“In truth, the raw data that is covered by Right to Repair is of rather limited value to the front-line tech who is servicing a vehicle,” says Renaldo Adler, principal of asset maintenance with TMW Systems. “There are hundreds of fault codes, each of which can encompass an even broader array of potential root causes. What’s most important is being able to define and accurately diagnose each fault. For example, without this deeper diagnostic intelligence, the technician might simply find himself replacing parts rather than pinpointing and correcting an upstream problem. This, of course, is a recipe for repeat failures and additional expensive downtime.
“Increased collaboration between vehicle OEMs and service providers is always a good thing, and it is becoming more important with each new generation of vehicle technologies,” Adler continues. “But Right to Repair, and the increased availability of raw OEM fault code information, is not the solution to the knowledge gap facing many fleet maintenance shops and independent service centers. They need detailed diagnostic guidance that will help ensure a ‘first-time fix.’ The good news is that this repair intelligence is available through leading maintenance management solutions, including our TMT Fleet Maintenance and TMT Service Center platforms.”
There are admittedly some gaps in the areas covered by the MOU: It does not address training nor telematics, and the Commercial Vehicle Right to Repair Coalition admitted upon the signing of the MOU that these were flaws the coalition plans to attempt to fix in the future.
“Fleet maintenance professionals and technicians must understand that access to raw data is a very small part of today’s diagnostic and repair challenge,” Adler adds. “This data must be paired with proven diagnostic protocols and other guidance to achieve the necessary levels of efficiency and accuracy in the repair bay. Ideally, this information should be integrated within an end-to-end maintenance management solution designed to maximize vehicle service levels while maintaining tight control of costs.”
Advancements in repair software
The repair software segment of the heavy-duty aftermarket has been growing for years, both before and since the introduction of Right to Repair. Mitchell 1 and TMW Systems shared significant advancements that have recently been made in their respective software offerings.
“From books to CDs to DVDs to web-based information, the advancements in vehicle repair software have been dramatic,” says Mitchell 1’s LaPage. “With trucks becoming ever more technologically advanced, repair information needs to keep up, and the data needs to be thorough and easy to access. As more information is required to repair vehicles, one of the big challenges for technicians has become how to find what they need quickly. Mitchell 1’s repair software for commercial trucks has evolved with the industry, with an emphasis on advanced search technology that delivers complete repair information for a selected vehicle in a single lookup. Software that integrates repair procedures and specs seamlessly with shop management and fleet management systems will add to overall efficiency of repair facilities.”
“Both TMT Fleet Maintenance and TMT Service Center are available with tightly integrated OEM diagnostic and repair modules that not only identify and define fault codes, but also guide the user in finding and correcting the problem, including identifying the required replacement part by OEM part number,” TMW Systems’ Adler says. “One of the most important features of our software is an optional warranty management capability that closes the loop on all warranties—for the truck, system, tire or other part—to reclaim revenue that’s too often lost due to record-keeping and time constraints. This module also enables users to access daily warranty reports and failed parts analyses and streamlines the process of filing warranty claims with each manufacturer.
“In addition,” Adler continues, “business intelligence has provided much more insight to chronic repairs, predictive maintenance, and measurement of shop, technician and equipment performance. Shops can now measure and track actual repair times vs. estimates, quality with respect to repair accuracy and service warranties, parts purchases versus shop policies, and many others.”
The view from the OEM
We’ve heard from the software providers, but how do the OEMs feel about Right to Repair?
“We worked closely with our trade association, other OEMs and the various groups that support R2R to develop the MOU,” says Terry Kline, senior vice president and chief information officer for International Trucks. “Navistar is currently in compliance with the agreement, and we have been providing service information and access to diagnostic tools for almost a year now in support of the agreement.”
“Mack complies with the Right to Repair and, in case of GuardDog Connect, the customer has access to the repair documents for that event, and has the option to decide where to take the truck for repair,” comments David Pardue, Mack Trucks’ vice president of connected vehicle and uptime services.
For its part, Cummins describes itself as “agnostic” about the Right to Repair ruling.