Melanie Allan, CAA L.A. and Orange County chapters president, and vice president of sales at Craftsman Collision USA in Long Beach, welcomes attendees and leads the pledge of allegiance before introducing the featured speakers. The next meeting of the chapters is May 2, at Craftman Collision USA, 3250 E Airport Way, Long Beach.A standing-room-only group attended the March dinner meeting of the CAA L.A. and Orange county chapters, held at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim.Dave March, owner of Fountain Valley Bodyworks says that scanning, researching remedies, and using OEM procedures, saves time, dollars for the customer or their insurance company, and limits liability.

CAA SoCal dinner meeting sets table for scanning discussion and presentation

Industry experts address why shops should be scanning and how to properly estimate scanning services

Anaheim, Calif.— A presentation on the necessity of vehicle scanning in the collision repair process was the course du jour at a recent dinner during a California Autobody Association (CAA) Southern California meeting.

“The auto body and collision repair industry is at a crossroads,” said Michael Quinn, senior vice president business development, who partnered with Frank LaViola, vice president sales and marketing, both from AirPro Diagnostics. “Shops must follow OEM procedures, including pre- and post-scanning of every collision-damaged vehicle to ensure safe repairs and minimize liability.”

The event, which was open to CAA members and non-members, drew nearly 90 body shop owners and technicians from Orange, L.A., and San Bernardino Counties, said Cindy Shillito, CAA SoCal representative.

“We don’t have individual chapter meetings every month because our members are so busy,” she said. “We have area meetings about every three months – or sooner if there’s an important topic that requires immediate attention like scanning.”

Quinn said ADAS and advanced electronics were installed in millions of vehicles in the U.S. in 2018, according to Ward’s Auto, or more than 48 percent of the 17 million vehicles sold. And those numbers will only continue to rise.

“More than 90 percent of scan tools sold today do not cover all 2019 model vehicles and less than 3 percent of body shops employ qualified OEM trained diagnosticians,” he said. “Lawsuits are increasing for improper repairs and many law firms are subscribing to CARFAX and engaging post-repair inspection companies to find fodder for lawsuits.”

LaViola said modern high-end luxury vehicles have 100 million lines of codes – more than an iPhone app, the space shuttle, an F-35 fighter jet, the Hadron Collider, or the Mac operating system.

“And it’s simply not possible for a vehicle to illuminate a warning light for all of those codes,” he said. “Indicator lights are not diagnostic tools and they were never intended for that purpose. So, how much liability are you willing to take?”

Addressing scan labor costs, Quinn said some insurance companies and body shops believe clearing codes, re-calibrating, research and diagnostics are included in scanning.

They are not.

“Locating the keys, vehicle, and repair order, moving the vehicle to a designated area, running it long enough to reach operating temperature, locating and connecting battery support and scan tool, cycling the key, submitting a scan request, and reviewing the scan report are included,” he said. “Additional labor is not included.”

LaViola noted that the Database Enhancement Gateway (degweb.org) has detailed information that helps improve the information in collision shop estimates through peer-group feedback about vehicle-specific errors, omissions, and inaccuracies in the database and labor times.

“I strongly encourage shops to make the DEG part of your workflow process,” he said. “If an insurer tells you that it’s included in their data base and you suspect otherwise, DEG is your answer.”

LaViola said that another great source for information is OEM1STOP (oem1stop.com) which is presented by the OEM Collision Repair Roundtable and the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF).

“Without sounding like a sales pitch, another excellent resource for OEM scanning and repair information and position statements is AirPro Diagnostics’ website (airprodiagnostics/oem-position-statements.com),” he said. 

A Q&A session followed with Dave March, of Fountain Valley Bodyworks sharing a real-world example of a repair scan situation they encountered on a 2019 Acura MDX mirror sensor.

“First of all, I see scanning as an opportunity to learn,” March said. “In this case, we learned, after a bit of research, that instead of taking the car the dealership service department for recalibration, all it involved was taking it for a 10-minute drive, which we did ourselves.

“That’s proof that scanning, researching remedies, and using OEM procedures, saves time, dollars for the customer or their insurance company, and limits liability.”

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.