Reflash to replace

Written By Pat Pierce
Posted On: October 29, 2014, 11:08 am

In our last diagnostics blog, we mentioned some of the additional uses of a scan tool beyond traditional scanning and fixing the vehicle. One new trend is the requirement of a scan tool to reset a vehicle’s charging system anytime a battery is disconnected or replaced.

Think how complicated and sophisticated a vehicle’s charging system is, and what it needs to accommodate versus just ten years ago. We weren’t charging two or more cell phones while driving down the road, nor was a GPS or laptop computer plugged in, and we certainly weren’t using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in our vehicles. Now we are, and the charging system has to account for that.

Any variances or current spikes can shorten battery life and damage sensitive electronic equipment, and our vehicles today are filled with just that – electronic equipment. It’s why more OEMs are recommending or even requiring a reprogramming after a battery replacement, to ensure everything is functioning to factory spec.

As a battery ages, it’s charged differently. The vehicle and charging system knows that, and without being reset, it will charge a new battery as it charged the old one, which could shorten overall battery life on your customer’s new investment.

You can actually fry a new battery within a year or less by charging it improperly. Think of the return repairs and unhappy customers waiting in line, being told they need another new battery because the system wasn’t reset during the last installation.

It seems the old R&R – remove & replace - will soon be a new R&R – replace and reflash – as the adage of getting a customer’s vehicle back on the road.

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