It’s a scenario that has happened to everyone service provider at one point. A customer brings a truck in for a repair and the technician cannot figure out what is wrong. Or he can, but he doesn’t know how to fix it.
In times like these, it’s easy for anyone to get frustrated and agitated. To curse the sky. But a technician who fails to diagnose or accurately identify a repair doesn’t mean they’ve done something wrong. It could be insufficiently equipped for the job at hand.
Technicians need a very advanced level diagnostic equipment to do their job well. Service providers who fail to provide these tools not only endanger the safety of their employees, but can also damage their customer relationships and weaken their reputation.
But service providers who need more diagnostic equipment shouldn’t buy the first tool they can get their hands on, either.
Experts say service providers should first answer several key questions about their business in order to better identify the diagnostic equipment that will best meet their needs.
What are you fixing?
Finding the right diagnostic equipment starts with an inside look. Once a service provider identifies a need for better tools, experts say they should assess the equipment they already have and determine where they have gaps in their knowledge. A small spring shop is unlikely to need a high-end tool for engine diagnostics, but that doesn’t mean it may not need a heavy-duty tool that offers diagnostics. suspension, transmission and wheel end, for example.
Some diagnostic providers in the heavy truck market will provide advice during a sale.
Diesel Laptops Founder and CEO Tyler Robertson says his company is unique in that it doesn’t just sell its proprietary software, “we sell everybody’s software,” which means the The company’s sales team engages with customers in a consultative manner. “What the customer calls for isn’t always what they end up buying,” he says.
Service shops should also take a look at their customer base and make sure that any diagnostic equipment they invest in will help with the repairs they make every day. This means not only specific components and systems, but also vehicle brands. All-brand stores require all-brand technology.
That said, while any service shop investing in new diagnostic technology should attempt to acquire a product that will exceed their current needs, that doesn’t mean they should buy something much more advanced than necessary for their arrays.
Noregon’s Director of Product Management Scott Bolt says it’s imperative that service shops select tools that ensure they can get a repair right the first time.
“Availability is so precious to fleets; they can’t afford to risk being sidelined because the truck hasn’t received a full vehicle condition report, ”says Bolt.
What do you need it to do?
The multitude of diagnostic and troubleshooting products available on the market today serve a number of purposes. Buying a portable tool to read diagnostic trouble codes won’t do a service shop much good if they don’t know what those codes mean or how to fix them. Service operations also require access to repair information and the ability to troubleshoot associated faults and reset codes so customers can leave without being bothered by flashing service lights.
Bolt says Noregon has developed its suite of diagnostic products to address these issues.
“We’ve found that about 57% of trucks leave the shop with still active faults, largely because of shops using tools that only diagnose one component,” he says. “As vehicles become more and more complex, our mission is to simplify the diagnostic process by providing technicians with understandable and actionable information about what is wrong with the truck. “
A positive point on this note is that many original equipment suppliers within the trucking industry offer proprietary diagnostic software and equipment for their systems. For service shops providing only a small number of complex repairs, purchasing these products independently may be more cost effective than acquiring a more robust tool with additional software for brands and systems than one. service workshop can never repair.
Service providers also need to ensure that their diagnostic equipment will evolve with the vehicles they repair.
John McNeilus, Director of Sales and Marketing, DG Technologies, explains that his company’s analytics tools are developed to be able to download free software updates at any time from the company’s website. McNeilus says these updates not only assure customers that their technicians have the most recent information, but the secure download connection also ensures that a tool never receives incorrect or erroneous information.
How are you going to use it?
Finally, there is the question of the layout of stores and the use of workplaces. Most diagnostic scan tools are portable so technicians can take them into a bay and easily maneuver around equipment to connect to systems and read codes.
But repairing trucks today requires more than just a scan tool. Technicians also need access to tablets and / or personal computers to be able to access repair information software that provides root cause analysis, service instructions, wiring diagrams and more. Again.
When investing in new equipment, service shops need to decide how they want to equip their technologies and racks. And on this point, McNeilus says it’s important not to neglect the service environment. “Even if your technicians take care of it, these [tools] are still going to be beaten over time, ”he said. “They must be tough.”
For a shop focusing on tedious maintenance jobs, such as rebuilding engines or transmissions, or a body shop, purchasing a number of tools to share at one site may be possible. For a workshop focused more on preventive maintenance and rapid turnaround of trucks, equipping each bay with the necessary diagnostic equipment may be optimal. Tool providers also often offer recommendations to customers in this area, provided that the latter provide accurate information about its activity, needs and likely uses.
“Ultimately, any tool you buy should help generate money for your store,” says Robertson. “You have to make sure you know what you are buying. “