Auto Body Shops Asked to Submit Experiences with SRS Inspections

Auto Body Shops Asked to Submit Experiences with SRS Inspections

I-CAR is seeking help from collision repairers as it reviews OEM safety inspections related to secondary restraint systems (SRS).

Scott VanHulle, manager of I-CAR’s Repairability Technical Support and OEM Technical Relations, said the project grew out of a virtual summit the training organization held in March with 150 shops, insurers and automakers.

The discussion centered around whether the industry had adequate information about what inspections were required and when, what the inspections should “look like” and the “why” behind the inspections.

The OEMs may not be aware of shortcomings in their procedures related to this, VanHulle said, because traditionally much of the feedback they receive is from dealership service departments that aren’t dealing with collision-damaged vehicles.

I-CAR hopes to develop industry-vetted best practices related to the inspections, provide feedback to the automakers about any potential repair information improvements that are needed, and press for some level of standardization among the automakers.

To do this, VanHulle said, “We need more data on what’s being found in the real world. Right now we have a lot of anecdotal examples of strange things that were found during inspections,” such as when a shop discovers a “bad actor” has installed resistors on a vehicle to mask that an airbag module is missing or inoperable.

“We need a lot more than just those anecdotal examples,” VanHulle said.

I-CAR has posted a brief form shops can use to submit information on the SRS inspections they perform, what triggered the inspections and what was found.

“And pictures, pictures, pictures,” VanHulle said. “I’m sure any of the people who deal with estimating have seen not very good pictures from the industry. If you give us a picture that is so extremely close I have no idea what part that is even on, it’s not a great picture. I need ones with geography. I need to be able to see what the part looks like and where it’s located, and have it as clear as it can be.”

By providing real-world findings to the OEMs, he said, the automakers may be able to include common things to look for during inspections, and it could be incorporated into I-CAR training. Vague references to “inspect for damage” could be replaced by step-by-step processes.

“The more data we can get, the more accurate information we can then have to work with,” VanHulle said. “This is not something we’re going to do for a week. This is a long-term data gathering.”

I-CAR’s effort was welcomed by Jason Bartanen, vice chairman of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Emerging Technologies Committee. He points to one automaker whose procedures call for removing an undeployed airbag to inspect it, then reinstall it using new fasteners

“But they only service the fasteners with the airbag,” Bartanen said. “That presents huge obstacles. You’re essentially replacing an undeployed airbag because we had to take it out and inspect it. That’s where I think we can do a lot of good with this.

"The OEMs have shown that they are responsive. The more information we can get them, the ideas for solutions…They are open to it and they’ve shown a willingness to change.”

John Yoswick

John Yoswick is a freelance writer and Autobody News columnist who has been covering the collision industry since 1988, and the editor of the CRASH Network... Read More

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