The simple truth of the matter is that all OEM Scan position statements, even those with the stronger language of “required” or “necessary,” are essentially recommendations. The automakers have no real authority to mandate, monitor and enforce these things outside of their certified shop network. Unless you count the radio scanners used for communication by law enforcement, there are no Scan Police. We are still several decades away from Chief John Anderton’s, Tom Cruise’s character in the film “Minority Report,” Pre-Crime officers’ rappel crashing through the front window when a collision repairer contemplates skipping a scan or calibration procedure. Although, it might not hurt to keep this image in mind the next time a shop even thinks about letting a vehicle go without a post-repair scan.
While stopping short of a written law or statute, OEM position statements provide a liability-shifting mechanism for the automaker, to be ignored at the repair shop’s peril. As a type of liability disclaimer, the OEM position statement may be better known as Exhibit (A) to the defense attorneys of the ignorant.
In all fairness, scan-resistant insurance companies are becoming the minority. I have seen and heard examples of insurance companies paying the cost of pre- and post-repair scanning at times without a dashboard light or automaker position statement. The scan-friendly insurers provide a good example to those that remain resistant. Collision repairers should provide examples of the good insurers to those bad actors out there still stuck on decades-old methodologies, which have no place in the exponentially advancing techno-world of today.
So, if an insurer attempts to deny post-collision scanning based upon the word “recommends,” the repair shop should kindly “recommend” that the insurance company thoroughly reads the document again. Recommend that the insurer explains their stance to the vehicle owner who will be directly impacted by the decision. Want a game-changer? Involve the customer in the process and request any insurer denials in writing. See how quickly the negotiation environment improves.
Subaru’s July 2017 position statement goes beyond scanning with its strong recommendation supporting the use of genuine Subaru replacement parts while cautioning against the use of aftermarket or substitute parts. Subaru further tells repairers to always refer to the appropriate Subaru Service Manual, Technical Service Bulletin (TSB), or Body Repair Manual for the most up-to-date information on repair procedures.
On a particularly interesting note within the Subaru position statement, there are some recommendations regarding choice of scan tools. Like most automakers, Subaru recommends its own factory scan tool. A generic scan tool may be used, but the automaker cannot the content or guarantee the accuracy of generic or aftermarket scan tools. Nothing new here. What is noteworthy, however, is that Subaru recommends the asTech™ remote diagnostic solution as an acceptable substitute for the Subaru SSM4 diagnostic tool, making it the second major automaker to endorse asTech™ behind FCA (aka Chrysler) a little more than one year ago.
“If a Subaru SSM4 diagnostic tool is not available, Subaru recommends the use of an asTech™ device. The asTech™ device performs a diagnostic scan remotely using a genuine Subaru scan tool.”
Subaru’s position statement adds to the growing stockpile of ammunition outlined in “The Pre- and Post-Scan Revolution” featured in the May 2017 edition of Autobody News. The war chest of resources keeps building toward the day when the industry will no longer need my OEM Scan Chart or stacks of position statements to justify diagnostic scanning and calibrations---it will be line item number one, recognized as standard operating procedure in the automobile collision repair process.
As safety and assist technologies continue to become more pervasive with every new model year, the day of the 100 percent vehicle scan standard may be here sooner than we think. Forward-thinking, safety-conscious shops are already pressing toward the 100 percent mark by insisting on scanning almost every vehicle and getting paid in many situations without a dashboard light or an OEM position statement. These shops live by the words expressed in the second to last paragraph of Subaru’s July 2017 position statement: “The safety of our customers is our number one priority.”
Gene Bilobram has been an automobile physical damage appraiser for over 25 years. His company, Lacey Appraisal Service, Inc. is a physical damage appraisal, training, consultancy and manufacturers’ rep firm serving the collision repair and insurance industries. He may be reached at (609) 384-8093 or at email@example.com to discuss the latest shop tools and solutions in the pre- and post- scan revolution. His company is Manufacturer’s Representative for the leaders in post-collision remote vehicle diagnostics and systems calibrations.
The opinions expressed are that of the author and not necessarily the opinion of any of the companies, individuals or organizations mentioned herein or of this publication.