In an effort to help collision repairers get a jump start on up-and-coming vehicle technology, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) hosted a training meeting on June 22 featuring Mark Allen, manager of collision, equipment & EV after sales service at Audi of America, at the Holiday Inn in Clark, N.J.
Allen painted a very real — and in some areas, frightening — picture of what repairers need to consider as materials and technology continue to advance in ways that will clearly alter the way a shop approaches repairs.
He reminded the collision repair audience they should be looking at the procedures for every repair.
“We’ve had a war, COVID and supply chain issues, and all of that may have led to OEMs having to change things in these vehicles which may have also required altering the repair instructions,” he said.
In addition to making sure the right procedures are being used, repairers have to also know what they’re working with.
“Knowing what you are getting into is going to affect your business,” said Allen. “Having the information to sell the job — and explain it — is worth every bit.”
He referred to materials such as advanced and ultra-advanced high-strength steel.
“The structures are getting stronger and stronger and stronger to protect the occupants, but we have to know what we are working on before we go and look at the repair methodology and the attachments.”
The introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) brings a whole other element to collision repair. Fixing these cars involves a lot more than batteries.
“This is the point where I scare the crap out of you, and I should scare the crap out of you,” Allen said, stressing that electric shock has several severity ranges — none of which come without pain.
Dealing with these vehicles involves more than just training. A shop will have to follow a specific floor plan to allow room for safely working around the vehicle. That is on top of the equipment, protective gear and advanced knowledge one has to achieve in order to enter the world of high voltage. If not readily equipped and prepared, EV repair is something best left to the professionals, he advised.
As more and more EVs are expected to roll out and today’s repairers need to know what to expect, Allen reminded the audience that “it may seem like I’m scaring you, but this is about making sure you know Audi is looking out for the safety of those who invest in fixing our cars.”
Those who completed this training will receive a certificate which can be used toward their New Jersey auto body license renewal this fall.
For more information on AASP/NJ and their training events, visit aaspnj.org.