How Many Body Shops Follow the Factory Repair Procedure For Every Repair?
GMC polled auto body shops and found that out of 827 responses, 80% of them do not open their repair procedures for every repair. This number is troubling, to say the least, and indicates an issue in the collision repair industry.
When an auto body shop fails to consult the repair procedures published by the manufacturer, this usually means that they have decided to fix your vehicle they way they’re “accustomed” to. By doing this, they’re ignoring the engineering that went into making your vehicle safe. Repairs that do not follow manufacturer procedures can alter the intended structure of your vehicle, and the consequences can be serious.
Why Are Shops Skipping This Vital Step?
There could be a number of reasons why a body shop does not open the factory repair procedure for each repair:
- “Overconfidence.” A technician may feel that he or she has enough experience that they no longer need to reference the repair procedures for each new vehicle that comes into their shop.
- “Saving time” – another common, unacceptable excuse to avoid using the factory repair procedures. In shops that value production over quality, there is a lot of pressure on technicians to get through repairs as quickly as possible. Unfortunately many body shops will put more emphasis on quick repairs rather than safe repairs.
- “Money” is, of course, at the center of this problem. Shops save money by cutting corners and leaving out manufacturer procedures. So, why even look at the correct procedures if you have no intention of following them?
Why This Trend Needs to End
No matter the excuse, ignoring manufacturer repair procedures is unacceptable. Each year automotive technologies and designs continue to advance in order to make vehicles safer for their occupants. A 2017 model vehicle may have significantly different repair process than the 2016 model of that vehicle. So even if a technician has repaired the same make of car dozens of times, he or she will still need to follow the correct repair procedures for the latest model.
Even for seemingly small repairs, like a bumper replacement, must be repaired according to OEM guidelines.
While a bumper may seem like a cosmetic repair, a bumper is actually a structural component of your vehicle’s crash management system. For example the rate at which a bumper crumples triggers the sensors that deploy airbags. An aftermarket bumper that does not meet factory specifications could cause a fatal miscalculation in the computer system that tells the airbags to deploy. An airbag that is even a fraction of a second late in deploying could cause serious injury.
Above anything else, it is a collision repair shop’s duty to restore a vehicle’s safety features before allowing someone to get back behind the wheel. Modern safety systems have helped to drastically improve the survivability of collisions. However repairing these features requires an understanding of how the manufacturer originally engineered and constructed the vehicle. Repair procedures are written based on that knowledge, and allows shops to truly restore damaged vehicles to pre-accident condition.