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*.

 

Thermal view of the front in the workshop after a short drive in winter.

Thermal view of the front in the workshop after a short drive in winter.

View into the engine compartment with the thermal imaging camera

View of the engine compartment in the workshop with digital camera.

View of the engine compartment in the workshop with digital 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?
Side view of the engine compartment with thermal imaging camera.

Side view of the engine compartment with thermal imaging camera.

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.

 

 

On the engine, the highest temperatures can be seen where the oil is, using a thermal imaging camera in the workshop

On the engine, the highest temperatures can be seen where the oil is, using a thermal imaging camera in the workshop

 

On the left: ABS system in the engine compartment in IR view.

On the left: ABS system in the engine compartment in IR view.

Check brakes and tires with a thermal imager on the car

Autoreifen in the workshop (digital camera).

Car tires in the workshop (digital camera).

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.

 

After a short trip in winter, brake discs show an increased temperature.

After a short trip in winter, brake discs show an increased temperature.

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

The heat pads in the mirror prevent fogging and can release a snow and ice layer.

The heat pads in the mirror prevent fogging and can release a snow and ice layer.

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.

 

The heating pad in the left mirror has a uniform heating.

The heating pad in the left mirror has a uniform heating.

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.

 

More pictures

The following pictures were taken with the FLIR ONE*.

FLIR ONE BMW e60 Innenraum FLIR ONE BMW e60 Wärmebildkamera Lüftung FLIR ONE BMW e60 Reifen Wärmebildkamera FLIR ONE BMW Motorraum Wärmebildkamera FLIR ONE Wärmebildkamera Motor BMW