By Joel Gausten
Anyone who turns the key to the door of a body shop these days is fully aware that automotive technology is accelerating at a mind-boggling pace ─ especially when it comes to ADAS diagnostics and calibrations. Many facilities find it overwhelming to stay abreast of the equipment, training and expertise necessary to ensure professional work on the various makes and models being serviced under one roof. Attuned to these demands, AirPro Diagnostics has successfully grown an in-house network of experienced brand specialists who can meet each shop’s needs, whether it’s a small mom-and-pop operation or an extensive facility operating in multiple OEM certified repair networks.
As shops work to bring more specialized services in-house as an alternative to subletting them to a third party, AirPro provides them with the two most critical elements of proper ADAS work: Tooling and experience. The 100-plus brand specialists and supervisors who currently comprise AirPro’s team represent vast diagnostic experience within the automotive field.
“We have people with two years’ experience to well over 40 years’ experience,” explains Ron Gatto, AirPro’s senior director of technical service operations. “We have team members with backgrounds in automotive repair, collision, management, automotive service writing, insurance and computer networking. We came from every single walk of life, but we all have diagnostic experience in common.”
This vast array of professionalism has contributed to AirPro’s status as a leader in ADAS services and procedures. AirPro technicians gain greater exposure to brand-new vehicles than they would at dealerships because these vehicles are more likely to require collision repairs much sooner than warranty work. Generally speaking, if a brand-new vehicle is in the service department, it is for some form of maintenance like an oil change or a tire rotation, not in-depth diagnostics of vehicles’ complex network of modules. Additionally, this steady workflow means that AirPro brand specialists often have more frequent exposure to current repair information than even dealership facilities. This fact recently hit home for AirPro General Motors Brand Supervisor Troy Anderson when his team encountered a couple of airbag modules that wouldn’t program.
“We called around to four different dealers; they told us we had the right part number,” he recalls. “We were all perplexed; the results said it was a hardware/software issue. We dug a little deeper and called ACDelco. They upped it another two levels and found out that GM had a catalog error. Incorrect parts were being handed out at the dealership level. None of the dealers had run into this; we ran into it three times in two days.”
This is a distinct advantage to collision repair facilities having an organization such as AirPro identifying issues on their behalf even ahead of dealers.
AirPro believes it is critical for the industry to move away from a mere plug-in-and- clear-the-codes mindset and into a greater understanding of what is truly needed to repair today’s vehicles. These days, even something as simple as a nick on a fender could necessitate a deeper dive into what’s truly going on inside the vehicle.
“That’s where we shine, because we can actually see the readings and measurements of live data – and we have access to all the requirements, prerequisites and service information,” Gatto says.
As another example, Gatto is quick to remind industry members that some auto manufacturers’ position statements currently specify that if any panel is replaced or repaired, then a radar and/or a front forward-facing camera system must be calibrated.
“There are those out there who might not know that and/or don’t see any damage or realize there’s hidden electronics damage, but we have the ability to go behind the sensor, into the computer, communicate with the shop, gather the information together, collectively take the data provided by the shop, add in the service information – which is available to us – and know when to make that recommendation. We won’t miss it.”
Brian NeSmith, a dealership veteran who currently serves as AirPro’s Nissan brand supervisor, works to ensure that customers receive best-in-class care whenever they call his team for service.
“We’re able to utilize factory software – and everything factory – to be able to provide everything they need to ensure they’re doing what they must to maintain their OEM network certification.”
“We’re able to use GDS2 [GM Global Diagnostic System 2] software for all of our OEM shops, which provides the same caliber of service that you can get at a dealership,” Anderson adds. “Anybody can pick up a scan tool, read codes and hit another button to clear codes, but what we’re doing on this end is being data detectives and deep diving into every little piece of information that we can find.”
Although AirPro is centralized in Florida, brand specialists are able to serve customers from all over North America.
“Because the diagnostic software is located on the tool that is directly connected to the vehicle, the bandwidth requirements for our remote service are very low. We have even scanned a vehicle while in an airplane at 30,000 feet just to prove it works;” Gatto shares. “As long as there’s an internet connection, we can do what we do best.”
As AirPro Diagnostics moves forward in providing expertise and peace of mind to the collision repair community and is well known for their commitment to stay with the repair and solve the problem, Anderson believes that the company’s team of brand experts will only grow stronger.
“We will continue to do the recruiting for diagnostic techs so that our customers don’t have to. The future is bright for us and our customers!”
Joel Gausten has been covering the national collision repair/automotive service industry since 2000. He can be reached at [email protected]
This article was sponsored by AirPro Diagnostics. For more information, please visit https://airprodiagnostics.com/.