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Thermal imaging cameras can help with troubleshooting cars and in the workshop.
When inspecting the car, diagnostic procedures can be accelerated with thermal measurements and even undetected problems can be unveiled.
Possible fields of application of thermal imaging cameras in the repair garage are the investigation of the engine compartment, the brake system and the cooling and heating systems.
The following pictures were taken with the Seek Thermal Compact XR*.
View into the engine compartment with the thermal imaging camera
Often, as a mechanic, you are confronted with the situation to isolate a problem that is indicated in the error memory, more precisely. The purposeful use of a thermal imaging camera for a precise investigation of the engine compartment can quickly point to problems.
The following sample questions can facilitate the diagnosis:
- Is a cable or hose heating up excessively?
- Is hot engine oil leaking and from what origin?
- Are there temperature differences in the cylinders?
- Does the radiator have cold spots?
Thermal imaging cameras can also be used for regular inspection in the workshop. Abnormalities are immediately visible to the experienced user and further measures can be taken if necessary.
Check brakes and tires with a thermal imager on the car
The control of the braking system with a thermal imaging camera is helpful and important. Either one has a concrete problem, such as a reduced or one-sided braking performance, or one routinely checks the brake discs when changing tires.
The thermal load should be distributed as evenly as possible on the brake disc and have no grooves or more heavily loaded rings.
To be able to see with the thermal camera here, one should have used the brake and accelerated shortly before the test on a distance of approx. 1 km, so that the brake disks are sufficiently heated.
However, it should never be exaggerated, since otherwise a permanent damage to the brake pads and metallurgical changes on the brake disc.
Checking the heating elements in the mirror and rear window of cars
Thermal imaging cameras are also convenient when used for the inspection of heating pads and wires in cars. These usually are placed in the mirror and the rear window for defrosting of an ice layer.
If one suspects that, for example, the heating wires in the rear window no longer bring the intended power, one can carry out in the workshop a test with a thermal camera.
Since the heating elements also function in “dry” conditions, there is no need for a real ice layer. With the thermal imaging camera, one can see whether heating pads evenly heat the surface or whether there are partial failures. Also when it comes to the heating wires, the thermal imaging camera can also be used to check whether all sections are functional.
Furthermore, an examination of the interior, in particular the seat heating and the ventilation slots, is helpful. As always, the settings on the two sides should be equal and then make a comparison between left and right. Differing absolute values can also allow for conclusions to be drawn about the causes of the problem.
The following pictures were taken with the FLIR ONE*.