Tool Review: Identifix Direct Hit

Identifix Direct-Hit is an online diagnostic system that matches diagnostic trouble codes and symptoms reported from the field to proven short cut tests and confirmed fixes. This exclusive, experience-based information comes from over 20 years and 3.8 million calls to the Identifix Repair Hotline.

Identifix has recently added Factory Scheduled Maintenance (FSM) and genuine OEM Service and Repair information to their online Direct-Hit tool. The FSM feature is designed to access OEM-recommended maintenance activities based on make/model/year and mileage. OEM service and repair information is currently available for the three largest domestic automakers (Ford, GM, Chrysler) and the three largest foreign automakers (Toyota, Honda, Nissan). Identifix plans to include additional OEMs in 2012 beginning with Volkswagen and Audi.

All together the OEM information covers 21 total vehicle makes with nearly 9 million service manual pages. If users are unable to find the OEM information they're looking for, they can request OEM Service Manual documents from Identifix's Product Support Team. When available, these documents can be emailed or faxed at no additional cost.

The review

Mike Steptoe, owner of Reliable Auto Repair in Fort Atkinson, WI, has been an Identifix subscriber for about five years. He described how he uses Direct-Hit postings to save time.

"When I see a few dozen shops have posted the same fix for the specific problem I’m working on, I’ll look (for the problem) there first."

Mike feels the fix postings alone are worth the cost of his subscription, but he recently began using the new OEM information and says he’s already impressed with the enhanced product. "I don’t use the hotline very much, but I really like the OE information that’s available." 

His shop uses the factory maintenance information to help customers understand how to take care of their car, and the same information serves as a billing guide for the shop too. Mike said the Ford factory service information gave him the confidence to tackle a job that he didn’t think was possible. "And they told me if the information I need is not there, I can contact them directly and they’ll send what I asked for at no charge."

One of the new features Mike appreciates is the keyword search function, which can save a lot of time. He also likes the direct links to repair information and wiring diagrams. "You used to have to navigate out and back in again. Now there’s a link right there." He specifically mentioned the expertise available on those rare occasions when he does call the Hotline. "If I have a GM problem, I get a GM guy. If I call with a Ford problem, I get a guy with a background in Ford."

Mike says he’s already recommended Direct-Hit with OEM information for its time-saving benefits to other shop owners because quite simply, “It cuts to the chase.”

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