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Perform a Scan Correctly to Best Leverage Data

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A plethora of data. 

Scott Brown, owner and technician for Connie & Dick's Service Center Inc in Claremont, Calif., says vehicles contain a plethora of data but a lot of that data is being misunderstood by the technician.

"A lot of technicians aren't aware or they may be aware that the data is there but don't understand how best to leverage that data," he says.

Let's back up and start with the basics. A diagnostic scan is used to understand what the car is doing.

A car contains different modules and most of them are networked together. They have the capability of monitoring circuits, monitoring performance and then flagging fault. But a lot of times there may be things happening on the car that do not set a fault, although it could be causing a symptom on the vehicle. So just the sheer act of checking codes is not really a scan, Brown says.

 "On top of that, if you do have a vehicle that has a scan, there are a few other things that should be done in addition to that," Brown says. 

  1. If the technician is working with say an engine controller or an engine related fault, and there is a trouble code, then the diagnostic technician should also be looking at the associated freeze frame. 
  2. The technician should look at Mode 6 information, which is a statistical data set that helps a technician understand some of the states or some of the conditions of the vehicle and various diagnostic routine.


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