If you’ve ever worked on a Volvo or a Mack, you’ve probably used Premium Tech Tool at some point in the past. When the program actually works, it’s a great tool to have, but are there better alternatives out there? Is it the best option for your situation? This article is going to dive into the pros and cons of buying Premium Tech Tool, along with some alternatives you can check out.
The goal of this article isn’t to bash Tech Tool, instead we want to share experiences from shops and customers across the country. The good and the bad. Anytime someone shares their experience with Tech Tool we take note.
- It’s the OEM factory software for working on Volvos and Macks
- The software itself is pretty comprehensive, offers good coverage
- Once you get them on the phone, software support is thorough and solves the majority of problems……….it just takes time
- Constant login problems
- User passwords expire frequently and require a reset
- Random unexplained errors that prevent you from using the program
- Turnaround time, ordering or renewing your Tech Tool can take up to 3 weeks
- Choppy update process, updater fails or gives various error messages
- Updating can break the program sometimes, can’t login after performing software update
- Unnecessarily complex licensing tiers, Volvo only, Mack Only, Volvo and Mack, Volvo and Mack Emissions, etc.
- Need to call tech support often
- Tech support number usually has a 45min-1hour wait time
- User accounts get randomly disabled from time to time, support has to contact Sweden to fix.
With so many potential issues out there, it’s easy to see why some users consider this an unreliable program.
Who It’s Great For:
Shops or fleets that see a lot of Volvo/Mack and need to use it on a daily basis will benefit most from Tech Tool. Keeping it operational and error-free requires you to stay on top of passwords, updates, and increases the overall likelihood that the program will be in working condition the next time you open it up. This is much easier to do when you use the program everyday.
Additionally, anyone who needs to do any sort of serious programming on a Mack or Volvo will need to use Tech Tool.
Who It’s Not Great For:
Shops or owner operators that only have one or two Volvos/Macks they need to work on or folks that just need to perform basic preventative maintenance, clear codes, and do simple diagnostics.
If your shop only sees a couple Volvo/Macks per year, this may not be the best tool for you. In many cases we’ve seen users not use the program for months at a time. This is almost always a recipe for disaster. We’ve noticed that users who only used Tech Tool occasionally encountered far more issues. Their passwords expire, they’re several updates behind the latest version, or something that happened a while back broke their program and they don’t realize it won’t open until several weeks later when they go out on a service call at 1 in the morning. If you are unfortunate enough to encounter this problem, you’ll need to call their support and sit on hold for the better part of an hour.
Out of all the big diagnostic programs out there, Tech Tool could be classified as “high maintenance”. It’s prone to fail on you randomly and requires a lot of effort from whoever is using it to keep it in a working state.
Luckily, there are a couple of alternative options for the folks that need to do maintenance, fault codes, and diagnostics. Understand that the factory Volvo/Mack Tech Tool will always be regarded as the primary tool for working on those engines, but these alternatives are all easier to deal with and less likely to fail make you want to pull your hair out.
#1: Autel MaxiSYS
Autel’s MaxiSYS line of devices offer solid coverage for both Volvo and Mack. Additionally, you will also be able to use it with just about any other brand of heavy duty truck. This tool would be ideal for folks that work on a little bit of everything.
#2: Jaltest Commercial Vehicle Software
Jaltest Commercial Vehicle software is another great option for working on Volvo and Mack. Similar to the Autel MaxiSYS, Jaltest has impressive coverage for all major manufacturers and it also includes Jaltest Info Online- which will give you access to step-by-step troubleshooting information, wire diagrams, and service information. The support for Jaltest is great too, if you run into any issues you can call them and get help immediately. No hour long wait times.
#3: Noregon JPRO
JPRO is another tool that will let you work on Volvo/Mack engines. As long as you aren’t trying to get into anything too crazy where you would need Tech Tool, JPRO will help you get the job done without having to rely on Tech Tool. The tech support hotline will connect you with someone in under 5 minutes. Generally, you won’t run into any problems as long as you check for JPRO updates regularly.