Toby Chess

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at tcspeedster@gmail.com.

Thursday, 26 July 2012 18:24

Matrix Wand is a Game Changer—Part 2

This month’s column is Part 2 of the Matrix Wand article that appeared in the July, 2012 issue. See summary of the Matrix Wand’s capabilities at the end of the article referencing photos. If you missed last month’s article, see it at www.autobodynews.com.

Thursday, 21 June 2012 17:29

Matrix Wand is a Game Changer

Question: How would you like to be able to measure body structure, vehicle sub-frame movement, damaged suspension components and used BOF frame for damage or damaged parts in 20 minutes with a printout and the time of tear down?


OK, how about the added advantage of doing it anywhere in the shop? We’re not using any frame-measuring equipment, by the way. Let’s throw in another parameter and do all of these tasks and more with a camera. You say impossible? Up until recently you’d be right but it’s not only possible, it’s here. It’s called the Matrix Wand and it’s a game changer.


Ask most people about CAFÉ standards and they would immediately think of food quality control. There is another meaning that you probably know and it will drastically impact your business, but you may not be aware why it will.

I want to start this month’s column  with a personal reflection on some life changing events that happened to me last year.

I’ve long supported and done my best to contribute to first responder training. These brave and dedicated public servants have a lot to deal with and a lot to prepare for. Whether it’s a building fire, hazmat situation, medical emergency, or vehicle extrication,   they can’t prepare without the training, tools, and equipment necessary to get the job done. I was happy to be able to contribute some skills to training conducted recently in Pennsylvania, which drew first responders from two states.

Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:08

Confusion over Certified Parts at CIC

This July I did a presentation at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Salt Lake City on the need for OEM data prior to estimating and repairing today’s cars. I also included some additional discussion and presented examples of bumper reinforcements. I received a letter from a CAPA spokesperson stating that my demonstration “caused members of the collision repair industry to believe, mistakenly, that the part used in your demonstration was CAPA-certified.” I think that it is important that I give readers an accurate account of what really happened. I want to make this clear. I am not against the use of quality aftermarket parts in the collision repair process, but I am very much against being told to use substandard parts and then assuming all of the risks for their use.

The other day I received a report form Aaron Schulenberg, the Executive Director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, about a study done in Germany on collision repairs. Crash-test results and analysis of the impact of a non-professional repair on the performance of the side structure of a car (VW Passat) by KTI GmbH& Co. of  Lohfelden, Germany.

Pan American is a family-owned and operated independent collision repair facility with four locations throughout the Southern San Francisco Bay Area. President and owner Luis Alonso recently accepted Farmers Insurance Shop of the Year honors. They have been in operation since 1981, specializing in all types of collision repair and insurance work. They are also a Certified Mercedes Benz and Audi Repair Facility.

The other day I was teaching I-CAR’s workers protection program and I had the techs show me their blowers. I found 3 illegal ones. I asked the question “How much is the OSHA fine for these blowers?” and the production manager stated it was $7000. This was in Arizona, not California, and I inquired if the shop had been fined and his reply was “I read your article and I am in the process of getting OSHA approved blowers.” It made me feel that all this work is worthwhile. Let’s get started on the second installment of the article.

As I promised in last month’s article, I have put together a checklist to help you get ready for an OSHA inspection. This a not a complete checklist and you will probably need some outside help to help you achieve total compliance, but it will help you have a better understanding of what is needed to get your facility ready for an inspection.