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The Digital Shop® Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a VIN Scanner

If you’re trying to bring your auto shop into the digital age, having access to a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) scanner is a must. Tracking VINs is crucial for any auto-related business, but manually recording these 17-digit codes can be a nightmare. With the right VIN scanner software, you can automate this process and save a ton of time as a result.

Of course, choosing the right VIN scanner isn’t the same as choosing just any VIN scanner. Are you in the market for VIN scanner software? If so, here’s everything your auto shop needs to know about selecting one of these products.

Is It Available on a Mobile Device?

VIN scanner software uses a handheld device to scan and record your customers’ VINs. With that in mind, why not look for software designed to work with the handheld devices your mechanics already have — i.e., mobile phones and tablets?

The benefits of mobile VIN scanning go beyond eliminating the need to keep track of another piece of equipment in your shop. “Traditional” VIN scanners may require your mechanics to head to a dedicated computer workstation after scanning. On the other hand, mobile devices will allow them to check a vehicle’s ID and return to work almost immediately.

How Fast Is the VIN Scanner?

This might seem self-explanatory, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. Your technicians are busy, hard-working people, and waiting more than a moment or two for a VIN to finish scanning is an inefficient use of their time.

Ideally, your VIN scanner software will be able to do its job before you know it. Mobile-based VIN scanning should take place near-instantaneously — just like scanning a QR code on your phone. In fact, this process can be up to 20 times faster than entering the same data manually!

How Accurate Is It?

Even if your VIN scanner is lightning-quick, that won’t matter if it can’t deliver accurate results. But in the VIN scanner world, accuracy goes beyond correctly scanning VINs in ideal conditions. 

These codes are often damaged, dirty, or otherwise difficult to read in real-world situations. Your VIN scanner needs to be ready for these challenges and more. Fortunately, the best VIN scanner programs boast nearly-perfect scan accuracy rates of 99% or more.

Does It Keep Data Private and Secure?

When you run an independent auto shop, your clients trust you to keep their sensitive information safe. Of course, VINs fall into this category, so you need to make sure your VIN scanner is equally trustworthy.

Data protection can be a complicated topic, but you won’t need to be a security expert to know your customers’ VINs are in good hands. Just take time to vet your VIN scanner options and read up on the safety features they deliver.

Is It Easy to Use?

If you’ve ever scanned a QR code, you know how intuitive the process of mobile scanning can be. However, VIN scanners aren’t built into mobile devices’ operating systems like QR scanners. Because of that, you’ll need to double-check that your VIN scanning option of choice is equally straightforward.

Some VIN scanner apps offer extra usability features to make life easier for technicians. If you choose well-designed VIN scanner software, you could benefit from:

  • A “cut-out” area (to show where the scan is taking place)
  • Haptic feedback (to let techs know if more light is needed or the camera is moving too much)
  • “Standard” mobile app design (to reduce the need for employee training)

Is It Available Offline?

If you’ve been in charge of an auto shop for long enough, you know how disruptive a power outage can be to your everyday operations. You might assume a situation like this would make it impossible to scan customers’ VINs, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Today’s high-quality VIN scanners don’t rely on cloud processing; instead, they process data right on mechanics’ mobile devices. That provides an extra layer of security, but it also allows scanning to continue even when your power or internet connection is down.

Take Shop Efficiency to the Next Level

Have you been trying to write down VINs manually, or is your current scanning solution showing its age? Either way, investing in VIN scanner software is an excellent way to modernize your auto shop. By focusing on usability, safety, and accuracy, you can be sure to get the best scanning program for your garage’s needs.

But this isn’t the only step you can or should take to update your shop, either. While you’re searching for a new VIN scanner, give your garage other digital advantages by getting started with AutoVitals! AutoVitals’ Digital Shop® Solution can deliver features like:

  • Enhanced workflow management
  • Digital vehicle inspections
  • Robust stat tracking
  • Custom web design
  • Loyalty programs

To see how AutoVitals can transform your auto shop, schedule a demo today!

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