Telematics Mechanic Super Tool

imported_John Whelan - November 28, 2015
Who doesn't love WiFi these days.... it makes any kind of technology so much easier with wireless communication. In regards to mechanics and working with diesel engines WiFi mixed in with telematics is the best tool going for reading engine codes on a vehicle regardless of it's location. Telematics rules and if you have used it already I don't have to tell you how valuable it is to truck shops and fleet operations.

Imagine if you received a call from one of your drivers or customers who is 20 miles out of town and they tell you there is an engine fault light illuminating on the dash. With telematics you can sit down at your laptop, ipad or PC and log in to your telematics provider control panel and find the unit in trouble. You can read the J1939 which is the onboard computer communication link. You can find out what kind of code the vehicle has and how severe it really is.

That's like gold when you don't have to rely on a verbal description from the driver who may not have a mechanical background. Sometimes the message is not accurate enough and before this technology you had to send a mechanic out with tools and a laptop with the OEM software to hopefully fix the problem after scanning the vehicle. This does not always work out. Telematics allows you to find out what the code is before you leave the shop which is a huge advantage. The percentage goes up that the fault can be repaired on the road.

All school buses have telematics available once the fleet hooks up with a provider. We use Zonar for our GPS, telematics and many other tools to monitor each vehicle in our fleet. We can check out a speeding issue any time of the day. If someone calls in saying one of our buses was going too fast we can confirm the time and day then check the exact vehicle speed through GPS.

The Navistar On Command Connection system can do vehicle health reports any time to check the status of a customers vehicle. They can monitor for codes and maintenance scheduling to keep on top of their customers needs. When they get a call they can go on to the OCC portal and see their customer's location and refer them to the nearest dealership if required.

If you're a new mechanic just getting your feet wet you will love telematics for what it can do and how it can help you troubleshoot faults. I know if your a mechanic in your twenties you will be computer literate so this type of technology will come to you easily. Back in my twenties it was switches and hard wire that had to be physically traced to find problems. Now with modules and on-board computers the tech age is upon us in the mechanic trade. You must get hands on experience with this new technology to be an asset to your employer.