Tech Stuff

J-2534: 2015 update

Craig Truglia is an ASE A6, A8 and L1 certified technician who presently works as a service writer for Patterson Auto Body, a repair facility in Patterson, N.Y. A former shop owner and editor of several automotive repair magazines, Truglia combines his Columbia University education with the real-world experience he sees daily in the automotive repair field. Technicians Truglia and Fred Byron took part in diagnosing the different vehicles presented as examples in this article.

Reflashing is no longer something new and neither is getting the job done with a J-2534-2 tool. By now many shops have decided that they are in it to win it or they simply sublet the work. Some shops are still not sure if they should get into it. Auto Service Professional previously published a few different articles on J-2534 reflashing, archived on our website at, that already cover a lot of the bare basics of reflashing. It is wise to review these first before continuing with this article. Here we build upon those previous articles, so that what is covered here are updates that hopefully will keep technicians abreast with changes in J-2534 in recent years.

What to do about Windows 8

We can sum up this whole section in one sentence: Don’t use a laptop with Windows 8.

It is a shame, really, that Windows 8 offers no real benefits over Windows 7 other than “apps” and the use of a touch screen. However, these things do not help us with reflashing.

In our first article on reflashing, the advice at the time was to use Windows XP when possible and if one had Windows 7, to use the compatibility mode. Now as years passed, the OEMs finally began updating their programs so that they worked with Windows 7. Therefore, the advice offered in the past is now outdated, because technology moves so quickly!

Windows 8 has been out since 2012, so one would think by now that the OEMs would update their programs to work with the program. Many haven’t. One notable exception is Chrysler (see Figure 1.)

FIGURE 1: As pictured here, the Legacy Chrysler J-2534 program is working on a Windows 8 laptop.
<p>FIGURE 1: As pictured here, the Legacy Chrysler J-2534 program is working on a Windows 8 laptop.</p>

However, the J-2534 Toolbox 3 software from Drew Tech, one of the key providers of J-2534 reflashing hardware, does not work with Windows 8 as of the writing of this article. According to Drew Technologies, their equipment “supports Windows 2000, XP, Vista (32/64-bit) and Windows 7 (32/64-bit). Windows XP or Windows 7 32-bit are recommended for compatibility with OEM applications. Currently, we recommend avoiding Windows 8.”

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