What You Should Know about Truck Engines, Telematics, and Remote Diagnostics

The Future is Now

There was a time when headlines about heavy-duty diesel engines revolved around horsepower and torque curves.

But today engines deliver much more than power. Electronic controls and telematics can tell truck drivers, maintenance managers, and fleet owners about the performance of their equipment in real time – anywhere there’s a network connection.

Nearly every major Original Equipment (OE) engine has introduced new or updated services recently. Providers of aftermarket telematics devices offer features that streamline the collection and communication of engine data.

As you evaluate telematics devices for diagnostics and predictive maintenance, here are a few things to consider:

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Connections

Telematics devices provide location, speed, and sometimes geofence monitoring by means of a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver.

An OBD-connected telematics device plugs into a truck’s OBDII port for continuous access to TWO important buckets of engine data.

The first involves fuel economy. By monitoring engine speed, idle time, cruise control usage, power output, and integrated powertrain performance, you can take steps to reduce fuel costs by managing maintenance or driver behavior.

The second is engine faults. A telematics system that supports remote diagnostics can send you an alert when an event occurs. It will also send along a detailed report with recommended actions. You can even receive info on the nearest service location so you can detect and respond to problems before they result in downtime or potential safety issues.

Open Platforms

An open platform means the telematics system will support more than its own proprietary applications and hardware. It gives you the flexibility to create the system you need using the vendors of your choice. This includes third-party apps, hardware accessories, and developer tools like a software development kit (SDK) and application programming interfaces (APIs). It’s important to assess whether your telematics platform allows you to create apps, reports, and integrate with maintenance management and back-office systems. These things make it easier to understand faults and prioritize repairs.

For example, the Transflo Mobile+ app integrates with most Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and our ELD platform. It also integrates with other premium features like Drivewyze and CoPilot Truck.

Simply put, you no longer have to bring a vehicle into the shop to know how it’s performing. A telematics system with remote diagnostics helps you collect and communicate engine data. This means you can manage your equipment anytime, anywhere it goes.

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