Tools the automotive instructor and consultant uses in his own shop

SHOP: Automotive Network Inc.


OWNER: Richard Sheffield

Richard Sheffield stays extremely busy teaching automotive classes, consulting with technicians and shop owners and operating his own repair shop in Dalton, GA. Sheffield stays current on all developments in all types of tools. He notes the task has become especially challenging in the diagnostic area due to the proliferation of tools.

1) Autel MaxiDAS 708

"My technicians like it and find it easy to use. It’s not always perfect, but lots of coverage for the money and a good return on investment.” It has coverage for more than 30 domestic, Asian and European makes. It has complete function capability including live data, ECU programming, automatic Wi-Fi updates, dual-processor technology for quicker diagnostics and boot-up, Windows CE operating system, 4GB SD card, backlit, 7" TFT color display with touchscreen and more. For information, go to

2) GM Tech2  

“GM is a large part of our business. We also specialize in diesel pickups, and the Tech2 gives us the capabilities we need.” The Tech 2 Optima is an authentic General Motors scan tool, featuring full, dealer-level diagnostics. The Tech 2 covers power train, chassis and body systems with preloaded software that doesn’t expire and enhanced diagnostics with CANdi module. For information, go to

3) AllData repair information

“You can’t repair it if you don’t have the needed information.” With ALLDATA Repair, the shop has instant access to a single source of accurate, up-to-date OE-direct diagnosis, repair, and maintenance information. Available online 24/7 and automatically updated, the database offers information covering more than 33,000 engine-specific vehicles. Repair procedures, diagrams and TSBs are specific to each vehicle for fast, factory-correct repairs. For information, go to /11319826.

4) Mitchell 1 On Demand 5

“Two systems, ALLDATA and Mitchell, might seem redundant, but we do use them both and need the medium duty for our commercial customers.” repair infomation includes diagnostics, repair information, DTCs, Specifications, Procedures, TSBs, recalls, maintenance requirements, parts prices, labor times, vintage information and fluid types and volumes that have been reproduced directly from the OEM published works. presents the most accessed information in the form of indexes. All OBD-II trouble codes are alphabeticallly listed in the DTC index to make navigation as quick as possible. For information, go to

5) iATN (Independent Automotive Technicians Network)

“Checking to see if $70K-plus technicians have seen the problem can never hurt. There is also lots to be learned in the forums.” iATN is the largest online community of automotive technicians, repair shop owners and other allied service professionals in the world with more than 76,000 active members from 160 countries. iATN members exchange technical knowledge with their peers around the globe, collectively sharing over 1.8 million years of experience.? For information, go to

6) Pico Technology’s 4423 Picocope.

“I use the scope to verify problems and the repair. I even use it to diagnose A/C compressor problems. It is a fast, easy way to see how a system is working. I would place it higher on the list, but I must first narrow the problem down with the scan tool and understand the system with the informational system.”  It has two or four channels, up to 80 MS/s real-time sample rate, up to 20 MHz bandwidth, 32,000,000 sample memory, 100V maximum input, and requires no power supply. For information, go to

7)  Snap-On Vantage MT-2400

“Yep, the first version, we have three and use them every day. It is going to break our hearts we they are gone.” The tool provides component diagnostics with a high-speed scope, graphing multimeter and exclusive Fast-Track Guided Component Tests. Technicians can get the answers they need for confident diagnosis including guided connection, component operations, over 2 million test procedures and over 8 million samples per second of continuous streaming data. For information, go to

8)  Bosch ¼” cordless impact driver 

“My techs use this versatile tool probably more than any other single tool.” The Bosch IDH182-01L 18V EC Brushless Socket Ready Impact driver is an all-in-one driver and impact wrench with ½” quick-change hex and ½” square drive chuck for sockets. The maintenance-free brushless motor offers up to twice the motor life and a performance control system offers three speed and torque settings, offering a highest-in-class 1,650 in-lbs of torque. For information, go to

9) CE anemometer HT-81

“This is used for HVAC diagnostics and is a great tool for showing a customer the need to replace the cabin air filter. I do not use it for temperature when doing diagnostics. I use it for air flow only. I prefer a digital thermometer in the vents simply because I can leave it in place for the entire diagnostic and repair process. The HT-81 does measure temperature and we do use it when we are talking with a customer. We let the customer see speed and temperature before and after the repair.” For more on this tool, go to

10)  Hunter Alignment system DSP600

“We have a strong alignment business and need the heavy lift for our commercial customers.” DSP600 Sensors utilize four high-resolution, digital cameras that offer the same high-speed screen updates as conventional sensors. Mounted on a pedestal, high enough to stay out of harm’s way, the patented four-camera system projects a wide field of view to continuously monitor wheel target position and orientation over a range of alignment lift heights. ?For information, go to