Shop Life

The Return: Snap-On Hand-Held 5 Gas Analyzer Kit with Printer

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A Colorado shop owner reviews an emissions and gas analysis kit.

STATS  Website: www.snapon.com/EN  Cost: $3,470  Uses: Analyzes gas emissions in a vehicle, specifically for emissions compliance testing, vehicle servicing and diagnostic work  Training: Provided instruction manual walks through how to utilize product  
 

The Reviewer:

Robert Blaes is the owner of Stang Auto Tech Inc located in Broomfield, Colo. Before transitioning his hobby of working on Mustangs in 1980 into a $4.4 million dollar business, Blaes worked at a nuclear weapons complex for 17 years. With a keen sense for understanding technology, Blaes’ interest in working on electronics in the automotive field came as second nature, he says.


The Shop:

The four-bay shop has been in Broomfield since 1996. Stang Auto Tech Inc. is a family-run, full-service preventive maintenance and auto repair center. The shop tends to car care, general, undercar, heating and cooling, electrical, transmission, electronic, internal engine, heavy-duty, fleet, towing, tuning services, hybrid car and electric services. According to Blaes, one of the shop’s philosophies focuses on “testing, not guessing,” as well as utilizing component-level testing to verify why a failure occurs.

 

How It Works:

The Hand Held 5 Gas Analyzer Kit with Printer allows users to test gas emissions inside a vehicle. With the ability to take the gas analyzer on the go, the device provides real-time results of what exhaust gases the vehicle is producing in a real-time driving condition. Colorado is a state that requires vehicles to undergo a vehicle emissions inspection, according to the AAA Digest of Motor Laws. In Colorado, specifically, vehicles are not tested for gas emissions until the make of the car is seven years old, and then afterward, vehicles are tested on a biennial basis, AAA notes.

According to Snap-on, the device views a gas analysis with 1/14th the exhaust volume of competing analyzers. At Stang Auto Tech, the product is utilized whenever there is a need to measure the exhaust gases in a transient condition.

Before placing the device inside the tailpipe to measure the emissions, connect the black five-gas exhaust Probe into the Gas Analyzer and calibrate, or zero, the device. Once together, place the probe inside the exhaust tail pipe. From there, the device will monitor and measure real-time air fuel mixtures while driving the vehicle.

Once the results are in, which Blaes estimates the results displayed on the screen have a delay factor of 0–60 seconds, results from the test will be revealed on the screen. In addition, the infrared printer is able to print out results if desired.

“There’s probably situations where we would use the printer, but we just have not,” Blaes says.


The Review:

Blaes was in the market for a new gas analyzer to help in his shop; originally, the shop used gas analyzers such as the Sun 4 gas analyzer and Vetronix portable 5 gas analyzer, but Blaes sought a more efficient, updated version of the product that replaced the functionality of the Vetronix Portable 5 gas.

“The 5 Gas becomes very useful and beneficial in the bay, not just for emissions failures, and it allows us to baseline the vehicle,” Blaes says.

The product has been used at the shop off and on for a year, but Blaes says the hand held is handled carefully at his shop as the readings are not entirely exact. According to Blaes, the tool is only able to capture a small sample of the emissions, which is referred to as “quarter-bench,” he describes.

“The delay factor is huge and I question the accuracy of the samples” Blaes says. “It’s still better than nothing, but I second guess it’s accuracy.”

Because only a small amount of gas is seeped through the machine, Blaes says it makes the reading difficult to understand and calculate.

“I think Snap-on’s prime desire was portability and so, therefore, accuracy suffered,” he says. “We’re able to use it to validate air fuel mixtures and see trends and conditions under certain driving conditions. Because of it being so small and the size of the vacuum pump, we question the accuracy of the data.”

 

The ROI:

Prior to bringing Snap-on’s gas kit into the shop, the business used the Vetronix product for 15 years. Once the Vetronix became unrepairable, the shop was without a tool to measure transient dynamic exhaust gases.

The Snap-on is the only hands-free gas analyzing tool the shop has today.

“We needed a usable, portable 5 gas for doing real-work, transient testing and getting data from the real world conditions,” Blaes says.

Without a gas analyzer, the shop would not be able to determine actual exhaust gases while the vehicle is driving as it normally does.

“I think I’ve spent more on this unit than I did the Vetronix, but of course you’ve got just normal inflation; but we need transient data, which means real-condition data,” Blaes says. “It’s helped, because without it, we have no portable and there’s no way of getting real transient data without this 5-gas unit.”

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