MechanikTV: An Android app to upskill India's mechanics
The desirability of taking your car or bike for a service ranks second only to a trip to the dentist, and as your wheels get older, the visit to a service centre for unplanned maintenance is not the most pleasant one. A significant chunk of owners, particularly those based outside the Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, prefer to get their vehicles serviced at a neighbourhood garage with a mechanic whom they trust. As vehicles continue to get more sophisticated, packing in more sensors and stricter emission norms, it can be a challenge for an aftermarket mechanic to keep abreast of all the latest technologies that go into a car or bike. Thankfully, there lies a solution for them in the form of MechanikTV.
What is MechanikTV?
MechanikTV aims to help aftermarket mechanics stay updated with the latest technologies that are present in the cars and bikes on sale and how one must go about the process of fixing them. It is aimed less at DIY, think ChrisFixIt on YouTube, and more at solving the problems that a mechanic might face such as error codes. Rajeev Radhakrishnan, Founder-CEO of MechanikTV says, “Many people call them (mechanics) many things. They actually have much bigger problems. They’re actually the classic underdogs. Everybody uses their service but loves to talk about the flaws, the errs that plague their trade, but actually they serve a very critical role and nobody is there to help them.” MechanikTV is available as an app which consists of training session videos in regional languages as well as industry information to help a mechanic stay updated.
How does MechanikTV work?
Using the Android app, a mechanic can access training sessions available on the MechanikTV platform. The content is simple and easy to understand, with over 90 per cent of it available in Hindi, followed closely by Marathi and Bengali, with other regional languages being added progressively. The videos are scheduled at times when most mechanics can access them, such as 2PM and 8PM, when most garages have a slack in activity. The content is presented by trainers who are ASDC (Automotive Skills and Development Council) certified.
Having co-founded T7E, the parent company of MechanikTV over seven years ago, Rajeev explains the motivations and the process of starting with the app. He started off with the BS6 emission norms, which provided an additional impetus to the effort. “The biggest technology shift that happened as a result of the BS6 upgrade is actually in the two-wheeler segment — the number of sensors that came in, you would know that it's very difficult to make a clean, small engine. The bigger the engine, the more levers you have to make it more efficient and clean, but replicating that same effect on a smaller engine is tough. You need interventions around better pre-emission controls, which means lots of sensors and that's actually where the mechanic ends up facing his pitfalls. Many of these mechanics are not very comfortable using a multimeter or an OBD scanner even. And what's peculiar about the BS6 two-wheelers is that the owners of these vehicles don't wait for a year or two years or for warranty period to get over before they switch to the independent aftermarket, and as early as July of 2020 last year, we were getting queries from independent aftermarket mechanics on servicing BS6 vehicles. That's when we realized we were really on to something. When we posted content on BS4, there was hardly any interest on MechanikTV, but as soon as you mentioned BS6, or sensors, or multimeter, the viewership just skyrocketed!” says Rajeev.
Future roadmap for MechanikTV
MechanikTV is betting big on the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). “We’re trying to create a foundation course on EVs for mechanics,” says Rajeev, adding that any issues faced by electric vehicles are fairly new to most owners and mechanics, creating a level of uncertainty as we move towards electrification. When asked if MechanikTV could help young enthusiasts get their hands dirty as to working on their vehicles, Rajeev states that he does not rule out the possibility. “We’re also expecting more graduates from ITIs and vocational institutes to consider this field as another career opportunity, and to get rid of the stigma that one might normally associate with the profession.” With an initiative like this, MechanikTV is addressing an often overlooked part of the automotive sector, and helping modernise the aftermarket. Considering the number of garages in our nation, MechanikTV carries huge promise that will ultimately improve car ownership, as well as a lot of enthusiast potential for those looking to get their hands dirty. The MechanikTV app is available for download on the Google Play Store and you can check it out here.