Remote diagnostics for tractor and trailers makes predictive maintenance a reality, reducing vehicle downtime and fleet TCO in the process.

As one of the services offered by truck manufacturers on their latest connected vehicles, remote diagnostics is seen as the solution of the future in terms of revolutionizing truck maintenance and reducing TCO. As its name suggests, remote diagnostics monitors vehicle health, i.e. the proper functioning of all vital components, remotely 24/7.

Each component is fitted with a measurement sensor and connected  to telematics gateways to the Cloud, making it possible to gather technical data, fault codes, maintenance alerts and mileage. The data is then processed and analyzed by diagnostic experts or machine learning algorithms, enabling preventive or predictive maintenance and avoiding vehicle downtime due to breakdown.

Constant monitoring assets means that maintenance can be scheduled either at exactly the right time – neither too early nor too late – or in advance, so as to perform several procedures at once. What’s more, with algorithms having a failure prediction reliability of almost 100% according to truck manufacturers, roadside breakdowns and additional costs can be avoided through preventive alerts.

From tractor to trailer

Remote diagnostics is offered by major truck manufacturers and as an option by telematics and fleet management software providers. Independent maintenance networks have also started providing the service to haulers, via proprietary OBD dongles or in partnership with vehicle manufacturers. And the use of remote diagnostics is not limited to trucks only.

Using the same connectivity model, each trailer can be tracked independently of its truck via telematics linked to the EBS and embedded sensors. In addition to its location and couplings, it is now possible to remotely monitor trailer mileage plus the state of its tyres, axles, brake pads and even refrigerated containers. Reports can be accessed by fleet managers and by their maintenance networks or accredited service centres via a mobile app or webapplication..

Remote diagnostics systems provided by OEMs are usually linked to a general maintenance contract with the manufacturer’s service network. Where the system is provided by a telematics provider, haulers can choose whether or not to share their data with their assigned or in-house service centre.


Predictive maintenance with Trailermatics

Using Trailermatics’ numerous digital connections (CAN Bus, FMS, OBD, EBS), Novacom has now added a predictive maintenance module to its service offering.

The module enables users to identify, monitor and reduce fleet maintenance costs by limiting vehicle downtime and thereby boosting profitability. Trailermatics gathers technical data via the TPMS and EBPMS to ensure optimum maintenance scheduling, with the module displaying key information and deadlines for each vehicle – inspection and maintenance schedules, repairs and follow-ups, plus operational and cost reports. In short, it acts as a control tower, enabling fleet managers to schedule maintenance procedures according to actual need.