Since Honda's involvement in a panel discussion on scanning at NACE | CARS 2016 in Anaheim, Calif., last month, the OEM has been deluged with questions and requests for additional information.
Why did Honda feel it was necessary to release a position statement on pre- and post-repair scanning?
HONDA: We are always listening to our ProFirst shops and attend industry events to learn the issues facing the industry. The topic of pre- and post-repair scanning became very hot last year and we started researching the actual situation. Our initial research showed considerable "gray area" and most manufacturers hadn't provided any guidance to the collision industry on what diagnostic scans and post repair calibrations were required and expected in these situations.
Frankly, some of the misinformation floating around the industry caused us great concern. American Honda is committed to complete and proper repair of our vehicles and we felt there was an obligation to inform the entire collision industry of our position on the matter, the reason behind that position, and where to obtain scanning resources. When the ever-increasing electrical complexity of our vehicles was also taken into consideration, the time was right for this position statement.
Why did Honda elect to put such strong language in the position statement (for example, MUST and ALL)?
HONDA: Basically because proper repair is that important and we wanted to place sufficient emphasis where necessary. In a mechanical repair situation we often have a customer complaint that leads us down a diagnostic path where scans and calibrations are an integral part of the published repair procedures.
In a collision we have a complex situation where there vehicle has received some unknown G-force impact to the body and electronic components. Without the proper diagnostic scans, we don't know what problems might exist or whether the vehicle was completely and properly repaired. We recognize that cost control is a required and necessary part of any business. However, cost control at the expense of complete and proper repair is an unacceptable situation to American Honda.
What feedback have you received from the industry since the release of the position statement?
HONDA: American Honda has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the collision industry. We spent extra time during the development of this position statement, sharing our proposal with selected collision industry contacts so we could better understand the actual situation from different industry perspectives. That lead us to make significant revisions to our original position statement draft. For example, defining the term "collision" for scanning and calibration purposes. We stated the required procedures while trying to be as fair as possible to all parties involved in the repair process and provide as much background information as possible to explain the "why and how" of scans and calibration.
How does pre- and post-repair scanning play into your Pro First Shops? Do you mandate that shops that participate in the program perform scans?
HONDA: Now that the position statement is published, we would expect that any ProFirst Certified shop, and also ones that aren't, to follow all published procedures to help ensure complete and proper repair. However, mandating and policing compliance with doing proper repair procedures is difficult in an industry of this size. We think following proper repair procedures as a matter of pride in one's work and conscience is the best practice.
What training, if any, does Honda provide shops re: scanning?
HONDA: Scan tools have been around for 30+ years in the auto repair industry. Using a scan tool to read DTCs is pretty straight forward and a matter of following on-screen prompts. But if training is needed, all of the same online technical training that we provide to Honda and Acura dealers can be purchased and downloaded from Helm Incorporated (HELMInc.com). There's a link to their website on the Honda Independent Repair/ServiceExpress website (techinfo.honda.com). Just click on "Training Information".
While it is fully possible for a body shop to purchase all the training and equipment required for diagnostic scanning and calibration of Honda and Acura vehicles, if the required procedures exceed the skills and /or comfort level of a given shop, our dealers have all the required tools and stand ready to assist. There are also third-party organizations that may be able to provide some services as well.
We already are planning to create an online training course on driver support systems calibration as part of our HON collision repair training series delivered by I-CAR. A second online HON course about pre and post repair scanning is also under consideration.
Why doesn’t Honda recommend other scan tools besides the i-HDS?
HONDA: As stated in the position statement, American Honda doesn't test any aftermarket scan tools, so we are not in a position to comment on their capabilities. For us, creating a scan tool is a required cost of doing business to support the sales and service of our vehicle products. We must support every function on every vehicle 100%.
An aftermarket scan tool manufacturer's product is the tool itself, so they must often balance the development costs of adding more features and make coverage with the potential sales market and return on investment. We know that the i-HDS diagnostic software that we do thoroughly test will do the necessary procedures, whatever they may be.
Shortly after Honda made the announcement, Toyota made the same one. Is this the direction that all OEMs will be going?
HONDA: Several OEMs have now issued similar statements, but any comment on whether others in the industry will follow would be speculation.
Why is it so important to require pre- and post-scanning?
HONDA: A pre-scan must be done during blueprinting for the final estimate to learn what DTCs are stored in the vehicle and therefore what systems may have been affected by the unknown collision forces. This helps ensure any damage becomes part of the estimate and repair plans and might help reduce surprises and repair supplements. If vehicle damage prevents scan tool communication, then the pre-scan must be done as soon as repairs can safely allow scan tool communication to be re-established.
A post-repair scan confirms that all issues related to the collision event have been corrected, including those DTCs that might have been set during the repair process.
What impact do you think this announcement will have on collision repairers?
HONDA: This position statement represents change. Like any other change it will take some time for the industry to get used to it. American Honda expects the industry to adapt and follow the guidelines detailed in the position statement.
Is Honda doing anything to educate consumers on the importance of this?
HONDA: In American Honda's opinion, this topic is far too technical for customers, so our customer education efforts will continue to be about the importance of selecting a ProFirst Certified Collision Repair Facility. We would expect ProFirst and all other shops to follow published repair procedures and guidelines.
For shop that weren't previously doing pre- and post-scanning, what will they have to do to prepare?
HONDA: There are basically three options:
- The shop establishes a business relationship with a local Honda and Acura dealer to handle all diagnostic scanning and calibration requirements.
- The shop does the scan and calibration work themselves by purchasing the i-HDS software and equipment, plus any other required tools and service information specified in the position statement, then trains their personnel to use the i-HDS.
- The shop contracts with an independent third party vendor to do the required tasks. These shops must carefully evaluate the capabilities and skills of available providers. American Honda does not currently recommend or endorse any third party diagnostic scan and calibration providers.
Depending on the shop and/or dealership's workload and other factors, some combination of the above methods may be required.