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What’s it going to take for this industry to embrace pre-repair scanning?

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What’s it going to take for this industry to embrace pre-repair scanning? That was the main topic of the latest video in I-CAR’s “Repairers Realm” series.

“I don’t know if we have to send out balloons and flyers, or what we have to do, but somehow we have to get everybody to really understand that this is critical,” Bud Center, director of technical products and curriculum for I-CAR, said.

The video examined several reasons why pre-repair scanning is so important, and why shops need to start performing one on every repair.

“You need to do this on every vehicle in the shop. It’s not just because of ADAS, or some of the new advanced systems. This is something that we should’ve been doing for [years now],” said Scott VanHulle, I-CAR manager of Repairability Technical Support and OEM relations “That’s the only way you are going to find all the damage, the only way you’re going to know what happened on that vehicle.”

Speaking specifically about Honda vehicles, he explained that some modules themselves may contain the diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and if a scan is not performed until after the module is replaced, the codes will no longer be there.

“If you have a car come into your shop, and you have deployed airbags, and if somebody replaced that restraints control module, you won’t have any diagnostic trouble codes saying there is a problem because that module that was [replaced] was the one that contained all the DTCs,” VanHulle said. “If you did your pre-scan properly, you would have found that out in the beginning and not later.”

A special guest on the episode was, Donny Seyfer, executive officer of the National Automotive Service Taskforce (NASTF), a group that identifies missing information or “gaps” in service repair information for the OEMS.

Seyfer explained that part of the importance of a pre-repair scan is to initially identify what systems are involved to begin with.

“You want to know if a system isn’t reporting [on the scan],” Seyfer said. “Is it not reporting because it’s smashed? Or is it not reporting because it’s not there to begin with? But also, you’ve got all this historical data and monitors [that] can tell you a lot about pre-existing conditions, so that you are not on the hook after the car is repaired, for something that you didn’t have anything to do with.”

“The other thing we talk about is the cycle-time issue,” Seyfer said. “If you don’t know that a system is down, or even present, and then you get to the end of the repair and, whoops, now I have to call in somebody, or get it back over to mechanical, or take it to a dealer, whatever the case may be, and I already promised [to deliver] the car.”

Not having the right scanning equipment in the shop is no excuse, Seyfer said.

“If you don’t want to do it in-house, there are all these companies around the country that you can plug in a device and walk away and let them do their thing, and they send you a report and you’ve got that to attach to your repair,” he said. “There’s asTech and Opus IVS and AirPro [that] can do that for you.”

“It’s also about documentation,” Center added. “It’s about when the repair is done, being able to document all the things that you did.”

The group also discussed another reason for pre-repair scanning that is unique to collision repair.

“In the collision world, we’re introducing a lot of diagnostic trouble codes in our repair process,” VanHulle said.

“The pre-scan tells you: This is the condition that the car was in when it came into the shop,” Center said. “It helps you identify any type of DTCs there might be – any conditions with the vehicle before you do any disassembly – where you might introduce additional codes.”

“BMW and Mercedes [for instance], really don’t like when things are unplugged and you are moving that vehicle around the shop,” VanHulle explained. “So, it’s not just [a matter of] going in there and clearing out the codes. You have to know which codes you can just clear out at the end of the repair [because you caused them], and which ones are telling you there is still something wrong.”

“It makes your life easier when you get to the end of the repair.” Center said. “Not all of these codes are going to store a date that [shows] when that code triggered. If they could see that picture before, and see that picture again after, they know what [codes] have been introduced through the repair process and not something that was existing, potentially as part of the collision.”

Dirk Fuchs, I-CAR director of technical programs and services, said the issue of pre-repair scanning becomes even more important when you are dealing with collision damaged electric vehicles. A battery involved in a collision may look undamaged on the exterior, but the high forces it was subjected to in an accident may have damaged the individual cells inside the unit, presenting a risk of fire, Fuchs explained.

“The battery looks intact, and all super-nice, but what happens after one week, two weeks,” he asked. “I have to scan the vehicle and check the state of the battery. You get measurement values of the balance of the battery. The vehicle comes in and stays overnight in the shop, and I don’t know what is going on inside this battery. I don’t know if on the next day the shop is still [going to be] there.”

“We have to step up our game here,” Fuchs emphasized. “Everybody has to perform [pre-repair scans] for the safety of your technicians, of your customer, of the environment.”

More information

Repairers Realm: Pre- and Post-Scans and Programming – Aug 27, 2021

I-CAR Repairability Technical Support website

I-CAR Pre- and Post-Repair System Scanning Position Statements

Courtesy of I-CAR

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