As I continue to visit collision repair facilities across the country, I see very few that are utilizing Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) and recall notices in their business. These can be very important tools in the shop for a number of reasons. For example, vehicle manufacturers use technical service bulletins to update service information which can be beneficial when conducting repairs on a vehicle, post collision.
Here’s a scenario that may sound familiar. A few days after you repaired the collision damage to your customer’s 2010 pickup, a cold-front moved in, and an early winter seemed right around the corner. A week or so later, the pickup re-appeared at your shop, with the owner complaining of strange noises coming from the front end.
The most basic vehicles today are pretty much computers on wheels. The more sophisticated the car, the more computers and systems that need to be re-initialized each time you work on them. The complexity and the confusion grows with each new model year. Take, for example, one of the icons of the American automobile industry, the Chevrolet Corvette. From 1953 to present, the Corvette has evolved into a remarkable machine. But, like any other vehicle on the road, Corvettes suffer collision damage, and upon repair, there are many systems that need to be re-initialized.
Its Friday afternoon, the vehicle owner is expected to pick her car up in less that an hour. That’s when you discover that the door glass isn’t operating properly. Panic sets in. How do you fix it quickly?
Recently I had the opportunity to give a presentation to a group of shop owners and managers. The presentation highlighted several areas of change in vehicle technology: advanced high-strength steels, laser welding, MIG brazing, hybrid disabling procedures, structural sectioning, and panel attachment methods, such as bonding and riveting. During the presentation, I spoke not only about the technology, but also how the technology was impacting the collision repair industry in areas such as: technician safety; required tools, equipment and materials; technician efficiency; estimate accuracy and other areas that affect the business.
Over the past several years we have seen changes in vehicle design and construction. Many of these changes provide increased protection for vehicle occupants, increase fuel economy, reduce emissions, or meet the market demands of potential new vehicle buyers.
How many times have you heard over the last several years? “I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I know how to create a damage report, repair plan, and perform the repairs.”