From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Want to Challenge Me on the Need to Check OEM Procedures Every Time? Bring It On…
Written by Mike Anderson, Autobody News
Published April 25, 2019
You: Hey, Mike, I keep hearing you saying we need to look up the OEM repair procedures on every single vehicle every single time. But surely you’re not talking about even the easy jobs, where we’re just replacing a single part.
Me: Oh, you mean like the Infiniti vehicle I saw recently where something had flown from the road and put a hole in the grille? All the vehicle needed was to have that grille replaced. Sure, you could skip looking up the OEM procedures for that. But then you’d miss the parts diagram showing the small part on the grille marked with a little black dot with a white X in it. That symbol in the Infiniti procedures indicates a non-reusable part.
So if you didn’t look up that procedure, you might not know that non-reusable part is an intelligent cruise control cover. And when you replace that part, a calibration is required. If you don’t look up the procedures for that calibration, you won’t know that in order to complete it correctly, you need to make sure the vehicle has a full tank of gas, top off the oil and transmission fluids if not full, ensure all tires are at the correct pressure, and only then do a 4-wheel alignment, all BEFORE you do the calibration.
So, yeah, that’s why I say you need to research the OEM procedures every time, on every job.
You: But Mike, that’s just one instance. Looking up the procedures on every job seems like a lot of work.
Me: I agree with you that that’s just one example. So here’s another one: Do you know the process to perform the seat belts inspection that’s required on some Volkswagen vehicles after an accident? That process requires, among other things, at least two different test drives, each at different speeds, and you have to hit the brakes on each--- obviously at a time and place where there are no vehicles behind you. Depending on the traffic in your area, you may not be able to perform those test drives during certain parts of the day. So you’ll probably want to know about that early in the process by researching the OEM procedures every time.
You: Oh come on, Mike, lots of jobs don’t involve safety items like that.
Me: Okay, sure, but safety systems aren’t the only thing your customer is going to expect to be working correctly when you return their vehicle. A shop I know was replacing the cowl cover on a Nissan, which required removing and reinstalling the wiper arms. The shop looked up the procedure to find that what steps to follow depended on whether the vehicle was equipped with a rain sensor. This vehicle was, so when the shop researched that, they found they had to actually squirt water on that rain sensor near the top of the windshield, all while using a scan tool to do a calibration of the wiper arms. You heard me: A calibration of the wiper arms, because the wiper arm speed is dependent on the amount of rain hitting the windshield.
You: Well, fine, but our shop just sublets out all those calibrations at the end of the job, so that’s up to the dealer to know all that stuff.
Me: But if you aren’t familiar with the calibration processes, how can you have some assurances your sublet provider is doing them correctly? Don’t you need to look up the procedures to make sure you know, for example, that the dealer needs to show you they filled up the gas tank and checked the tire pressure if those things are part of the process?
And some of the OEM procedures on these systems can’t wait until the end of the job. When you repair or replace a Toyota quarter panel that has a blindspot monitor, the OEM procedures tell you that you need to check the installation angle of the blindspot monitor BEFORE you paint the vehicle. There’s a flow chart in the Toyota procedure for that process. It involves using a plumb bob and doing all these measurements, and it could require reattaching several components. Again, this is before the vehicle is painted. And by the way, it is all separate from the calibration of that monitor after the vehicle is painted.
I run across this stuff all the time. That’s why I say: You need to check all the OEM procedures, on every vehicle, every time.