For many people, their car is one of the most significant purchases they make, second only to buying a home. Making a purchase this large is exciting but can also be stressful. During the transaction, some smaller items might get glossed over or under-scrutinized because of the attention on the vehicle purchase itself, and any related deposits or financing. A couple of the things that often get overlooked until after the sale are the audio and entertainment systems in the vehicle.
However, the audio system and electronics accessories are some of the most apparent things you interface with during the first drive home. Connecting your phone with the radio to make Bluetooth calls, trying to navigate, cranking up the music — all things that become items you wish you had paid more attention to when evaluating the car.
But upgrading these components is not as simple as it was even just a couple of years ago. Most radios in today’s vehicles allow you to adjust settings for lights or locks, and some are connected to other systems in the vehicle to combat road noise or other driving characteristics. Power locks or remote starters, included from the factory, offer limited range and functionality compared with aftermarket products. But integrating with these systems without losing or negatively affecting them can be difficult for a typical do-it-yourselfer.
Today’s Vehicle Electrical Systems Are Very Complex
Looking for a professional technician becomes very important when upgrading these systems. These technicians have studied material and demonstrated experience with the complex electrical and data systems in today’s vehicles. The Mobile Electronics Certified Professionals (MECP) program is the only program that certifies professional technicians on the installation, integration, and diagnosis of aftermarket vehicle technology products. The radios, amplifiers, and security and remote start systems installed in vehicles need to be properly integrated into the vehicle’s systems properly to prevent problems and ensure long-term reliability.
Since MECP is the only nationally recognized certification program for the mobile electronics industry, you should ask the retailer you are purchasing your products from about their technicians’ certification level so you can be sure they are well-equipped to handle your installation needs.
The Four MECP Certification Levels
• Mobile Product Specialist certification means the professional can adequately explain and demonstrate current technology, and they can help select products to build your audio system or add new features like backup cameras and remote starters to your vehicle.
• Basic Installation Technician certification means the technician has experience in basic-level installations and has standard shop safety skills and will be functional and effective when installing your electronics. This technician has simple electrical knowledge and can execute proven troubleshooting steps.
• Advanced Installation Technician certification confirms that the technician understands the fundamental aspects of electrical circuits and troubleshooting. They also have at least one year of experience performing installations in vehicles. A good handle on understanding electrical theory and technology concepts makes this technician capable of handling most installation and troubleshooting tasks.
• Master Installation Technician certification is the highest level of certification through the MECP program. A technician at this level is fully capable of handling any installation in a vehicle. Often these professionals will be a shop manager or lead technician who other techs in the facility will ask for assistance with troubleshooting and more technical integration projects.
What Are the Benefits of Seeking Out An MECP-Certified Technician?
If your technician has acquired and maintained his or her certification, especially at an Advanced or Master level, it shows they are committed to staying on top of the most current installation standards and recommended best practices. Vehicle technology is changing at a breakneck pace, and it is crucial your technician takes your installation project just as seriously as you make your technology purchase. Would you trust having an addition to your house built by a non-licensed contractor? Probably not. Then why would you trust someone who has not been certified to work on one of the most significant purchases you might make? Ask your retailer for MECP certification status of the technician that will be working on your vehicle and rest assured they can perform a safe and professional installation.