Keeping Up Via OEM Certification
Are vehicles advancing so fast that some collision repairers are bound to be left behind?
The specificity of the tools, equipment, and the level of training required for repairs now, and into the future, says Jeff Peevy, I-CAR vice president of technical products, programs, and services, is certainly pointing in that direction.
He argues OEM certifications for body shops are a fundamental way to keep up.
“In my opinion, those that repair the vehicles are simply going to have to make a business decision” about certification, says Peevy. “You’re making a decision if you don’t make a decision.”
It’s the march of technology that’s all but certain to force the issue, says Peevy. He says the familiar strategy of tackling issues as they come up is obsolete.
“I take the position that the whole, ‘We’ll take on anything and figure out how to repair it, while we’re in the middle of the repair’—those days are over,” he says.
Wave of Change
Peevy says the automotive industry is in the midst of a “technical tsunami”—look no further than ADAPT as proof—and even I-CAR, with its focus on information, knowledge, and skills, is working hard to keep up.
I-CAR’s recent investments, such as creating ADAS and EV labs, far outpace those of what Peevy characterizes as “traditional years.”
Providing instruction on how to repair EVs, he says, includes high stakes technician safety training, such as how to approach the vehicles to ensure they are safe before being brought into a facility, as well as disconnect, zero potential, and bonding checks to ensure high voltage systems are safe before the repair process begins.
The pace of change is also altering the organization’s technical strategy.
“Even with the focus I-CAR has on technology,” he says, “we’ve really had to challenge the way we do everything.”
While Peevy stresses that body shop owners need to make their own decisions as to whether or not OEM certification is best for their business, and that I-CAR can support decisions with training and other resources, one constant in today’s vehicles is change.
“The speed that technology is changing,” he says, “is what will keep people that do not have the necessary tools, equipment, and training from being able to properly repair these cars.”