A recall isn’t just a parts replacement anymore

Oct. 14, 2016
Vehicle software updates are necessary to address any number of maintenance or repair events in the shop, even parts replacement.

I may catch some flak for this from many readers, but I have my vehicle serviced at the dealership. (They caught me with a maintenance package deal when I bought it.) My Subaru Outback has already had three vehicle recalls since I purchased it two years ago – but one of those notices was actually a software update to the Starlink infotainment system.

In fact, looking through recent recalls for Subaru, as well as other vehicle manufacturers, there’s been a continuous increase in software updates to fix computer-related systems on late-model vehicles.

While vehicles under warranty will still be taken to dealerships, and vehicle recalls will still be handled at the dealer level, the tools and equipment dealers used to reprogram the vehicles can handle all vehicle software updates – not just NHTSA-mandated recalls.

“With the advent of CAN networks, there are many more instances where programming is necessary when a component is replaced. Many vehicles now require a programming event when seemingly normal service repairs, like battery replacements, are done,” says Barry Hoyland, PTEN contributing editor, shop owner and industry trainer.

As the average age of vehicles on the road continues to rise, and those vehicles are no longer covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, drivers won’t necessarily need to receive this service at a dealership – but an aftermarket repair shop must become a one-stop shop for all service needs in order to fill that void.  

Service technicians at independent repair shops currently have access to J2534 reprogramming devices, but there is still reluctance from many techs in the industry to take on reprogramming for a number of reasons: uncertainty in training, concerns with purchasing the equipment and the return on investment for buying this equipment.   

But, that may soon change.

This month’s cover product addresses these concerns for the independent repair shop. The Drew Technologies Remote Assisted Programming Kit (on page xx) provides shops the ability to complete J2534 ECU reprogramming updates and electronically-controlled parts replacements remotely. Meaning, the service tech receives all the necessary equipment to hook up to the vehicle – including a battery maintainer – and access to experts in the field to conduct the reprogramming remotely on the tech’s behalf.

And, the shop isn’t purchasing any of the reprogramming equipment – they pay only for the programming event.

This isn’t to say that shop-owned programming hardware won’t be commonplace at some point in the future, but there are now options in the interim as shops begin to take on more programming work; or only choose to intermittently provide this service. 

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Editorial Director | Commercial Vehicle Group

Erica Schueller is the Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

Sponsored Recommendations

Garage Tip: The Value of System Solutions

Learn why inspecting related parts when repairing your vehicle can save you time and money. Avoid future failures and ensure satisfaction! Click to watch now.

Access the Best Learning Resource for Professional Mechanics

Get hands-on tips, updated repair instructions, mounting videos, failure diagnosis, and best practices for professional mechanics. Click to access essential technical info to ...

From the Basics to Innovations - Transmission Technical Training Videos

Explore Schaeffler's portfolio of transmission technical trainings for the LuK brand. Tailored for all skill levels, our modules cover basics to innovations. Click to learn more...

Clutch Release Problems - Diagnosis & Failure Analysis

Explore common clutch release problems and their causes, from hydraulic issues to mechanical faults. Understand diagnostics and solutions for optimal clutch performance.

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Vehicle Service Pros, create an account today!