Keep up with service bulletins

Accessing the latest data is vital to grab independent opportunity


Published:  30 April, 2015

Vehicle manufacturers constantly monitor and, when necessary, modify vehicle servicing information when unexpected failures or safety critical problems come to light and keeping apace with these service bulletins provides a real opportunity for independent garages, says information provider, TecAlliance.

Director Shaun Greasley, says: "Access to this information provides the independent workshop with the opportunity to proactively diagnose each of the vehicles it works on for service modifications and updates and to remedy any potential fault." He continues, "TecRMI, the technical service data arm of TecAlliance, which is also the parent organisation of the TecDoc CATALOG electronic parts catalogue system, allows this level of access as it is compiled from the VMs own service and recall data to provide its subscribers with a comprehensive resource for the independent repair sector. The system can also allow users to diagnose common vehicle specific faults or potential problems."

Interrogating the systems

"The practical outworking of these elements allows the technician to interrogate the system for vehicle specific details in four different, but linked ways. First, does the vehicle have any VM recalls that need to be checked or applied? Second, is there a new service action that was not previously required, and therefore not stated in the vehicle's service booklet, that now needs to be carried out? Third, what is the likely cause of the fault that the owner has booked their vehicle in for, and what is its subsequent remedy? Finally, what should also be checked as a precautionary measure while the vehicle is on the premises?

"Questions one and two are fairly straightforward, as work needing to be undertaken as part of a VM recall or the addition of a new action for the vehicle's service regime are easy to visualise. However, the following examples, which both concern the Audi A3 (8P1) 1.2 TSI, will help to paint a clearer picture of what the system is also able to achieve.

"The first example is a case of the driver reporting a loss of power from the engine, which the TecRMI system reports as a common fault that is often a result of a defective waste gate valve or the injection quality being too low. In these circumstances, the remedy is to perform a software update on the engine control unit (ECU) using diagnostic unit VAS 5051 B. These symptoms can also occur in versions of the Audi A1 that also utilise the 1.2 TSI engine.

"The second issue that can often occur with these vehicles is the power steering indicator warning light failing to go out, which is generally caused by a software fault. In this instance, the remedy is to perform a software update on the ECU for the power steering system.

Potential shortcuts to the fault

"In addition, the TecRMI system can bring technicians fresh insight by providing them with helpful information that can assist them with a diagnosis when their customers try and explain faults that the technician may not be able to replicate during a test drive.

"Every technician will have been in this position and with the most common problems many experienced technicians will have a good idea what the customer is referring to and therefore what the problem is. However, for those less familiar faults, the system can forearm the technician with the background information to be able to diagnose the problem, by asking their customers the most appropriate questions relating to the likely fault. This approach not only provides them with a potential short cut to the fault, but also allows them to rule out any blind alley.

"The TecRMI system allows workshops to follow this same process for each and every vehicle they work on, which provides an added value service to its customers and clear revenue opportunities to the business."

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