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Why you should keep wheel service work in-house

Friday, December 28, 2018 - 09:00
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Customers send their mashed-up vehicles to your body shop for repair. They’re trusting you to do whatever necessary to make it look and drive like new again – as soon as possible.

After spending hours straightening the frame or unibody, replacing parts and giving the vehicle a nice new coat of paint in the affected areas, it’s time to hand it off to another shop to complete a wheel alignment.

When adding wheel alignment equipment, shop owners should look for a system that doesn’t require large camera towers. Choosing mobile wheel alignment systems will allow technicians to perform alignments virtually anywhere in the shop, which keeps your bays open for new business.

Why the second shop? Because you don’t have wheel alignment equipment. So, you send the vehicle off – giving up repair control and potential revenue – hoping the techs at the other shop perform an accurate alignment and get the vehicle back to you quickly so you can return it to the customer when you promised.

Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to.

Wheel service is a vital part of auto body repair. Many collisions can cause some type of suspension damage. That means the repair process will likely require a wheel alignment. Someone needs to perform, and get paid for, that alignment – why not you?

Many collision shops don’t have the equipment needed to perform wheel alignments or change or balance a tire. As a result, they typically outsource these services to specialty shops. Not only does this stretch out the cycle time, it also sends potential revenue out of the door with the vehicle.

Adding wheel alignment equipment lets you check every vehicle during the estimating process to determine if it will need a wheel alignment, which will likely lead to your shop performing more alignments and making more money.

Having the capability to perform wheel alignments in-house also allows you to control the quality of the repairs to make sure they are done correctly. Your shop is on the hook as being responsible and accountable to the customer. So, if you send the vehicle out to an alignment shop and something wasn’t done right when the vehicle goes home with the customer, you’ll take the heat for it. And that could have long-lasting consequences.

Shops don’t have the luxury to increase cycle time while the vehicle is transported to multiple shops for repairs. Adding wheel service to your shop’s list of services positions you as a full-service provider.

Using pulling and measuring equipment alone to complete structural, suspension and steering work doesn’t ensure that the suspension and steering components can be put back to OEM specifications. The most critical consideration when doing collision wheel alignments is to first confirm that the structure is straight. If the structure isn’t returned to OEM specifications, the wheel alignment may not be correct, and would need to be redone after the structure issues are addressed.

Having the capability to do all the work needed without taking the vehicle off the rack improves efficiency, saves time and improves the accuracy of the repairs. Because you didn’t ship the vehicle off to another shop for a wheel alignment, you were able to maintain control of the repair process and ensure that it’s done right.

Impact of ADAS

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are being designed into increasing numbers of modern vehicles. These systems provide active safety systems for vehicle occupants and are powered by an electronic communication network that requires pinpoint accuracy.

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