NMCC automotive technology students, from left, Austin Thibeault and Isaac Martin and instructor Robert Kaiser pictured with the new auto lift and alignment equipment in the lab. Courtesy of NMCC

PRESQUE ISLE — Northern Maine Community College’s automotive technology program will begin the fall 2021 semester with a significant upgrade to their lab equipment. This spring, with funds from the trade department, the program purchased a premium Hunter Hawkeye auto lift with adjoining alignment system, similar to what graduates might encounter in the region’s largest dealerships and services centers. The model represents the benchmark for quality in the field.

“The new system provides an integrated process used to reset advanced driver assisted systems,” explained instructor Bob Kaiser. “The Hunter product offers support for an original equipment manufacturer reset with a system called CodeLink. The combination of the lift and system is an automotive four-wheel alignment machine that aligns the steering system with the centerline of the vehicle, keeps tires from wearing out and allows vehicles to drive straight down the road.”

Part of the new system’s appeal is the valuable advanced technology exposure it offers students. The new equipment enhances training in both the Steering and Suspension course as well as Innovative Automotive Technologies, providing insights into more recent features like lane-departure sensors.

“The new system is much quicker than the prior system, and more user friendly,” Kaiser explained. “With built-in graphics and tutorial videos showing clear illustrations, the software helps students understand complex procedures step-by-step.”

NMCC offers an associate’s degree program in automotive technology as well as a 9-month professional certificate program. Students learn all vehicle systems including engine repair, electronics, heating and air conditioning, brakes, drivetrain and axles and innovative technologies such as hybrid propulsion – to name a selection. Graduates are eligible to take the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) student certification exam upon completion of the program.

“It’s critical that we keep up with the evolving technologies popular in the field,” Kaiser explained. “That’s what we need to teach students in order to prepare NMCC graduates to succeed in the workforce. This new equipment allows us to do that.”

Maine automotive technicians and mechanics earn an average of $42,820 annually or $20.59 per hour. The College works with local business leaders who indicate a high demand for skilled mechanics in the area. For more information about NMCC’s automotive technology program please visit nmcc.edu or contact admissions at 207-768-2785.