I spend a fair amount of time in this column talking about training and skills updating. I think it is safe to say that the changes that have occurred in heavy duty trucks in the past five years could be enough to sideline a large percentage of today’s shop technicians if they do not address the skill and knowledge updating required.
Finding repair related materials and the tools and specs for diagnostics is not an easy task. Truck dealers and engine and transmission distributors have access to all of the tools and information necessary to service the newest vehicles.
If you are an independent shop, you will begin to see major repairs on the EPA 2007 trucks soon, as many are going out of warranty. Will you be prepared for those when they hit your shop doors? You will need to make the same investments as a dealer/distributor in order to play in those parts of the market.
Even though those of you that, like me, are blessed with young kids of the technically savvy type, they will not be able to explain to you how to use a scan tool, diagnose ABS or ESC problems or re-flash an ECM on a truck.
There are several great sources of repair information and systems to work on these new vehicles. Training is available to those resourceful enough to find it and willing to pay for it. Using search tools on the Internet, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., is a good place to start.
If you don’t have a technically savvy kid, see if a neighbor or relative has an 11 or 12 year-old you can borrow to show you how to search the Internet using these tools. They might even offer to set you up on Facebook and Farmville. Then you will also say that life is good.
Tim Kraus is Executive Director of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association. Prior to joining HDMA, he served as director of sales and marketing at Triseal Corp. The Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) is the heavy duty market segment association of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Associations (MEMA). HDMA exclusively represents the interests and serves heavy duty product manufacturers.