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Streamlining Repair Research

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June 27, 2022No matter how refined the approach a tech takes to research, information gaps in the automotive aftermarket are inevitable. Seeking out up-to-date and relevant information is a huge part of conducting a successful repair on every vehicle these days, but the research process can be a daunting task to complete on top of all the other daily demands. 

Hopping on a computer and clicking onto the first online search engine that pops up can seem like the easiest route, but on a platform as vast as the world wide web the options are endless – and in this case, that isn’t always a good thing. 

The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair understands not only the existence of knowledge gaps, but also takes into account something else: How precious time is when it comes to conducting a repair. 

Time is not always on your side. As a working professional in this industry, you don’t always have hours to dedicate to getting an answer on a complex repair or guidance on difficult detail.

In fact, you rarely have time for that. But at the end of the day, you still deserve access to the information that can help you towards a job done. 

Scott VanHulle, Manager of RTS and OEM Relations for I-CAR, says that having this kind of vetted information is incredibly helpful in the long run. 

“There are a lot of things that if you're not doing it and you're missing it, you may not have a problem for a while,” VanHulle says. “But one day it will happen, and that's going to be a problem that you don't want to have.”

That’s why I-CAR has the Repairability Technical Support system. It is an online database that takes the guesswork out of repair research by providing access to vast amounts of information to help guide even the toughest repair questions. 

“Every one of these vehicles is different. Each model year is different…we pride ourselves on only having up-to-date information.” He says. 

VanHulle notes that the system has updated information that gets refined through the input of its users. This system is open to anyone for use and does not currently require a login. 

“We gathered together this information after thousands and thousands of hours of research from all these different areas that might trigger some of these different calibration events,” VanHulle explains. “And [we] put it into one location so that when you're writing that repair order…you can find that information upfront and you're not trying to scramble on a Friday afternoon.”

A massive pull for utilizing the RTS system is that it offers a more streamlined approach to research, which in turn saves time. 

Basically, it can do some of the initial grunt work for the user. Across an industry where information is constantly changing, it is important to have resources in your back pocket that provide guidance and solutions to more than one problem at a time. 

VanHulle sees the value in resources such as these and believes that the RTS system can be one such tool. 

“It's really there to help people find the information that's out there and identify any of those gaps and help get those closed,” he says. 

The rise in ADAS prevalence and new vehicle technology often not only requires an individual to absorb new information, but also could require adapting some of the repair procedures that are already familiar. 

“A simple job is no longer simple with all the calibrations that need to be done,” VanHulle says. 

That is why the RTS system goes straight to the source and refers heavily to OEM procedure. 

“Our main focus is always ‘what does the OEM say? What does the OEM provide?’ So [that’s what] we are always going for … directing people how to get to that information and how to interpret that information,” VanHulle says. 

VanHulle explains that finding a repair procedure with the RTS system could take five minutes compared to blindly researching for three hours or more. 

Ultimately, the best strategy for staying informed starts with knowing where to do your research and using those tools to your advantage. You never know what changes could happen next in the aftermarket. 

“If you’re not using the RTS website, you’re going to be missing some of those important steps because the amount of information out there is a little overwhelming at times,” VanHulle says. “So you really need to dive down to make sure that you’re not missing a vital step when all of the sudden systems aren’t available or something’s not working properly.”

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