I was recently hired by a body shop at the request of an insurance company to evaluate a problem with a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Figure 1). This vehicle was previously repaired by a different body shop and had a post-repair issue that was not being resolved. Apparently, the prior body shop had done extensive repairs to the front of the vehicle and after the repairs were all done, there was a problem with the front radar control system. The body shop did not want to deal with it and sent the customer to the Jeep dealership where it could be addressed appropriately. It is not uncommon for a body shop to send a vehicle back to the dealership to address certain issues that can’t be handled because the shop may not be properly equipped with dealership-specific testing and calibration equipment needed to take on the task.
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When the Jeep arrived at the dealership, they looked over the vehicle and discovered some repair problems and decided to turn the customer around and direct him back to the body shop where the repairs were originally done. The customer refused to go back because of some personal issues with the shop. This is not uncommon as well, and a customer has a right to go to a different body shop that they feel more comfortable with and would repair their vehicle to a satisfactory level. This is why it is so important to keep a customer happy, to do the job as best you can, and to treat the customer with kindness. In business you need to keep customers coming back and build a referral base. It is not a good practice to ignore concerns about a vehicle you just repaired and send a customer away on their own. You would probably be better off to get authorization from the insurance company to take the vehicle to the dealership yourself and then release it back to the customer when it’s all done.
The dealership decided to recommend another local body shop that they highly trusted that could resolve the issues with the Jeep. When the customer dropped off their car at this body shop, they performed a visual inspection of the vehicle and noticed a radar error fault on the instrument cluster and went ahead and plugged in their scan tool to perform a vehicle scan. They discovered an Error Fault in the Radar Control Module and decided to condemn the radar module due to the code they were getting and the liability issues with the unit if it was not working properly. The radar unit assembly was well over $2,000 list price and if it was not the issue, it would be a costly mistake to make if things were not resolved. It was at this point that the insurance company needed a second opinion before going forward with the repairs.
When I arrived at the shop, I hooked up my WiTech Chrysler factory scan tool and printed out a report sheet (Figure 2). The radar control unit was setting a code C1266 as an “Active” error fault. This code did not warrant a radar unit assembly replacement, but rather was pointing to an issue where the radar unit was “blinded” because it was unable to see the roadway properly. The radar assembly required an extensive set-up alignment procedure before it could function properly. This involved a vertical adjustment with a bubble gauge followed by a road trip up to one hour to set the horizontal adjustment of the sensor as the vehicle traveled down the road looking for objects in the roadway.
I placed my bubble gauge assembly on the radar unit to perform the static vertical adjustment (Figure 3). What I found was that the radar assembly was loose and not secured properly. It was hard to see what the issue was without pulling the front bumper off. The body shop also pointed out that someone had used the upper engine perimeter cover to secure the front headlights from moving by using sheet metal screws through the cover and into the top of the headlights (Figure 4). There were definitely some issues going on here that the Jeep dealership probably saw as well and that was the reason they most likely did not want to work on the vehicle. Now it was time to dig into this can of worms without knowing what to expect. The body shop had to get authorization from the insurance company to tear down the vehicle to inspect the prior repairs. I did learn that it is not uncommon to see this happen. There is a field term called “Corrective Repairs” that I was not familiar with and it is basically a redo of repairs needed to correct improper repairs that a prior body shop performed. The body shop did get the okay from the insurance company and went ahead with the tear down.