The complexity and levels of standard equipment fitted to a modern family car has changed dramatically. Back in 1979, only a luxury motor vehicle would be fitted with air conditioning, electric windows and fuel injection. Now, every modern car has a whole range of electronic equipment such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, electric power steering, electric windows, immobiliser, fuel injection and traction control, all fitted as standard.
As these systems have continued to become more and more complex so has the need to invest in the equipment and training to be able to repair them. There are times however when after-market independent diagnostic tools will either not communicate with the desired system or be able to programme a new part. In these instances, we would refer the vehicle to the local main agent.
Many customers are under the impression that all a garage has to do is to connect the scan tool up to the vehicle and the fault will be diagnosed in a matter of minutes. In reality, the codes extracted from a code read are a guide to help the technician in diagnosing the fault. Rarely is a defect cured by just clearing codes from the modules memory. A code read is just the first step, with further labour diagnostic time spent after. It is also possible for a component to be reading incorrectly, but as the signal is still in range not give a fault code.
We would normally start with a code read and then spend a maximum of two hours investigation time. If the fault has not been identified within that time, we would report to the customer our findings and recommendations before incurring any further labour costs. No parts would be fitted without customer consent.
Carpenters Garage in Tooting is within easy reach of Streatham, Tooting Graveney and Mitcham.
Shortly after the Garage was founded, electronic ignition and fuel injection systems started to appear on vehicles that came in for repair. Many in the trade said that this would spell the end of the independent repair sector, 30 years on and we are still here!
An independent tool that covers a wide range of popular makes and models. This tool is very portable and has a data record function so that it can record live data from the engine sensors whilst being driven on the road. This can then be downloaded and viewed on a PC.
Another independent, laptop based tool. This piece of equipment is solely used for VW group cars (Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat) and is very close to a main agent tool.
This is also an independent tool. The KTS is a laptop based programme with an interface unit that we have mounted in a camera style case. The main advantages of the Bosch over the Solus, is that the viewing screen is much larger, on some systems its coverage is better and also it has an inbuilt data/reference section.
Like the KTS, this is laptop based and mounted in a dedicated case. The Pico is not a scan tool. That isn't to say it does not communicate with vehicles modules to retrieve data and fault codes. The Pico Scope is an oscilloscope that enables us to "look" at virtually any voltage or amps usage on a circuit.
This piece of equipment is a great tool for diagnosing air leaks in exhaust systems, vacuum lines, manifolds and breather pipes. Due to the complexity of most modern inlet manifolds, finding a poorly fitting gasket or crack would be nearly impossible without a smoke machine.
This is (currently) our only dealer tool. The Tech2 is exactly the same tool as used by Saab and Vauxhall main agents. Hand-held, it is very portable and enables us to talk to all modules/systems on compatible vehicles. (Vectra "C" and Insignia now use a tool called MDI).