Jack Rozint, Vice President of Sales & Services, Repair for Auto Physical Damage Business Unit, Mitchell International, Inc. and CIC Committee Chair
Scanning of vehicles for diagnostic trouble codes as part of the collision repair process continued to be a key topic at meetings held in conjunction with SEMA in Las Vegas in November. A Collision Industry Conference (CIC) committee examining some of the issues the industry needs to address related to scanning, for example, reported in Las Vegas that it continues to identify as many questions as answers.
“On the last [conference] call, the issue came up: What happens when you do a pre-repair scan and you uncover something that’s not related to the loss,” committee chairman Jack Rozint said. “It could be something serious, related to a safety system or some critical functions of the vehicle. You talk to the vehicle owner about it, saying that it’s not related to the accident but it needs to be fixed. But the consumer says, ‘I barely have the money for my deductible. I just need you to fix the collision damage.’ What do you do as a repairer? That’s a tricky question.”
Another scenario Rozint raised: What if a diagnostic trouble code isn’t found in a pre-repair scan, but only in the post-repair scan?
“Did I create that from the repair, or is that related to the loss?” Rozint asked rhetorically.
He said there are committee members who say the recent automaker statements on pre- and post-repair scans mandate such scans on every repaired vehicle. Others, he said, believe such decisions need to be made more on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis.
“There are people on the calls who have said, ‘If it’s true, you need to scan every vehicle 1996 or newer, and we haven’t scanned 90 percent of the vehicles we’ve repaired [over the last 18 years]; have we been repairing cars incorrectly since 1996?” Rozint said. “That’s two ends of the spectrum, and I know the answer may be somewhere in the middle, but there is a very valid discussion about when is a scan necessary, and I think we need to do more work on that.”
An I-CAR representative at the CIC meeting pointed out that his organization has recently developed industry-vetted definitions of “pre-scan,” “post-scan” and “post-repair calibration.” Jason Bartanen also said I-CAR has created a vehicle-by-vehicle guide to help shops determine what driver assistance systems may need to be calibrated following repairs. Bartanen said that by the end of the year, the guide will cover all 2016 vehicles, and I-CAR will then begin adding 2017 vehicles and “hopefully go back on 2015 and 2014 models.”
Jason Bartanen, director of Industry Technical Relations for I-CAR
The guide is not VIN-specific, but instead shows the names and locations of all cameras and sensors that are options on each make and model to assist shops in looking for the systems on a particular vehicle in their shop, as well as to more quickly find OEM calibration documentation.
The guide also indicates what types of events – such as glass removal or replacement – result in the need for recalibration. It also indicates whether a scan tool, aiming targets or other special tools are needed for calibration.
“We’ve spent thousands of hours on this search tool to save you time during the damage analysis process,” Bartanen said. The guide is available to subscribers of I-CAR’s “Repairability Technical Support” portal (https://rts.i-car.com/).
The CIC meeting in Las Vegas also marked the end of California shop owner Randy Stabler’s 2-year term as chairman of the conference. Stabler said just as the vehicle modifications displayed at SEMA often become features on future vehicle models, he sees CIC as often an “incubator” for ideas and solutions adopted within the industry.
To that end, he asked CIC participants in Las Vegas to use the “open mic” portion of the meeting to share topics and ideas they’d like to see CIC address in the next chairman’s two years.
New Jersey shop owner Joe Lubrano said he remembers starting to attend CIC decades ago because he saw “hope” at those meetings.
Joe Lubrano, shop owner
“Hope that we could get together and resolve many of these issues,” Lubrano said.
He said that too often, however, the meetings have devolved to a “waste of time” because “nothing gets accomplished.”
“Change has to be made as part of the discussion,” Lubrano said. “If you don’t agree to change, nothing is going to change.”
He suggested that eliminating rekeying of estimates, which would make things better for shops, is a topic CIC might want to revisit. Solutions for this exist, he said, but aren’t always making it down to the street level field adjusters.
Missouri shop owner Brett Bailey said he sees a need for the industry to reach consensus on “recommended” OEM repair procedures.
“For some reason in our industry, we take that term ‘recommended’ and spin it in 17 different directions,” Bailey said. “If we have open-heart surgery and the surgeon recommends that we go to some sort of physical training, we’re probably going to be there. At the same time, if an OEM recommends that we put a frame rail in a certain place, as an industry we need to adopt that and make sure it happens.
Bailey also said the industry is sometimes overly focused on “key performance indicators” as a management tool.
“They may be a target or a goal, but we need to remember the No. 1 goal is to put that car back safely,” Bailey said. “As an industry, I think we all can point to instances where, because of speed or cost, there’s some bad things taking place. As an industry, we need to clean that up.”
Scott Biggs of Assured Performance said controversy and opposing viewpoints have not seemed as welcome at CIC in recent years.
“The truth is, we should embrace that,” Biggs said. “If there are major topics of interest to the industry, they should be aired out here and not controlled or manipulated. Having a place where people can come and argue and discuss and express their concerns should be exactly what we’re here for. I think the more we do that, the more relevant CIC is. What we discover in this room is what other people feel. Not what our camp feels, but what the other camp feels. Then you start thinking: ‘If we did something slightly different, it wouldn’t be so painful for them or it will be more acceptable to them.’ Hearing the way others feel about something allows us to make a better mousetrap.”
Another long-time CIC attendee suggested there be some follow-up on proposed resolutions to industry issues that have been developed by CIC committees but have not been acted upon. He noted that at CIC in Las Vegas exactly 10 years ago, for example, a CIC committee suggested that if refinish labor times on repaired panels are adjusted, the estimate should also show the original labor time to allow someone receiving that estimate to know not just that the time was changed but also the magnitude of that change. All three estimating system providers at the 2006 meeting acknowledged the request, but the change was never made, so it could be something CIC could revisit.
CIC in November launched a survey allowing anyone to submit issues they would like CIC to address next year. The conference’s biennial planning meeting will take place January 12 in Palm Springs, CA.
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 (www.CrashNetwork.com). He can be contacted by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com