complex problems and avoid costly misdiagnosis. The key is to
choose wisely and schedule in advance where possible.
ReMote VehIcle DIagnostIcs: In-house outsourcing.
A single interface device attaches the vehicle to a certified technician through the internet. The technician remotely applies OEM
factory level or advanced A/M scan tools to perform diagnostic
scanning and procedures such as reprogramming or initialization. With their patented as Tech2 device, Collision Diagnostic
Services ( www.astech.com) in Plano, Texas, has recently launched
the service in the U.S. and Canada to service most vehicles.
Benefits: On demand, advanced A/M and OEM factory level
scan tools, certified technicians, cost-effective, reduced cycle time,
no vested interest in replacing parts, minimal training involved
Drawbacks: Some procedures require the shop to participate,
which can be a challenge. A remote technician will not be able to
repair severed wires or a bent harness pin that a skilled mobile
technician easily tackles. Aiming procedures using targets and
tasks that involve driving the vehicle are not within the remote
Bottom line: Limitations of remote technicians notwithstand-
Keep it simple
ing, it’s still a very versatile first line solution. Shops in rural ar-
eas will find the as Tech2 device indispensable. The company has
Auto Service Excellence (ASE) and OEM-certified technicians
on staff, the majority being master technicians. A dispatch sys-
tem matches the vehicle and service requested to the appropriate
available technician. Insurers may see value within a network of
direct repair shops and staff appraisers. Appraisers have a por-
table estimating, auditing and second opinion tool. Used in con-
cert with a mobile technician on call to handle the trickier stuff,
the body shop is prepared for almost any situation.
Advanced vehicle safety systems represent some of the most sophisticated technology the average consumer owns. Trying to
understand it all would be a daunting task. Although the technology is complex, the claims handling process need not be. The
proper handling of these technologies is possible with a couple
of simple rules — scan and plan. Scan the vehicle to discover
the problems that cannot be seen. Plan each repair in accordance
with readily available OEM repair procedures. This combination
will help assure that no damage goes unnoticed and no important procedure is overlooked.
Claims professionals may want to think twice before saying,
“It’s just a small scratch on the bumper.”
Gene Bilobram has been an automobile physical damage appraiser for
over 25 years. His company, Lacey Appraisal Service, Inc. is an appraisal,
consultancy and manufacturers’ rep firm serving the insurance and collision repair industries. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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