Modern heavy vehicles have numerous moving parts making up intricate mechanical systems. However, these structures also rely on a lot of electronics to function. In addition, it is now the norm to diagnose system faults electronically. Therefore, you must have the right tools to detect transmission, engine and braking issues. Diagnostic tools are the ideal solution for correctly identifying truck system defects. They are known as fault readers or fault clearers.

The purpose of a fault reader

When something is performing sub-optimally, truck electronic control units (ECUs) generate fault codes that indicate the source of the problem. This feature enables you to garner vital information about vehicle issues while eliminating the need for extensive hands-on investigations.

A fault reader creates an interface with the vehicle’s ECU that accurately reports the trouble codes.

What are OBD II codes?

OBD is short for onboard diagnostics. It is a series of fault codes concerning different aspects of a vehicle’s operation. Early diagnostic systems were basic, only providing vehicle operators with a malfunction indicator if something was wrong. However, this feature failed to account for the difference in truck manufacturers’ coding systems. Therefore, it was challenging to identify the present issues quickly.

These difficulties prompted the development of OBD II codes in 1996. This format was more standardised, thus ensuring that all truck diagnostics displayed the same fault codes whenever a particular issue arose. As a result, operators find diagnostics easier. Moreover, this advancement precipitated the development of universal fault readers.

The codes fault readers provide are known as Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).

Reading DTC codes

DTC codes feature a 5-digit display. This format applies to all codes to maintain a uniform layout that eases the operator’s work. The first digit is a letter reflecting the issue’s specific point of origin. The various letters are:

P – Powertrain

B – Body

C – Chassis

U – Network

The second figure is either 0 or 1. 0 indicates a generic fault, and 1 signifies a manufacturer-specific problem. Finally, the last three numbers point to the specific vehicle circuit and system where the error has been detected.

Once you establish where and what the issue is, you can take appropriate action. You can also quickly determine which aftermarket parts for trucks you need and how long it will take to make necessary repairs.

Here are some examples of fault readers available on the market:

Bosch Heavy Duty Scantool

The Bosch Scantool can check for errors and faults in the transmission, engine and braking systems. It works on either 12V or 24V power. While larger diagnostic tools are best used in a static environment like a workshop, the Bosch Scantool is an excellent portable solution. It is ideal for field repairs where you might need to read and clear basic fault codes.

Jaltest PTE

Jaltest is a renowned brand in diagnostics and connectivity for heavy vehicles. The Jaltest PTE, the company’s portable fault reader, offers exceptional usability for truck system testing. In addition, the PTE comes with a hard carry case, preventing easy damage when not in use, and is designed for you to use competently without needing assistance.

Truck fault readers enable you to quickly and accurately diagnose any truck system faults. This ease also makes identifying the necessary aftermarket parts for your trucks faster. As a result, you reduce vehicle repair downtime and keep your truck on the road longer.

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