Volkswagen Mechanic Training, Staying At The Top of Technology
Hey folks! As promised, I am following up on my training session from last week. I go to training at least once a year. I wish that it was more, but my dealer is not exactly close to a mechanic training center. In fact we are about 350 miles from 2 different VW training centers. I travel to the center in the fine town of Jessup,MD.
Last week I was in training for O.D.I.S. Offboard Diagnostic Information System. Let me give you some definitions before we get cracking on O.D.I.S
- VAS-PC ~VSD~ VWoA’s current diagnostic software. This is our current scan tool program
- Vehicle Self Diagnosis~ This is part of our current scan tool program. Here a mechanic can navigate all the modules on a car.
- Guided Fault Finding ~GFF~ Part of VAS-PC this is a computer guided system. If a fault is stored, the program will launch a test for the mechanic to perform. We are required to use this for warranty repairs.
- Guided Functions ~GF~ This is a smaller version of GFF. Here, the plans are only things like, programming keys, or replacing ECMs, or coding modules.
- ELSA~ VW’s repair manual. It has more information than just than, but that is what I use most
- ETKA ~ VW’s Parts catalog.
- VAG-COM ~ An aftermarket diagnostic program for all VAG cars, VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lambo, Bentley, Porsche, Bugatti, and so on.
- Star Mobile ~ Chrysler’s diagnostic software. We use this on the Routan.
Ok, now that you are totally confused on all the acronyms, lets talk about ODIS. ODIS will be added to our current diagnostic software this summer. Mechanic will be able to choose the one they want to use. This however will only last a short time before VW stops supporting VAS-PC. My overall opinion about ODIS is positive. We were using an slightly older version than the one that will come out to all VWoA dealers. By then, most of the bugs should be worked out. 😉
The interface for ODIS is 100% different from VAS-PC. In VAS-PC all the of programs(VSD,GFF,GF) are separate. ODIS does a nice job combining the 3, making navigation easier and a little faster. There seems to be a few more ways to navigate to the same end result. To me, that is a good thing. Everyone remembers things different, or multiple navigation paths can be a good thing. VW seemed to do a good job of taking the good things of VAG-COM, and Star Mobile, and pile them into a nice scan tool.
There are somethings that I am concerned about. There will be a fairly large learning curve for this scan tool. This is the biggest change in diagnostic software since the late 90s. In my dealer all but 2 guys have only used VAS-PC. I worry about how everyone will adapt. The trust is, techs MUST learn this new setup. The faster they learn, the better off they will be. ODIS will have its flaws, but so does everything else. We will all have to put in the extra time to know the scan tool. But in time all the the mechanics will be pros at using ODIS.
There is another story that I wanted to tell everyone. The guy that was my lab partner in training was a pretty good dude. This guy bled VW blue. I noticed that he had a Master VW Technician ring on. We got to chatting about that, and he told me this story.
Man, I have been a master tech for about 6 months. I had to take all the tests a few times before I finally passed all 5. I am so glad I can wear this ring and call myself a master tech.
I have worked full time for VW for 23 years. In that time I have seen just about any and everything that you can imagine. I have seen techs come and go, trainers come and go, and more broken cars than you can wrap your mind around.
When it came time for my ring ceremony, I asked to have Dan(who is in charge of all training for VW and Audi) there for me. Dan was glad to be there and give a speech. He told all the young guys that “THIS RING” is the only thing that matters. All the cars, the tools and anything else are meaningless, EVERY mechanic better be striving for “THIS RING”
I am sure my jaw hit the floor. 23 years of working on VWs. There are guys at my shop that are not 23 years old.I can only imagine what it felt like to be doing a job for that long and finally reach the top of the trade. It really made me reevaluate my appreciation for being a Master Tech.
Overall the training was good. I left with my confidence intact which does not usually happen when I leave training. I will go back tomorrow and chat with my guys about ODIS. Oh, and replace a fuel system in a TDI.
If you think that VW has a ridiculous amount of acronyms, click one of the buttons below and let everyone know. I will probably click each one a bunch of times 😉