END ‘GHOST FAULTS’

CTEK says it can help

There are spooky goings on in workshops that, according to CTEK – a leading global brand in the care and maintenance of vehicle batteries – can dramatically increase vehicle service times.
By making sure that a vehicle battery is tested when it first enters the workshop, and supported during any diagnostic procedures, workshops can avoid frustrating and mis-leading ‘ghost-faults’.

So what exactly is a ghost fault?
A ghost fault or ghost code is a fault that a diagnostic tool detects for one component, that has actually arisen from another.
For example, when a vehicle arrives for service or to investigate a fault, service teams will immediately connect a diagnostic tool to identify potential fault or error codes. As part of this procedure, the memory on the vehicle Electronic Control Units (ECUs) is scanned, to see if there are any issues to address. Or in the case of a vehicle service, the service indicator needs to be reset.
Whilst this procedure is being undertaken, it is crucial that the voltage across the vehicle system is correct: ideally between 13.5V and 14V. Voltage requirements do however vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and indeed from model to model.
If this diagnostic procedure is undertaken when the battery has low voltage, and isn’t supported, an error code or fault will be reported by the diagnostic tool. And that’s because in the quest to protect against the battery failing, the vehicle Canbus system, the main communication channel between all vehicle control modules, will start to shut down all the systems it doesn´t need like the radio, start/stop function, electric windows, air conditioning etc.
Error codes may be reported for non-functioning systems, and if the service team don’t know that low battery voltage is the cause of the fault, they will start looking for, and trying to repair a fault that isn’t actually there – a ghost fault.
To protect against this, CTEK recommends two important steps:

  1. Test the battery: using something like the PRO Battery Tester from CTEK will help to identify if battery voltage is low; and
  2. Hook the vehicle up to a battery support unit (in supply mode) before undertaking any diagnostic work. Many battery support units, such as the CTEK PRO60, enable a voltage to be specified, so that potentially time-consuming ghost faults are not reported

A European workshop survey undertaken by CTEK identified that 51 percent of vehicles entering a workshop have a battery in need of attention. It says that using a smart battery charger and support unit, like the CTEK PRO60, means that as well as supporting the battery it will charge it too – protecting against battery voltage dropping even lower than it was when it arrived in the workshop.
And so, says CTEK, testing and supporting the battery during vehicle diagnostic and service work will give the modern workshop confidence to tackle spooky ghost fault reports that can waste time and resources.

For further information, visit www.ctek.com/au