Collision Repair: Details

Education posted on 12/12/18

“Excellence is in the details. Give attention to the details and excellence will come.” – Perry Paxton

Collision repair professionals spend a lot of time ensuring that every detail of a vehicle’s repair is executed to customer and OEM standards. Customer facing repairs are often scrutinized, but often, hidden systems are not given the same level of review. One such area may be the full examination of the vehicle’s electronic systems. These details may be missed because most collision repair professionals have no way to evaluate these systems during the repair planning and production processes.

New Equipment

Today’s vehicles have an abundance of sensors, control modules and electrical wiring. With electronic component sizes decreasing and their computing power increasing, vehicle manufacturers have been adding electronics and features at a faster pace than any other point in time within the automotive industry. Onboard electronics pose a challenge for collision repair facilities when they go into the repair process thinking it’s just a bumper job. Shops may end up with a disabled adaptive cruise control system and never even know it.

The automotive industry is committed to delivering an abundance of new features to the marketplace. Unless collision repair professionals are looking at a build sheet for that exact vehicle, they would have no idea of what is actually installed from the factory. Even estimating systems can miss critical features in the vehicle features section.

Location of Damages

Anyone who has performed vehicle diagnostic scans knows that the scan report tells a story. For instance, if the report indicates that the parking aid sensor has damage, the daytime running lamps are not operational, the backup sensors are not operational or the blind spot monitor is offline, the conclusion would be that damage has occurred that has not been completely repaired. This information may also lead to identifying structural damage on the vehicle.

Let’s look at the blind spot monitoring system. In the event of a rear-end collision, the blind spot monitoring modules are usually mounted on the lower quarter panels or directly behind the rear bumper cover. These modules are side specific and very sensitive to bumper cover plastic and paint thickness. This makes the bumper cover non-repairable if the damaged area is located in the mounting location of the module. When collision forces damage the area of the unibody where the blind spot monitor is mounted, it’s critical to replace the sheet metal in these areas. Also, the module bracket mounting points cannot have any deformations. Mounting point deformations can cause misalignment and provide inaccurate operator notifications.

History of the Vehicle

The history of the vehicle is critical. Like most automotive components, electronic parts age, wear, and eventually stop working. It’s important for shops to be aware of the “health” of these components before the repair cycle starts. Often, a collision diagnostic scan using the asTech® Remote Diagnostic Device, can provide stored freeze frame data. Freeze frame data can offer clues about when and where the faults were triggered. Most European OEM’s give this data in date and mileage values, while others will tell how many key cycles have been achieved.

Stored codes are important for a number of reasons. Something that shops hear all of the time is, “It wasn’t like that before I brought it into your shop.” Knowing that a fault code was set approximately 1,500 key cycles before the accident, means that it was like that before it was brought into the shop. Think of how many non-accident related repairs could be avoided if all of the collision shops had this information in their hands.

The Final Detail

Half the battle of knowing the details is being able to identify the details. Collision professionals know how to examine color matching, proper panel fit and the structural integrity of the vehicle. However, there is a critical need to add the electronic health of the vehicle to that list. Using the asTech® Remote Diagnostic Device is the best way to determine the true repair requirements of the vehicle. With the details documented a shop can have confidence that the vehicle was returned to pre-accident condition every time.

Contact the Master Technicians at CDS for more information about the details asTech® Remote Diagnostic Device can show you.

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