From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Toyota’s Training Website Offers Free Information for Collision Repairers

zero point calibration

One of the occasional frustrations I experience is seeing the industry fail to make use of some of the great (and free!) resources shops have at their disposal.

When you find, for example, something is missing or seemingly inaccurate in one of the estimating systems, please take a few minutes to submit an inquiry to the Database Enhancement Gateway (www.degweb.org). In October, for example, someone questioned why there was no paint time for the fender bracket for the 2017 Toyota 4Runner in the CCC estimating system; within a day, CCC responded that it was adding two-tenths of an hour of paint time for the part. The entire industry benefits from the few minutes it took someone to submit that inquiry to the DEG. If every shop in the country were to submit even just one or two inquiries a year, the estimating systems would be far more complete and accurate.

Can’t find some specific collision repair information? There’s “Ask I-CAR,” an excellent, searchable database of questions submitted by your colleagues and answered by the great folks at I-CAR. Wondering if Hyundai or Kia has sectioning procedures, for example? What does I-CAR say about repairing damaged door intrusion beams or bumper reinforcements? The answers are right at “Ask I-CAR” (https://rts.i-car.com/ask-i-car.html). If your question isn’t there and already answered, you can submit it to be answered for you – likely helping others as well. (Full disclosure: There’s a subscription fee for I-CAR’s Repairability Technical Support resources, but it’s waived for any shop that is regularly training with I-CAR.)

But perhaps the free resource I most often see shops scribbling down in their notes when I talk about it in my classes is Collision Repair & Refinish Training (www.crrtraining.com), which is packed with tools to help you repair Toyota and Lexus vehicles. It’s not a substitute for subscribing to Toyota’s repair information website, but it offers tons of great information.

Here are just a few portions of the website that I think shops should check out:

  • Start with the “News” tab at the top of the homepage. On the right-hand side is a list of categories of content, including “Tech TIPS.” Divided up between “Painters Corner” and “Body Corner,” the Tech TIPS offer Toyota’s information and advice for your technicians on such topics as blending, decoding paint codes and sensor recalibration.
  • The “Training News” category is divided up further by topics including “paint,” “body,” “electrical” and “safety.” I usually suggest starting with the “recommended procedures” topic because you’ll probably find something of immediate use and interest, such as articles on zero point calibration, calibrating bird’s-eye view cameras and welding techniques that minimize heat-effect.
  • The “Video” category includes about a dozen brief videos. One of the best videos features Toyota trainer Eric Mendoza walking you through the proper procedures for conducting a “health check” (a diagnostic scan) on a Toyota vehicle.
  • If you haven’t already done so, use the “CR&R Info” tab from the home page to register for the “Secure Personal Identification Number” (SPIN) that you need to register for any of the collision repair training courses Toyota offers for both dealership and independent shop technicians. Many of those courses are offered online through the website, and you can also find a complete schedule for the instructor-led courses Toyota offers at its three training facilities around the country. (A fourth location is “coming soon.”)
  • I also encourage shops to sign up to receive Toyota’s “Collision Pros” magazine. It’s a free quarterly publication that offers repairer information on Toyota’s newest vehicles, advice on finding the Toyota information you need and tips such as how to order replacement vehicle information labels. You can sign up to receive it using this link: https://tinyurl.com/CollisionPros. But until you receive your first copy (or if you ever want to see articles from previous issues), some of the magazine’s content is available at the Toyota training website.

I commend Toyota for creating all the content that they have to help the industry. Now it’s up to you to put the website to use to help your technicians and your business.

Mike Anderson

Columnist
Mike Anderson is a columnist for Autobody News and president of Collision Advice, a consulting company for the auto body/collision repair industry.

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