Consultant Larry Montanez to Cover Aluminum Repair, Quality Control at SEMA - BodyShop Business

Consultant Larry Montanez to Cover Aluminum Repair, Quality Control at SEMA

Larry Montanez is downright giddy when you talk to him about how he will be presenting educational sessions at Repairer Driven Education (RDE) for the fourth straight year.

“I always get a lot of participation in my class,” he says. “Based on feedback that [SCRS Executive Director] Aaron Schulenburg has gotten, they asked me to do two classes instead of one. And I’m more than happy to as the SEMA Show is the largest, most well attended auto body show in the country. And SCRS has been doing a fantastic job at promoting RDE.”

The two sessions Montanez will be teaching are “Aluminum Repair Procedures, Techniques and Requirements” (Tuesday, Nov. 4, 12:30-2:30 p.m.) and “Check Yourself – Departmental Quality Control to Prevent Incorrect Repairs” (Thursday, Nov. 6, 12:30-2:30 p.m.). Montanez feels both of these topics are important to address in today’s changing repair environment.

“There’s a lack of education in the industry, not only on training but individual state laws. Most shops don’t know their rights or consumer’s rights,” says Montanez. “Unfortunately, this is causing an epidemic of incorrect repairs in the country right now. Additionally, vehicles are much more difficult to repair now due to advanced materials and engineering, but the industry is fooled into thinking that quicker repairs have to be done. Thirty years ago, you could fix most of the damage to panels because they were mild steel. Then, you replaced the chrome components and no one mentioned cycle time or rental time. So cars have advanced, but we seem to have taken away time. The industry wants it done like an oil change.”

As far as aluminum goes, Montanez says there is a lot of misinformation flying around the industry, and he hopes to clear that up in his talk.

“It’s really sad that while the industry is talking about this and wants to talk about it, they’re hearing statements about aluminum being new, but it isn’t. It has been around since the early 1920s and ’30s on many vehicles and through the ’70s sporadically. Audi and BMW came out with it in 2004 on mainstream cars. And after years of people not listening to the Germans talking about aluminum, saying it’s never going to happen, it’s now out on the Ford F-150.”

Montanez feels one carmaker is downplaying the importance of aluminum repair and the training and tooling necessary, while others who have been putting out aluminum vehicles for a long time are contradicting them – one reason there is misinformation out there, Montanez believes.

“You have one manufacturer who is recommending curtains, but Mercedes – with their Elite 2 program – are saying you have to have a clean room with three walls, a roof and a floor where you can have the front open and put a curtain there. And then you have shops in the Audi program that bought curtains but now are hearing the automaker advising to switch to a clean room.”

Montanez also mentioned the five or six different rivet guns and four different kinds of welding wire (two different sizes) required by seven or eight manufacturers of aluminum vehicles, the appropriate welders, etc. These are all the things he will cover in his presentation.

Asked if he feels that one day, 100 percent of shops will be able to repair aluminum vehicles, Montanez said it’s an impossible situation.

“Currently, 100 percent of shops can’t repair steel monocot cars properly. My opinion is that only 20 percent of shops can,” Montanez says. “Aluminum is not hard, but it’s very different. Comparing it to steel is like comparing baseball to football. Because it’s very different, it becomes difficult or impossible because of human nature and the fact that people don’t like to change. Unfortunately, though, over the next four to five years, you will see some mainstream cars that will turn aluminum.”

Even though Montanez has been going to the SEMA Show for years, he still maintains a child-like excitement for it.

“I’ve seen it grow bigger and bigger each year from a body shop perspective in the RDE area. It’s kind of like Sturgis or Daytona in the motorcycle field where there are big announcements by Harley and Indian. RDE is where all the big announcements are made from SCRS, CIC, the OEMs and I-CAR. I’m seeing a lot more people from my area on the East Coast coming to SEMA, too.

“SEMA is great for the industry in the way it’s run and done. There are multiple situations for people to have social meetings and business meetings and meet up with people we’re in contact with via social media. Plus, there are lots of great products and demos. Aaron [Schulenburg] has put together with his board a good, wide range of classes between mechanical, electrical and collision repair. And not just collision but metallurgy, frame classes, etc., usually put on by the most respected and educated instructors in the field.”

More information:

To register for the SCRS RDE sessions, click HERE.

You May Also Like

NABC to Host Three Golf Fundraisers in 2024

The NABC Changing and Saving Lives golf fundraisers provide an opportunity to join industry colleagues and customers for great golf and support the NABC.

The National Auto Body Council (NABC) announced it will be hosting three golf fundraising events in 2024 through the new Changing and Saving Lives Foundation, making sponsorship and golf donations tax-deductible for companies and participants. It also will continue to offer the popular full-season sponsorship program, making it more affordable and more efficient to be a partner in the NABC golf events.

NORTHEAST 2024 Attendee Badge Registration Now Open

Individuals can now start registering for the NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show to be held March 15-17, 2024 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center.

Central PA I-CAR Holding Bingo Fundraiser

The fundraiser, which will be held Jan. 20, 2024 from 1-5 p.m., will benefit Central Pennsylvania area collision programs.

CIF Announces 13th Annual Cocktails for a Cause

The goal of the annual charity event is to raise funds for emergency relief for collision repair industry professionals in times of crisis.

SEMA Fest Builds Passion for Car Culture

SEMA Fest, a new two-day festival celebrating motorsports, music and car culture produced by SEMA, is coming to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds Nov. 3-4.

Other Posts

BodyShop Business Honors Thomas Baunach with National Award

BodyShop Business recently recognized Thomas Baunach, an ASE-certified collision technician from Bethlehem, Pa., with the 2023 BodyShop Business/ASE Master Collision Repair & Refinish Technician of the Year award.

Are You the Oldest Body Shop in America?

We’re looking for the oldest auto body shop in America. Is it you?

ASE Touts Benefits of Entry-Level Certification for Employers

ASE Entry Level certification gives employers confidence that they’re hiring individuals with the knowledge and ability to become high-performing employees.

SCRS Updates BOT Estimating Tool

Shop managers can now better maximize usage and benefits from the estimate analysis tool.