Diagnostic machines have grown from their initial “main dealer only” infancy to become one of the most important tools at a vehicle technicians disposal and like all forms of technology, only constant reinvestment keeps you at the head of the pack. In this blog we will be introducing you to our new machine and explaining how it all works, but first we’ll myth-bust some of the common perceptions of diagnosing vehicle faults with a computer
You Just Plug The Diagnostic Machine In & It Fixes The Fault
We wish… not only would it make our life a lot easier, it would make justifying the high outlay, maintenance and training costs easier too. To use the old adage, “it does what it say’s on the tin”. In a world of ever increasingly complex cars (the E60 BMW 5-Series famously had more computing power than Apollo 11, the space shuttle that took Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the moon), the need to access a vehicles computer systems is ever more prevalent.
Whilst there are some situations where clearing the fault codes will remove the light or issue, it’s not always the case.
OBD – On-Board Diagnostics
First introduced by Volkswagen in 1968, scan-able electronic systems are now in every mass-produced vehicle on earth. Prior to 1996, the various motor manufacturers around the world had their own diagnostic reading systems in place. From the simple (bridge a plug using a paper clip and count the number of flashes from an LED) to various plugs and associated software needed to read it.
In 1996 the USA government made it mandatory for every new vehicle sold in the United States to have a standardised scanning system called OBD-2 (the California Air Resources Board had stipulated OBD-1 for vehicles sold in California in 1991). Europe followed in 2001 with EOBD (European On-Board Diagnostics) in 2001 for petrol vehicles and 2003 for diesel vehicles.
The OBD system meant that one plug would fit all cars and the fault codes were standardised across all manufacturers.
Car Diagnostics Is Just For The Engine
In the beginning, yes, but today’s vehicles have double digit numbers of “Control Units” which control your windows, seats, radio, heater, the list is endless, even down to how much your alternator charges the battery. We even need a diagnostic computer to change rear pads.
And The New Machine Is…
A Snap-on Modis Edge, and it’s quite clever. It will read and clear faults codes on your cars electronic systems, provide us with live data readouts for when a fault isn’t triggering a light, built-in Oscilloscope and multi-meter. Above all it’s fast, really fast. Our old machine took an age to wake up, similar to coaxing a hungover teenager out of bed at 8am on a winter morning. Our Modis is more akin to a marathon runner in training, it gets straight to work.
A £20 Code Reader Off eBay Does The Same Thing
For reading and clearing codes, then yes it will, but as you’ve read above, our machine is much more than a code reader. Being able to interpret what the codes and date are telling you is an are where our trained technicians excel, whilst the machine may be pointing you at one component, it can be another part causing the issue.
So if your car is throwing up an EML (Engine Management Light), Airbag Light or simply a fault that no-one else can find, and if you can find them (tip: just click on the Contact Us button), maybe you can hire the Haywood Garage Team