OEM PROCEDURES ARE AVAILABLE—BUT ARE THEY EXTENSIVE ENOUGH?
BY KATE NG
A recent survey of Collision Repair readers found most bodyshops agree that OEMs provide access to their recommended repair procedures, but repairers largely disagreed on whether these procedures were sufficiently detailed in their explanations.
On a scale of one to five regarding finding OEM procedures, 18 people, or 51.4 percent felt it wasn’t impossible, but not ideal—a middling three. Nine respondents said it was challenging and time consuming, while eight said it was simple and easily accessible.
In terms of intuitiveness, a similar trend was identified with 12 people saying it was somewhat intuitive, while 10 people said it was confusing and complicated, and another 10 said it was intuitive and easy to follow. Two said it was very complicated and confusing, while only one person said it was very intuitive and easy to follow. When asked if there were any OEMs that had particularly hard to find or follow procedures, five cited Hyundai out of 25 comments. Two cited Kia, Audi, while another two cited European automakers at large. On the flip side, 10 said there weren’t any offenders.
One respondent said that “grey statements could be particularly challenging but could be solved with industry training and following local laws.”
“The basic procedure is usually easy to find and follow, but answers about welding options, STRSW vs Plug welds are not always easy to find. Small brackets or mounting locations are not always in the procedures,” explained one owner/manager.
“OEM procedures are great as long as you are an OEM accredited facility (not a pay for certification/rubber stamp program) and have all the training and tooling required to repair vehicles to pre-loss conditions,” said one particularly confident shop owner/ manager.
“Every site lays out differently, so experience and time usually resolves it. Tesla’s site is oddly unintuitive for such a “tech-y” company,” said one unamused owner/ manager.
One front-end staff member said while they are “generally satisfied with most OEM data, [they] would like have clarification on why some procedures are performed the way they are, as it is difficult to get some technicians to follow the given procedures.” Many commenters, particularly shop owners, said that even though OEM procedures could be easy to access, they did not necessarily provide enough detail or clarity for repairs to be completed to the letter. “If the OEMs’ truly want repairs to be completed to their specifications, an argument could be made that the info should be free to access. Make the access easily available or free, and there will be no discouraging a repair facility to complete the research,” said one owner/manager.