NASTF speakers address counterfeit tools, other topics in Las Vegas

Topics include connected cars, collision repair initiative, vehicle security, OE service info and more.

The fall 2013 general meeting of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) was held during the AAPEX/SEMA trade shows in Las Vegas in November 6 hosted 65 attendees while 37 attended via the webcast and more than 300 viewed the recorded webcast within a week following the event.

Ten volunteers presented topics recently raised by the NASTF board of directors and committees covering issues concerning scan tools, collision repair and consumers.

Bob Stewart, manager of aftermarket service support for General Motors, addressed counterfeit scan tools in his presentation, Who’s Cheating Whom. "You wouldn’t trust another shop’s diagnosis without doing your own. Why would you trust a cheap counterfeit tool?" asked Stewart. "Counterfeit tools are copies made with intent to defraud the buyer and come with several risks: misdiagnosis, quality, safety, warranty, support and full loss of the purchase price when the tool fails." In a picture, Stewart revealed the internal components of a counterfeit Tech2 GM recently recovered. On the counterfeit circuit board, several pin holes had not been soldered, brand and part number identification had been scraped from all the integrated circuit modules, and a jumper wire was soldered across one circuit to enable its operation. "Counterfeit enforcement in some countries can be very difficult, so our best hope is to drive them out of the scan tool market by reducing demand," said Stewart. "We can do that by educating you, the customer.” In closing, his warning to technicians was: “If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is."

Greg Brannon, director of automotive engineering and industry relations for the American Automobile Association (AAA) introduced the consumer’s perspective in development of the connected car. He summarized consumer interest into three areas:

  • Safety – to reduce crashes and improve traffic efficiency.
  • Convenience and Piece of Mind – Including navigation, remote start, automated tolling, remote diagnosis and remote prognosis.
  • Infotainment – This is an area where AAA sees severe cognitive distractions. "Recent research is showing us that speech-to-text applications are among the most mentally distracting in the connected car," said Brannon.

AAA represents the interest of their members, the vehicle owner and believes the choice for their vehicle’s data belongs to them, the car owner. "Their choice applies to what, when, where, why, who and how," he concluded.

Jason Bartanen, director of industry technical relations for I-CAR, kicked off a two-part presentation covering collision repair industry topics. Bartanen noted that the I-CAR Repairability Technical Support initiative has set out to establish direct links to OEM collision repair procedures on the OEM websites and that they intend to work with NASTF to avoid duplication of effort.

Leo Gruzas, manager of GM service engineering, was called upon by the NASTF collision committee leadership to describe key elements of the GM technical support website for collision technicians, a website they acclaimed as an example of a user-friendly resource. Gruzas introduced the website, which is offered as an information-rich website without the need for a paid subscription. The key sections of the website include: repair procedures, material types, service bulletins, paint shop information, brochures and sell sheets, warranty information, position statements (including recommendations and testing information) and a VIN information map.

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