Editor's Notes: There's An App For That

Editor’s Notes: There’s An App For That

Are you using your smartphone as a tool at the shop? The applications that have been developed specifically for the automotive repair industry are incredible. Not only can you take photos of repairs to help explain a diagnosis to a customer, you can also view live engine data, retrieve fault codes and clear check engine lights.

At TechShop, we’re always asking you to send us your list of your Top 5 Favorite Tools. Each month, we feature a few of the entries we receive. And after reading our feature on the latest tools for electronic system testing, I think the most-named tool of the coming year will be a smartphone.

Are you using your smartphone as a tool at the shop? The applications that have been developed specifically for the automotive ­repair industry are incredible. 

Not only can you take photos of repairs to help explain a diagnosis to a customer, you can also view live engine data, ­retrieve fault codes and clear check ­engine lights.

There are apps that will help you find the correct parts and tools, decipher ­diagnostic trouble codes and conveniently find technical service bulletins.

For the shop owner/manager, there’s an app you can use to notify your customers when service is due on their vehicle and it allows them to ­request an appointment in one click.

There’s an app that will analyze a photo and make an ­evaluation to determine if a serpentine belt is in need of replacement. Welders have an app that can conveniently access stick, TIG and MIG equipment settings and other helpful tips.

One app acts as a portable dynamometer that can measure acceleration, G-force and horsepower; a speedometer app allows you to check a speedometer’s accuracy.

An iATN member from Chicago said he has been using “MAF-Calc on my smartphone for a while. I must say I like it. The app calculates the theoretical MAF value and I can compare the calculated value with the value shown on the scan tool.”

Another iATN member from Wyndmoor, PA, recommends an app from Log Me In software. “With this app installed on my Apple iPad I can remotely use any computer that I assign. Before going to bed I realized I forgot to order a part for the morning. ­Logmein.com to the rescue. In less than a minute I logged on to my shop computer, looked at tomorrow’s schedule for the exact year/make/model then opened Worldpac from the shop desktop and ordered my part.”

If you’re new to this technology, do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find a host of videos that will walk you through set-ups of different apps.

I think our next Top 5 Tools column should feature your Top 5 Favorite Apps. E-mail me at [email protected], and let us know which ones you use in the shop that help save you time and money. We’ll feature your ideas in an upcoming issue.

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