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Intelligent diagnostics – eliminating guesswork

By autotech-nath on September 16, 2020

Snap-on’s new Apollo-D8 diagnostic scan tool is designed to intuitively guide technicians through the diagnostic workflow – from pinpointing the problem, to finding the fix. Autotechnician spoke with Steve Fox, diagnostic training lead and sales developer at Snap-on, who focuses on increasing customer and franchisee knowledge of vehicle diagnostics, to see how it can help you reach a faster fix.

The new APOLLO-D8 is the latest scan tool to be added to the Intelligent Diagnostics family from Snap-on and has been designed to make Intelligent Diagnostics more accessible to technicians at all skill levels, providing technicians with the answers, and the confidence to pinpoint underlying faults.

The tool offers quick access to SureTrack’s Top Repairs, Smart Data, Functional Tests and Resets all presented on one page. Giving you everything you need and nothing you don’t. One key feature is Smart Data. ‘Smart Data’ automatically configures the control unit’s data parameter ID’s (PIDs) relevant to the fault code selected. Snap-on’s Steve Fox told us: “If a parameter is out of tolerance, it is highlighted with a red flag. In my opinion, as an ex-technician, one of the hardest things to know is if a PID is out of expected range” let alone which PIDs I needed? Intelligent Diagnostics delivers all the information needed for the job in one scrolling, easy-to-navigate screen. Steve adds: “How many m/g per stroke should I expect to see on a known good mass air flow sensor in live data at idle, with the EGR valve closed? These are the types of questions I struggled to find the answer to, let alone which PIDs I needed to select and evaluate once I retrieved a fault code. With Intelligent Diagnostics I can get to that kind of information straight away.”


SureTrack is Snap-on’s information resource that highlights top repairs and real fixes for the specific vehicle and diagnostic trouble code (DTC) in front of you, this information has been sourced from thousands of garages that have solved the same problem. We wondered how the information was evaluated, as you don’t want to be guided down the wrong path by a job card that’s been completed by someone looking for an easy fix. Steve explained: “All the information is validated by Snap-on engineers to ensure it is accurate and relevant to the vehicle and code.”

The features sound like they could save a lot of wasted time for many, but surely cannot replace the knowledge and skill of technicians honed through experience? “Of course no one could ever replace a technician, but what we can do is try to make things easier for them and significantly increase their productivity and speed – helping them get through tasks quicker and more efficiently, and helping them to look in the right places instead of chasing the wrong issue. And hopefully in turn they can make more money. If I were in a garage today, using a Snap-on Intelligent Diagnostics product, I would be confident I could plug into the vehicle in front of me and, with the trouble code, be pointed in the direction of what to do next.” For the vast majority, the tool and its software will provide guidance when the fault is not one that has been encountered before and will provide many with confidence that they are following a logical diagnostic process and completing the job professionally.


  • Intelligent Diagnostics: Delivers all the information in one scrolling screen
  • Intuitively guides you through the diagnostic workflow, from pinpointing the problem, to finding the fix
  • Smart Data: Automatically configures the display to show vehicle data parameter ID (PIDs) relevant to the fault code• The 2019 Queen’s Award-winning SureTrackTM information resource delivers top repairs and real fixes for the specific vehicle and DTC
  • Functional Tests and Resets: Verifying component operation is right at your fingertips with easy-to-follow reset procedures to complete the repair
  • Pre- and post-scan vehicle summary report displays a complete view of diagnostic resultsAccessing the Intelligent Diagnostic functions on the Snap-on APOLLO-D8 requires a software agreement, which will keep the tool updated with the latest information and functionality available.To find out more about the line of Intelligent Diagnostics tools, talk to your Snap-on franchisee or visit:

The Apollo in action Case study: 2007 Mazda 6 2.0l Diesel

The APOLLO-D8 was used to discover an underlying fault on a Mazda 6 that had an EGR fault code stored, which on Mazdas, can also throw up an ABS fault code. The Engine MIL was illuminated, it had a flashing DPF light, but no loss of performance was noticed by the driver.

A Pre-Scan was carried out to establish all the vehicle trouble codes. These reports are automatically sent to the Snap-on cloud via Wi-Fi and can be printed, e-mailed or sent via text to customers for repair approval before fixing the vehicle. These can also be used to fulfil mandates by manufacturers and insurance companies for collision work.

By selecting the P0406 trouble code, you are taken to the Intelligent Diagnostics page. At the top, you can view the ‘Verified Top Repairs’. Looking at the smart data, the red flags have highlighted that the EGR valve position has gone out of tolerance at idle. Using the red and green cursors, looking at all the available live data, no other component showed any abnormality, indicating the EGR Valve was likely to be at fault. EGR valve position at idle should be between 1.9 mm and 2.0 mm (this read 1.44mm). This value was the first PID to exceed our known good tolerance, hence the red flag with the red vertical cursor.

EGR position voltage should be 1.13V to 1.17V on live data (here it is 1.02V) due to the suspect EGR component, this has caused the voltage to momentarily step out of our known good/bad tolerance, hence the red flag.

Under the functional tests and resets tab, there was an ETB/ EGR relearn available, this was carried out after replacing the EGR Valve.

Post Scan (after repair) to verify fix: A road test was carried out ensuring the OBD readiness monitor had completed for the EGR system. A post scan shows that the EGR fault had not returned, confirming a fix.



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