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How remote diagnostics stay on top of service issues


Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine

While OEMs will share their proprietary service data through Right to Repair, they have also continued to develop their respective remote diagnostics offerings to better diagnose a truck’s problems. In fact, Remote diagnostic systems are now offered in some form by all the major truck and engine OEMs. These systems collect diagnostic data on the truck’s performance and status, and automatically send fault codes and warnings to dealers and fleet managers. While Right to Repair provides service data, remote diagnostics will be where many fleets see the value of dealers streamlining service offerings based on the data streaming off the trucks. Fleet Equipment spoke to some of these OEMs about the continued development of these services, and how fleets have been benefiting from access to this data.

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Cummins’ remote diagnostic system, known as Connected Diagnostics, has been offered since late 2014, and as of March is also accessible in mobile app form.

“Connected Diagnostics was initially developed to provide customers with access to fault code information and guidance in rectifying the fault,” explains Todd Mysak, Cummins’ director of data-enabled solutions. “Because the key feature in any telematics-based system is to provide remote access to the vehicle, the customer is able to plan for service depending on location and information provided in the diagnosis. In non-critical situations, the mission can be completed confidently without threat of de-rate; in more serious stations, intervention can be provided pro-actively. Either way, uptime is increased and productivity is improved.”

Detroit’s Virtual Technician, as described by the company, “records critical vehicle performance data immediately before, during and after a fault occurs, giving Detroit engineers the most relevant information to interpret your fault codes. Within minutes you’ll have a preliminary diagnosis, our expert recommendations and directions to nearby service locations with the available parts, if needed.”

Detroit has also announced a new Connect service that the company plans to roll out in 2017 for the Freightliner New Cascadia. This service will mark the introduction of over-the-air capabilities, including remote vehicle parameter settings, remote downloading of DDEC reports, remote flashing of firmware for electronic controllers, and third-party integration.


International’s OnCommand Connection service was on the road in 165,000 trucks as of the start of the year; and of those, according to the company, 60% are models made by International’s competitors.

Kenworth’s offering, TruckTech+, has been built into 18,000 trucks, which have driven a total of 600 million miles with the system as of August of this year.

“Kenworth’s TruckTech+ allows customers to maximize uptime by utilizing real time health information and providing precise locations of all trucks in the fleet,” says Kurt Swihart, Kenworth’s marketing director. “From the PACCAR Portal, a fleet manager is able to look at all trucks in the fleet to determine which require support. In the event a vehicle needs support, the fleet manager can drill down deeper using the event view. Here, the portal delivers fault code data critical in determining the severity and best course of action for a given event. Armed with this information, the fleet is able to make an educated decision on what course of action to take. If a trip to a Kenworth dealer is needed to support, the portal shows the customer the precise locations of nearby dealerships. All these items help in reduce ambiguity while driving maximum uptime.”

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