august2021 - 40

DIAGNOSTIC TECH
Find out what
shop owners are
reading about in this
month's pages of
OEM and aftermarket scan tools -
increasing your situational awareness
The different tools on the market all have their strengths and weaknesses,
and technicians need to be aware of each tool's capabilities.
By Scott Brown, PTEN Technical Editor
I
remember one of the very first
times I used a scan tool. It was on
a 1982 GM vehicle equipped with
the Computer Command Control
system. At the time, these new layers
of technology presented the
dawn of a new era and interesting
challenges. I began to imagine how
this was going to change the way
the technician would be addressing
certain vehicle anomalies and what
the future of automobile service was
going to look like. Although the data
stream was very cool, I had no idea
as to how this information was being
transmitted and displayed.
I remember trying to connect the
same tool to another manufacturer and
discovering that this operation required
different adapters and software cartridges.
Once I connected, I was disappointed
to find that the live data stream
found on the GM vehicle was not
available on another domestic OEM.
My disappointment, however, was primarily
my own fault for not having the
proper service training on that vehicle
system. At that point in time, I realized
that I needed to acquire and consume
as much training as I possibly could,
and to this day, that hasn't stopped.
Reflecting on this I can honestly say
that we have come a long, long way.
SERVICE TECHNICIANS
Service technicians need to have a good
foundational knowledge base around
how a particular scan tool works and
what the limitations are. For example,
some tools may be very quick to connect
to a vehicle and access the specific
data the technician is laser-focused on.
However, that specific tool may not be
good at performing other functions,
such as running a full vehicle scan or
health check and producing a comprehensive
report. Some tools are excellent
at logging every action performed
on the vehicle, which can be used to
document how much time went into
the analysis on the vehicle, in addition
to providing module part numbers and
software version levels (Figure 1).
The different tools on the market
all have their strengths and weaknesses,
and technicians need to be aware
of each tool's capabilities in order to
get to the bottom of a problem. Some
tools can only read generic OBD-II
40 Professional Distributor I August 2021 I VehicleServicePros.com
Figure 1 - Ford Diagnostic and Repair Software
standardized information, which might
be fine, however, there could be more
generic data the tool can't display. The
same goes for tools possessing the ability
to display OEM proprietary data:
Some are more capable than others
and your mileage may vary (more on
that later).
CONTROLLER AREA
NETWORK (CAN)
Beginning with 2008 models, the CAN
protocol was mandated for all passenger
vehicles and light trucks sold
in the United States. This standard
was implemented to help unify data
communications between the various
modules or nodes populating the
vehicle. At the time, most vehicles only
had a handful of modules sharing
http://www.VehicleServicePros.com

august2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of august2021

Editor's Note: Keep Holding On
Sneak Peek
Most Wanted
In Focus
2021 PTEN Innovation Awards Winners
Cover Story: Big Wheels Keep on Turning
Diagnostic Tech: OEM and Aftermarket Scan Tools - Increasing Your Situational Awareness
Show Me Your Truck: Designed for Efficiency
Go Sell Something: No Two Customers Are Alike
Driving Sales: Products that will help your bottom line
Tales From the Road: Always Looking Ahead
august2021 - 1
august2021 - 2
august2021 - 3
august2021 - Editor's Note: Keep Holding On
august2021 - 5
august2021 - Sneak Peek
august2021 - 7
august2021 - 8
august2021 - 9
august2021 - 10
august2021 - 11
august2021 - Most Wanted
august2021 - 13
august2021 - In Focus
august2021 - 15
august2021 - 16
august2021 - 17
august2021 - 2021 PTEN Innovation Awards Winners
august2021 - 19
august2021 - 20
august2021 - 21
august2021 - 22
august2021 - 23
august2021 - 24
august2021 - 25
august2021 - 26
august2021 - 27
august2021 - 28
august2021 - 29
august2021 - 30
august2021 - 31
august2021 - 32
august2021 - 33
august2021 - 34
august2021 - Cover Story: Big Wheels Keep on Turning
august2021 - 36
august2021 - 37
august2021 - 38
august2021 - 39
august2021 - Diagnostic Tech: OEM and Aftermarket Scan Tools - Increasing Your Situational Awareness
august2021 - 41
august2021 - 42
august2021 - 43
august2021 - Show Me Your Truck: Designed for Efficiency
august2021 - 45
august2021 - Go Sell Something: No Two Customers Are Alike
august2021 - 47
august2021 - Driving Sales: Products that will help your bottom line
august2021 - 49
august2021 - 50
august2021 - Tales From the Road: Always Looking Ahead
august2021 - 52
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