The DL - Episode 6 - Matt Shanahan
In this episode, Host Tyler Robertson is joined by the extremely busy Matt Shanahan. A full-time automotive instructor at College of Dupage Glen Ellyn where he has created an Automotive Service Management Certificate Program. He also teaches part-time at Southern Illinois University which offers a bachelor’s in Automotive Technology.
In addition to his teaching duties, Matt spends another 20 hours per week performing mobile diagnostics and programming. Matt also provides training opportunities for independent events like Vision and the CAN Conference in Illinois as well as providing training for OEMs. One area that Matt specializes in training is in using the PicoScope.
What is a PicoScope?
A PicoScope is an automotive oscilloscope that turns your laptop or desktop PC into a powerful diagnostic tool. Think of it as the X-ray machine of diagnostics, letting you see the changing signals inside wires. This allows you to measure and test virtually all of the electrical and electronic components and circuits in modern vehicles.
What are the benefits of using a PicoScope?
According to Matt, an oscilloscope is a valuable tool because it does these three things:
- Increase efficiency by working non-invasively
- Eliminate guesswork with engine mechanical issues
- Provide valuable training benefits by providing a better understanding of components
As an instructor, Matt can’t help but see that using an oscilloscope can provide many valuable learning experiences. In one example he shared, he was having difficulty diagnosing a Freightliner Blower Motor because there was very little service information. However, using an oscilloscope helped make things easier to understand.
“I couldn’t figure out in the service information how the thing worked. The wiring diagram - you just got like six wires going into the box. They don’t tell you what’s what. So now with the scope… you can kinda help yourself figure out how that circuit works.”
After visually seeing how the circuits and components work, Matt learned something he would be able to use again in the future.
“...now the next time I go to diagnose one, I may not need the scope because now I know how it works.”
A Solid Foundation is key
Later in the episode, Matt explains that a lack of solid fundamentals is one of the biggest issues for technicians.
“The biggest problem I see on the training side, with our industry having really no requirements for initial education, I see a lack of foundation.”
Matt believes that technicians with mechanical training and experience who want to branch out into diagnostics should find training opportunities in electrical basics at a local community college or training facility. (Diesel Laptops offers two electrical classes for technicians. For more information, click on the links below.)
Training is a wise investment
Matt sees many shop owners and managers who are unwilling to spend money to send their techs to training. However, be believes management needs to start thinking of training as an investment in the success of their shop. With training and evaluation, technicians gain valuable skills that make them more efficient so they can reduce labor time while maintaining the same flat rate.
“They’ve never told me, Matt, that was a waste of money. They’ve always told me, Matt, holy cow, last month was a good month.”
Connect with Matt Shanahan
To get in touch with Matt regarding future training opportunities, he can be reached through email at email@example.com.
Also, for training videos, be sure to subscribe to Matt's YouTube page which can be found here.