It doesn’t matter whether it’s a T-boned Toyota or a rear-ended Ram pickup, a collision can affect a vehicle’s structure in all directions—width, length and height. For good-as-new repairs that will perform as planned on the road and in any subsequent collision, you obviously need to find all of the damage in every direction.
Traditional mechanical measuring equipment is no longer an accepted means to measure a vehicle because it may not show all of the damage. Many inconsistencies may go undetected, which could affect everyone involved—including your shop. That’s why electronic measuring equipment is so crucial in today’s repair environment.
But how do you choose the right electronic measuring system for your particular business? There are several questions you should ask yourself before investing in a piece of equipment that could be in your shop for decades to come.
What technology is available?
There are three different types of technologies used in today’s measuring equipment. Ultrasound systems use emitter probes attached to specific points on a vehicle that send simultaneous signals to high-frequency microphones, record the measurements and show the damage. Point systems use a digital measuring arm that glides under a vehicle to take measurements along its path.
Laser systems—like the Chief LaserLock™ and the Chief Vector™—use targets that are placed in specific locations on the underside of a vehicle. A laser scanner on a tripod measures the vehicle and color codes the measurements to show the extent of the damage.
What are your shop’s needs?
This is all based on your vehicle mix. If you have a high volume of varying vehicles, you’ll want equipment that adapts to each vehicle that enters your bays. Finally, check to ensure that your preferred measuring equipment will work with your shop’s other equipment. Some systems require a two- or four-post lift. Others need a frame rack or bench.
Do you have the right data source?
Most manufacturers require you to use OEM build data and the repair information from those OEMs. This build data provides a vehicle’s specs as it rolled off the assembly line. With Chief, however, you get even more precise data. We’ve built our own repair database by measuring every available vehicle and adjusting the benchmark specs to reflect the conditions you would typically see when measuring. These real-world benchmarks provide additional accuracy for your repairs.
Then there’s training. There’s no question about training. Every tech who touches your measuring equipment needs it in order to perform perfect repairs. That’s why Chief provides free in-shop training for any shop that buys either our LaserLock or Vector mapping system.