Ask the Expert: How do repair information providers come up with their labor times?

Q: How do repair information providers come up with their labor times?

A: Most manufacturers provide repair time estimates strictly for warranty purposes. The manufacturer will conduct several timed tests for a particular repair, and use the average as the labor time. A brand new vehicle is used for the time study, the technician is trained and experienced, all required tools are at the-ready, and the car is on the hoist, if needed.

In a nutshell, manufacturer-provided labor times are based on ideal conditions that are not reflective of the typical repair scenario in an auto repair shop. To fix this, aftermarket repair information providers may adjust the manufacturers’ times to better reflect reality.

At Autodata Publications, for example, manufacturers’ labor times may be increased depending upon the job’s level of complexity. The more complex the job, the more time is added. All labor times are increased a small amount simply to account for the up-front administrative work such as writing up the repair order, bringing the car into the bay and getting it up on the hoist. Simple repairs that normally require few special tools or experience receive no additional labor time adjustment.

Information provided by Autodata Publications, Inc. 

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