Tech Tip: Scan Tools Needed for Some ABS, ESC and A/C Service

Tech Tip: Scan Tools Needed for Some ABS, ESC and A/C Service

Some new technologies may require the use of scan tools to service them - in unexpected ways. A scan tool may be necessary when servicing vehicles equipped with ESC (Electronic Stability Control), for instance, even with simple service such as an alignment. This scan tool helps perform the steering center calibration, which, if not performed correctly, can result in the vehicle pulling to one side or the other.

Some new technologies may require the use of scan tools to service them – in unexpected ways. A scan tool may be necessary when servicing vehicles equipped with ESC (Electronic Stability Control), for instance, even with simple service such as an alignment. This scan tool helps perform the steering center calibration, which, if not performed correctly, can result in the vehicle pulling to one side or the other. ESC, of course, is with us more and more today and will be mandatory in 2012.  And in order to properly perform a brake fluid flush on vehicles with ABS, a scan tool is required to open and close the solenoids in order to flush all of the old fluid.

Also, re-flashing or re-programming of the ECU, is sometimes necessary today to do repairs or after a repair, and a tool capable of flashing or re-programming is required, a high quality battery / charging system diagnostic tool that can monitor voltage may also be needed, and a stable power supply ensures constant voltage (versus fluctuating power from a battery charger).

A scan tool is often needed to diagnose today’s A/C problems, and smaller A/C systems with tighter tolerances may tax an older A/C machine, which may not be as accurate as a newer J2788 A/C recovery / recycling / recharging machine. The risk of comebacks increases on newer vehicles that are not recharged accurately. Also, bi-directional scan tools are often required to be able to turn engine controls or actuators on and off to fully diagnose vehicles.

Make absolutely sure before beginning any work on a hybrid, that you know the vehicle. No matter how simple the service may appear these machines operate on and store very high voltage – sometimes up to 600 volts – and the unwary will regret it. Study the procedures prior to pulling the vehicle in the shop so that you know where the lift points are, what to disconnect and what to do and what not to do while servicing the vehicle. In addition to special procedures for services sometimes special tools / equipment are required. For instance, a CAT III / 1000 V digital multimeter, such as the Bosch MMD 540H unit is required. And special Class 0 electrical service gloves are absolutely essential whenever diagnosing electrical problems on hybrids to avoid serious, possibly lethal, injury.

For information on products offered by Bosch Diagnostics, visit www.boschdiagnostics.com.

Source: Bosch Diagnostics

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