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Maximizing seasonal opportunities in the shop with diagnostic tools

Oct. 16, 2023
Seasons change, along with a fleet's maintenance priorities. Here's how to maximize the use of diagnostic tools in the shop to prepare for the winter weather ahead.
Leaves are falling in many parts of North America and that means winter is right around the corner. Seasonal changes can influence diagnostic needs, which can drive additional sales opportunities for shops.

“By addressing specific concerns early on with the use of diagnostic tools and performing maintenance regularly, fleets can help to ensure the safety of vehicles on the road and can increase vehicle longevity during colder months,” said Jason Hedman, product manager at Noregon.

Modern battery and electrical system testing equipment helps technicians better evaluate cranking and charging systems on a tractor or truck, according to Homer Hogg, VP of truck service at TravelCenters of America.

“It is advisable to conduct an assessment of these systems before winter brings cold weather and your vehicle’s engine will not crank,” Hogg said.

See also: The rise of diagnostic tools… and shop profits

In the colder months, fleets should prioritize tasks like replacing air dryer cartridges, ensuring the functionality of the DEF heater, and checking the operation of the HVAC system in their trucks. Electrical failures also tend to increase as temperatures drop.

“States often use road salt to melt the ice, yet it is highly corrosive and contributes to the wear and tear of the vehicle,” Hedman said.

“Be sure to monitor oil and coolant levels, as colder temperatures can often cause a higher potential for fluid leaks,” he added.

Cold weather can make engine oils thicker, potentially affecting lubrication and putting greater stress on components when starting up.

“This is where a diagnostic tool comes in handy. It connects to the truck’s onboard computers and provides real-time data about the engine’s condition and  temperature,” Miguel Moneo, sales manager, Jaltest Diagnostics, Cojali USA, said. “It’s like having an extra set of eyes that helps mechanics understand how the cold is affecting the engine’s health.”

Engines might also need more time to warm up, which can lead to higher fuel consumption and emissions.

“A diagnostic tool can monitor fuel efficiency trends, alerting mechanics to any issues caused by longer warm-up times,” Moneo said.

About the Author

Mindy Long

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