The Database Enhancement Gateway, which allows repairers and insurers to make inquiries and suggestions of the estimating providers at no cost, offers weekly tips for repairers on the Audatex, Mitchell and CCC programs online and through the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ email list.
If you haven’t used the free service before to submit questions about estimating collision repair work or just browse responses to other carrier and shop questions, check it out. It’s a good way to find information provider best practices and help write the most accurate estimates or appraisals possible.
Here’s our latest monthly roundup of areas spotlighted as tip-worthy by the DEG. To receive the tips as soon as DEG releases them, like/follow the DEG’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. (It also posts videos to a YouTube channel once in a while.) Or just browse the nearly 16,000 inquiries and responses in the database and see what else you learn.
Audatex: Frame setup and measuring, pulling not included
Setting up a vehicle on a frame rack or dedicated bench for measuring or pulling is not included in Audatex, as the DEG pointed out in a Feb. 3 tweet.
Section 4-2 of Audatex’s Database Reference Manual lists operations not included in the IP’s labor times. According to Audatex, these include “Setup of a vehicle on a frame machine, dedicated bench, or other measuring / straightening devices. Pulling time is not included (Standard Manual Entry M31 is available).”
“Because of all the various types of equipment for repairing vehicle structures, Audatex does not provide a labor value for each equipment requirement for set up/ anchoring and measuring scenarios,” the DEG wrote. “This would be an on-the-spot evaluation depending on the type of equipment that is used.
“Final DEG Note: It is important to follow OEM procedures and ensuring proper tooling is being used to repair vehicles back to OEM Specifications.”
The DEG repeated this tip and similar instruction from CCC and Mitchell to a user’s Feb. 4 inquiry. The DEG user had asked if any time studies existed for setting up a 2020 Mercedes 350 GLE on a Celette bench. The user said the setup took “2 PEOPLE ABOUT 4 HOURS TO SET UP.”
In April 2016, Society of Collision Repair Specialists board member Kye Yeung (European Motor Car Works) demonstrated that the setup and measurement process might be more involved than repairers realized. An old adage held that 2-3 hours of setup time was needed, according to Yeung. “It’s not realistic,” he said then.
Later that year, SCRS Education Committee and CIC Technical Committee collaborator Toby Chess showed the November 2016 CIC a 30-step presentation demonstrating the effort needed to prepare a dedicated bench.
“This is not for everybody,” he said at the time. “We need to have the training.”
Besides the setup and measurement time, insurers and repairers should understand that a rented bench must be disassembled for return as well, according to Chess.
CCC: Emblem template not included
If a technician must take time to create a template for an emblem or nameplate, the estimator will have to manually add that fact to a CCC sheet.
CCC confirmed this in an inquiry response to a user trying to follow BMW’s instructions for a 2018 X5, according to a tip the DEG tweeted Feb. 10.
“When replacing a nameplate or emblem, BMW repair instructions call for making a masking tape template to transfer the original position of the emblem to the replacement panel,” the DEG user wrote Jan. 22. “Is the labor and material to do this included with the replacement of the emblem or nameplate? BMW does not sell templates like other manufacturers.”
“After review of the concern, creating templates is not included in estimated work times,” CCC replied, according to the DEG. The DEG also said that the material cost of the template wouldn’t be included either.
The DEG also observed that CCC’s MOTOR Guide to Estimating P-pages limit the molding, nameplate and emblem labor times to installing the parts. It doesn’t include cleanup, removing adhesive, or “Door hardware,” according to CCC.
“Fabricate templates, reinforcing inserts, sleeves or flanges,” is also among CCC’s list of not-included operations.
The DEG shared OEM repair procedures from an unspecified BMW which start out advising “Transfer position of model designation (1) from old tailgate by making an adhesive tape template.”
Rocker weatherstripping in CCC
A recent update to the CCC P-pages clarified that while weatherstripping disconnecting and reattaching was included in the headliner time, removing and installing the weatherstrip wasn’t.
Gredinberg explained the distinction to us last year: Loosening the weatherstripping around the moldings to remove the headliner was included, but it’d be “additional labor to consider” if you removed the entire weatherstripping.
“That part is not included,” he said.
Similar logic seems to apply to work on a rocker panel. CCC’s P-pages call “Weatherstrips pull back” included with the rocker panel time. But CCC also confirmed to a January DEG user that “Weatherstrip R&I is not included with the Rocker panel section.”
According to a DEG tip tweeted out Feb. 24, the inquiry exposed “a database logic error.”
“Recent Inquiry 15607 found a database logic error regarding the body weatherstrip showing included in rocker panel replacement/ section,” the DEG wrote. “The MOTORS GTE P pages clearly state that “Weatherstrip pull back” is included. When selecting full R/I, the labor defaults to included.
“End users would need to make manual line changes when performing a FULL R&I. Confirmed statements from CCC/MOTORS discusses this issue on inquiry 15607 due to logic of rocker and center pillar parts.”
The DEG user’s inquiry involved a 2014 Toyota Corolla.
“When replacing the rocker panel / center pillar section, the p pages state ‘turn back w’strips’ are included,” the user wrote. “When I select to R/I the door opening w’strips on the body for full r/i, the system goes to INCL both front and rear door.”
The user suggested CCC “Correct inclusion of FULL r/i of front door and rear door opening w’strips attached to body.
CCC initially wrote that weatherstrips were included in the center pillar. “If the end user chooses to remove the Weatherstrip completely, it would be an on-the-spot evaluation to determine the difference in time between pull back versus full removal,” CCC wrote.
However, it provided more clarity about how the estimating software handled weatherstripping in the area.
“Due to the nature of the part available (Center pillar & rocker), the current estimating logic includes the Weatherstrip per the GTE Pages for the Center pillar,” the DEG wrote. “If only the Rocker panel is being sectioned, an on-the-spot evaluation should be performed to determine the allowed labor for the Weatherstrip, since the Weatherstrip R&I is not included with the Rocker panel section. …
“When replacing the Rocker Panel, part of the repair procedure is cutting into the Hinge Pillar. Unless the Rocker section is only done in the Door opening area, the Hinge Pillar will get cut into. The red arrows in the picture are pointing to the cut line for sectioning the Rocker Panel in the Hinge Pillar area. Since this procedure does not require the full length of the Hinge Pillar, Center Pillar or quarter panel, the estimated work time only takes into account pulling back or partially removing the Weatherstrips. Any deviation between what is already included and what the end user wants would be an on-the-spot evaluation.”
Audatex: Washer fluid not included
The estimating service in a 2019 update added a line confirming that “Drain, Refull and/or Topoff Windshield Washer Fluid” isn’t an included operation. This shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise; the Audatex P-pages already said that draining or refilling the gas tank, oil, or transmission fluid weren’t included either in labor times.
“R/I or R/R time for windshield washer reservoir does NOT include to drain or fill the washer fluid,” the DEG wrote.
“Washer fluid / additives or Disposal fees to drain/ fill the tank is NOT INCLUDED in labor times.”
Have a question?
Have a question about AudaExplore, Mitchell or CCC? Submit inquiries to the DEG here. Inquiries, like answers, are free.
The logo of a BMW X5 is seen in 2018. The 2018 BMW X5 might require a body shop to make a template to install an emblem or nameplate. (Provided by BMW)
The rocker panel on a 2014 Toyota Corolla LE is shown. (Provided by Toyota)
Washer fluid sprays out of a nozzle. (Denis Torkhov/iStock)