Nobody has to tell you that computers are a part of so many things in our lives. Smartphones, kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, televisions. You name it—it has a computer in it. And your vehicle is no exception.
The earliest cars relied on the technology of their time, and there was no such thing as a computer. But now, it's not unusual for a vehicle to have as many as 150 computers in it.
They perform a variety of functions. An important one is diagnosing your vehicle's problems. There are various sensors throughout modern vehicles that measure thousands of data points. When something is not working correctly, they send a signal to another computer that stores that information. The data can be read by someone who has a special computer that plugs into a port in your car. It displays certain codes that help technicians track down the culprit.
But it's not just the diagnostics that are computerized. Everything from your vehicle's fuel injection to anti-lock brakes is. Convenience features such as power windows, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a wi-fi-hot spot, streaming video and navigation are all sophisticated computers. Then there are the safety features; air bags, traction control, automatic emergency braking and a host of others are all dependent on computers.
It is important that those computers work correctly because they interface with many of the other computers on board. To properly diagnose problems with those computers requires training and special equipment. Your service facility has invested considerable resources into both, and they are equipped to properly evaluate and repair and/or replace malfunctioning components.
Some lament the days when backyard mechanics could pull out their tools and do their own repairs. Those days are fast disappearing with the computerization of vehicles. But look at the bright side. Your vehicle does so much more, has so many more features and travels far more safely than those past generations drove. And they're bound to get better and more sophisticated down the road.
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