CIC Committee Details Importance of Researching OEM Procedures and Outlines Steps Repairers Should Take with Every Repair
Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) Administrator Danny Gredinberg and the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Repair Estimating and Planning Committee recently highlighted the importance for repairers to make research on OEM procedures a high priority in the development of repair plans.
In a January 20 presentation, Gredinberg, who chairs the committee, encouraged repairers to stop “guessing” because estimates must be based on factual information. He started by asking attendees what type of solder primer would be used to fix a 2021 Dodge Charger. While the majority answered the OEM primer, they and everyone else were wrong because the primers to welding are not recommended by Dodge.
The illustration showed how essential research is for every vehicle, every time for the safe and proper repair of vehicles. Consumers expect this and they rely on repairers to properly repair their vehicles, Gredinberg said.
“We can’t assume that what we did yesterday, or on the car we worked on before, is going to apply today,” he said.
If you’re not sure where to look, the committee’s suggestions include vehicle owner’s manuals, vehicle build options, OEM parts catalogs, and shop manuals for recommended repair procedures. Also keep in mind that on newer vehicles there will likely be Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) requirements and calibrations to consider.
“We also need to realize that estimating systems are not the bibles of repair plans, and they don’t dictate how repairs are going to be done,” Gredinberg said. “It’s a guide.”
All three estimating systems – Audatex, CCC and Mitchell – state that their labor estimates should be used as a guide only.
“We look for the procedures when we develop the information, but so should you,” said Jerry Gastineau, international director of database development at Mitchell, who is also a member of the committee. “We are not a practical guide. … We are an estimate guide. Our working times must be precise and we will support them. However, this does not mean that this working time does not have operations not included.
The committee recommends documenting every step of every repair, especially in the event of a dispute.
When it comes to meeting ADAS requirements, Gredinberg said repairers should first verify that they have the correct vehicle options, and then ask themselves several questions:
- Will the ADAS require calibration after repairs? If so, will this be done in-house, at an independent store, or at a reseller?
- How much will additional calibrations cost?
- How many days will calibrations add to the repair?
- If the repair is sublet, how will the vehicle get there and back?
“We can all agree that repair and refinishing will no longer be the most expensive part,” Gredinberg said. “That will be what happens next. … It’s no longer this small work of two, three days. It might take a week or two to coordinate this [ADAS calibration] and making sure you can get it in and out for the vehicle owner as painlessly as possible. »
The cost can also add up quickly, he said, so customers need to be informed about what the repair process entails so they can make an informed decision whether to file an insurance claim or pay out of pocket.
Gredinberg shared an example of a scrape on an Audi that seemed like a simple repair, but the repair shop discovered through OEM research that it was going to be more complicated.
The vehicle had to be towed to and from the after-sales service and undergo several necessary calibrations in addition to a scan of the vehicle on arrival and before departure. Because the tire was impacted, a four wheel alignment was also performed and the rear toe was adjusted before the front adjustments. The headlights, adaptive cruise control sensor, forward-facing camera, steering angle sensor, rear backup camera and lane assist needed to be calibrated.
As for staff repairs, Gredinberg noted that stores may need more employees to handle every part of the repair process from start to finish. The committee suggests that three people take care of the estimates and the repair plans. A customer service representative must keep the customer informed, an estimator must establish a preliminary estimate and deal with customer problems while the repair planner serves as the main estimator and team coordinator. The repair planner would oversee the dismantling and discovery of damage and deal with technicians and insurers. The estimator and repair planner should research OEM procedures.
Rich O’Leary, committee member and director of the Fix Auto Collision Center, said his store has a front-end estimator who serves more as a consultant and fills out curb sheets, and then the repair planner draws up the full repair plan. researching OEM procedures as vehicles. are set apart. Customers are told that the initial estimator’s estimate is not complete and the final cost will be much more expensive, he added.
“I believe that will be the only way to move forward in this industry,” O’Leary said.
So vs now
Comparing a 2001 Toyota Camry to the 2021 model, Gredinberg pointed to the differences in repairs, especially in terms of complexity, over the past 20 years. Camry rear bumper removal has gone from a four-line procedure to a four-page document, he said.
Gastineau said there were also more parties involved. “A bumper section had eight or nine pieces,” he said. “Typically there are now 30 or 40. … The OEMs provide a wealth of information and it just keeps growing.”
He added that this was not the case 10-15 years ago. O’Leary noted that repairs are “much more labor intensive now.”
“You want to think the tech knows how to take a car apart, but these modern cars are tough,” O’Leary said. “They don’t break up the same way and they don’t get back together the same way. More important, in my opinion, are the calibrations, the reset when disconnecting the battery, … [and] corrosion protection. We also print out procedures like this that tell you how to disassemble and reassemble parts. »
Although it takes time, OEM procedures must be studied, and attending OEM courses is important to properly and safely repairing vehicles, Gredinberg said. And when repairers notice missing information or something that doesn’t make sense, the committee encourages speaking up so DEG and information providers can resolve issues with OEMs.
Gredinberg said the three estimating systems do not include time spent researching procedures in their labor times or OEM subscription costs in parts or labor values. “How you charge for that – it’s a business decision,” he said.
Featured Image Credit: manley099/iStock
Members of the Collision Industry Conference Estimating and Repair Planning Committee (left to right): Danny Gredinberg, Data Enhancement Gateway Administrator, Jerry Gastineau, International Director of Mitchell’s database, Rich O’Leary, Fix Auto Collision Center Manager, and Steven Krieps, Greg’s Automotive Operations.
Photo of damaged Audi and slide of personnel responsibilities (provided by Collision Industry Conference January 20, Repair Planning and Estimating Committee Presentation)