Thursday, 16 November 2017 10:00

ASA-MI Explores Relationship between Structural Repair, Vehicle Calibration

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ASA-MI members learned about the relationship between structural repair and vehicle calibration. ASA-MI members learned about the relationship between structural repair and vehicle calibration.

The worlds of collision and mechanical repair collided on Oct. 25 during ASA-MI’s “The Relationship between Structural Repair and Vehicle Calibration,” held at the new PF3 Paint Supply and M.C.E. Training Center in Wixom, MI. 

After dinner, sponsored by Spanesi and PF3 Paint Supply, ASA-MI President Ray Fisher called the training session to order.

“What you are about to see tonight is important for you and to know what is coming sooner than later,” Fisher stated. “You see, my job is to keep the industry informed and in business. Too often, we view regulation as a negative thing, and I want to share the positive side of it with you tonight.

 “I’m not here to worry about the other 49 states, but I am here to tell you that Michigan is unique, and according to the law, you must be properly trained, tested and then licensed for certain categories under the Motor Vehicle Service Repair Act.  I also understand the real world, having been in it for a couple of decades, but here in Michigan, it is my job to advocate for you and to make sure that you are recognized as the professional.  We’ve all heard what has happened down in Texas (reference to the John Eagle case). Well, here in Michigan, the Department of State requires you to list what you have done on a consumer’s vehicle, and if that category, such as diagnostic or structural repair, requires licensing, you must have your final invoice documented accordingly and that the required procedure was done---it is the law, and it is against the law not to document the repairs performed!”

The evening’s first speaker was Tom McGee, Business Development Manager for Spanesi, who presented on the Spanesi Touch system and introduced attendees to a new philosophy when measuring modern vehicles.

McGee stated, “No longer is just measuring the dimensions for structural repair to be within the vehicle manufacturers’ tolerances on three-dimensional measuring good enough.  You need to be able to make sure that these devices, like Lane Departure Warning Systems, Assisted Braking, Lane Keeping Assist Systems, Adaptive Cruise Controls and other such devices have the correct angle and that the mounting points are proper, or else you’re going to open a whole new can of worms when you think the vehicle is finished after it has been painted and assembled.

“You’re thinking this vehicle is ready to go when all of a sudden, it fails when being calibrated and the devices have very minimal adjustments, if any.  And you might run into this when someone backs out of their garage and rips the mirror off the door.  It may not have any structural damage, but just pounding the metal back so that the mirror looks flush isn’t going to be good enough if the mirror has a camera that needs to be re-calibrated!” 

Next, Bosch Technical Instructor Steve Zack discussed the variety of safety systems currently available and provided an in-depth, hands-on calibration segment. 

He explained, “The equipment to do calibration is an investment, and these devices are very sensitive---so you don’t want to drop them.  Your floor has to be reasonably flat for the vehicle to sit properly and the manufacturer will tell you to verify tire pressure in all tires, have a full tank of gas and then use counter weights in the passenger compartment to simulate real driving conditions…this all has to be taken seriously, and we are going to see more of this as we head towards autonomy.  Pay attention to the Vehicle Manufacturer Criteria for calibration because they differ.  I will tell you that we are seeing more cooperation and cross uses by vehicle manufacturers, which only means it will come to market faster than we may think.”

Fisher believes these topics will be amongst the industry’s largest challenges in the future. 

He noted, “I think being respected and understood that these procedures are required as part of a collision or comprehensive damage loss and that here in Michigan, that means categories of repair that insurance carriers may not be used to seeing but are required by state law to protect consumers [will be amongst the challenges]. As things become more regional than national, it has to be understood that this is what is required by state law, procedures must be itemized on both the estimate and final invoice, and these items are not open for debate.”

The training session went well, and ASA-MI received favorable feedback from participants. 

One member said, “This was an eye opener and it answered quite a few questions I had, but it also created a whole new set of questions--- there should have been more people here for sure, because they have no idea!”

Fisher shared, “Our surveys were very positive with many asking more questions and having a desire to get more in-depth on the topic.  It was a long evening because of two important specialties, but the feedback from some of the techs who showed up was that they loved the hands-on piece as well.  Tom and Steve did a great job on topic relevance and interaction---I cannot thank them enough!  And I would be remiss not to thank Paul Fus and his team at PF3 for offering the training center for us to use. It is a great facility, and we cannot thank our Associate Members enough who not only support us through the year, but like Paul, offer us opportunities to use their resources and facilities!”

For more information, visit asamichigan.com.

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