Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:00

Protection from inadequate repairs is goal of post-repair inspectors

Written by Dick Strom

CCRE Update

Besides being a member of the Coalition For Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE), Dave Truslow is a PRI guy. In case you haven't yet heard, PRI stands for Post-Repair Inspection, a rapidly growing group of professionals who are making an honest living by exposing fraudulent and otherwise poorly repaired vehicles. 

Active Image

States Truslow, "We use Mitchell data for the 'torque-box' locations (those on which the entire vehicle is originally constructed) to confirm our centerline and datum plane to determine the amount of damage yet remaining in post-repaired vehicles. This information allows us to measure to plus/minus 0.155 mm accuracy. We use a 'Coordinate Measuring Machine' that ten years ago would have cost $1 million.

"Originally manufactured in England, and made of fiber-carbon materials (which have a coefficient of expansion and contraction of close to zero), along with computer technology, this system of measurement is extremely reliable and accurate, which is very important when we go to court over a poor quality repair."

Though this measuring equipment is new to automotive collision repair applications, it has been successfully used in the aerospace industry, NASCAR, and the automotive OEM for setting up vehicles on jigs, and crash testing (those round dots with crosses in them in various locations on vehicles being crash-tested use this system for mapping damage).

OEMs also use this form of measuring to constantly check the accuracy of vehicles being assembled on the assembly line; incorporated into the robotics of auto assembly lines, it constantly checks and rechecks vehicles in the process of being assembled, noting to robots up the line to make up for any perceived intolerances they may need to correct."

Collision repair roots

Truslow continues, "I started out in collision repair, following in my dad's footsteps, in Hollywood, California. Dad opened his shop in 1947, the year I was born, and I took it over in 1975 and ran it successfully until I sold it in 2002, at which time I managed the shops of a man who was deep into DRP relationships. Having worked for years as a non-DRP, the frustration of dealing on the DRP level was unbearable.

Throughout my career, especially as an active member of the California Autobody Association - where I was CAA Man of the Year in 1992 - I felt like a man screaming 'fire' inside a theater full of deaf people - no one would listen to what was so incredibly obvious to me concerning the controlling nature of DRPs and their steady enslavement of the collision industry. We work in an industry that can't be outsourced, with real opportunities… why so many shops would desire be subservient to insurers is beyond comprehension.

Partner in Wreck Check

"I'm a partner in business with Rocco Avellini in Wreck Check Car Scan. Our careers have run parallel for many years, both of us owning shops in California, both formerly very active in CAA, and both looking for a better way to operate business. We've accomplished this in Wreck Check Car Scan. Now we're working together to improve the collision industry by exposing shoddy repairs foisted on consumers by unknowledgeable or criminally negligent repairers and those insurers that may also be involved. It's good to be on this side of the industry: Repairers and insurers are finally starting to listen.

"The CAA has in their motto the words: Honesty, Integrity, and Craftsmanship. Our PRI motto is: Honesty and Integrity in Craftsmanship Assessment. 'Good and workmanlike' is the quality of workmanship performed by one who has knowledge, training, or experience necessary for the successful practice of a trade or occupation, and performed in a manner generally considered proficient by those capable of judging such work. Protecting the public is an honorable and worthy spiritual path for our life work, and Post-Repair Inspection should be considered in that light."

Dick Strom, Modern Collision Rebuild, 9270 Miller Road, NE, Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110; (206) 842-3621; e-mail: moderncol@qwest.net.