The Top Dangers of Undetected Fault Codes

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1 The Top Dangers of Undetected Fault Codes Fleet safety impacts an entire organization. Insurance rates, liability risk, CSA scores, and even retaining good drivers are dependent on having well-maintained, safe vehicles. BROUGHT TO YOU BY TMW SYSTEMS, MAKERS OF TMT FLEET MAINTENANCE SOFTWARE

2 Table of Contents Introduction... p. 3 Current Post-Trip Inspection Processes at the Repair Center... p. 4 The Top Dangers of Undetected Fault Codes...p. 5-6 Dangers Remain until a New Solution is Identified... p. 7 TMT First Step, powered by JPRO Technology...p. 7-8 Acknowledgments... p. 8 For More Information To learn more about a better way to control fleet maintenance costs while improving safety and productivity, contact TMW Systems at , or complete this form to request more information. 2

3 Introduction Drivers aren t the only ones who care about the safety of their vehicle. Fleet safety impacts an entire organization. Insurance rates, liability risk, CSA scores, and even retaining good drivers are dependent on having well-maintained, safe vehicles. And as primary revenue generators for commercial trucking companies, vehicles that have unscheduled downtime and repair events cut into productivity and profitability. Further, since 2002, engine control units (ECUs) on commercial vehicles have changed significantly in response to both EPA-mandated emissions requirements and the manufacturers desires to identify and capture vehicle data for engineering purposes. This has resulted in a four-fold increase in the number of multiplexed ECUs and sensors, as well as a sixfold increase in diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Today, repairs and maintenance average 10% of all overall expenses for a transportation company, and that is projected to climb. With maintenance expense including parts, labor and lost productivity such a significant component of vehicle operating costs, the process of maintenance needs to be carried out as efficiently as possible to help keep costs under control. While ECUs and their DTCs have expanded in complexity and in the volume of data they produce, the methods used by shops to diagnose maintenance and repair issues in vehicles have not evolved much. Standard practice still involves handwritten service intake tickets, a visual inspection and drivers comments about observed problems. While many shops have the electronic diagnostic tools to fit each OEM subsystem and unique data bus interface, taking the time to connect each system individually and scan for unreported fault codes with each truck that arrives for service rarely seems worth the effort. The result? Vehicle problems are often misdiagnosed because observable issues don t conclusively point to root causes and many potentially dangerous vehicle conditions are simply missed altogether. No other visual indicator, or driver-observable vehicle behavior, provided any clue about this critical safety issue. Only a random and unprompted diagnostic scan had uncovered this potentially life-threatening situation. As part of a recent nationwide study, one randomly selected fleet was comprehensively scanned with electronic diagnostic tools for unreported fault codes. Of 19 vehicles, 17 showed unreported DTCs. Most were minor, such as low coolant or electrical contact issues with wipers that caused them to function fine in wet weather, but not in dry conditions. But two of the vehicles revealed far more serious conditions. Their ABS systems critical braking controls that could mean the difference between safety and disaster if the vehicle experienced a hard braking incident were not communicating with the vehicle s CAN BUS data network. No other visual indicator, or driver- 3

4 observable vehicle behavior, provided any clue about this critical safety issue. Only a random and unprompted diagnostic scan had uncovered this potentially life-threatening situation. Current Post-Trip Inspection Processes at the Repair Center Every driver knows the drill. As soon as a truck rolls back into the yard, the post-trip inspection begins. Most often this involves the driver completing a visual inspection of the truck s components. Electrical connections are checked. Fuel efficiency is measured. Tires are inspected. Mileage is recorded. Nearly anything that can be seen or felt is captured on paper. But what about issues that can t be seen or felt? Sometimes these are more damaging and dangerous than the most obvious issue. Sure, sometimes a single diagnostic cable is plugged in and issues are downloaded. But to get a complete picture of the vehicle s health, it s likely that more than five diagnostic cables would need to be plugged in to cover all critical subsystems. Whether diagnostic scanning is included or not, most fleets still collect vehicle intake information with nothing more than pen and paper to pass on to the shop for resolution. But handwriting can be difficult to read and transform into a work order. Papers can be misplaced. Problems can be hard to diagnose from visual inspection and driver comments alone. Often, technicians are only fixing the specific problems that are reported by the drivers, or swapping out parts in the hope that the reported issue will be resolved. Yet research shows that 57% of the time that a truck leaves a shop fixed, it still has an unresolved maintenance issue. Incorrect or missed vehicle diagnosis has serious effects on cost and productivity, from inefficient service bay use to incorrect parts replacement to extending vehicle downtime. Undetected fault codes can have trickle-down effects on operating costs, most significantly, on safety. Controlling breakdowns and comebacks are every shop s issue. But without a 360 degree view of the vehicle s health and its complex, interdependent electronic subsystems, real problems often take several attempts to fix correctly. Following are top dangers that can impact fleets of every shape and size when they do not have a regular process in place to capture and examine vehicle diagnostic data. 4

5 THE TOP DANGERS OF UNDETECTED FAULT CODES 1. Safety Hazards The greatest danger from even a single undetected fault code is a potential impact on operational safety. You know that the lives of your drivers and others on the road can be put at risk when a vehicle with faulty brakes, broken lights or even a bad transmission is in operation. Even an unexpected breakdown that still allows a driver to limp the vehicle to the side of the road puts those vehicles and drivers at greater collision risk until the truck is towed to safety. Accidents, whether the fault of your driver or not, tend to increase your insurance rates and always carry a risk for costly litigation when others are involved. 2. CSA Scores The FMCSA claims it wanted a more effective and quantitatively objective way to identify bad actors in commercial trucking when it launched the new CSA safety scoring program. In terms of practical outcome, many commercial carriers are at greater risk than ever before from even minor safety and inspection faults, due to the new ways in which driver and fleet violations are weighted and counted in a carrier s total safety score. Shippers have begun to avoid carriers with poor CSA scores to protect their own liability in the case of potential accidents. While the commercial trucking and transportation industries lobby for more equitable and balanced administration of the CSA program, the new rules have made protecting your safety score from maintenance-related negative events a more critical goal than ever. 3. Increased Fuel Consumption and Costs Transportation companies can t control the price of fuel, but this doesn t change their dependence on it. The largest single operating cost for fleets is fuel. Wasted fuel is the bane of fleet managers and drivers everywhere. Poor or incorrect diagnoses for problems with the newer, low-sulfur diesel engines or with any vehicle emissions control systems, along with transmissions, sets up conditions for reduced fuel economy and higher fuel expense. 4. Higher Total Maintenance Costs When maintenance issues are missed or not correctly addressed, vehicles may return to the shop frequently until problems are resolved. For expediency, technicians often start addressing tough problems by replacing likely parts and component systems, without taking the time to confirm true causes. Parts inventory costs can climb, warranty claim recovery may suffer. Additional labor to repeat a repair process for a misdiagnosed problem adds to increased operating costs. Specialized shop bays and 5

6 technicians trained specifically for nonroutine maintenance work may be poorly utilized if incoming vehicles are not diagnosed correctly. Vehicles may spend more time under repair than originally planned. Even vehicles sent to dealers for certain warranty repairs are very rarely scanned when returned to the fleet to confirm that the work was completed and the original problem has been fully resolved. Fleets report a surprising number of comebacks to dealer shops for problems that weren t completely corrected. Though the warranty work may carry no charge, the downtime, towing costs and lost revenue certainly have associated costs. 5. Lost Revenue For commercial carriers and some vocational and distribution fleets in particular, this is a major pain point. When a truck breaks down, freight doesn t move, services can t be performed, supplies can t be delivered and therefore, customers can t be billed. Increased downtime from unscheduled repairs impacts not only current revenue, but future profit. Already thin margins suffer and the impact is often felt across the organization. Automated fault identification and reporting can better prepare maintenance teams so that the right technicians and the right parts are where they are most needed. Lost miles from incapacitated vehicles also impact many drivers earnings. If driver turnover is an issue for you, perhaps an underlying contributor is unscheduled down time from vehicle breakdowns, which directly af.fects their earning ability, especially under the current HOS rules and restart conditions. Better vehicle diagnostic procedures can pay off for fleets and their drivers. 6. Freight Damage When perishable freight is on the move, truck breakdowns can prove even more costly. Even non-perishables are at risk if an accident occurs as a result of an avoidable system malfunction signaled by a missed fault code. Increased insurance rates and related OSD expenses contribute to organization cost pressures. 7. Customer Service Missed schedules often lead to customer service problems. When unscheduled breakdowns and repairs are at fault, your service performance scores can suffer. Even in the best market, losing customers because of preventable maintenance issues is something no transportation company wants to deal with. 6

7 Dangers Remain until a New Solution is Identified Faced with doing more with less and making budgets stretch further, fleet managers have been keeping trucks in service longer, with attendant increases in lifetime repair costs. In fact, since 2012, there has been an uptick in truck maintenance costs year over year. The increasing complexity in new vehicles, like emissions controls for diesel engines, requires technicians that have higher skill sets, and more expensive parts inventories. With skilled maintenance technicians also in demand, issues with maintenance Of the thousands of fault codes to be read, your fleet can now be sure that ALL of the critical and relevant data affecting safe vehicle operations will now be seen and addressed. turnaround and downtime can be further exacerbated. Clearly, the hit-and-miss approach to diagnosing and maintaining commercial vehicles is ripe for improvement in the face of mounting cost and safety pressures on fleet operators. Introducing TMT First Step, powered by JPRO Technology TMT First Step is a diagnostic and intake tool that requires less than a minute and a single vehicle data connection to collect, identify and prioritize fault codes across multiple vehicle sub-systems from multiple brands and manufacturers. This single diagnostic tool can connect to virtually any medium or heavy duty vehicle (and trailer, if one is connected to the vehicle) to capture and interpret the diagnostic trouble codes from all of its components. Each significant trouble code is displayed clearly with color indicators to highlight severe or safety related problems so technicians can prioritize the most critical repairs. A comprehensive diagnostic health check report is generated in moments, with summary code severity and accurate VIN data for conclusive vehicle identification and history tracking. Significantly, TMT First Step also knows which diagnostic codes are not relevant to the maintenance process and exist only to provide OEMS with engineering research data. Of the thousands of fault codes to be read, your fleet can now be sure that ALL of the critical and relevant data affecting safe vehicle operations will now be seen and addressed. Instead of pen and paper, TMT First Step includes a ruggedized touchscreen tablet for use during vehicle intake and repair triage in the yard. Driver inspection results are entered along with their observations on vehicle performance and visual inspection of the vehicle is added to the more comprehensive system diagnostics captured by TMT First Step from the vehicle data bus. All information is consistently and legible captured without omissions or errors, where it can be wirelessly transmitted immediately in to the shop maintenance software system. TMT First Step integrates with TMT Fleet Maintenance and TMT Service Center software from TMW Systems. Prioritized fault code data and accurate VIN numbers can be sent directly to the shop systems for repair order creation and more effective repair bay assignments. The task is completed without tedious and time-consuming data re-entry. Shops 7

8 can improve process efficiency, reduce comebacks by fixing it right the first time and make better use of technicians and equipment by reducing unscheduled repairs and more costly breakdowns. Service centers can uncover additional revenue opportunities with fleets and increase customer loyalty by identifying undetected or unreported problems with a quick and comprehensive First Step scan. Additional benefits include: Eliminates double data entry Enhances each vehicle s general inspection and repair history Provides more accurate and powerful fleet trend analysis Order or replace the right part the first time Keep your highly skilled technicians on repairs not paperwork TMT First Step uses smarter data access and fault code interpretation to help you keep vehicles safely on the road, earning money, with fewer breakdowns and comebacks. For More Information To learn more about a better way to control fleet maintenance costs while improving safety and productivity, contact TMW Systems at , or complete this form to request more information. Acknowledgements

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