Service information: What do techs want?


By Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and chief operating officer

This fall, MACS explored accessing service information, and our associated survey on the topic drew more than 200 responses, some unexpected and enlightening.

Given the technology-saturated world we live in, we tend to think of this subject and most others first in terms of electronic access, aps and the myriad of devices which are portals to this exalted realm. However, some of our survey respondents reminded us that there are resources other than high-tech gadgetry, and that the human factor remains a critical component in our endeavors.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is great, even essential, but one respondent reminds us that we “Still use some paper!” Even more important, our respondents reminded us that we often access important service information from “experienced mechanics” or “talking to other techs.”

While most often information searches fall within the “sweet spot” for automotive aftermarket service of vehicles five to ten years old, some searches are for classic vehicles, or not for auto and light truck at all, but rather one of the many other types of vehicles (for on-road and off-road) in which A/C is installed.

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We asked survey respondents what they were typically working on when accessing service information. Not surprisingly, “HVAC” was the top response, closely followed by “electrical/electronic,” and “engine” was also a frequent response. Much less frequent responses were, in descending order, “transmission/drive line,” “steering/suspension” and “brakes.”

What information do techs look for most often? Wiring diagrams led the categories here, diagnostics was second and specifications a respectable third. Again, in descending order, respondents searched for TSBs, descriptions and operations, and R&R details.

Seventy percent of those responding to the survey said they used aftermarket service information, and 65 percent have purchased OEM service information. Reasons given for turning to OEM service information differed slightly from those for using aftermarket information. Diagnostics was the leading reason cited, closely followed by wiring diagrams; then came specifications, reprogramming, descriptions and operations, and TSBs.

The majority of respondents agree that good service information is a critical factor in achieving effective and efficient repairs, and as technology continues to evolve, will surely become even more critical.

 

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

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About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. www.macsw.org
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