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Vehicle Security: Better Access and Efficiency

donny seyfer nastf
Donny Seyfer, Executive Officer, NASTF. PHOTO NASTF

On April 20, Donny Seyfer, Executive Officer for the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) hosted a webinar on auto security procedures for Canadian repair technicians.

Being able to access the right repair information is critical for shop technicians today. Yet knowing where to look and find it, if it even is available, can sometimes prove challenging.

NASTF has been working hard to update its website and providing new login procedures for both technicians and vehicle security professionals. Users can register for free with their own NASTF account that provides access to OEM repair and tooling information.

This portal allows the user to customize the way they would like to receive information, as well as gaining access to NASTF’s library of service information links. Users can also use this site to submit a Service Information Request (SIR), contact other site users and receive the latest updates from OEMs.

Specific information

The Secure Data Release Model (SDRM) account is designed specifically for VSPs to access specific repair data and information. This portal allows users to access a wide variety of links from several different OEM vehicle brands. For Canadian users, however, there are some anomalies.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, sells a few models in Canada that aren’t available in the U.S. Repair data for these models in Canada is difficult to come by since navigating the Mercedes-Benz site for Canadian repair information is time-consuming and costly.

Other brands, including Honda and Toyota, also present difficulty on the Canadian side. Although Seyfer said he hoped that would change, given the numerous discussions that could lead to more doors opening and automakers granting greater access to repair information for independent service technicians.

Seyfer noted that when accessing the SDRM account, it was important for Canadians to input their business ID information and that they select Canada as their country, otherwise they won’t be able to input their postal code. He also noted that NASTF has been working hard to make not only logging into the site easier but also navigating it faster and more efficient.

In terms of vehicle security information, Seyfer said that NASTF has developed what it calls Assisted Immobilizer Programming, since trends within the industry point to a growing need for security-related programming.

“Some of the things we have to do on a car today, require the [OEM] brand to open up the entire bus to perform a repair. We don’t see that going away or decreasing,” said Seyfer.

Rural shop considerations

He also said that with vehicles becoming more complex, investing huge amounts of time on vehicle security protocols for infrequent repairs doesn’t make a lot of sense for most shops or technicians. Seyfer noted this security access is a particular concern for smaller shops located in more rural areas.

“In these areas, you often have to work on what’s there to pay the bills,” he said, but if the shop is locked out of security information or doesn’t know the best way to obtain it, this presents a serious problem.

Another issue on the VSP site is protecting vehicle owners from potential security theft. Since 2006 NASTF performed this by issuing Vehicle Security Professional credentials to those qualified to access this secure information. At last count, Seyfer said there were some 5300 VSPs across North America.

This kind of work, which involves procedures such as reprogramming vehicle keys or replacing or re-calibrating modules, isn’t done that frequently. However, when the work is required, having a technician that’s vetted by NASTF and able to perform repairs that require accessing security information, makes the process more efficient and cost-effective.

Central hub

Besides continuing to ensure access to the required vehicle security information is safe and secure, NASTF also conceived the SDRM account so it can be accessed remotely. This means that technicians can log in anywhere and access information for multiple brands.

For smaller repair shops this is a bonus. In many cases, they do not have the budget to set up an account with an individual OEM for vehicle security information. By having NASTF as a central hub for access to multiple OEM brands’ security information, the process is much easier. Seyfer said that NASTF’s continued objective is to provide as much support for technicians for as many vehicle brands as possible.

Doing so allows both designated VSP technicians at service shops and mobile security professionals the ability to do their work more efficiently and as a result, make that work more profitable.

It also helps ensure freedom of choice for consumers in allowing them to decide who they want to repair their vehicle, promoting a fairer and more level playing field in the automotive service/repair sector contributing to growth and prosperity both within the industry and the wider economy.

For more details, visit NASTF.org.

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