The proof is in the print-out

Help customers navigate pre- and post-scan options available on today’s tools.

J Hyde Mike Branan Scan Demo

What do you know about pre-scan and post-scan reports? Did you know when shops offer this service, it has a direct impact on customer satisfaction? Learn which types of business can benefit the most from pre- and post-scan functionality, and what scan tools offer this capability.


Why scan?

At a time when consumers have come to expect research and reporting at their fingertips, it only makes sense for repair pros to have supporting documentation in their arsenal when it comes to something as multifaceted as a vehicle’s repair. That’s exactly what pre and post-scan functionality offers.

Performing a pre-scan before starting vehicle work can help technicians spot hidden issues and make the customer aware of problems from the get-go. Identifying these codes can help to speed the diagnosis and repair process. The shop owner or technician may then follow-up with a post-scan after work is finished. This time, he or she is confirming all elements of the job were completed properly.

Harlan Siegel, president of Launch Tech USA, likens this type of scan to a routine health screening at the doctor’s office. “The whole premise is [finding out] the condition of the car when it comes into the shop. You go to the doctor for the health check. He does a series of test, then does a blood test and assesses where you’re at that day. It’s the same thing; the vehicle is assessed when it comes into the shop-- that’s your blood test. After you’re treated you get the post test. That’s your follow-up visit. And that’s as simple as it is.”


Consider your customers

These types of reports aren’t just “nice to have.” Most vehicle manufacturers have at this time released position statements making pre- and post-scan a requirement for collision repair. Still, many body shop owners do not generate reports themselves. This could be for a number of reasons.

Jeremy Hyde is a product manager with Cornwell Tools. Hyde started with Cornwell last year and has been involved with diagnostics for more than 15 years. He began his career as an ASE certified automotive technician, which remains his passion to this day.

Hyde says many body shops still use a remote, web-based service because they are unaware of how user-friendly and efficient current scan tools are. They might also be unsure what tool they need to comply with the new requirement.

“The pre-scan is used to detect all present DTCs in each vehicle system module prior to the repair. This ensures no issues caused by the collision are overlooked and repairs are properly planned and executed. The post-scan is used to confirm no DTCs remain, and all components are properly connected and functioning after the repair,” he says.

“Similar functions have been around for a long time, and have been taught as a best practice in technical classes over the years. The new body shop requirement has incentivized scan tool manufacturers to make (pre- and post-scans) faster and more intuitive.”

Many body shops continue to use pay-per-use services to generate reports. This is[SVR1]  usually provided by a third-party, a remote diagnostic service or was outsourced to another shop or mobile technician.

Remote diagnostic services require an internet connection. “The technicians hook up an interface to the vehicle, it scans the vehicle and uploads the data to a server. The report is then compiled and emailed back to the shop. In some cases this process can take over an hour to complete and can cost upwards of $170 per use,” Hyde says.

“The new pre- and post-scan requirement gives mobile dealers a great opportunity to talk about something new and exciting when they visit body shops,” he continues. “I urge all dealers to have the conversation with their body shops; in most cases it will lead to a sale!”

He points out pre-and post-scans are a great function for all technicians to use, not just those in collision repair. “Today’s vehicles have so many modules it becomes easy to overlook or miss an underlying problem if you don’t read them all,” he says.


What’s available in the market

Many leading scan tools now offer a fast and easy-to-use pre- and post-scan function which can read codes from all modules and compile the information into a report that can be emailed or printed.

Hyde says he is often asked which scan tools can perform pre- and post-scan, noting all of the leading bidirectional scan tools offer this feature. What was previously referred to as an “all-module scan” makes sense for regular shops -- not just collision repair -- and is often held up as best practice.

“In training classes they’d say cars have 40 to 60 computers, and you should scan them all,” says Hyde. He adds, what used to be a slow function now takes under a minute to complete. “So yes, I would recommend any technician, body shop or repair [business] utilize that function.”

The company Autel offers pre- and post-scan functionality in many of its diagnostic products.

“Pre- and post-scan are in the MS906TS and MS908 and above platforms with the ADAS application added,” says Michael Flink, Autel’s North America commercial sales manager and trainer. “This includes storing report by repair order (RO) number and VIN. Having reports stored by RO and VIN allows anyone at the shop, from technician to estimator and billing, to search and find a report simply by the shop owner’s RO number. These can be accessed to print or email even after repairs are complete and away from the vehicle.” Reports with ADAS-involved modules are highlighted in the work-up.       

Flink adds all other MaxiSys products can be made to manually perform the reports through Autel’s diagnostic menus and “Autoscan” process. In this case, they would need to be saved manually to the tool rather than via the automatic process in the pre- and post-scan equipped versions.

Launch Tech’s Siegel recognizes shops are always looking for ways to keep business flowing, and he says pre- and post-scan products can do just that. The company Launch installs health reports in all of their scan tool software --going back four years-- at no charge to the customer.  

He adds, “The pre- and post-scan buzz really made its noise in the collision market because it is a requirement. It just has to be,” he says. Just how involved the scan is depends largely on the OE, as some are more vague than others. Some OEs state anytime there’s been battery or electrical disconnect or body panel, a scan or even some calibrations is standard practice. Some OEs state that in the slightest collision, even a minor bumper tap, the vehicle’s seat weight sensors are so sensitive that the even a slight bump could throw them off.

Siegel claims the company’s Roxie Pre-Post Scan Robot was invented a few years back when he was visiting a Michigan repair shop with his daughter to get a gasoline leak checked out. “The [technician] asks for her keys and he goes out to her car with a cheap scan tool and comes back with codes written all over his hand.

“When you go to a shop they’re going to use a scan tool to check the car out,” says Siegel. “But now they can have a service writer or low-end guy plug [Roxie] into every car waiting to come in, and email a report to the service writer desk. The service writer can then present an estimate to the customer before the car is even in the bay.”

Roxie automatically scans all makes, models and modules in under two minutes and can email a report to up to five emails at a time. No human interaction is needed other than plugging it into the OBD-II port. “Roxie” loudly calls out each module as it’s being scanned. This product doesn’t require Wi-Fi, Bluetooth pairing or a Smartphone connection.


‘Stockable’ goods, and service

Cornwell’s Hyde says in today’s market, many body shops are starting to realize they need a scan tool, and they’re asking their mobile dealers about various options and recommendations. This opens up a whole new level of potential diagnostic sales for mobile dealers.  

Launch Tech’s Siegel agrees: “It becomes a big bang for your buck and good solution, and to be able to do this printout -- a doc[ument] that tells you what scan was done, through what modules and what the results were -- is invaluable.”

Now that you know what pre- and post-scan entails, and how it’s integrated into some of today’s diagnostic products, how can you best support customers interested in pursuing this functionality?

Mobile dealers can begin by helping to keep their collision and general repair customers informed, as the topic of pre and post-scan continues to grow and evolve. Autel’s Flink says shop owners and technicians (and mobile dealers) can learn more by reading and researching information from body shop and collision sources, and also talk with customers who have a scanner about how and when it performs a “Health Check” or an “Autoscan”.  

“Ask them about using it or how it is useful,” Flink says. “Many service writers use this feature in standard repair shops. If you have a unit in-stock, try it out on a vehicle.”

Siegel recommends becoming an “information broker.” “You’d be surprised how much education happens by the sales guy. [The truck] becomes the gathering place. In our world, the tool dealer who’s there every week, at every shop in the country, he is that information broker, and he should be. [Ask your customers] ‘Hey, did you hear about the pre/post-scan stuff happening in collision market?’ Maybe I’m not a collision shop, but I did replace that seat weight sensor.”

When performing a scan tool demo in an aftermarket shop mobile dealers can show their customers how quickly and easily the pre and post-scan feature is, and describe the benefits of the information it provides.

“In many cases the scan can not only reduce comebacks, but it can also generate new revenue by identifying additional systems or components that need repair,” says Cornwell’s Hyde.



Once you start exploring the potential of pre and post-scans, zero in on your body shops, but don’t forget about general aftermarket repair and beyond. For example, Autel’s Michael Flink says glass installers are finding the functionality useful as well in dealing with insurance companies.

“[Mobile dealers] should also question tire shops with alignment machines and ask if they are doing any work for body shops,” Flink says. “Body shops often sublet the alignment and some diagnostic repairs. A shop that is able to do these reports and talk to their customers or potential customers can grow their business.”

Sharing Pre/Post Scan reports is a efficient, trust-building move. What started as a directive from insurance companies is quickly becoming status quo for savvy shops who excel in customer service. After all, sharing evidence of a job well-done proves that, as a business owner, you have gone the extra mile. It instills confidence and encourages return customers. Your shared knowledge and input on pre and post-scan tools just might be the catalyst that helps a customer to grow their business.

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