Technicians feast on training and new tools at VISION show

Hundreds of technicians from across the country took advantage of what some call the best automotive training available in the country at this past weekend’s VISION Hi-Tech Training & Expo. Technicians, shop owners and automotive educators chose from 74 education sessions, most lasting three hours, over a three-day period at the Overland Park Convention Center. Attendees also had a chance to see tools and equipment, some of which were being introduced to the market, at the trade show that ran concurrently with some of the training sessions.

Most attendees felt the training and expo offers an excellent value, given the importance of training and new products in today’s automotive aftermarket. Most gave high marks to ASA Midwest, which organizes the annual event that is now in its 22nd year.

Techs and shop owners said they like VISION because of the quality of the education. Automotive tool and equipment manufacturers said they like VISION because it draws the “cream of the crop” technicians and shop owners.

Technical sessions, which dominated the educational roster, included advanced lab scope and current testing, hybrid vehicle diagnostics, OBDII/CAN updates, alignment diagnostics, drivability diagnostics, TPMS tips, laptop-based diagnostic tools, Ford diesel scan tool dynamics, digital storage oscilloscopes and J-2534 reprogramming.

Duane Ward, a technician at Russell Auto Service in Stillwell, Kan., said he learned for the first time about TPMS specialty tools from attending the TPMS workshop presented by Bartec USA. Ward said the specialty tools will allow him to fix TPMS problems the first time, saving him time.

Insight like this has kept Ward returning to VISION every year for the past three years. “You learn how to do it (repairs) a lot quicker, more efficiently and right the first time; no more ‘come backs,’” he said.

Jim Wilson, a tech at Tom’s Auto Repair in Granite City, Ia., attended the J-2534 reprogramming seminar because he is seeing more need for reprogramming vehicles. While reprogramming tools are costly, Wilson said these tools can often fix many problems, such as faulty emissions, faster than using other methods.

Justin Foster, a tech at Jack’s Automotive Repair & Towing in Grainfield, Kan., said as newer vintage vehicle models begin to dominate the nation’s vehicle fleet, repair shops will have to be able to reprogram vehicles if they want to stay in business.

During some of the diagnostic seminars, speakers noted that shops using OE scan tools must be aware of what computer hardware systems carmakers require shops to have before they will provide their OE software. In addition, carmakers periodically change what hardware systems they support. “Everything is transitioning now” with regard to OE-mandated hardware, noted Eric Ziegler, a Peoria, Ill.-based mobile diagnostic technician who spoke on laptop-based diagnostic tools.

New tools presented at the show included the Micropod 2 hardware for the Chrysler Witech diagnostic application from AE Tools, the Bolt Buster induction heating tool to remove lug nuts from Lace Technologies, a diesel glow plug reader from Can Do International Inc., a TPMS tool from ATEQ, and a boroscope from Autel.

Click here to view a photo gallery from the VISION Hi-Tech Training & Expo.