Why Some Pennsylvania Auto Body Shop’s Don’t Perform Scanning, and Why You Need It

If you purchased a new vehicle from the past couple of years, chances are it is equipped with some advanced safety features commonly known as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). These used only to be seen in luxury cars, but over the past few years, some of these advanced safety features have become a standard in newer vehicles. This is why it’s critical a body shop knows what needs to be done before, during, and after your repair.

We at 3D Collision Centers are here to let Pennsylvania drivers know the importance of your car being scanned as part of a routine repair procedure. If a body shop neglects this step, your safety would be at risk and you wouldn’t even know it. The safety systems in your car could be malfunctioning, unable to perform their designated functions and your risk (along with anyone else in the car) of injury from an accident increases. Sensors could be aimed wrong and your airbag sensors could have a fault code, without you knowing. Unless a body shop performs a vehicle scan before, during, and after the repair, your car wouldn’t be able to protect you the way it should.

Insurance companies don’t like to pay for pre- and post-repair scanning because to them, they’re getting billed twice. However, it’s important to know what faults codes exist in your car prior to starting the repair. In many cases, these systems are all tied together. If a technician begins a repair without scanning could cause more system failure if these systems are unable to communicate with one another. For example, your lane assist could try correcting your steering based on bad information from a faulty sensor somewhere else in the system. 

It is also a liability issue. The vehicle could have fault codes that result from the previous repair or are not part of the car that’s being repaired. For example, the rear sensors could be throwing a fault code, but you are only being paid to fix the front sensors. Without a pre-scan of the vehicle, a repair shop and the customer would have no way of knowing there is an issue with that system. It could even be completely unrelated to the accident. Even a small tap on the bumper during rush hour is enough to throw off sensors but not enough to show up as visible damage. 

What Is Scanning? 

When a repair technician performs a diagnostic vehicle scan, they will hook up a scanner to your car’s diagnostic port where something known as Diagnostic Trouble Codes (or DTC for short) will appear. These codes tell the technician where to begin the repair. It’s important to note that even if your car doesn’t illuminate certain lights on your dashboard, that doesn’t mean nothing is wrong with your vehicle. This is the whole purpose of vehicle scanning so the technician can get a good look “inside” your car to determine what’s wrong. 

The best way to compare this is when you go to the doctor. You can tell the doctor all your symptoms, and they can diagnosis you from that. But until they take x-rays or get bloodwork, they won’t be 100% sure of your diagnosis. Similarly, an auto repair technician can get to work on your car without scanning based on what they can “see.” However, there could be non-functioning safety equipment, hidden faults, or damaged components that will go undetected unless there is a diagnostic scan. This is why a technician must know to scan your car before getting to work on your vehicle. 

When Are Scanning and Calibrations Needed? 

Aside from beginning a repair, a post-repair diagnostic scan will be required for a few different reasons. Let’s take, for example, what American Honda wrote in a position statement from May 2019 regarding pre- and post-repair scanning:

  • “A preliminary diagnostic scan during the repair estimation phase to determine what diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) may be present, so proper repairs may be included. 
  • A post-repair diagnostic scan to confirm that no DTCs remain.
  • Any repair that requires disconnection of electrical components in order to perform the repair will require a post-repair diagnostic scan to confirm if the component is reconnected properly and functioning.
  • Damage that requires the replacement of body parts will always require a post-repair diagnostic scan. 
  • Some safety and driver assistive systems (such as ADAS) will require inspections, calibration, and/or aiming after calibration after collision or other body repairs.”

Every car manufacturer, like Honda, will have its requirements on scanning and calibrations. However, it is guaranteed they will always require pre- and post-repair scanning to accurately diagnose what needs to be repaired and determine everything is functioning correctly. If you think of ADAS technologies like a computer, a recalibration is similar to resetting a computer. Most modern cars come with a variety of different ultrasonic, camera, and radar sensors. These sensors are what ADAS technology is made of so they can “see” what is going on around your car, keeping you safer on the road. If any of these sensors were even off by one degree caused by a minor fender bender, it could be equivalent to being 50 feet off the designated target area.

Even minor fender bender repairs are why technicians must know when cars need scanning and recalibration. The best body shops will look up any repair procedures laid out by the manufacturer, including position statements like Honda’s shown above. This is why pre-scanning is important. 

Who In Pennsylvania Knows How To Perform Scanning and Calibrations? 

Here at 3D Collision Centers, we never get straight to work on a repair until we have accurately determined what we need to do to your car. Scanning and calibrations are a necessary part of car repair nowadays and any body shop that tells you differently can seriously put your life at risk. Unfortunately, the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t require autobody technicians to have a license to work on your car. It all comes down to finding a body shop that you can trust with technicians who have received the proper training and know what it means to repair your car the right way. 

We only perform repairs the way the manufacturer tells us because your safety is our top priority. We are also among the 10% of auto body repair shops in the country that are I-CAR Gold Class trained.

This is especially important when looking for the best place to take your car to be repaired when technicians aren’t legally required to follow OEM repair procedures. Why take the risk of taking your car somewhere else that is probably in the majority of shops that will cut corners in the repair process, feeling their “experience” is all that matters?

We have seven different locations across Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. Feel free to give us a call at anytime at (877)-692-7776. For a list of the phone numbers for each of our locations or to schedule an estimate, click here.

We look forward to showing you the 3D difference!