In this modern day and age of computerized electronics, a software (Firmware) update is a commonly utilized repair, and your automobile is no exception. Porsche, like all automobile manufacturers, periodically reviews and refines the software operating parameters in their cars. This can be to optimize system performance however it is most often utilized to correct an operational anomaly. When an issue is identified that is non hardware related and affects a model line or a specific series of cars, the software is modified and is issued as an update. Whenever a software update is available for your car it is beneficial to get it installed, the car will operate better even if you cannot detect the difference. Updates are available to subscribing Independent Repair Shops either through the Porsche online network or can be installed with a factory genuine Porsche systems tester and software (PIWIS).
There are times when the information or data carried by the CAN (Computer Area Network) communication lines may get corrupted. To repair this we utilize a Porsche procedure known as a “Vehicle Handover” because there is a good chance that this will repair your electrical/computer related problem(s). This process utilizing the Porsche PIWIS tester basically reinitializes all the computer parameters and settings back to what the car had when it left the factory new. Simply stated, it’s known to “realign” the CAN bus lines which would provide a similar result as rebooting your home computer.
Repairing the modern automobile is an entirely different process than the independent auto shop had performed in the past. A broader range of electrical systems knowledge and being well read technically is the necessity as the vehicle and test equipment are more complex than ever before. As a prerequisite, the technician must be familiar with the Porsche factory TSB (Technical Service Bulletins) repository in relation to the associated repair. Every automobile manufacturer offers TSB’s in an effort to help the technician repair pattern failure situations. It may be difficult for some seasoned automotive technicians to comprehend a proper repair consisting of just a software update or vehicle handover procedure; however everyone needs to realize that these may be the only choice.
For example, we recently replaced the battery in a 997 (911), we connected a power supply (to retain all the control units’ memories including radio presets and seat/mirror settings) however the seat heaters did not work post repair. The technician might state that he or she had nothing to do with the inoperative seat heater situation because it was only a battery replacement but the technician would be incorrect. The only repair needed for this 997 was to perform a “Vehicle Handover” and afterwards everything worked as it should.
Today there is more required than just diagnosing and the replacement of faulty parts. Now the repair might just consist of correcting a software issue.
Tony Callas & Tom Prine