Shops need to conduct more diagnostic scans as OEMs incorporate more electronics
St. Louis—As more and more OEMs incorporate advancing electronics, including sensors that can be damaged or disrupted during a collision, shops must be increasingly diligent in their repair processes to ensure a safely repaired vehicle.
Several vehicle manufacturers have recently issued position statements to meet those goals by requiring or recommending that shops conduct pre- and post-scans during the repair process, which, for some, is new territory.
Nearly 60 people attended the AASP-MO Gateway Collision Chapter’s recent event, “To Scan or not to Scan,” at Schlafly Bottleworks in St. Louis, which featured regional and national industry leaders who addressed those pre- and post-scan protocols.
Lance Getz, business development manager for PPG, provided a look at how the manufacturers are expecting shops to use scan tools now more than ever. In his presentation, he showed how OEMs trust that shops will follow protocols before jumping into repairs. The hope is that by following the protocol, previously unnoticed malfunctions and overlooked repairs will be reduced, which, in turn, develops a higher functioning shop.
Bringing a shop perspective to the group was Dave Tritz, owner of Don’s Auto Body in St. Charles. He discussed how he uses scan tools in his shop to properly diagnose collision repairs and how the increased usage has helped the shop become more aware of previously unnoticed problems.
Another hot topic right now, Tritz said, is who is paying for those pre- and post-scans. Since OEMs are requiring more usage of the as protocol, it is a fair question to ask about the responsible party for payment. There have been conflicting reports as to the consistency of reimbursements from insurance companies as of late, but it seems to be trending in the right direction, he said. Some of the reasons the reimbursement rate has been so low is because many shops don’t think to turn those expenses in as a part of the repair. As more OEMs continue to require scans as regular protocol, requesting payment from the insurer should become more common practice. By doing that, the overall repairs will become more accurate and shops will be saving money by being reimbursed for required scans.
Tritz added that at first it was difficult to get insurers to pay, as they weren’t fully educated on the protocols themselves. There were many times that Tritz had to educate insurers on the processes in order to get approval for payment. Recently, Tritz said he has had a 100-percent success rate in receiving reimbursement and suggests that if a shop is having issues with a certain company, don’t give up. Keep submitting claims even if they refuse to pay for it, he said. Eventually, Tritz says all insurers will soon be on board.
On hand from Mitchell, which sponsored the event, was Territory Sales Executive Matt Heubner, who opened the meeting. Heubner was also recently named the new president of the AASP-MO collision chapter.
Speaker Jake Rodenroth, director of client services at Collision Diagnostic Services-asTech, showcased the benefits of the company’s asTech systems and explained how it could aid the shop owners.
Rodenroth also said many OEMs are now expecting some form of scan to be included in their repair procedure guidelines. The audience, made up of St. Louis-area collision shop owners and employees, was given an in-depth look into the company’s off-site diagnostic system known as asTech2.
Technicians plug the asTech2 device into a vehicle’s OBD port, where the information is then sent over the internet to an asTech OEM master technician at an off-site location who will remotely diagnose issues pre and post repair, Rodenroth explained. A full report is then sent, providing detailed information about that vehicle’s functionality in many system areas. He said it’s important to identify hidden damage due to collisions that can’t be seen with the naked eye, including sensors’ functionality, lights staying on at the dashboard, and even finding hidden problems that don’t cause a warning light.
AASP-MO Executive Director Ron Reiling said he was pleased with the turnout. “It was great seeing so many in attendance. We are very pleased with the addition of these social gatherings to supplement our monthly meetings.”
The next meeting will be in March.
The social event will be sponsored by PPG and will educate members on paint guns.