Mike Anderson is convinced the vehicle safety inspection procedures called for by automakers in the OEM electronic service manuals as part of collision repair work have become the single biggest friction point in the industry.
“It’s not scanning. It’s not ‘feather, prime and block.' It’s these safety inspections,” said training and consultant Anderson, of Collision Advice. “My heart bleeds for shops. There are some out there really trying to do the right thing. But they’re getting stuck in the middle.”
Anderson said virtually all of the automaker collision repair procedures he’s reviewed include a variety of safety inspections a shop needs to do on vehicles involved in a collision. These inspections can include checking seat belts, measuring the steering column, checking supplemental restraint system connectors, looking for damage to knee bolsters or seat components and other procedures just to gain the access needed to perform inspections.
“These inspections will vary by OEM and by the year and model of the vehicle,” Anderson said. “Some inspections are required only if an airbag deploys, but there often are inspections required even when airbags don’t deploy.”
Subaru, for example, is among the automakers that call for safety inspections following any collision repair of its vehicles. Speaking at an industry event in late 2019, Nicole Riedel of Subaru of America reiterated the automaker’s stance.
“Every time,” Riedel said of when the inspections are required post-repairs. “Even if you are in New York City and vehicles are just getting sideview mirrors clipped, you still have to do it. We will not deviate from that procedure. We are having conversations with Japan to review that. But at this time, we need you to do it every single time.”
Anderson said Subaru is hardly alone in this. He points to OEM procedures for the 2018 Jeep Cherokee that state, “If a vehicle is involved in a front-end collision, or the airbag has deployed, or both, the steering column must be replaced.”
He shares examples of similar OEM safety inspection procedures called for by Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler and Hyundai.
“The OEM procedures for the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado include four or five pages of things a shop is supposed to inspect if a vehicle is any collision,” Anderson said. “A shop owner sent me photos of...