SEMA360: Pre and Post Scan – Why and How

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Aaron Clark and Eric Nowell of AirPro Disgnostics during their presentation. Photo: SCRS

One of the most popular topics during the technical workshops of the last SEMA360 was undoubtedly the electronic scanning before and after repairs.

During two virtual conferences, specialists from the American firm AirPro Diagnostics, whose business is to offer diagnostic, calibration and module programming services to aftermarket workshops, presented the major issues involved in these now critical steps in the repair of modern cars.

The analysis of a vehicle’s data by electronically scanning its systems, commonly referred to as pre-scans, should be the very first operation to be performed on a car entering the shop. “The job of a body shop is to understand, document and communicate all the details of the repair,” said Eric Newell and Aaron Clark of AirPro Diagnostics. “And the pre-scan is the essential first step, whether you’re paid to do it or not. People’s safety is at stake.”

The two experts reject out of hand the idea that older cars, built before 2012, do not need to be scanned. According to them, all vehicles without exception should be scanned.

Building a repair process

The pre-scan will display all the anomaly codes, which will allow to build the repair process and establish the right estimate. This step can also facilitate the decision regarding a total loss.

Experts Chuck Olsen and Josh McFarlin detailed the benefits of electronic diagnostics prior to repairs. Photo: SCRS

But, of course, the experts understand that body repairers want to be paid for this operation, which requires time, tools, and well-trained technicians. “The best way to get paid is to document,” says Clark. Not only does it protect the shop by demonstrating that they have done their job properly, but it will support their claims for the cost of testing, sensor and module replacement and calibration that is required after the collision. “He sums up the importance of doing this by saying that you have to make a case before and after the repair as if you were preparing to go to class. That happens occasionally in the U.S.,” Clark said. “In class, ignorance is no excuse.”

Having the expertise

Josh McFarlin and Chuck Olsen, also from the American company AirPro Diagnostics, found that it is not easy for an independent workshop to be able to scan all cars of all makes. I think it’s essential to find a technology partner in times of transition,” Olson explained. Ideally, every body shop should consider adding a specialist to its team who will spend all of his or her time developing the knowledge to analyze the data, identify trouble codes and translate them into work to be done on the vehicle. This person would be responsible for establishing a clear report of the vehicle’s condition prior to repair and providing the customer with the document that demonstrates that all systems have been restored to normal before returning the vehicle to the customer. »

Very frequent codes

McFarlin, who has 40 years of body shop experience, says he has found that 90 percent of vehicles that pass through the shop after a collision, with or without airbag deployment, display trouble codes. These range from headlight monitoring to lane departure sensors to radar hidden behind the bumper cover and the automatic tailgate opening system. “These are all problems that would not have been obvious to find without data analysis.”

He adds that several electronic systems are now interconnected and that a forward collision can cause a cascade effect and trigger anomalies elsewhere on the car. Simply unplugging a sensor, module or camera in the disassembly process may require them to be reset.

“One important thing to remember,” says Olsen, “is that just because the dashboard doesn’t light a malfunction icon doesn’t mean it’s not hiding it in the vehicle. It’s the body shop’s responsibility to investigate to make sure they give their customer a car with all the safety and driver assistance systems working as they did before the collision.”

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