Fleet Maintenance - 38

		┬╗Aftermarket diagnostic solutions can be
more cost-effective than OEM options.
Erica Schueller

Assessing aftermarket
diagnostic solutions
Shops maintaining mixed fleets
can benefit from aftermarket
solutions that provide broad
coverage, easy-to-digest data, and
reliable training and support.
By Gregg Wartgow

38 Fleet Maintenance | May 2020

There is no disputing the quality of genuine
OE parts. In some cases, the same can be said
for diagnostic software. However, an aftermarket alternative can be the best, most cost-effective solution for a fleet.
"As fleet maintenance shops diversify in
terms of makes and models, engines, transmissions, braking systems, and now even trailers,
they need an OE software for each one," says
Chris Freeman, director of sales/training HD
at Autel, a developer of intelligent diagnostics,
detection, and analysis systems. "As you buy all
of these OE software packages, it really starts
to stack up over time."

A good "all makes and models" diagnostic
aftermarket solution can help a fleet reduce
both cost and complexity.
Some OE software is rather expensive,
says Freeman, who entered the industry as
a technician in 1990. First there is the upfront
cost, which can obviously add up when a fleet
has to purchase numerous OE software platforms. Additionally, when a license expires,
the software will often go dark unless the fleet
renews it.
With some aftermarket solutions, on the
other hand, the fleet can continue using the
software after its license expires; the fleet will
just stop receiving updates. Those updates may
or may not be essential to a given fleet. For
example, if a smaller fleet plans on running the
same trucks for the next several years, updates
may not be essential.
On the contrary, sometimes a fleet will
conclude that updates are essential. If so, there
are a few other things to scrutinize.
"A fleet should purchase an aftermarket
tool from a company that invests in continuous enhancements," says Scott Bolt, director of
product management for Noregon, a provider
of commercial vehicle diagnostics, repair, and
data analytic solutions. "As new vehicles are
introduced and technicians' needs evolve, the
tool must keep pace with coverage and feature
updates. Are those updates covered throughout
the year for active subscribers? It should be
as easy as possible for technicians to run the
latest version of the software without waiting
on approval for unexpected costs."
Computer hardware is another consideration when comparing aftermarket diagnostic solutions.
"You have to think about cost," Freeman says.
"Some laptops wind up obsolete in one or two
years. To maximize ROI, it is critical to have
rugged, up-to-date hardware and software that
is not going to become outdated right away."

A solution that covers all bases

Fleets should look for an aftermarket solution
that covers all makes and models - at a level
comparable to OE software. Autel's Freeman
says "all makes and models" refers to not only
engines, but also other vehicle systems including transmissions, brakes, body controllers,
ADAS, TPMS, and trailers.
Fleets should then look for software that is
intuitive and relatively easy to use.
For example, when connecting Autel's diagnostic tool to a vehicle, the tool senses which
engine it is dealing with, and suggests only
tests related to that engine. Some OE software,
on the other hand, might show a long list of
tests for several of its engine models.
"Little things like that help a technician
become more efficient," Freeman says. "To me,
that is the true definition of uptime. Data is


Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Uptime: Expecting the unexpected
Editor's Note: Catching up on fleet maintenance
Maintenance considerations for manual versus automated manual transmissions
DPFs: Clean or replace?
Why Identify and track vehicle warranties?
Lube it or lose it
OTA: Supporting uptime remotely
Management: How fleets can benefit from having a SAMP
Training: Supporting today's students and tomorrow's techs
Diagnostics: Assessing aftermarket diagnostic solutions
Fleet Part & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: Keeping tire pressure at optimum levels
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: Expecting the unexpected
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Editor's Note: Catching up on fleet maintenance
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - Maintenance considerations for manual versus automated manual transmissions
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - DPFs: Clean or replace?
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - 22
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - Why Identify and track vehicle warranties?
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - 28
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - Lube it or lose it
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - 32
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - OTA: Supporting uptime remotely
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management: How fleets can benefit from having a SAMP
Fleet Maintenance - Training: Supporting today's students and tomorrow's techs
Fleet Maintenance - Diagnostics: Assessing aftermarket diagnostic solutions
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Part & Components
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: Keeping tire pressure at optimum levels
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44