If you're looking for a place where the best automotive technicians freely share their favorite diagnostic solutions, critique each other's repairs and receive cash awards for their contributions, check out Snap-on Inc.'s online community called the Snap-on Data Exchange program.
The data exchange is an interactive Web portal where techs can share information about unusual failures and stay abreast of the latest repair trends. The program-which can be accessed at http://sde.snapon.com-is designed to build a specialized knowledge base of customer complaints, repairs and pattern failures, Snap-on said. After logging on, participants can sign up for a username and password.
The typical technician working day-to-day in a repair shop will observe only a limited number of uncommon or hard-to-detect automotive failures, the company said. By compiling a vast database of failures and diagnostic solutions, the data exchange will allow mechanics to spot repair trends early on and deliver the information online and through hand-held diagnostic equipment and software.
Before technicians are enlisted into what Kenosha, Wis.-based Snap-on called ``this elite community of experts,'' they are screened for both competency and longevity. Members then are invited to share their most valuable diagnostic experiences, repair tips and techniques.
Exchange members are awarded points for each qualified contribution, at a rate of $1 per point. When 50 points are accumulated, a check for $50 automatically is sent to the member. Payment also can be requested before reaching the $50 level by a link on the Web site, the company said.
Each new entry is critiqued by data exchange members for accuracy and viability. Expert technicians confirm that the solution is feasible, has been observed before or would work in theory. This review ensures only top-quality tips and techniques become part of the database, Snap-on said. Members also can earn points for critiquing their peers' entries.
The program is available to technicians throughout the U.S. Eventually Snap-on expects to include on the Web site a search facility enabling techs to access the program's knowledge base on a subscription basis. An interactive forum also is planned.