The Importance of Heavy Equipment Diagnostic Software
If life was like the movie Cars, then cars, semis, and heavy equipment could make a technician’s life a lot easier by telling them what’s wrong.
Instead, all we get is a “check engine” light or some other vague indicator that could mean…well…anything.
Luckily, diagnostic software is here to bridge the language barrier between a technician and the vehicle they’re trying to fix. It’s not just for commercial vehicles, either—reliable heavy equipment diagnostic software can make diagnosing issues with your clients’ heavy machinery simple as pie.
Fullbay is all about making life easier for heavy equipment technicians and shops. That said, our software solutions focus on tracking, invoicing, and efficiency—not diagnostics. Still, you can—and should!—utilize our suite alongside the features provided by dedicated diagnostic software.
Keep reading to learn all about what makes heavy equipment diagnostic software so crucial in this day and age.
Introduction to Heavy Equipment Diagnostic Software
Maybe it goes without saying, but diagnostic software is a cornerstone of any modern repair shop. These truck diagnostic tools can communicate with the electronic control units (ECUs) installed in a vehicle, then provide valuable information about the status and health of various subsystems like the engine, transmission, braking system, or something else.
But most diagnostic programs are designed with automobiles in mind—meaning they won’t be much help if your shop focuses on heavy equipment. You need a specialized tool to determine what problems these machines have.
Heavy equipment diagnostic software is built to help your technicians quickly and easily understand problems with construction machinery and other types of heavy equipment. As a result, it should be included in every heavy-duty inspection your shop offers.
(Of course, this software will go even further towards improving your inspections when you combine it with Fullbay-powered maintenance checklists!)
The Benefits of Heavy Equipment Diagnostic Software
When you have access to this software and related equipment, you’ll be able to figure out why a piece of equipment’s “check engine” light has turned on and diagnose any other problems it might have encountered.
There are a lot of reasons why this is a big deal (and something your heavy duty repair shop should be billing for).
Increased Efficiency and Productivity
No more guesswork. Doesn’t that sound nice?
The right heavy equipment diagnostic software can quickly and accurately tell you exactly what’s wrong with a piece of equipment, letting your technicians get to work without any unnecessary delays.
Reduced Downtime and Repair Costs
Maybe your technicians fixed a problem, but another, less obvious problem flew under the radar and went unnoticed. Diagnostics software can help you catch sneaky issues and address them proactively—before they get worse and cause expensive, unexpected downtime.
Improved Equipment Performance and Safety
Unexpected equipment failures can lead to operational delays and put drivers in danger. Running regular diagnostics can help ensure everything is in tip-top shape, leading to dependable performance, improved fuel efficiency, and fewer breakdowns.
Compliance with Regulations and Standards
Diagnostic software can help you stay on top of industry rules and regulations (like the infamous DOT inspection) and ensure each piece of heavy equipment is compliant. These tools can also track and record data over time, providing valuable record-keeping to show a comprehensive history of compliance.
How to Choose the Right Heavy Equipment Diagnostic Software
If you just do a quick search for heavy equipment diagnostic software, you might be a bit… overwhelmed by the results.
There are tons of options out there—on both the hardware and the software side. Plus new versions are always coming out, but the older versions are still available and perfectly functional at a potentially lower price.
Where do you start? Here are some of the most essential factors to consider.
Common Features of Diagnostic Software
Bells and whistles are lots of fun, but your focus should always start with essential core features. At a most basic level, your diagnostic program of choice needs to do all the things you need it to do. Conveniently enough, we’ve compiled a list of these features!
When shopping around for diagnostic software, make sure the program you’re looking at offers these core capabilities:
- Code reading. The ability to read fault codes is at the heart of any successful diagnostic program, whether it’s designed for automobiles or heavy equipment. Before anything else, your diagnostic software must be able to read these codes and offer relevant troubleshooting advice.
- System performance measurement. While reading fault codes is an essential part of any diagnostic software, the best programs in this niche go above and beyond. For example, some diagnostic tools allow technicians to measure and track the performance of the systems that power a piece of heavy equipment.
- Technician assistance features. In the world of heavy equipment diagnostics, technician assistance should go further than a user-friendly interface. Your diagnostic program should also offer system and wiring diagrams to help techs perform repairs.
Compatibility with Equipment and Systems
There are truck-loads of truck types out there. Trucks and trailers, emergency vehicles, construction equipment, mining equipment, farming/AG equipment, RVs…. really, we could go on.
Now consider all the brands that produce those heavy duty truck varieties, and all the models they’ve manufactured over the years.
Our point: it’s absolutely essential to make sure that your heavy equipment diagnostic software is compatible with your fleet or the heavy-duty trucks you service. If you specialize in ambulance repair, then your diagnostic software should be ready and able to work with these vehicles.
If the diagnostic software is compatible with your existing software and systems, that’s the cherry on top. While it’s not always possible, integrations can help your team with manual data entry and the risk of human error.
Ease of Use
Tools should make our lives easier, not harder. If your technicians spend more time arguing with their diagnostic device than actually making repairs, then you have a problem. In other words, the diagnostic software you choose should be fast and user friendly.
Mobile functionality is a big deal, too. Can you imagine your heavy-duty mobile technicians lugging a full desktop computer and monitor to a remote job site? (You should—it’s a surprisingly funny mental image.)
But in all seriousness, the nature of this work means your best bet is choosing a mobile-friendly program. And while cloud-based software is more popular than ever these days, your heavy equipment diagnostic solution needs to be capable of working offline, too.
Durability in Unpredictable Environments
Unlike diesel repairs, repairing heavy equipment will almost always require your techs to leave the shop. Heavy equipment repairs can require mobile techs to travel just about anywhere in your service area—and deal with mud, rain, non-existent cell towers, and other natural obstacles.
That means it’s smart to have mobile technology that can stand up to any environment you can think of. Consider investing in rugged cases for your techs’ phones or laptops. Your diagnostic software should be ready for anything—even a lost internet connection.
Customer Support and Training
Even your techs need tech support from time to time. Heavy equipment diagnostic software can include a lot of cool features and capabilities, but all that power tucked into one device can lead to necessary learning curves, too.
A good diagnostic software should include helpful resources, customer support, and training to help your technicians use their new device to its full potential.
Make Life Easy For Your Techs
Whether you’re working on “normal” automobiles, semi trucks, or heavy equipment, the first step in any successful repair is figuring out what’s wrong. When you research and invest in heavy equipment diagnostic software, your technicians will be even more efficient, productive, and accurate as a direct result.
While diagnostic software for heavy equipment can significantly improve your shop, this isn’t the only software your digital-age garage should take advantage of. Once your technicians have used your diagnostic equipment to find the issue at hand, they can switch to Fullbay’s software to benefit from our guided service order workflow.