The survey did find some uptick in shops’ research of OEM repair methods. Nearly half (48.8 percent) of shops responding to the survey said they research OEM procedures all or most of the time; this was up from 42.7 percent two years ago. Only 18.2 percent of shops said they either "never" or "only occasionally" research OEM procedures, an improvement from two years earlier when more than 25 percent said they rarely or never did.
According the survey data, ALLDATA remains the most popular source of OEM information, but I-CAR's "Repairability Technical Support Portal" and the automaker websites have each seen a steady increase in usage over the past two years, with nearly half of shops now reporting they use those sources.
"Some shops think if they fix the same type of vehicle frequently, they don’t need to check those procedures every single time,” Anderson said. “But at one point last year, when you replaced a quarter-panel on a Ford Mustang, the procedure required replacing the roof as well. Today, Ford has a sectioning procedure. So it’s important to research the procedures every time because things change.”
Anderson said that while he is pleased to see more shops researching the proper repair methods, "at the end of the day, this should still be done 100 percent of the time."
Shops can take the current “Who Pays for What?” survey (or sign up to be notified about future surveys) at https://www.crashnetwork.com/collisionadvice. The four different surveys, conducted one at a time per quarter, each take about 15--25 minutes, and should be completed by the shop owner, manager or estimator who is most familiar with the shop's billing practices and the payment practices of the largest national insurers. Individual responses are not released in any way; only cumulative data is released.
At the website, shops also can download the results of previous surveys, reports that break the findings down by region, by insurer and by DRP vs. non-DRP. The reports also include analyses and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented.
John Yoswick, a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988, is also the editor of the weekly CRASH Network bulletin (www.CrashNetwork.com). He can be contacted by email at john@CrashNetwork.com.