Opinion: The fight for the OBDII port
If you have been talking to other technicians or following some of the online forums, you have probably heard stories and complaints of reprogramming and reflashing cables or j-boxes that seem to have stopped working. Also, technicians are noticing some make-specific scan tool functions missing when they update their scan tool.
Some of the failures can be traced to updates made as operating systems change, or they are no longer supported by Microsoft. Some OEMs have updated and revised their reprogramming tools and some of the third-party J2534 systems are no longer supported. There is no real malice or conspiracy behind these errors – sometimes the OEM corrects the problem, or the shop may be forced to buy a new reprogramming interface or computer.
However, lately, technicians have complained about other issues with their scan tools and coverage. Some technicians have noticed the coverage on some newer vehicles is not that great, they can’t access some modules or some tests are missing. For example, to access some 2018 Chrysler scan tool functions it requires a shop to register for access to the Secure Gateway Module to clear codes and perform some bi-directional tests. This could be the precursor to something more sinister, according to repair guru Andrew Markel.