Lunch & Learn: Thermal Imaging
Every Wednesday at 1 pm, Green’s Garage in Miami, FL, gathers as a shop to have lunch and conduct our weekly shop meeting. Our lead technicians share their notes from their weekly training. This week our technician Jose selected Publix subs for lunch and shared his notes on Thermal Imaging from a recent online course via CTI.
We would love to share what we discussed during our most recent Lunch & Learn session. Here are some of the key points that Jose learned from the course:
Thermal imaging of the exhaust system shows restrictions that may be affecting exhaust flow. Temperature readings of the catalytic converter allow us to see if either the left or right side has a heat signature which is a strong indication that the engine is not running even from bank to bank.
Depending on manifold design we may also have access to check cylinder imbalance which will allow us to see each cylinder's ability to create heat at combustion. Common signs include codes in the P4000 range.
Always remember before replacing either oxygen sensor to check the integrity of the exhaust system, otherwise, you could be putting a band-aid on a much larger concern.
Thermal imaging can be used to determine if there are any problems related to brake application and/or operation, specific to excessive heat stress. Keep in mind that the front brakes assume more stress and thereby manage more heat than the rear brakes. It is common for the life expectancy of front brake rotors and pads to be significantly less than that of the rear and the telltale sign of heat stress in rotors is discoloration.
Common signs include brake fade as well as concerns with the emergency parking brake which can be measured by thermal imaging of the hat of the rotor after a 15-minute test drive.
The application of thermal imaging for electrical concerns is varied, however, here are a few customer concerns that we've encountered at the shop. Our starting point is to locate a parasitic load by isolating heat signatures. Here are a few examples of electrical issues we’ve encountered in which thermal imaging was helpful:
- 2015 Jeep Wrangler with a poor relay connection which was causing intermittent electrical concerns. We applied the thermal imager and found excessive heat from an increase in resistance located at the relay connection.
- 2017 Cadillac Escalade with a "phantom" parasitic draw that caused the battery drain overnight. After inspecting the battery and alternator for the correct amperage, we then used the thermal imager and found a heat signature for the aftermarket radio system which had been recently installed.
Other examples include:
- 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with a malfunctioning instrument cluster.
- Tracing faulty circuitry for a faulty PCM on a 2016 Toyota Sequoia.
If you're experiencing electrical concerns, thermal imaging is an effective way to confirm voltage drops which often are an indication of excessive resistance. The next step is to inspect for a heat signature and then localize the source of the electrical concern.
Thermal Imaging is just one of the many diagnostic tools we incorporate at Green's Garage to get the root of your concern. Automotive repair can get expensive. It's important to make sure it's done correctly. Trust the professionals at Green's Garage for all of your auto repairs in Miami, FL. We stand by our work and extend a 2 year / 24,000-mile warranty on all service and repair. Give us a call today to schedule a complimentary safety inspection and feel free to stop by Wednesday at 1 pm for our shop meeting.