The role of technician is not what it once was. To work on any modern Volkswagen vehicle, you’re much more likely to have a laptop in your hand than a wrench, as Aftersales Manager Paul Donohoe explains…
Hi Paul, can you give us an example of the kind of software you use in the workshop?
ODIS is the diagnosis system we use on all Volkswagen vehicles. It was in its infancy when I started five years ago, and is still being developed and improved today.
Simply put, ODIS commuicates with the engine software, that's essentially the brains of the car. It reads any logged information that'll help us in testing and diagnosing faults that have occurred, or that are present at the time. It relays a fault code, and what area that fault is in, that allows the technician to perform a sequence of tests that bring a final outcome. They then work with it as a diagnostic tool to overcome and eliminate problems to get to the final diagnosis.
So what other information can you find out?
It can tell you whether a fault is static, historic, or intermittent, how many times it's happened, when it's happened, and so on. It can reduce time spent looking in the wrong places so to speak. What’s more, it’s all logged automatically on the car's history.
How does that affect the role of the technician?
Hugely - I would say that nowadays being a technician, rather than being a mechanic, is almost like being a diagnostic specialist. These days the skill of mechanics isn't so much needed. An internal fault with an engine or a gear box is the only time these days when physical mechanics comes in to repairing cars. Whereas diagnosing a car you almost have to be a PC expert.
You can see the younger generation coming through now that understands the technology and gets to grips with new systems fairly quickly. Although the basic running of a Volkswagen is the same, it's all guided and monitored and updated with technology.