Wheel alignment giant Hunter Engineering has worked hard over the past year to raise aftermarket awareness of new OEM calibration demands following what had previously…
More collision repair facilities are referencing OEM repair procedures while writing an estimate, but the overall tally still remains below half of the shops surveyed, according to the latest “Who Pays for What?” survey.
The Collision Advice-CRASH Network’s third-quarter study largely focused on frame and mechanical operations, but it also asked some more general questions as well. About 48.7 percent of the 521 respondents reported researching OEM repair procedures either “all” or “most of the time” — up 5.5 percentage points from 2015. Another 30.7 percent said they checked procedures “some of the time,” 18 percent said “only occasionally,” and 3.1 percent said “never.
Only the options of “all” or “most” grew between 2015 and 2016; the percentages of shops referencing OEM data sometimes, occasionally or never all fell — a demographic shift that appears to bode well for customers.
But as Collision Advice CEO Mike Anderson observed in the report, the change isn’t happening quickly enough.
“However, at the end of the day, this should still be done 100 percent of the time,” Anderson wrote. “Ultimately, I think shops need this information integrated into the estimating systems because estimators have so much to do that we need to use technology to research this information versus doing it manually. But at least we’re seeing more shops doing the research. It is my opinion, and I feel I can’t say this enough, that it is impossible to write a proper and safe repair plan, or repair a vehicle after a collision, unless you absolutely, 100 percent of the time, research the OEM repair procedures.”
Think about it from the perspective of health care. If someone handed a doctor a step-by-step guide virtually guaranteed to fix what’s wrong with you personally, you’d be upset if he or she didn’t take a look and instead winged it based on experience treating someone who looked like you a few years ago. But that’s exactly what shops would be doing if they assumed a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica could be repaired like a 2016 Town & Country; a 2016 Honda Civic like a 2015 Civic; or a 2015 Ford F-150 like a 2014 F-150, or even the fellow next-generation pickup 2014 Chevrolet Silverado.
For shops which are referring to repair procedures, ALLDATA remains the most popular, with 68.8 percent of respondents reporting using it.
The I-CAR Repairability Technical Support portal came in second at 40.7 percent — shops could select multiple answers — and CCC’s Repair Methods third at 37.6 percent. About 36.2 percent of shops reported accessing OEM websites directly. (Technically, I-CAR’s RTS just provides links back to the OEM sites, but it provides other assistance as well.)
As for estimating service integration, all three estimating services sell a means of accessing repair procedures, and surveyed shops reported using all of them. Neither CCC’s Repair Methods, Mitchell’s Tech Advisor, nor AudaExplore’s TechFocus auto-populate an estimate with the correct repair procedures (included and-or “not-included”); they simply display the most current version of OEM repair procedures without an estimator switching software.
However, Mitchell’s Toyota partnership now auto-populates its estimates for numerous Toyota models, something a Toyota collision repair expert has credited with improving repair quality. That would seem to be the ultimate integration, and perhaps more of those partnerships can be developed in the future.
CRASH Network and Collision Advice are currently seeking shops to participate in their final quarterly survey of the year. This study asks shops about their aluminum repair labor rates, and how frequently they’re successfully reimbursed by eight of the country’s largest insurers for a couple dozen of the most common shop supplies.
Shop managers, owners or estimators can take the survey here through Oct. 31. All individual answers are confidential, and the shop will receive a free copy of the subsequent 60-page report on the findings, which include regional, by-insurer, and DRP-vs.-non-DRP results.
Collision Advice/CRASH Network, Oct. 3, 2016
Collision Advice/CRASH Network via SurveyMonkey, Oct. 1-31, 2016
Collision Advice/CRASH Network
Repair procedures for a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica are shown. (Provided by Mopar Repair Connection/FCA)
While still less than half of the shops surveyed, more collision repair facilities are referencing OEM repair procedures while writing an estimate, according to the third-quarter 2016 “Who Pays for What?” survey. (Provided by Collision Advice and CRASH Network)