Everyone gets excited when you install a shiny new frame rack or trade an old welder for the latest high-powered, automatic model. But have you ever heard stories about techs celebrating renewed or updated vehicle repair data? Neither have we.
It’s time that changed, because accurate data is crucial for efficient, high-quality repairs. Vehicle spec data, which includes measurements not only for the frame, but also for window and door openings, tailgates, hoods, engine components, trunks and rear hatches, body openings, and body widths, enables shops to return collision-damaged cars and trucks to OEM specifications. With comprehensive, up-to-date data, each step of the repair process can be carried out accurately and efficiently.
Accurate data = accurate estimates
Every repair starts with an estimate, and every estimate should start with measuring. That’s because measuring up front, a process called blueprinting, lets you develop a detailed repair plan for each vehicle. Since every repair is planned before work begins, there are fewer bottlenecks on the shop floor and less time wasted conducting supplemental estimates or waiting for parts.
Blueprinting doesn’t work as well, though, without accurate vehicle repair data. If a customer brings in a car that you don’t have information for, there’s no way to compare it to the OEM specifications. Be sure to update your vehicle repair data regularly with the latest model year information, so you can measure any vehicle that might be brought into your shop, whether it was released last month or a decade ago.
Accurate data = the right pull, the first time
Advanced Live Mapping™ systems are capable of measuring an entire vehicle in real time during the pulling process, enabling technicians to track dimensional changes as they occur. These systems show where the frame is out of alignment in relation to OEM specs, but they are only as accurate as their vehicle repair data sets. And that’s important because an improper repair could compromise the vehicle’s entire impact-absorbing design.
Accurate, updated specs provide the only assurance that the pulls you make are bringing the vehicle frame back into alignment. Without the right data, you can’t be sure that a vehicle is correctly returned to manufacturer specs.
Accurate data = better relationships with insurers
Accurate estimates and efficient repairs can help improve your reputation among insurers. Over time, the positive relationships developed with insurance companies could lead to more referrals and increased business.
Maintaining these relationships requires transparency throughout the repair process. For this, it helps to have a Live MappingTM system that uses OEM specs to develop damage maps. These maps show where the vehicle has been damaged, and they should be included with each estimate. Once the repair is completed, a final report can be created to provide proof that the vehicle has been returned to OEM specifications. These reports can only be generated if you have the correct data for the vehicle being repaired.
Now you know why good vehicle repair data is important, but what makes it “good” in the first place? At Chief, we use a two-pronged approach to develop some of the most accurate data in the collision repair industry.
Quantity and Quality
Chief provides specs for more vehicles than anyone else. This gives users a single source for repair information covering thousands of cars and trucks dating back to 1990, with select vehicles from the 1970s and ’80s. Pre-release data is added continually, so you never have to worry that your specs are out of date.
Along with working directly with OEMs, our technicians also measure new vehicles at our specification centers around the world. Measurements are taken with the frames anchored and suspensions unloaded so they are consistent with the way technicians will use the specifications in the repair process.
When the time comes to update your vehicle repair data or renew your data subscription, remember that data impacts many aspects of the repair process. High-quality, accurate specs make repairs more efficient and are just as important to maintain as your other shop equipment.