The Spring 2014 General Meeting of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) was hosted by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Northwest Chapter on Thursday, March 20, in advance of the chapter’s annual Automotive Training Expo (ATE) at the Double-Tree Hotel in Seattle, Wash. The NASTF meeting, held twice annually at locations where technicians gather, is a studio event broadcast internationally on the association’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/nastfdotorg) and is available there as a recorded event for future viewing. The sixth annual ATE drew more than 600 technicians for 62 training sessions over the three-day event.
One NASTF session dug into the complex topic of J-2534 pass-through devices being used to link technicians’ computers to their customers’ vehicles. Mark Saxonberg, manager of Alternative Fuel Vehicles & Environment for Toyota Motor Sales USA; Bob Augustine, technical training manager for Christian Brothers Automotive; and Brian Herron, vice president of tool maker Drew Technologies, conferred for 60 minutes with panel moderator, Skip Potter, NASTF executive director, on the technical issues surrounding the past, present and future of those devices. The one-hour discussion revealed a 10-year struggle in implementing the J-2534 SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standard, which has led to current difficulties with this vehicle interface solution. Augustine asked the industry to set priorities to resolve current trepidation in use of the “J-tool.”
“First,” he said, “let’s all agree on whether this should be a local, computer-based or a Web-based system.” For more convenient viewing, NASTF has posted the “J-2534 Discussion” separate from the full event video on their YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/NASTFdotOrg). “Every technician and OEM should watch this discussion,” said Potter. “There is a lot to learn from this session.”
With the announcement in January of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between parties representing the automakers and those representing aftermarket service, a special panel moderated by John Lypen, director of industry relations for Motor Information Services, included discussions with Steve Douglas, senior director of environmental affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Aaron Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Auto Care Association (formerly AAIA).
“NASTF is not mentioned in the MOU like it is in the Massachusetts legislation, but we hope NASTF will be the first line of defense [on issues between technicians and OEMs],” said Lowe in his opening presentation. “What we established in Massachusetts is a good solution [to right-to-repair],” added Douglas. “The big things are [year] 2018 and J-2534 [requirements].”
Donny Seyfer, co-owner of Seyfer Automotive (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) demonstrated the OEM Scan Tool Resource Center, which is now accessible from the NASTF website (www.nastf.org). Seyfer explained that many more OEM tools will be introduced soon to the center and that others will be rolled out as the research is completed.
Claude Hensley, owner of Lockman Locksmiths (Tampa, Fla.) and independent co-chair of the Vehicle Security Committee, presented final statistics of the 2013 NASTF Vehicle Security Professional (VSP) Registry, noting a total of 1,728 registered VSPs; where 935 were locksmiths and 762 were service technicians; and that there were 578,704 security product transactions in the registry for the year 2013, totaling more than 1.5 million transactions since the beginning of the program in 2008.
Charlie Gorman, executive manager of the Equipment & Tool Institute (ETI), presented for the NASTF Equipment & Tool Committee, reporting on a co-operative project with NASTF involving ETI’s Scan Tool Information Request (STIR) system, which will work with the NASTF Service Information Request (SIR) for toolmakers resolving OEM data stream availability issues. Rob Morrell, training manager for WORLDPAC and aftermarket co-chair of the NASTF Education Committee announced the committee’s initiative to simplify aftermarket access to OEM education resources. In its initial stages, the project intends to offer OEMs a revenue stream while satisfying the needs of both technicians and independent technical trainers.
John Cabaniss, director of environment and energy for the association of Global Automakers, announced a board commitment to expand the marketing effort for NASTF as it attempts to recruit greater support of professional technicians throughout the U.S.