Of all the “smart” devices that you own, your car is the smartest by far. Compared to your smartphone, your vehicle is Albert Einstein. Not only does your car know that it has been in a crash, but it also identifies “where it hurts” after the accident, and it can tell us even if we can’t see it or think to check there.
Cars can even talk to us if we ask them. This is called pre-repair scanning. The problem for you as an auto body repair customer is that you have no way of knowing if we talked to your car or not, but it is a crucial distinction and safety issue that we are discussing today.
Any Oxford auto body shop can take significant short cuts in your repair that you will never see. As long as your car looks shiny, is freshly washed and still drives somewhat like it did before, most customers will take delivery of a vehicle with no idea what was done to it, or if the repair was safe and proper. Unless a system is no longer functioning, you have no idea if it is working correctly.
This is important to note because it means the difference between a safe repair and an unsafe one. It’s also important to note that not all body shops in Palmdale perform pre- and post-repair scans because a lot of Insurance companies don’t want to pay for them.
Even an older car like the 1996 Nissan needs a pre and post-repair inspection. Nissan even released a position statement about it:
“A pre-repair system scan is recommended to identify items in advance that are malfunctioning on a vehicle,” Nissan wrote. “This helps the repair facility fully understand the scope of the repair before starting as well as documenting elements related to the overall loss.”
What does a Pre-repair scan entail?
Each car has a scan port called an OBDII port. Any time you have ever had an emissions test or had any service work done on your vehicle, the mechanic hooked up a scanned to the OBDII port. This sends information to the scanner and tells what codes are being “thrown.”
Every time you crank up your car, it performs a systems-check. If a system fails, it stores a code. Sometimes the codes show up in your dashboard such as a check engine light, and sometimes they show nothing at all like a seat belt issue.
When it comes time to calibrate and post-repair scan the vehicle, we plug into that same port. On the other end of the computer is a dealer or manufacturer-trained technician (most likely in another state) who is reading those codes, resetting the ones that can be reset or cleared out, and calibrating the ones that can be recalibrated remotely. (Some recalibrations occur while driving or require additional equipment to perform).
Why we ask you so many questions when getting an estimate.
You can tell how good an auto body shop is by the questions they ask. Accurate repair estimating is a lot like being a detective. The more clues we can gather, the better we are at finding all the damages. This is especially true with today’s cars and all of their systems. You may find that damages can travel to areas of the car that were not even on the same side of the car that was hit.
This is why more and more manufacturers are requiring a visual inspection and measurement of critical components like steering columns following a crash, even if the crash didn’t “hit” those parts. An example of this would be having to remove measure and inspect a steering column even after some minor parking lot damage to the side of the car. Seatbelts are another item.
When you take your car into 3D Collision Center we will ask you questions like how fast you were going, was anybody else in the car, where were they seated, what are their ages, etc. This helps us to look for other areas of the car that may have damage we can’t see.
But Pre-scanning can help us find hidden damages. Take, for example, this story:
“I was called out to reprogram the airbag system on a Nissan Sentra,” Michael Christopherson wrote of a 2015 Nissan Sentra Advance. “Since I rarely get called out to program Nissan airbags, I was puzzled”. When he arrived, he scanned the Nissan. It revealed two codes that referred to a seat belt pre-tensioner problem. “Could be a loose connection or a broken wire. When I looked over at the passenger seat belt, It looked really stiff. I reached over and grabbed it. You could have played a tune on it because it was so tight. The collision was on the left side. There was no passenger in the vehicle at the time of the collision. I suppose the techs did not think to check out the seat belt. A pre-scan would have alerted the body technicians working on the Nissan that in addition to the driver side parts, the passenger pre-tensioner had deployed.”
As you can see, damages can hide in plain sight unless a pre-repair inspection is performed.
If you are shopping for body shops or even considering us here at 3D Collision Center, we want you to know that it is our policy to always to include a pre and post-repair scan of your vehicle because it helps to identify items in advance that are malfunctioning on your vehicle. This helps us to fully understand the scope of the repair before starting the repair, and it also helps with documenting any circumstances related to the overall loss.
We also know you have several choices on where to take your car to be repaired in Pennsylvania. Luckily, we have 7 different locations across Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester counties. We want to make the repair process as stress-free as possible for you, which is why we feel confident you can trust us with your auto body repair needs.
Feel free to give us a call at anytime at (877)-692-7776. Or, for a list of the numbers for each of our locations, click here. We look forward to hearing from you!