(Tools are expensive. We can help.)
Based on calls we’ve been receiving and online chat requests from mechanics and car dealerships, automotive diagnostics are where it’s at and Toughbooks are here to make it easier! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which tracks these things in the U.S., Americans received a record 53.2 million recall notices in 2016. The high recall trend started in 2015 when recalls jumped to the 50 million mark and stayed there. Add that to the NADA reporting 2016 sales of 17.5 million new vehicles, again in the United States, and we can see that you have job security for years to come and not a lot of time to research tools to help you get to work.
Why does that matter to us? Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff doesn’t sell cars or trucks. We don’t recall them and we don’t repair them. We do Panasonic Toughbooks. That’s pretty much what we do. Day in, day out: we answer questions, we receive laptops and parts, we repair, we refurbish, we do Toughbook “how to” videos for our fans and we ship to our customers all over the world. We eat lunch too and sometimes cake, but that’s fodder for another blog post.
It matters to Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff because we’ve noticed a trend in these requests for information about refurbished rugged laptops for use in car diagnostics. Frankly, we’ve seen what’s under the hood of those cars, and all we know is that we can check the oil and fill the windshield wiper reservoir, but that’s about the extent of it. We’re downright impressed at the skills required to be a mechanic and the investment of time and money required to do it.
We know that you have a few more tools in your toolkit than there used to be in order access those mysterious things under the hood and elsewhere. Mechanics still need basic wrenches, ratchets and socket sets and you get your hands dirty because, well, you know, cars and grease are like a requirement. So, how does your diagnostic computer fit into your tool box?
Garages, mechanics, diagnosticians and automotive magicians plus your average laptop or tablet don’t usually mix well. Try swiping your iPad with a greasy finger. No? Don’t want to get it dirty? Knock your laptop off your tool box onto the concrete floor? No? It won’t survive? Afraid you’ll ruin it? We understand. We use the pretty stuff too. It just isn’t always practical.
You want a refurbished Toughbook. It suits your budget, does what you need, will keep you working and is less apt to suffer injury in your work environment. To make it easier on you and get you back to fixing our car problems, the results of our in-house research come down to two models.
Automotive diagnostics requires the features and capabilities of the fully rugged Toughbook CF-19 or semi-rugged Toughbook CF-53 models. Both include Wi-Fi capability, USB ports, Windows 7, memory expansion, hardware upgrades and a limited lifetime warranty with the option to enhance the coverage.
The CF-19 model is a powerful tool, has a bright display, a fast Intel Core i5 processor and has the versatility of tablet adaptability and touchscreen capability. A fully rugged model, it will handle everything you need it do in a garage environment, and then some. The CF-19 has a smaller keyboard and weighs in at slightly less than 5 lbs. Its compact size and fully-rugged build make it the perfect workhorse in every area of the garage and on the road.
If you’re looking for a laptop to perform double duty in the office as well as the garage, and if military grade ruggedness is less of a concern, we’ve also found that the CF-53 model works for our mechanical friends. Listed by Panasonic as a semi-rugged model, it also has the features needed to perform car diagnostic work. Utilizing a more traditional style laptop design, it will easily handle its place in your tool box. You may prefer the larger screen size, lighter weight and the size of the keyboard and it still has that great Intel Core i5 processor.
Our technicians have taken apart and rebuilt every model we sell, so we know Toughbooks like you know cars. Rock on, automotive wizards! Thank you for being there when we need you. We’ll be here when you need us.