by Pat Goss
Whether you drive a practical 4-door sedan or a highly impractical, supercharged road warrior like this, you’ll find that they all have one thing in common: that’s computers and computer problems. Now, whatever the problem might be, whether it has to do with performance, a check engine light, or emissions, you have to have the car tested. Now in the past testing has been done with large machines on wheels. You move them around, they’ve got all kinds of leads and everything on them. Very complicated, they take up a lot of space. Well, that has been the evolution of things in automotive testing. But now we have something that is revolutionary.
This is from Snap-on tools, and it’s called a Modis. Now, what’s revolutionary about it? Well first, its basic design. It’s very intuitive. They took lessons from game controllers that we’re all familiar with, so that it feels normal. You feel at home with this in your hands. They simplified the controls on it, and they made it Windows based. So again, another familiar system to work with.
But they went way beyond that. Here we have a module, and there are several of these that can be plugged into the unit. These modules control what the tester does, and they can do things like check the computers, they can check the ignition system, they can check emissions. All of these different things can be checked, and many of them can be checked simultaneously and recorded. It also has the ability to download this information to a hard drive through an infrared sensor.
So pretty spectacular in that respect, but this is not the end all, be all that you just hook it up and it magically gives you an answer. There are a lot of adaptors that come with it, and the technician really has to know what’s going on. He has to do some studying because there is a lot of material that goes with it.
But there’s also one other thing that’s pretty interesting, and that’s here on the end. The end of this comes off, and what we have in there is a port where we can plug a card in and we can actually reprogram the General Motors computers that are on the market today. So you put it all together, and it’s quite a package. It’s something that you should look for when you visit your repair shop if you have performance, emissions, or a check engine problem.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.