Planning downtime through remote diagnostics

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Updated Feb 22, 2018

This is the third of a three-part series that looks at the benefits of using remote diagnostics on trucks not factory-equipped with them. The first installment, “Harnessing the power of remote diagnostics in older equipment,” can be found here. The second, “Remote diagnostics: Beyond the dash light” can be found here

Using remote diagnostics, PacLease maintenance manager Rick Tapp says PacLease is able to better plan for service times and fix minor issues on the road.

“For instance, if a driver leaves his dipstick cap loose, this will turn on a check engine light,” he says. “By knowing the code generated, we can communicate with the driver and give the driver several things to check, without having to schedule the unit into a shop and creating an out of service incident.”

In addition to the capabilities of the engine diagnostics, Tapp says PacLease has installed tire pressure monitoring systems on select rental units, giving the driver the ability to check tires at-will and secure a tire repair at a planned time.

“It also speeds the unit though the refueling and PM cycle, giving more uptime for the user,” Tapp says. “Having all of this information allows us to identify units that could benefit from unit specific customization of PM schedules to identifying a particular customer that could benefit from additional system specific operational training.”

Diagnostics platforms can typically can communicate with multiple back end systems, allowing fleets who outsource their maintenance to keep various departments in the loop about a truck’s status, while also including their dealer or service provider.

“It goes back to the fleets who think remote diagnostics are overwhelming; do you want a single configurable system or a whole host of applications all spitting out unfiltered SAE data at the same time,” Noregon Chief Technology Officer Dave Covington asks. “If you use one application for an engine, one for the ABS, and one for the transmission, how do you understand the relationship between the collective faults on those components?”

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]