Publisher’s Perspective: Why Isn’t Vehicle Repair Data All in One Place?

Publisher’s Perspective: Need the Info!

When I travel around the country, repairers frequently bring up the subject of vehicle repair data and why it isn't all in one place.

When I travel, which I did recently, one particular subject frequently comes up: Why isn’t the repair data for a specific vehicle all in one place? Repairers wonder why there are so many disparate sources of information and not one complete place to visit.

This just makes sense. We’re in the world of information and technology. The delivery of this information is available at the push of a button. This is the great thing that the Internet/cloud (remember, if you read my last column, it’s not really in the cloud) has done for us. It is an information delivery method that knows little or no boundaries.

When a shop has a vehicle disassembled or needs to get it disassembled, they need an explanation from the designing manufacturer on how to proceed. Vehicles are complex today and made – in many cases – out of exotic materials. Gone are the days when you could just straighten something out, slap some paint on it and send it down the road. With high-strength steel and composites, there are specific processes to handle repair and even replacement of these components.

Today, shops are paying big money monthly for systems to help them run their businesses. Certainly, these systems can or could migrate this information and deliver it to the shop. So why is it not there?

There is no simple answer to why only one manufacturer or maybe only a few have done it. Others see it as a revenue source or consider it proprietary and thus have not made this information available. This is what needs to change. If it’s a revenue issue, the accounting of dollars can certainly be worked out. Information providers have these types of agreements with all the manufacturers.

For the ones who have it, it’s ideal. The shop inputs the VIN into their estimating system and identifies the required parts for the repair. Each part that has instructions for it is highlighted. There is also technical service bulletin (TSB) data there, as well as any other special notes about those parts. This is an excellent resource for cycle time and ensuring that the proper repair information is available at the level it’s needed. Making the shop go hunt for it on several websites or not find it at all is just not acceptable.

Having worked in the manufacturer world for as long as I did, I understand the internal hurdles that have to be overcome to make this a reality. But if one or a few have figured it out, why can’t the rest? This needs to get solved!

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