Measure, check, pull. Measure, re-measure, pull, check. For those of us in the auto body repair industry, this was a typical day in the life of a technician. Fast forward to the present and we now have electronic measuring systems like Chief’s Laser Lock™. Electronic measuring systems make technician’s lives easier by taking out the guess work; showing exactly where repair is needed. Unfortunately, the guess and check game is still being played in the heavy-duty repair industry. But Chief is changing all that. The Chief Cam Scan HD is an all new photographic imaging and measuring tool for HD shops.
How many collision shops can service a Toyota Prius? How many a can do frame pulls on a Ford F-150? We assume the answer is nearly all of them, but how many can make repairs on a school bus or a dump truck? That number drops significantly. Be one of the elite shops, and say “yes” to the heavy duty repairs. Chief Automotive has rolled out a new line of heavy-duty repair tools, which allows your shop to take on those repairs, and be one of the only shops around that can say “yes”.
In an industry where cycle times are critical, it can be tempting to move a little too quickly. After all, faster turnarounds mean more business revenue, more income for collision repair techs and happier customers. That is, unless the rush is really a wreck. Your customers might not know it, but they would much rather you take the time necessary – especially upfront – and do the repairs accurately the first time around. Here are two areas where taking the time is especially important.
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.
Think about your hometown, how many businesses are related to automotive? Most areas, even rural communities, have multiple mechanical repair shops. Now think about how many body shops there are; that number probably dropped significantly. Take it one step further, how many of those repair facilities are equipped to handle heavy duty vehicles. That number is pretty small, almost microscopic in the industry. However, think about how many heavy duty vehicles you see each day. School/transit buses, semi’s and dump trucks, more than likely you are passing several on your daily commute. Those type of vehicles are on the road, and there is a high demand for repair.
As today’s vehicles become more advanced, with improved metals, cutting edge electronics, and seemingly NASA style engines, they also become vastly different. You don’t work on the engine of a Maserati GranTurismo the same way you do a Ford F-250. The same can be said for the body work as well.
Estimates are a big part of the collision repair business. But how far do you need to go? Can you work from the insurer’s estimate and provide supplemental estimates as necessary? Or should you “start from scratch” and do a full estimate of your own before beginning? Like so many things in life, attempting to cut corners here can actually cost you in the long run. There may be times when working from the appraiser’s estimate will save you time, but usually there are bigger benefits to going the extra mile and writing your own, including:
To rebuild something correctly, you have to understand how it was put together in the first place. When it comes to vehicle design, that “put together in the first place” part can get pretty complicated. In order to truly understand how today’s vehicles are built, it pays to invest in auto tech training for your staff. Our Chief University Design-Based Repair course gives technicians the inside scoop with up-to-date information about the latest in vehicle design. It covers:
Once you decide to invest in a LaserLock measuring system, you’ll want to do everything you can to make it run smoothly. That way, it can help you blueprint those repairs and complete them accurately. Here’s how to keep it in tip-top shape.
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.