5 Tips to Make SureTrack Real Fixes Work for You

SureTrack Real Fixes are a gold mine of diagnostic nuggets inside the ProDemand auto repair information software. Here are 5 tips, in the form of questions from auto repair techs, to help you get the most value from this powerful, time-saving resource.

1) Where does the information for the Real Fixes come from?

Similar to our Common Repair Procedures Graph, Real Fixes are built from real aftermarket repairs from actual auto repair shops. Mitchell 1 has a database of hundreds of millions of repair orders that our diagnostic editorial staff (current and former diagnostic technicians) uses to create each Real Fix. The staff adds their personal diagnostics knowledge to create the library of Real Fixes you see in ProDemand today.

2) How many Real Fixes do you have?

At the time of this writing,  Mitchell 1 has over 35 million Real Fixes. Take a look at the chart below showing that ProDemand is the market leader of the total real-world aftermarket Real Fixes created.


To understand how that Real Fix count relates to a vehicle, let’s take an example of a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup with a 5.3L engine: We have processed over 193,000 repair orders for that vehicle. And looking at our Top 10 Repairs feature, you can see that P0300, engine misfire, has happened 704 times for this vehicle. When you combine the code with the probable component list, you are well on your way to quickly diagnosing the source of the fault.



3) How do I use real-world information as part of a diagnosis?

You should use the information to build a diagnostic strategy. When a vehicle comes into your bay with a symptom or code, you will take steps to properly diagnose the problem:

  1. Verify the symptom or complaint and determine if there are any related symptoms
  2. Analyze the symptoms
  3. Isolate the fault through testing
  4. Correct the problem (apply a fix)
  5. Check for proper operation

Make sure you do not skip the 2nd and 3rd steps in the 5 step-process above, essentially avoiding “parts swapping”. That can lead to comebacks, lost revenue, and very upset customers.

So where do Real Fixes (and other SureTrack information) come into play? Let’s take a closer look at the steps above:

  1. Verify the symptom or complaint and determine if any related symptoms – done by talking with your customer, driving the car, etc…
  2. Analyze the symptoms – Use Real Fixes, Top 10 Lists, Probable Components, Common Repair Procedures, ProView, Scan tools, etc.
  3. Isolate the fault through testing – Use Real Fixes, Component Test Information, Known Good Waveforms and PID graph, Scopes and Meters
  4. Correct the problem (apply a fix) – Apply OEM procedures, diagrams, and specifications
  5. Check for proper operation – verify the fix by driving the vehicle

ProDemand with SureTrack Real Fixes, along with your diagnostic tools, enables you to massively improve your efficiency in completing symptom analysis and fault isolation steps of the diagnostic process.

4) How do I read a Real Fix?

Real Fixes are written with three main headings:

  • Complaint

The complaint is the symptom or code that led to the vehicle being brought into the shop, similar to step “a” from our example above. The complaint is written in the heading for the Real Fix so that you can easily sort through the Real Fixes to find a complaint that matches the symptom you are also experiencing.

  • Cause

The cause details all of the diagnostic analysis and testing that goes into solving this problem, similar to steps “b” and “c” from our diagnostics model. Think of this as the meat of the Real Fix, where all of the specific diagnostics steps and key insights are contained.

  • Correction

The correction tells what fix was applied to the situation, similar to steps —“d” and “e” from our example above. The heading for the Real Fix will also contain which component was ultimately replaced (or cleaned, etc.) to solve the original complaint.

5) How will using the Real Fixes benefit me?

Let’s put it all together using a real world example from ProDemand:

A 2005 MINI Cooper 1.6L S pulls into your shop with the check engine light on. Upon reading the code, you find a P1688 – electronic throttle control monitor level versus mass airflow calculation. The code set condition is because the flow of air going through the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) is different from the ECU’s perceived engine load. If we look at the OEM data, it leads us to test the MAF Sensor.


Where to start with the diagnosis? Well, common sense and experience might lead you to diagnose the MAF, suspecting a faulty sensor. Before we go down that path, let’s take a quick look at the SureTrack data in ProDemand. If you look at the Common Repair Procedures Graph, you can see that real experience in the aftermarket shows that the harmonic balancer is much more likely to be the main culprit.


Next, we can look at the corresponding Real Fix for more specific information about why the harmonic balancer would cause the p1688 in this case.


From the Real Fix, you can read that you’ll see the crankshaft pulley separating from the harmonic balancer as the main culprit, causing the electronics module to miscalculate engine speed and ultimately cause the p1688. You can also see that the Real Fix gives you just the right amount of details to correctly diagnose this condition, but not too much information to bog you down in a step-by-step diagnosis that has you checking steps 1 through 49 until you finally isolate the fault.


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About the Author

Gary Hixson

Gary Hixson is a Sr. Market Manager at Mitchell 1, and is responsible for product and market management of the Repair Information product line. Most recently he managed the release of ProDemand™, the industry-leading repair, diagnostic and maintenance information system.