Tools that build trust

Snap-on stores & shares fault codes

Published:  25 November, 2014

Matt Lamming, Diagnostic Product Specialist at Snap-on, explains how storing and sharing vehicle fault code data can ensure repeat business

Trying to make a profit these days can be hard enough, without what can sometimes seem a never ending barrage of "Since you..." jobs coming into the workshop. You know the ones, when customers say "Since you serviced my car..." or "Since you fixed my puncture..." Typically, these customer statements will be met with a short silence, where a service manager or technician tries to work out how the customer can possibly connect a headlight bulb being replaced with suddenly making their exhaust fall off! Nevertheless, trying to politely make the customer realise that there may be a little more to the fault with their vehicle can sometimes take some explaining, especially when the only visible symptom may be a check engine light showing in the instrument cluster.

Having the facility to back-up and store vehicle fault code information, whether it is indeed related to the same problem or component failure that the vehicle came into the workshop for some weeks or months previously, will greatly reduce the chances of carrying out the repair required at a reduced rate or in some cases, free of charge, as is often the expectation when the customer says "Since you..." Furthermore, by sharing this information with the customer, the workshop is gaining the opportunity to build their trust, as well as repeat business to address the fault that's been diagnosed.

Electronic job cards

Some of the more sophisticated scan tools, such as Snap-on's Verus Pro, have built-in information systems that can help in these situations. Besides being able to complete the whole vehicle diagnostic process - from code scan through to component testing and initialising new electrical components or units - it also logs an electronic 'job card' for every vehicle it comes in contact with. Fault codes relating to each individual vehicle are automatically saved, enabling the workshop to easily retrieve customer-specific data; along with the date and time it was read. These 'job cards' can be used to collect a history for that vehicle every time it visits the workshop, supporting you in any 'since you...' conversations that might arise.

One of our customers reported such a job that came into their workshop recently. The customer's car had previously visited the workshop due to a misfire and 'engine light on' problem. The vehicle was code read with a Verus Pro, which diagnosed an injector circuit problem on number three cylinder, using its integrated component test function, confirming good ECU requests but poor component serviceability. A replacement injector was fitted and coded to resolve the fault. Six months later, the vehicle returned with the same symptoms and the engine light on, with the customer believing it was the replacement injector previously fitted by the workshop that was causing the issue. Following a quick code scan and check of the job card, it was immediately clear that it was the same symptom but from a different and faulty injector. The customer's final statement was "Two injectors failing on a diesel can't be very common," which of course opened up a whole new conversation.

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