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Researching and correctly interpreting repair procedures requires a team effort

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 07:00
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In my past articles I have covered how to utilize repair procedures in order to aid in proper estimating. I have also discussed how proper documentation aids in compensation. While both of those aspects are important, the main point is proper repairs. Each manufacturer writes their repair procedures differently, and they can be very difficult to interpret. At times it seems like understanding the repair procedure is more difficult than the repairs themselves. In this article we will take a look at some tricks to making interpreting the data slightly easier. We will also look at why it is important to research all aspects of the repair.

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Expect to spend substantial time researching and understanding repair procedures.

First of all, this is not a simple or short process. Expect to spend substantial time with the repair procedures. Some procedures only contain photos and these may take even longer to review than those with written instructions. The first person who needs to spend time with those instructions is the estimator, then whoever is responsible for handing out and/or inspecting the work, and lastly the tech. Each person must understand the procedures. In order to speed up the process, a meeting with all parties is very helpful.

What steps are required to understand the procedures? In my opinion the hardest thing to understand is what all the symbols mean on the diagrams. All manufacturers have a legend for their symbols. However, not all manufacturers include the legend within the repair procedure. Oftentimes this legend is elsewhere in the program. A key note here is not to use a legend from another car, as it may be different. The symbols will explain what type of welding is required, what type of sealers, adhesive, or foam may be required. The legend, just like with a map, is just as important as the procedure itself.

Once you know what the symbols mean you have to understand what that entails. Oftentimes, a welding technique is listed MIG/MAG Butt Weld, Overlap, Stich, Seam, etc. If the person writing the estimate doesn’t have the knowledge of what that process entails, they may not write the estimate completely to perform those methods. If the manager doesn’t know, then they will not be able to verify that it was performed correctly. Worse yet, if the tech doesn’t know, at which point will it be a gamble if the repairs will be performed correctly? Again, this is why a meeting is very important so that everyone can ensure they are on the same page.

All OEMs have a legend for their symbols, but not all OEMs include the legend within the repair procedure. Oftentimes, this legend is elsewhere in the program.

To aid in the understanding of the different welds, I-CAR has an online introduction to a welding class that covers all the types of welds. The class covers what a proper version of the weld looks like visually and after a destruction test. I would recommend this online class to any estimator and manager, as it is a great foundation to understanding what different types of welds are. Furthermore, all technicians who weld anything on a vehicle should take and pass I-CAR’s welding test. The test covers all the types of welds in a hands-on manner and ensures that they understand how to perform each type.

If the procedure requires glue, then it must be welded using a squeeze type resistance spot welder. If your shop equipment is out for service or if the shop doesn’t have the equipment to perform that process, then a discussion has to be had as to what the next steps will be. Will the equipment be purchased or borrowed, will it be sublet-ed, is there another repair procedure that can be utilized with the equipment available? If the procedure requires silicone bronze can the shop perform it? Rivet bonding? The list goes on! Ignorance to the required steps is not an acceptable response. The actual process with the proper equipment and material may not be described in the repair procedure. Reviewing the legend, verifying what the symbols mean and what is required is of paramount importance.

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