J2534 reprogramming brings new opportunity for business

Everything you need to know about J2534 programming.

Finally, go to the “OEM Service Websites” section and choose the links of the manufacturers you’re interested in. Although each of these sites has its own unique navigation, you’ll need to “drill down” until you find specific validation information for J2534 pass-thru equipment. This specifies, by brand name, equipment validated by that manufacturer as being able to perform reprogramming on its vehicles.

Key details of each listing include the DLL and firmware version, and validations can only be assured with those specifics. Why does this matter? The J2534 equipment you’re considering for reprogramming may be validated among various vehicle lines that you plan to service, but there may be differing DLL and firmware versions. Don’t overlook this important detail in your quest for J2534 coverage.


Reprogramming is not a “poke and hope” service. That is, you don’t reprogram everything that comes your way. To learn whether a vehicle may need reprogramming or not, start with a review of Technical Service Bulletins to see if there are updates for that vehicle and its related symptoms.

The actual software used for reprogramming modules comes from the vehicle manufacturer. Most often, you can access the programming information via the web for a fee. Some manufacturers also use CD formats for distribution of reprogramming code. Fees and formats vary, so refer once again to the NASTF website as the starting place to learn more about getting reprogramming updates.


Clearly, you want to buy the best J2534 reprogramming equipment for your specific needs, but what exactly is best? Like most things, it all depends.

Once you’ve researched the equipment from the validation side of OEM service websites, talk to the reps of that specific tool company to learn more about updates and forward-compatibility. Use care to separate help from hype and stay objective with your decision.

To see how technicians feel about their J2534 equipment applications, visit the Tool and Equipment forum of the International Automotive Technicians Network at www.iatn.net. You’ll quickly get real-world insight into what works well on specific vehicles, and things to look out for.

J2534 reprogramming is here to stay and represents a new window of opportunity for servicing today’s vehicles. You no longer have to send this service to the dealer, creating a win-win scenario for your customers and your shop.

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