Save Time When Building a Diagnostic Strategy

Mitchell1 Color Blktag(5)Diagnosing a vehicle’s electrical issues can pose a challenge for technicians, especially as electronic control units increase and wiring systems become more varied and complex.

Having a diagnostic strategy to follow when a vehicle enters your bay saves time and increases accuracy in identifying the cause of an issue. Repair information systems are a great tool that can help technicians prioritize their process steps and diagnose and repair issues as efficiently as possible.

Here are answers to five frequently asked questions that will help you save time and increase accuracy in your diagnostic process.

  1. When a vehicle enters the bay, why is it important for technicians to first perform a diagnostics test?

Having a diagnostic testing strategy saves time and increases accuracy by allowing technicians to pinpoint the root cause of the issue. It also avoids throwing parts at the problem, which is costly to both the consumer and the shop via comebacks and lost shop credibility – something you never want to see happen. Repair information systems, like ProDemand from Mitchell 1, give you a prioritized list of components based on the code or symptom that you are experiencing. As a technician, you could read the top result and swap the most popular part. However, that is not recommended. Instead, Mitchell 1 and Snap-on encourage techs to follow the whole diagnostic process, including isolating the fault through testing to be sure that you have properly identified the component at fault. We recommend using symptom-to-component information to help build your prioritized diagnostic strategy.  Once you have a diagnostic plan in place, you can then execute your plan by following through with diagnostic testing.

  1. As the number of electronic control units (ECUs) in vehicles increase, what is the best way for technicians to find electrical problems quickly and more easily?

Using a combination of OEM and real-world information can provide the most efficient way to diagnose electrical problems. When looking into a symptom like a code or customer complaint, you are going to first want to review OEM information like technical service bulletins to see if the OEM has already released information for this issue to their technicians. Then you can jump to real-world information to view if other technicians have addressed this same issue before and have a solution. From there you may want to go back to OEM information – like set conditions and OEM test procedures – as you diagnose the issue. ProDemand can help with its 1Search Plus search engine and SureTrack Real Fixes and Community content. Relevant real-world and OEM information are brought back together based on the search term entered. Information is presented as a diagnosis would occur starting with TSBs and ending with remove/replace and calibration procedures.

  1. What is a vehicle wiring diagram and what are the greatest benefits to using one to diagnose an electrical problem?

Wiring diagrams give the technician a schematic, or simplified and symbolic representation, of the electrical components and systems on the vehicle. Just like having a map of a city to know the layout and where you are going, a wiring diagram provides a high-level view of an entire electrical system. This view helps you understand how the components interact with each other, what might occur upstream or downstream from your suspect component, and the effects of a current flow through the entire system. Without a wiring diagram you may be able to identify and test a single component, but your view will lack the full understanding of interrelated components. 

  1. Wiring diagrams may seem complex and can be intimidating. How should a technician navigate the wiring diagram to find the specific component?

One of the biggest difficulties today is finding the correct diagram to begin with. Today’s vehicles have dozens of electrical systems, each with multiple pages of diagrams. Some engine performance system diagrams can span 16 pages. Then there is difficulty in finding the specific component you are interested in and then also tracing the wires to understand connection points within the large diagrams. The wiring diagrams in ProDemand automotive wiring diagrams include exclusive features to help you navigate to the specific information you want. Using 1Search Plus, technicians can search for a specific component. ProDemand will direct the user to the diagram with the component on it, and highlight all the wires from that component to their termination points. And the component links are all clickable so that you can open connector end views or kick-off another component search right from the diagram.

M1 Interactive Wiring Diagram Camshaft Position Sensor

In ProDemand, interactivity connects wiring diagrams to full component information without a secondary lookup.

  1. How can shops decide which repair information software is best for them?

For diagnosing complex electrical systems, you want a repair information system that provides you with the ability to properly diagnose from start to finish. This includes:

  • Starting when the customer first arrives at the shop, your information resource should help you to identify common problems with the specific vehicle and give you information to build a diagnostic strategy.
  • Then you can transition to diagnostic information that helps you efficiently execute your diagnostic strategy or approach. This includes providing technicians with technical service bulletins, real-world information like Real Fixes, component test information, and wiring diagrams with exclusive, time-saving features.
  • You can then correct the problem using your OEM repair information source as well as check for proper vehicle operation to complete your diagnostics work.

Using a real-world information source, like ProDemand with SureTrack and the 1Search Plus technology, is the best way to reduce diagnostic time, and also have more confidence when building and carrying out a diagnostic strategy.

For additional information, please visit Mitchell 1 or call 800-209-9043.