flow between the emitter and the colelctgor by applying a voltage to the base. A modern chip consists of many transistor circuits embedded on the chip.

The computer didn’t just “hatch” overnight. The work of George Boole in the 1800’s led to the AND, OR and NOT gates that are the building block circuits of the computer. The concept of the processor and the memory goes back to Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace in attempting to develop an analytic engine. The processor and memory were called the mill and the store respectively.

Electric automobiles date back to the early 1900’s as do automobiles powered by internal combustion engines. The hybrid set-up combines these two concepts. Years ago, at least one automobile manufacturer used a generator that also served as a starter motor. The electric motor in a hybrid car serves as a motor to help propel the vehicle and a generator to put power back in its batteries.

Alternative fuels have been used for years in internal combustion engines. I remember John Deere tractors that were started on gasoline and then run on kerosene. People have experimented for years using propane as a source of fuel. Don’t worry, if you really get the training for today, you will be prepared to retrain for tomorrow.


#8

I really appreciate the comments guys. What you’ve said is pretty much along the lines of what i’ve been thinking but it’s always nice to hear the words from someone else’s mouth, if you know what I mean.