Ride the Tide with Wireless Diagnostics Technology
As the digital tide continues to flood the auto repair industry, savvy shop owners need to get on board or risk being washed away. It’s not just one avenue forward into the 21st century—for The Hybrid Shop (THS), it’s the only way. When your vehicle base is hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV), it can be sink or swim with business decisions and deciding which diagnostic tool is the best.
At The Hybrid Shop, President & COO Dave Crawford sees the need to fully embrace new technology.
“HEV/EV vehicles are cutting edge technology,” he says. “Drivers understand that, and when they purchase the vehicle they are looking for someone with the knowledge and tools to diagnose a problem right the first time.”
According to a 2016 survey from AAA, two out of three drivers in the United States do not trust auto repair shops because of poor past experience (63 percent surveyed), overcharges (73 percent surveyed), and recommendations for unnecessary service (a whopping 76 percent surveyed!). The Hybrid Shop provides its dealers with the knowledge and a proprietary Diagnostic Tablet to help technicians diagnose a problem more efficiently and alleviate those fears. This can help diminish those poor customer experience percentages to zero, and put more money on the bottom line.
The THS Tablet works wirelessly with modern OBD-II connectors found on all HEV/EVs. Housed in a protective case with a built-in camera, it works with any vehicle on the market save for Tesla, which is fine for prospective THS partners—Elon Musk’s electric future can only be accessed at Tesla-brand dealers anyway.
Once the diagnostics and analysis are complete, the tablet will produce a “state of health” report on all systems on the vehicle (drivetrain, braking, electronics, etc.). All vehicle repair manuals are stored in the THS cloud for easy access and help in repairing the vehicle. It also links wirelessly to THS tech support. Pictures of the vehicle can be sent for evaluation to THS technicians, and tech support can remotely connect to the vehicle and see exactly what the tech sees and help with repairs.
In a previous Ratchet+Wrench article, Crawford reported there are over 5 million hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads today. Those cars will need repairs—they’re profitable and create a revenue stream that didn't exist for independent shops before.
“The average repair order is higher with hybrids,” Crawford says. “There are added costs and complexities when dealing with hybrid drive systems and that increases the driver’s cost of service and maintenance. If presented properly, drivers will pay a bit more as they know you are working on cutting edge technology.”
The THS Diagnostic Tablet will help keep those costs in check because customers know they’re getting the necessary repairs diagnosed correctly, fixed correctly, and recommendations for future maintenance all in one go.
“Customer expectations have risen and they expect their vehicles to be fixed right the first time,” Crawford notes, pointing out that shops that use digital diagnostics like the THS Diagnostic tablet can see an uptick in their monthly AROs, decreased repair time, and happier customers. Maintenance and repair manual updates are sent wirelessly to the tablet, so the newest information is always available.
The tablet will also generate a report for the technician. It can be printed wirelessly and shared with the customer which adds credibility. The Hybrid Shop’s cloud software works in tandem with the tablet to store the vehicle’s information in folders specifically for each shop, and can be easily sorted by make, model, technician and/or customer for easy reference on return visits.
“Our diagnostic tool does it all,” Crawford says, “and is part of The Hybrid Shop dealer program.”
“At The Hybrid Shop we’re excited about the opportunities,” Crawford says. The market is growing and shops that embrace the rising technological tide will rise to the surface. The water can get rough, but The Hybrid Shop has the tools and expertise to not only stay afloat, but to navigate to a safe port and prosperity.