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In the modern shop environment, diagnostics are a way of life. Solutions for today’s constantly evolving world of diagnostic tools and equipment have proven to be a worthy expenditure for both shops and technicians. These products help techs work more efficiently with far less misdiagnoses when utilized properly. While prevalent in the automotive and heavy duty world for vehicles, they are relatively unknown for towing and trailer diagnostics. They can prove to be a great value for all shops working on any trailer ranging from small boat trailers to 53 ft. semis.
Although trailers appear to be far simpler than vehicles in terms of wiring and components, they can be harder to troubleshoot due to a lack of integrated OBD feedback and require a full functional test. Because trailers have a greater degree of exposed wiring harness and often sit dormant for long periods of time, you are often left with frequent failures and extensive troubleshooting times. The combination of these variables along with the underlying safety issue of trailers carrying heavy loads has resulted in an increase of inspections and possible citations from the federal government.
Assessing the health of the wiring harness comes with its own set of diagnostic challenges. To inspect trailer functions, the customer’s tow vehicle is often used. This not only requires a second tech but also the customer to leave their vehicle. Also, any malfunction found may be present in either the vehicle, trailer, or plug/socket interface. Another method incorporated by many shops is building crude makeshift testers, which provide basic on/off functionality. However, by implementing the right diagnostic tool and equipment solutions, this process is greatly simplified, the guesswork is removed, and trailer work becomes a one-tech operation.
IPA, based in Woodstock, NY, has been the leader in professional, diagnostic truck and trailer solutions for over a decade, and offers a full line of cost-effective products to help techs perform more thorough inspections, saving time and money. IPA addresses the three possible breakdowns in towing electrical problems with a line of vehicle-side socket testers and pin cleaners for most common North American configurations. However, the cornerstone of their line is the MUTT (Mobile Universal Trailer Tester) series of diagnostic, self-powered trailer testers.
The MUTTs take all the guesswork out of trailer inspections and provide a true, one-man process with most units working via wireless remote. A technician can easily power each individual circuit and visually inspect the component for proper function. The microprocessor-controlled diagnostic brain alerts the technician to the presence of any electrical fault on the trailer harness such as short circuits, cross-wired circuits, open circuits or the very common, poor ground. By instantly being notified to the problem at hand, the diagnostic time is mere seconds and the technician can go straight to repairing the issue. Additionally, the MUTT series also allows technicians to actuate both electric and air brakes (depending on the model) to make sure all installed components are receiving power and engaging properly.
By implementing a complete package of truck and trailer diagnostics, shops will see an immediate reduction in diagnostic time compared to the alternative, and will be able to spot issues that were previously undetectable. Beyond the obvious efficiency gains, these solutions will yield more satisfied customers and more importantly, safer trailers leaving your facility. For more information from IPA call 888-786-7899 or visit www.ipatools.com.