Cars and trucks today are so advanced. With remote start systems and even technology that parks your car for you it can seem like technology is taking over. Many car systems also have built-in maintenance systems that send you a reminder when you need an oil change or when something is wrong. Your car dealer can even see this information and send you messages about coming in to get it taken care of. Though it sounds like a friendly reminder, it brings up additional questions about how the dealer really knows so much and what else do they know.
Telematics has been around for a while and it is the technology of sending, receiving and storing information related to remote objects such as vehicles. The information is sent by telecommunication devices. The Global Positioning System (GPS) technology falls in the category with telematics. The terms now generally refer to vehicle tracking and are very popular especially in fleet vehicles. Companies especially trucking and government owned companies like to track their vehicles. Tracking is especially important in companies where employees are paid by the number of miles they drive.
Companies use the information for insurance purposes as well as to make sure that their cars are serviced at regular intervals. Fleet trucking companies can have hundreds of trucks out at one time so the GPS systems are the only way to keep a tally. Also in the event of a robbery or other incident they can possibly trace their vehicle. Sounds great for fleet vehicles but this technology has found its way onto regular everyday cars at your local dealership. Though at first glance it seems like a good technology because the dealership can keep up with their cars and know what cars are out for servicing or being test driven but what happens when the cars are purchased. Does the tracking continue?
The answer is yes. The GPS tracking system remains and now your dealer has a direct line to you through your car. So they can be watching may realize your check engine light is on before you do, Spooky. The GPS tracking system is like a spy in your car, able to collect key information about your car such as engine life mileage and of course location. GPS tracking technologies such as OnStar can be very helpful because it can help you get in your car if you lock your keys inside and even call for help in the event of an emergency. However, these services can also keep track of every inch of your car, watching your vehicle whether you want it to or not.
Does your dealer really need to know that you are almost out of gas? Probably not but they definitely want to know that you need an oil change so that they can invite you back to the dealership. The truth is unless you are under a factory warranty and get some type of perks from going back to the dealership you do not have to let them handle your maintenance. Dealerships can be more expensive and are not always as conveniently located. However, make sure to check the details of your warranty and service schedule. You do not want to void your warranty. Sometimes while your car is under warranty, certain recall repairs must be performed at the dealer.
When your car is still under factory warranty, and you have a recall or other service that is free of charge you should absolutely go to the dealership and get your free service. However don’t feel obligated to pay attention to the dealership every time they come calling. As for now GPS tracking seems to be here to stay so the dealer is always lurking but always remember that your car service provider is ultimately your choice.