The Return: Diagnostic Thermal Imager
STATS: Absolute Automotive Services Location: Delano, Minn. Website: diagnostic.snapon.com Cost: $1,100 Uses: View detailed images of heat that an object is giving off Training Required: On-site demonstrations available
Chad Skartvedt switched his career path in his fourth year at the University of Minnesota when he began working at a gas station and thoroughly enjoyed it. After he graduated from Dunwoody College of Technology, he worked at a Mercedes-Benz dealership before he purchased Absolute Automotive Services in 2000 with his wife, Shannon.
The shop is located in Delano, Minn. The building is a two-bay, full-service automotive repair shop. In addition to the Skartvedts, Absolute Automotive Services has two technicians on staff.
Skartvedt says he never has a problem purchasing tools or equipment that he thinks will improve his shop’s efficiency, which is exactly why he purchased Snap-on’s Diagnostic Thermal Imager when a Snap-on tool representative came into his shop.
How it Works:
Skartvedt says the Thermal Imager works in a similar way to a grocery store scanner. The handheld tool is pointed at the area that the technician wants to check out and then a trigger is pulled. The area is then scanned and the user can view the thermal image on the monitor. Skartvedt says that he uses the Thermal Imager for a variety of jobs, including electrical problems, faulty wheel bearings and he recently used it to figure out why a heated seat wasn’t working. For the most part, Skartvedt says he can tell when an object’s temperature is an issue, but the tool also has a main menu where he can access good and bad examples of different temperatures of vehicle components. The tool also allows Skartvedt to store the images and share them with his customers.
On average, Skartvedt says that he uses the tool at least twice per week and that he loves the time savings.
“I was working on an Infiniti a few weeks ago,” Skartvedt says. “It was overheating and I had a feeling that it was the radiator. I used the tool and found that there was blockage, just as I expected. Before, I would have had to dismantle the vehicle without confirmation that it was the problem. It’s nice to be able to have that reassurance.”
The size of the imagers and the fact that it has rechargeable batteries are a few of the other features that Skartvedt really enjoys.
Skartvedt says that based on the time savings alone, he thinks the Thermal Imager paid for itself within four uses. On average, he says that the tool saves him an hour per job. Hourly rate for the shop is $120, so that time savings can quickly add up. The tool also passes on savings to the customer. Skartvedt says recently he saved a customer close to $500 because he didn’t have to spend time troubleshooting the vehicle like he would have before.