What is Programming?
The days of diagnosing and repairing automobiles without a laptop beside you are quickly fading. Newer vehicles include a large number of on-board computers that are each dedicated to performing specific tasks. Common on-board computers in newer vehicles include the Engine Control Module (ECM), Transmission Control Module (TCM), Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Body Control Module (BCM), Theft-Deterrent Modules and numerous other control modules to manage every electronic system from power door locks to crash data.
Each on-board computer is programmed at the factory with software enabling it to perform certain tasks. For example. inside the ECM is software containing hundreds or even thousands of parameters to control spark, fuel, idle, cruising, emissions, economy, drivability, and performance. Likewise, a TCM will have software to control the transmission shifting points and torque functions. Sometimes, after the vehicle is shipped from the automaker, updates are released to improve emissions, fuel economy, drivability, performance or bugs in the original software that have caused warranty issues. Updating this software can be a proactive fix because it will resolve problems that a customer hasn't reported or noticed yet.
The practice of updating software in these modules is more commonly known as flash reprogramming. At new car dealerships, flash reprogramming is relatively straight forward because service technicians are connected to the automaker and have the expensive, specialized dealer service tools dedicated to reprogramming. The Independent Repair Shops have faced a more difficult challenge because most shops typically service more than one make of vehicles. This increases the complexity, cost and training required for operating dozens of different factory service tools.
J2534 - Why Heights Autohaus Can Program Modules
In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been monitoring this issue and decided to take action. The EPA requested a standard be developed within the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) that led to J2534 protocol, a mandated specification to which automakers who sell vehicles in the United States must conform. The original J2534 specification was later updated to J2534-1 in order to support all automakers. The EPA mandate requires automakers to support independent repair shops with J2534-1 flash reprogramming for any emissions related computer modules on a vehicles that can be reprogrammed by a new car dealership. This mandate took effect for all 2004 and newer vehicles.
SAE J2534 is a standard devised of two independant parts: subscription software and a J2534 compliant Pass-Thru vehicle interface. The first part, subscription software, comes directly from the automaker (manufacturer), runs on a personal computer or laptop, and can be either web-based or removable media-based. The subscription fees are charged differently for each automaker.
The second part of the system is a SAE J2534 compliant Pass-Thru vehicle interface. This device acts as a gateway between the vehicles onboard computers and the technicians personal computer or laptop. It translates messages from the technicians PC into the communication protocols used by the automobile and vice versa.
Performing J2534 reprogramming requires sophisticated computer knowledge and experience. The technician will need to operate a laptop or desktop computer, the Pass-Thru device, a pure DC voltage maintainer and the manufacturers reprogramming software. Operation will also require a good high-speed internet connection with the appropriate networking devices ( Fiber Optics, Routers, LAN Cables... ) along with secure connections to properly perform the task of programming and/or coding.
How This Effects Our Customers
As a customer, you have rights too! You are no longer required to take your vehicle to the dealer and pay the outrageous prices to service your vehicle. Dealerships have large overhead and their customers are paying for it. Because we are not operating as a franchise and because we don't have the large overhead that the dealer has, we are able to pass the savings on to our customers. The law protects you and your vehicle from the automakers voiding your warranty if you decide to take your business elsewhere. Heights Autohaus uses the same manufactures devices that the dealers do to diagnose, program and code your vehicles control modules. Our technicians do not specialize in just one manufactures engineering; we specialize in NINE different engineered vehicles and their variants. The expertise and training of our technicians far exceeds the knowledge of dealer technicians and most other independent repair facilities. Because our technicians see so many different issues in the array of vehicles we service, it is no wonder why are techs are so good at what they do. When you add the value of our knowledge with the 2 year 24,000 mile warranty that we provide, the lower prices of our service and the quality parts we use, you end up with a peace of mind that is worth bringing your vehicle to us from now on. It's time to take back control of the customer care you receive and the dollars you spend. Come see us TODAY!