DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ONLINE AUTOMOBILE MAINTENANCE INFORMATION SYSTEM
The online automobile care system is a guide with an interactive tool which provides drivers with comprehensive and convenient information which are meant not only to help them whenever they meet with an unforeseen incident on the road or at any point in time, but also to guide them in preventing them. Familiarity with the maintenance tips contained in this system would always assist drivers in providing self-aid when they encounter breakdown. The system also prints out the vehicle information and saves in a database for future reference.
This chapter therefore discusses on the overview of this research ranging from the introduction to the background of the study, the problem statement the aim/objectives where the project’s goal is determined. After that are the scopes of the system and lastly is the organization of study which briefly describes the structure of this research project.
1.1 Background of the Study
Automobile care or maintenance describes the act of inspecting or testing the condition of car subsystems (e.g., engine) and servicing or replacing parts and fluids. Regular maintenance is critical to ensure the safety, reliability, drivability, comfort and longevity of a car. During preventive maintenance, a number of parts are replaced to avoid major damage or for safety reasons, e.g. timing belt replacement.
The actual schedule of car maintenance varies depending on the year, make, and model of a car, its driving conditions and driver behavior. Car makers recommend the so-called extreme or the ideal service schedule based on impact parameters such as:
- Number of trips and distance traveled per trip per day
- Extreme hot or cold climate conditions
- Mountainous, dusty or de-iced roads
- Heavy stop-and-go vs. long-distance cruising
- Towing a trailer or other heavy load
Experienced service advisors in dealerships and independent shops recommend schedule intervals, which are often in between the ideal or extreme service schedule. They base it on the driving conditions and behavior of the car owner or driver.
Common car maintenance tasks include the following amongst others:
- Check/replace the engine oil and replace oil filters
- Check/replace fuel filters
- Inspect tires for pressure and wear/tire balancing
- Check, clean or replace battery terminals and top up battery fluid
- Check or flush brake fluid, transmission fluid and engine coolant
- Inspect or replace spark plugs, brake pads and air filter
Some tasks that have equivalent service intervals are combined into one single service known as a tune-up. In modern cars, where electronics control most of the car’s functions, the traditional tune-up doesn’t apply anymore. Maintenance jobs like a tune-up used to mean getting the engine’s performance back on track. Today embedded software takes care of it by constantly checking thousands of sensor signals, compensating for worn-out spark plugs, clogged filters, etc. The so-called limp-home function allows driving on limited power when the engine is in trouble. In the old days this might have meant a breakdown .
Edy Standard Car Mechanic Company, Ikot Ekpene is a multifaceted mechanical engineering company involved in marketing of Toyota Brand of Automobiles, parts and accessories besides repairs and maintenance and has its cooperate headquarters at Ikot Ekpene. It was incorporated as a Private Limited Liability Company in 2006 with RC No. 281837. The company was established as a result of the initiative of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) of Japan to unify the hitherto multiple distributorship, repair/maintenance system in place. Edy Standard Car Mechanic Company, Ikot Ekpene commenced operations on March 2006 and has the sole franchise for Toyota products in the Nigerian Market. The company is also firmly positioned to operate from a finely balanced and holistic platform and it strongly believes that its staff is its greatest asset.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Sudden breakdown resulting from poor maintenance measures or irregular fixing of appropriate parts are the most often encountered problems associated with vehicles. Other occasions may be problems associated with the engine oil, oil filters, fuel filters, wear and tear of tire, brake pads, air filter, etc as a result of incompetent hands to tackle the problem. However, acquaintance with the necessary automobile maintenance tips would definitely increase satisfaction level in the long run as cost of repair would be reduced especially for new cars and used cars significantly. All of these measures are embedded in the online concept of automobile maintenance.
1.3 Aim/Objective of the Study
The aim of this study is to introduce to the Nigerian context, Edy Standard Car Mechanic Company, Ikot Ekpene and to relevant automobile workshops saddled with the responsibility of car maintenance and repairs, an online automobile care system knowing that this would bring in efficiency and reliability in the establishment and foster a better customer-business relation as vehicle owners will be able to access the company’s website for automobile care tips at any point in time.
It will also assist customers in requesting the company’s assistance of any sort through the online medium and obtain quick response. This would help reduce administrative bottlenecks in the establishment and also completely eliminate problems associated with the existing system.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This research project would be particularly useful to the Edy Standard Car Mechanic Company, Ikot Ekpene and other such related establishments desiring to upgrade their current system of operation. It is also significant in the following ways:
- It is significant to programmers and web designers in showing them the areas to focus when designing and coding a web based program.
- It will encourage prompt feedback from the public and vehicle owner particularly.
- It will bring the management of the establishment close to the internet and computer operations.
- This research will also encourage more research on the topic.
1.5 Organization of Research
This project is organized in five chapters. Chapter one is a general introduction to the whole research project and it provides an insight to the nature, problem and the purpose of designing and implementing an online automobile care system. In chapter two, relevant literatures to this research work are reviewed. The main focus is to determine expertise knowledge used so far regarding the subject matter. In chapter three, the system analysis and its design are presented. Chapter four is concerned with implementation and presentation of the result. Chapter five presents the summary, conclusion, and recommendations.
1.6 Scope of the Study
Given time, money, expertise acquired so far, such a research project is too wide in scope. Thus, it is concerned with the designing and implementation of an online automobile care system for Edy Standard Car Mechanic Company to facilitate fast and easy access to basic online automobile maintenance tips in cases of car breakdown.
1.7 Definition of Terms
The following are terms related to this study: