Latest News:

autotechnician - serving the independent workshop - logo

Data is King

By autotech-nath on June 21, 2021

Being able to access data generated by the faulty vehicles presented to us, and getting the correct data to fix them, is key to our trade’s success. We ponder the barriers and workarounds…

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation, IAAF, represents aftermarket parts distributors & suppliers at a UK government level with the likes of the DVSA and DfT but also represents the trade in Europe with the international aftermarket association FIGIEFA on topics such as ‘The connected car’, telematics and ongoing access to technical information.

FIGIEFA, together with other major associations representing the motorist and automotive aftermarket, have been lobbying for fair access to vehicle data over recent years as the use of telematics, and the amount of data a vehicle generates, increases. The purpose has also been to empower motorists so they can choose providers to whom and for which purpose they will give their data. The IAAF states: ‘This implies enabling independent operators to offer competitive digital products and services by protecting their right of direct access to in- vehicle, real-time data and of online communication through standardised, interoperable and secure telematics interfaces. ‘Competition neutrality by technical design’ is required to preserve entrepreneurial independence and maintain a level playing field in the digital era.’

As cars become increasingly connected, the lobbying that our industry’s trade associations undertake on behalf of the aftermarket is crucial. The data cars now generate can be used to alert drivers of potential problems and suggest local workshops who can investigate and solve these issues – only with a system in place that ensures fair access to this lucrative data, will the driver benefit from a free choice of services, and a level playing field be established between dealer and independent workshops.

Are independents in the process of being locked out?
OEMs are increasingly placing security restrictions on new vehicle models to protect the vehicle’s communication networks from potential cyber-attacks and hacking. The Fiat Chrysler Group introduced a Secure Gateway Module, similar to a firewall, within most of its 2018 models. Access to certain diagnostic functions – including clearing DTCs, calibrations, re-learns, actuations and adjustments – is only possible using a certified diagnostic tool with WiFi access.

Aftermarket tool and data providers continue to work with OEMs to provide direct access to secure OEM vehicle gateway modules to their customers. Those who are OEM suppliers have an advantage in this ongoing challenge and many aftermarket suppliers are fostering partnerships to ensure they are well- positioned to ensure independent workshops can continue to navigate through increasingly used OEM firewalls, see Rob Marshall’s diagnostic equipment feature from page 22 – June 2021.

Many technicians we have spoken to about this subject are currently happy, much of the time, with the level of access and data provided by aftermarket data and diagnostic equipment suppliers, while the minority, specialist workshops, have felt the need to invest in the dealer tools and OE data systems available, to enjoy the access and depth of data this affords.

Access to data made easier through one-time authentication…

“Security Gateway, Certificate Based Automotive Security, Protection of Vehicle Diagnostics, Central Gateway and CAN Gateway, are systems designed to protect modern vehicles against unauthorised access and manipulation of their data,” says Neil Hilton, Head of Hella Gutmann Solutions (HGS).

“This may be beneficial to security, but it involves considerable effort for independent workshops working across multiple brands because only authentication in the respective vehicle manufacturer’s (VM) portal and the installation of activation software and the acquisition of digital authorisations in the form of certificates, tokens or keys, can clear the way to the vehicle’s electronic control units.”

To counter this, HGS has created a universal key to legally unlock secured vehicles in the software of its mega macs diagnostic tools, with a new Cyber Security Management (CSM) function.

“This means that instead of having to register individually with each VM portal to obtain diagnostic releases for their customer’s vehicles, and subjecting themselves to extensive checks and potentially significant extra costs, a one-time authentication, activated by proof of identification by passport or identity card, is all that’s needed for a mega macs user to have a clear path to work on all vehicles with a security lock, at the usual diagnostic depth.”

There is also no need to load and install manufacturer-specific decryption software as all the necessary modules for the exchange of vehicle-related security certificates with the VM’s relevant servers and backends, are installed in the mega macs software.

The Cyber Security function is available for mega macs devices from the update to software version 60 and will grow its coverage of the VM’s secured models automatically. The first integrated brands are FCA and Mercedes-Benz, followed by VW and Kia, with Hyundai, Nissan and Renault after that. Neil adds: “However, some of the security requirements of other VMs are still in the development phase, which is why resolution of the CSM issue is an ongoing process.”

For more information, please call 01295 662 402 or visit


The latest Snap-on software release helps technicians embrace the full potential of their diagnostic platform, to increase productivity and overcome obstacles more quickly. New coverage includes: Model year updates; over 25 new models with systems and special functions; ADAS recalibrations for Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Seat, Škoda, Toyota & Volkswagen; and over 88,000 new component tests.

Users can also find common maintenance resets, such as fluids and brakes, quicker with the new Maintenance Category for ZEUS and linked functional tests and reset procedures, and exclusive Service Resets and Relearns, are available for ZEUS.

Snap-on’s Secure Vehicle Gateway provides direct access to vehicles from the scan tool for 2017
and newer Fiat Chrysler (FCA) models. Guided Component Tests show how to test, where to connect and what results to look for, SureTrack provides the fix and verified parts replacement records from millions of successful repair orders and its Fast-Track Intelligent Diagnostics provides step-by-step guides.


Technical Topics has released new Diagnostic Assistance software, featuring some major enhancements and developments. It is designed to complement your technical data, scan tool, multimeter, oscilloscope, and fundamentally, your diagnostic processes.

Highlights of the updated software include: Ten learning modules with 83 sections and module end-tests; 117 component tests covering all common diesel, petrol, chassis and body components; 36 diagnostic walk through procedures (including AdBlue systems, input too high/low faults and bypass testing); a Diagnostic Monitors section which details drive cycles and comprehensive system diagnostic monitors; Discovery mode enabling pre-diagnostic job research and an invoice storyboard feature that tracks your progress and posts your actions to the customer invoice.

Find out more in this short video:



About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
Aftermarket Media Solutions Ltd, The Joiners Shop, Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent ME4 4TZ
T: 01634 816 165
Company no. 09625886
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram