Fleet Maintenance - 42

DIAGNOSTICS
		»Good triage tools give mobile
technicians the information
and functionality they need in a
package that is fast and easy to
handle on the side of the road.
Photo courtesy of TEXA USA

Choosing the right
diagnostic tool for
roadside triage
For quick vehicle health assessments
and common bidirectional controls
in the field, a triage tool that's fast,
thorough, and easy to use can
help fleets save time and money.

By Gregg Wartgow
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

In the medical profession, triage is about
quickly assessing the patient's condition,
stabilizing the patient, and determining if the
patient requires surgery or can be bandaged
up and sent on their way.
"The medic never performs major surgery
out on the battlefield," says Chris Freeman,
director of sales/training HD at Autel, a developer of intelligent diagnostics, detection, and
analysis systems.

42 Fleet Maintenance | October 2020

Since heavy duty technicians are
really doctors of metal, Freeman
relates, a triage-like approach makes
perfect sense for a fleet. When executed effectively with the right tools,
triage diagnostics can help increase
uptime, reduce tow bills, and control
overall maintenance and repair costs.
"What a mobile technician is really trying to understand is whether or
not a truck can make it back to the
facility for a full-scale repair," says
Tom Kotenko, company director of
NEXIQ Technologies, a provider of
diagnostic and telematics products
and services. "The technician also
wants an overview of what's going on
with the truck. With triage diagnostics,
the technician wants something really
fast - something that connects quickly to the truck. Then the technician
needs speedy delivery of the trouble
code or other piece of information to
help determine what the problem is."
In some instances, a quick repair is
all that is needed to get the truck back
up and running. A good triage tool will
also provide the necessary functionality for all of those common, relatively
simple repairs.
While triage diagnostics can be applicable
in a shop environment, it primarily comes into
play along the roadside. A mobile technician's
goal is to either execute a quick fix so the truck
can be sent on its way, or determine what the
more severe problem is so technicians back
at the shop can prepare for the vehicle's arrival into the service bay. This is the essence of
triage service.

Essential features
and functionality

A good triage tool will be capable of reading
fault codes and other information from the
various electronic control modules (ECMs)
		»In an effort to
balance functionality
and cost, triage
tools have limited
bidirectional
capabilities. One
important function
to have, however, is
forced DPF regens.
Autel's MS906V
Heavy Duty Service
Tablet has that
capability.
Photo courtesy of Autel

on the vehicle. The tool will also be able to
execute basic system resets.
For example, if an engine light comes on and
the truck goes into a derate limp mode, the
driver calls the shop and a mobile technician
is dispatched. The technician wants to do a
quick triage to see what's wrong. If it's something mechanically broken, the technician can
make the call to have the truck towed back to
the shop; there is no avoiding a tow this time.
But maybe the truck just needs a DPF regen
or a new coolant temperature sensor, both of
which are straightforward roadside repairs for
a solid B-level technician who is diagnostically
savvy. A good triage tool will be able to help
identify and remedy situations like those.
Additionally, Kotenko says it can be useful
to have the ability to execute specialized tests.
If one of the cylinders isn't functioning properly, a cylinder cutout test could help diagnose
that problem.
Another helpful feature for a mobile technician is functionality to execute common
bidirectional controls, such as a DPF regen.
"The mobile technician might want to blow
that DPF out on the side of the road so the fleet
can avoid a tow fee," Kotenko relates.
Aside from forced regens, Freeman says a
triage tool typically won't have other bidirectional capabilities. It's a matter of balancing
tool functionality with cost - and matching
functionality with whatever capabilities a fleet
is expecting its mobile technicians to have.
Fleets should also confirm product coverage
before investing in a triage tool. For a mixed
fleet, any tool should have all makes and
models capability. It's essential to ask specific questions of vendors when shopping. For
instance, if you ask a vendor if their tool can
handle DPF regens, the answer you will likely
hear is "Yes." But regens may only be possible
on certain trucks.
"Fleets should ask the vendor about the
specific vehicles they'll be able to do forced
regens on," Freeman says.
Trip reporting can be another useful feature
of a triage tool.
"If the fleet notices a significant drop in how
the truck is performing, a technician can look
at the trip reporting to confirm the fuel mileage in an effort to analyze how the truck is
consuming fuel," Kotenko says. "Similarly, if
the truck is starting to show signs of oil shortage, it's important to understand that as well."



Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Solving the Parts Puzzle
Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Management: CMMS Marketplace
Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Classifieds
Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - 22
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - Solving the Parts Puzzle
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - 28
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - 30
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management: CMMS Marketplace
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
Fleet Maintenance - 49
Fleet Maintenance - 50
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - 53
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 55
Fleet Maintenance - 56
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