In the first of two columns, John Norris looks at ways to help shops determine the best options when it comes to pre and post-repair scanning.
Recently, I attended a Trade Board meeting and by the time I arrived home, we had another entry into the vehicle scanning field that we didn’t have before.
It’s a field of frantic new activity for those offering services.
Scanning vehicles to determine if a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) has been tripped (and then repairing) is a hot topic in the collision repair industry. So far, OEM requirements for pre and post-accident scanning have come from Toyota, Honda and Nissan in Canada. The U.S.-based manufacturers have positioned statements urging shops that checking fault codes is mandatory (or strongly suggested).
If your shop is interested in an OEM-type repair or certified program, fault codes should be checked at least before the car is delivered (caution see note below on follow-up scans).
Shops can use different scanning processes. For instance:
1. Doing it themselves with trained licenced techs and OEM equipment and subscriptions;
2. Doing it themselves with aftermarket tools that may not capture all information;
3. Sending the car to the dealer;
4. Using a mobile technician that you can call in; or
5. Using a third-party provider that is a remote hookup, and they handle the scan in another location online.
Every shop needs to determine what process will be more effective. Look at the number of cars, costs, car lines covered and age of vehicles even before making a decision.
Insurer reimbursement is currently all over the map. One shop advises they scan 98 percent of their cars and get paid for each one. One shop tells me 80 percent of their scans remain unpaid or they don’t invoice as they worry about “severity.” Some shops say “most” insurers will pay for the repair review. Many shops have never even heard of “scans.”
As an association, we have worked with three “remote access provider” companies that offer scanning services.
One does 85 percent of vehicles, costs $3000 for its “adaptor” and then charges for the scans. One does 98 percent, charges $1500 for the “adaptor” (refundable at a time in the future) and does not charge for scans that show no DTC faults.
Yet another doesn’t charge for equipment, currently has few car lines, only a higher price for the scans, but guarantees that if it fails they will pay for a dealer to repair it. Such services are only likely to proliferate. Next time, we’ll look at what scans are needed.