Tyre Tracks December 2009
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 09:32
Tyre Tracks

SP Diagnostics Tyre Tracks News

Support Tech Club Articles SPi Fact
DPF Tax Rebate Garys Support Corner

SP Support Forum

Technical Diagnostic Support

SP Diagnostics provides technical support for both past and present customers, including Sykes-Pickavant customers completely free!

We have 3 methods of support:

Telephone support - based in the UK, and within arms reach of our engineering team (for extra back up), it opens from 8.30-5 mon-fri and uses a local call rate number too!

Internet forum - we never charge for the use of our forums. As well as our technical support team posting answers to questions, we have some very knowledgeable members that also respond to posts. What's more we monitor the forum around the clock, even on holidays!

Email - you can email the support team from the SP Support website, our aim is to respond within 24 hours, this is monitored during working hours and often after hours too.

The support team that monitors
both the email and forums consists of engineers that write the software for your equipment.

SP Diagnostics Tech Club Launched

SP Diagnostics are pleased to announce the new SP Diagnostics Tech Club, if you use & buy SP Diagnostics products sign up now.

The Tech Club allows SP Diagnostics users to get free subscription through the SPi referral scheme, collect Tech Club Points that can be used against new purchases and to get free stuff from SP Diagnostics. The Tech Club membership is managed through a new site techclub.spdiagnostics.com all you need to do is visit the site and register.

We plan to add new features to the site, with more schemes and bonus offers.

As a member of the Tech Club we will also inform you of breaking SP Diagnostics news first.

SP Diagnostics Tech Club


New Diagnostic Articles

There are now diagnostic articles on the SP Support site, from EOBD & fault codes to using various SPi functions. visit site

If you have ideas for future articles please drop us an email.


Tyre Tracks SPi Fact - One Harness

The SPi uses one harness for all 16 pin J1962 applications, there is no need to swap leads, add extra adapters or attach big bolt on boxes. With the SPi you don't have to look up which harness is correct for the vehicle, just plug it in and start diagnosing.

Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF)

Changes to car emission legislation introduced in September this year (the Euro 5 standard), will make Diesel Particulate Filters extremely common in new vehicles. The goal of the Euro 5 standard it to make an 80% reduction in particulates or soot coming from diesel vehicles.

How do they work? - Diesel Particulate filters (DPF) catch particles of soot in the exhaust. As with any filter they do require regular emptying, for a DPF this process is called 'regeneration' – the accumulated soot is burnt off at high temperatures to leave only a tiny ash residue. There are 2 types of regeneration passive and active.

Passive regeneration - Passive regeneration is an automatic process, on motorway style journeys where the exhaust temperature is high. Most cars don't get this sort of use, so manufacturers have to design-in 'active' regeneration where the vehicle ECU takes control of the process.

Active regeneration - When the amount of soot in the filter reaches a set limit around 45%, the ECU can make small adjustments to the fuel injection timing to increase the exhaust temperature and initiate regeneration. If the journeys are very short the regeneration may not complete and the warning light will illuminate to indicate that the DPF is partially blocked. A complete regeneration should be possible by simply driving for 10 minutes or so at speeds greater than 40mph.

If the customer ignores the light and continues in a town driving style, the soot amounts will continue to build up until around 75% when you can expect to see other warning lights illuminate. At this point driving at speed alone will not be sufficient and the car will have to come in for regeneration.

Expensive repairs - Should warnings still be ignored and soot builds up further then the most likely outcome will be a new DPF costing around £1000. If the car is used mainly for town based driving, it may be better to use a petrol car rather than have the hassle of failed DPF regeneration.

DPF additives - The most common type of DPF features a catalytic converter and is located very close to the engine where exhaust gases will still be relatively hot so that passive regeneration is still possible.

Some vehicle manufacturers don't have the required space close to the engine, so they use a different type of DPF which relies on a fuel additive to lower the ignition temperature of the soot particles so that the DPF can be located further from the engine.

The additive is stored in a separate tank and is automatically mixed with the fuel whenever you fill up. Small quantities of additive are required though, so a litre of additive should treat around 2800 litres of fuel, enough to cover 25,000 miles at 40mpg. With this type of DPF regeneration will be initiated by the ECU every 300 miles or so depending on vehicle use and will take 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Failures - There are already cases where these systems fail to regenerate, even on cars used mainly on motorways. Some cars have a very high sixth gear, and the engine RPM and exhaust temperature is not high enough for regeneration.

Check the handbook - If you get a car in with DPF problems check the handbook to see exactly what actions to take if the warning light illuminates and how, if at all, their driving style may need to be adjusted to ensure maximum DPF efficiency and life.

Mechanics Tools and Equipment Tax Rebates

If you have worked as a mechanic in the last 6 years or are working as a mechanic at the moment and have bought tools or equipment that you need to carry out your job you may be due a tax rebate.

If you have not been fully reimbursed by your employer then you can secure a mechanics tax rebate that can go back up to 6 years.

What can you do - We offer a hassle free service that verifies the forms and collects the required information, we then file the claims with HMRC.

What we need - Collect receipts for your equipment - we will need receipts for the equipment that you have bought. Your supplier should be able to provide you with a print out going back a few years, If you prefer, we can deal with your tool rep to get the receipts.

Charges - There is a 25% charge (+VAT) of any rebate, but only if the claim is successful.

We work on the no win no fee basis!

You can claim back relief yourself - You can claim directly and cut out the cost of the service fee, to do this contact the HMRC with your N.I. number and request form P87.

For more information click visit here: Mechanics Tax Rebate

Garys Support Corner

Garys Support Corner

Live Data / Components

This time we are going to look at “Live data” or “Components” which are one and the same.
This function allows you to see data being passed to the ECU by the supported modules on the car i.e. engine revs or coolant temperature. (very handy when warming your sandwich on the radiator)


As you scroll down the list of components you will see a lot of abbreviations for the different items in the list so you may need to think about it a little more than usual. TPS is not short for “tea please Sandra” but Throttle Position Sensor for example. I could list them all but I won’t because I know you all will be able to work them out by yourselves which will make you smile.

Now I hear you cry “Gary what if I want to see 2 or 3 different components on screen at the same time?” Well my avid readers all you need to do is highlight the first component then press <OK> this will hold that line, so when you scroll down to the next item you want to see, the first line will still be there, cool. Also if you need more info on a component press and hold the <OK> button to reveal some help text.


If you own an SPi you will see 8 lines of text instead of 4 and you will have the added function of seeing the live data in a graph.


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