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Mitchell updates estimating system to clarify scanning, calibration non-included operations, offer manual lines

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Mitchell on Wednesday announced it would update its estimating software to clarify that scanning, calibration and diagnostics are not included in existing repair times, and added line items so shops could input their own individual values manually.

As Mitchell explained in a news release:

(T)he stated labor times in Mitchell Estimating do not include labor time specifically related to diagnostic scanning. The current release of the Mitchell Estimating solution will include updated Procedure Pages noting that labor times do not include:

• Time required to aim, calibrate, diagnose, re-set or scan electrical items.

• Time required to perform pre-repair and post-repair scan operations.

The time required for these procedures is in addition to the stated labor times.

So there you go, straight from the P-Pages. That should help settle disputes or confusion among auto body shops and auto insurance adjusters.

“Mitchell’s changes are great steps to ensure that all parties can communicate clearly and efficiently to ensure safe and proper repairs,” General Motors wholesale dealer channel manager John Eck said in a statement. “Scanning and diagnostics is a topic of growing importance in the collision repair industry. Pre- and post-scans of diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) help ensure that critical DTCs are identified and corrected or calibrated to ensure the vehicle and its safety systems are returned to their pre-crash conditions.”

Eck has stressed the importance of scanning GM vehicles dating back years, and his company itself issued a position statement on the topic in addition to the directions already within its own repair procedures. (If you didn’t see it in your repair instructions, you probably need to check GM’s paid mechanical service and repair procedures, not just its free collision repair manuals.)

Mitchell will also add Reference sheet lines so auto body shops can document their charges and labor times for the two procedures. It noted that the industry would be able then tap the aggregate data to research industry trends.

“The Reference Sheet line items allow all participants to perform analytics and run reports, bringing a new level of transparency to the process at an estimate level,” Mitchell wrote. “For the first time, management reports will now be able to break out the costs of diagnostic procedures in collision repairs, providing valuable insight to underwriters, claims managers and collision repair facilities.”

As Mitchell indicates, such data can be used by shop owners and insurers to make business decisions. For example, CCC’s 2017 Crash Course found the average pre-repair scan in its database comes in at $125 a claim, as does the average post-repair scan.

“Analysis of uploaded vehicle appraisals reveal the cost per scan ranges anywhere from $75 to $169; reflecting the fees charged to the shop for each scan by a third-party scanning service as well as additional labor time sometimes added by the shop for the time spent running the scan,” CCC wrote. “Scan fees are incurred whether DTC fault codes are found or not.”

CCC lead industry analyst and “Crash Course” lead author Susanna Gotsch said in March that the time to scan a vehicle can vary “quite a bit” as well.

 

More information:

“Mitchell Clarifies Labor Hour Times for Diagnostic Scanning”

Mitchell, June 7, 2017

Featured image: A 2016 Toyota Camry hybrid is scanned with an AirPro tool. (Provided by Toby Chess)