The first service technician was a woman.
When Bertha Benz set off on a journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim in her Patent Motor Car one morning in August 1888, she didn’t know what sort of adventure she was embarking upon. Every 20 kilometres the coolant needed to be topped up. As there was no fuel tank yet, petrol needed to be purchased by the litre at the chemist’s. At times the vehicle needed to be pushed along over greater distances due to the fact that the engine was still weak.
And it wasn’t just the task of forward progress that held so many surprises. Stopping was also no simple matter. Braking was achieved using the thin leather lining on the brakes. This began to smoulder on the first journey and then finally broke apart. Fortunately the village cobbler came to the rescue with a strip of leather – probably the first replacement part in automotive history.
The first repair shop opens.
Vehicle technology developed further and with it grew the need for know-how regarding technical services. The focus was on repairing vehicles, which were still temperamental. The first repair shops opened in around 1900. Maintenance did not play a prominent role in the consciousness of vehicle owners – why spend money on something if it wasn’t broken? The fact that maintenance could contribute to safety was not yet clear to many people.
A car cost approximately as much as a house and required around the same amount again to keep up – which was no surprise considering that its consumption of fuel, water and oil were not particularly low. To save resources oil was filtered through a towel and used again for topping up – a kind of oil change which strikes us nowadays as a bit questionable.
After-sales service is becoming increasingly important.
In the 1960s service requirements started being documented in the specifications book, which helped to bring about vehicle designs which were easier to repair and maintenance-friendly. The introduction of electronics in Mercedes-Benz vehicles launched a new era. Customer service used new test techniques to adapt to the changed requirements. More and more training centres were opened in order to keep our service staff up to date with the latest technology.
New troubleshooting equipment.
The technical systems at Mercedes-Benz became increasingly complex. That meant it was more and more difficult to find a cause for disruptions in the electronics systems. Although having a test adapter with socket box and diagnosis manual was sufficient in the 1980s, in subsequent years new devices were developed for diagnosing faults. As part of the Case project (computer-aided service) a hand-held tester was developed. The device was used to read and eradicate errors at the same time.
When the bus systems were introduced this type of diagnosis was replaced by the modern STAR diagnosis for analysing and eliminating faults. This system is now still in use today in Mercedes-Benz Service in a more advanced form.
From mechanic to mechatronic engineer.
As the number and complexity of the assistance systems in the vehicles increased, the job profile of our Service technicians also began to change after the year 2000. Whereas they had been primarily occupied with swapping out components in the past, they were now completing most of their tasks with a PC. Along with the tools they used, their job title also changed. Mechanics became mechatronic engineers. But amongst all the changes one thing always remained the same – our mission to maintain the safety of our vehicles and our customers.
Life-long learning and specialisation.
You can never learn enough – and this also applies to the service technicians at Mercedes-Benz. Regular training and further education ensure that our employees are always up to date with state-of-the-art technology and that your Mercedes is in the best hands.
Nowadays when you bring your Mercedes to a Mercedes-Benz workshop, an entire team of experienced experts and specialists takes care of your service. Their team structure reinforces the sharing of knowledge and guarantees that even the more complicated problem cases can be solved. That’s how you can be certain that you’re always receiving the best service for your star vehicle.