The days of “see damage, fix damage” are long gone. For decades, it was that simple: See the physical damage, fix the physical damage. Today, you cannot rely on sight alone to diagnose vehicle electronics and ADAS safety systems.
If you are in the business of repairing vehicles in 2021, you need to recognize that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to getting those damaged automobiles back on the road in pre-accident condition. These days, performing proper scanning, diagnostics and calibrations can inform shops of everything from a part that’s been put on the wrong way (or not at all) to calibration requirements that may present themselves despite the absence of codes.
Additionally, getting the correct diagnosis could enable a shop to address a stubborn recurring code before they’re forced to send the vehicle to a dealer, miss the target delivery date, and increase their cycle time.
Unfortunately, not all shops out there are acknowledging these realities. They have a scan tool but can’t find the “Fix All” button… because it doesn’t exist.
Even as ADAS and other technologies continue to revolutionize how vehicles are constructed and subsequently repaired, there are some facilities that still believe they can repair these complex safety systems by using just any tool put in the hands of just about any person on the shop floor.
Fortunately, a growing number of shops are learning the value of working with a quality remote service provider that has experienced brand specialists, which last time we checked weren’t growing on trees.
Quality remote providers take the time necessary to walk shops through difficult operations and stay with them until the repair is complete.
Amber Alley, general manager at Barsotti’s Body & Fender in San Rafael, CA, switched to AirPro Diagnostics from her previous provider about three years ago and credits the company’s superior response time and brand-specific technical expertise for ensuring consistent and successful scanning, diagnostics, and calibrations in-house at her facility.
“We were immediately impressed with AirPro’s response time, often under two minutes, and their ability to consistently complete the repair.”
Barsotti’s utilizes AirPro for its 25 OEM certifications. As Alley has learned, performing adequate scanning-related operations goes far beyond simply clearing codes.
“Bill payers often treat these procedures as simple operations, but when you connect with a trained brand-specific technician on the other end of the phone, there is a lot more to go through. The training and qualifications of the people you’re getting on the phone do matter, and AirPro has them.”
With even the most advanced and forward-thinking shops struggling to keep up with the constant technological changes in automobiles, Alley stresses the importance of knowing when to seek outside help if something in a vehicle isn’t communicating properly or just doesn’t seem right during the repair process. In her mind, AirPro is another valuable resource in her toolbox when it comes to providing safe and proper repairs.
“I don’t know how well I would sleep at night if I didn’t have AirPro on my team, backing me and my technicians up.”
Of course, one of the biggest hurdles that many in the industry have yet to overcome is the misconception that all scan tools are created equal. Craftsman Collision USA in Long Beach, CA made the move to AirPro after consistently hitting dead ends with an aftermarket product.
“The problem with a lot of aftermarket scanners is they may inform you of an error code on a vehicle and that something’s wrong, but what they won’t tell you is what to do next,” Craftsman Collision USA Vice President Melanie Allan says. “In the past 10 years, the ramp-up in technology and all the safety systems has been incredible. Cars practically have iPads on their dashboards now. It’s a necessity to make sure everything is functioning correctly.”
Committed to performing comprehensive scanning, diagnostics, and calibrations, Allan sought AirPro as an alternative to her technicians attempting to seek out the correct information online or through OEM websites – a time-consuming and often frustrating endeavor unless you are a uniquely trained brand specialist who knows where to go, how to navigate to find the required solution. Additionally, taking advantage of AirPro’s access to OEM information and procedures has enabled her to keep all facets of the repair under her own roof.
“It saves sending that car out to the dealership. If we do that, we often lose days and days on the repair.” Allan says “everything coming through the door right now” at Craftsman Collision USA is going through AirPro. This has helped the shop confidently complete repairs for its 12 OEM certifications. As a shop owner who has fully embraced proper processes, she is quick to caution those shops who have yet to come on board with this philosophy, warning that trouble could be right around the corner for them.
“I know there are shops out there going on YouTube to figure out how to get a dash light to go out. That’s just dangerous, and at the end of the day, the shops hold all the liability.”
For Brian Guerrero, collision repair center director at O’Rielly Chevrolet, Inc. in Tucson, AZ, incorporating AirPro’s services into his daily operations has resulted in a reassurance that they are delivering safe, reliable repairs to his valued customer’s vehicles. Recently, Guerrero and his team with the assistance of AirPro and CarADAS launched a separate stand-alone calibration location, Tucson ADAS Calibration Center or TACC, solely to perform ADAS calibrations for both O’Rielly customers and fellow shops in the region.
“With all the ADAS features now becoming standard equipment on vehicles, I wanted to make sure we were staying ahead of the curve and in control to reduce cycle time and be a good partner to the other collision centers around us.”
Prior to aligning with AirPro, Guerrero would regularly sublet scanning, diagnostics, and calibrations out to other dealers.
“We initially tried to do it at our dealership location, but the challenge with that was having the ample space in order to properly perform calibrations. Unfortunately, when you send a vehicle to a dealer, there often isn’t sufficient documentation to support that they performed the calibration correctly. You receive an invoice, but did they do it as per the OEM specifications? There was nothing to support that every step had been done correctly. I wanted to make sure that we were fixing vehicles 100 percent per the OEM. We finally decided that the best way to do this was to just start a brand-new company at its own location.”
Located 16 minutes from O’Rielly Chevrolet, the Tucson ADAS Calibration Center is using AirPro for all repairs and is dedicated to performing procedures correctly according to OEM requirements. Additionally, the new facility’s services are already succeeding in helping other shops reach their KPI goals. In Guerrero’s mind, AirPro has been an important part of his operation’s repair/service capabilities and ongoing expansion.
“With so many makes and brands out there, it’s impossible for any one technician to know how to use all scanning software, from a Mercedes-Benz to a GM vehicle. Having the brand specialist from AirPro, who are experts at using that manufacturer-specific software, is a tremendous resource. We’re able to call one place and have access to trained technicians across all brands.”
So remember: It’s no longer “see damage, fix damage.” The reality is this, the majority of body shops cannot afford to have technicians whose skills are continuously updated for each and every brand of vehicle on their payroll. AirPro Diagnostics is one avenue to explore to keep scanning, diagnostics, and calibrations free from guesswork and, perhaps most importantly, within your four walls.
This article was sponsored by AirPro Diagnostics. For more information, please visit https://airprodiagnostics.com/.