Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes.

Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes.

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes..

For many shops in the country, missing or wrong parts are found in the repair process or during assembly. Following well-defined processes is one the primary keys to the high profitability kingdom. My lean sensei taught me, “Our processes need to be so well defined that a monkey could do it.” Granted, our people are not treated like monkeys, but when our processes are created by the people who are doing the work and are defined in a simple way, the less variation (problems) we will have. It’s as certain as the sun rises!
When the parts arrive for a fully blueprinted vehicle, they must have a thorough check-in process the day of arrival. We call this process our “Mirror-Matching” process. This written process must be followed line by line & word for word every time. Here is our abbreviated version:

  1. Receive parts invoices from vendors.
  2. Mirror-match old parts to new parts side by side/upside down.
  3. Remove all stickers after part confirmation.
  4. Transfer all bulbs, hardware, modules etc. from old parts to new parts.
  5. Re-box all cores and attach credit slips.
  6. Trash ALL old parts and packaging.
  7. Apply any necessary seam sealer to new panels and photos for the file.
  8. Pre-build all non-painted truck bumpers, grilles, washer tanks etc.
  9. Plug in new headlamps/taillamps to confirm they work.
  10. Install all SRS components and cooling now except for vehicles needing front structure repair.
  11. Move car to visual next up queue to start body work.
  12. Pre-close job.

Any needed photos for the build process of wiring harness routings and emblem locations are taken during Blueprint. Otherwise, there is not one good reason to keep the old parts. NOT ONE! Be a leader and slaughter those sacred cows. Disclaimer: My state doesn’t require us to keep the old parts. Old bumper ends are attached to new bumpers for painters to use as test panels for color match when we’re not painting the fenders or quarters. Mirror-matched parts are placed on the R&I cart and this cart then follows the car through the process. Our entire shop is clock hour with a global bonus program. Anything that can be done upstream to speed up reassembly MUST be done. Why? If we find a problem in Mirror Matching, we have just prevented the money-printing conveyor belt from stopping printing $ when a car can’t go home. Five out of my nine employees are trained in mirror-matching parts. This cross-training helps eliminate the expense of a designated parts person.

There is a crucial KPI that should be tracked by every shop. This metric is the Parts Return Ratio, which is the percentage of the parts we order must be returned. A good benchmark is no more than 5% returns in dollars of total parts purchased per month, excluding cores, of course. I know we are in crazy times trying to get parts from multiple dealers, strikes, etc., but stay focused here. The Parts Return Ratio is a good bellwether of a shop’s high or low profitability. If your shop’s part returns are above 5%, that is a red flag that the processes of estimating, blueprinting, and more need a major overhaul. The problem could lie in ordering parts off an insurer’s parking lot estimate, front-end estimators just winging it, poor Blueprinting, and not reading OEM procedures. Most shops, unfortunately, have no clue of the cost in time of each returned part. Most management systems are set up for Part Return Reasons, and by applying a Pareto chart (roughly, 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes), you can conquer the biggest problem first.

Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes. Sit down with your parts and accounting department. Then write down every step on a whiteboard needed to return a wrong part and order a correct one, along with the time associated for each step. Granted, damaged and wrong parts sent by vendors are inevitable, but most returns are our fault. Of course, don’t order parts for a borderline total. If we have just three returned parts per day, that’s 1.5 hours that have been a total waste by our people. With 21 days per month x 1.5 hours, that’s 31.5 clock hours wasted per month, or 378 hours per year, just because of the wrong parts being ordered!! More importantly, having the wrong parts means the car likely can’t be put into production. And idle inventory is the queen mother of all wastes. I’ll leave you with some homework: Go into your management system and see if you are under the goal of 5% returns or less (excluding cores). If you’re above 5%, then it’s time for a constructive problem-solving discussion with the entire team. Another good metric to monitor is the number of OEM invoices per RO. Anything above one per vendor is an area of needed improvement.

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Vehicle is Almost Complete, but Autobody Shop Cannot Finish. All Blog listing can be found here.

Vehicle is Almost Complete, but Autobody Shop Cannot Finish

Vehicle is Almost Complete, but Autobody Shop Cannot Finish

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Vehicle is Almost Complete, but Autobody Shop Cannot Finish.

Every shop I have run into lately has told me the same thing, and my shop is no different: They have a vehicle that is almost complete, but they cannot finish the vehicle because they are missing a seatbelt, airbag, or a component of the ADAS/SRS system. Since they are missing a critical part to make the vehicle safe, they are telling the customers they cannot release the vehicle because of the liability risk. We are all in the same boat with these issues. But the question we need to be considering is what if the customer demands the release of their vehicle without it being complete. What should shop management do?

When I have posed this question to other shop owners and managers, I have gotten the same answer: They cannot release the vehicle because of the liability risk, and they always cite the John Eagle case. I am fine with referencing that case, but I think there are some major differences when discussing a repair that was completed incorrectly versus a repair that is not complete. As a shop, we need to be prepared if a customer demands their vehicle back, even if the repair is not completed and we deem it a safety risk to the customer and a liability risk to our shop.

Ultimately, the vehicle is the customer’s property. And if they are willing to pay what is due to the shop for work that has been completed, parts that have been ordered, and anything else owed to us, then we are going to have to release that vehicle. We cannot hold a customer’s personal property on the basis of it being a liability risk for our business; we have to have a legal reason to hold the vehicle. So, let’s talk about best practices that we can put into place to protect our shops if we have a customer who demands their vehicle back before it is complete and safely repaired.

Before I give my advice, let me preface this with you should do your best to convince your customer that the vehicle should stay till it is safely repaired. Also, if a customer is going to sue you because of an accident, they are going to sue you no matter what. Telling them the vehicle was safely repaired will not deter a customer from suing you. These are my personal opinions, and you should always consult an attorney when making decisions that affect your business and your liability risks.

My first recommendation is that shops need to pay an attorney to draft a waiver of liability for the shop. This should not be an attorney friend, but rather an attorney who specializes in drafting legal contracts. There is a difference. A waiver of liability will not protect you from someone who wants to sue, but it will definitely help detract them. In the event you are sued, a waiver of liability will not fully protect you in court, but you will be 100% better off having one.

My second recommendation is that you do not give the customer a receipt for payments with a copy of the insurance estimate. You need to draft your own repair estimate for work that you completed and for parts that were purchased. If you have ordered a seatbelt that has not come in and you want to charge the customer for the part, you need to put a line note that the part was not installed and will be delivered once it is received. There should be no labor listed for installation of the part.

Third, I would also recommend that you do not list the insurance company name or claim number on your repair estimate and the final invoice you are giving the customer. You want to separate yourself as much as possible from the insurance company’s indemnification process.

Fourth, I would make sure you have a note on the estimate and final invoice stating it is your recommendation that the customer does not pick up the vehicle due to the safety risk and that the customer is knowingly picking up the vehicle and assuming all liability risk. I would also have them initial it and make a copy for your records.

Fifth, I would make sure all Insurance checks, including supplement checks, are sent to the customer, even if you have to have checks reissued. I would have the customer cash those checks and pay you directly. Again, you’re trying to separate your shop as much as possible from the indemnification process. I do realize that a shop will probably have sent in supplements to the insurance company, which, puts themselves in the middle of the indemnification process. But without completely changing how you handle claims in a shop, that is a risk you will just have to accept if you run into an issue where the customer is demanding the release of their incomplete vehicle.
Ultimately, will all these steps protect us against a lawsuit? The answer is no. Your goal is to deter customers from picking up their unfinished vehicles. Then if the customer does pick up the unfinished vehicle and something happens and there is a lawsuit, you want to make sure your attorneys have as much supporting evidence as possible to defend you.

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision. All Blog listing can be found here.

Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision

Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face.

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents, making up almost a third of all crashes and almost half of all collisions involving more than one vehicle. Fortunately, this type of accident is less likely than a head-on collision to cause serious bodily harm or vehicular damage. But getting rear-ended is still dangerous, and you may experience a variety of car problems after a rear-end collision.
Rear-end accident damage can be sneaky. Depending on the speed and angle of the collision and the size of the vehicles involved, you may not even see any visible damage. That doesn’t always mean you’re in the clear.
Keep reading to learn about car problems that can occur after a rear-end collision and what you should do to make sure everything is working as it should.

What is a rear-end collision?

Rear-end collisions occur when a trailing car’s front bumper makes contact with the back of the car in front of them. These types of accidents can happen anywhere on the road and at virtually any speed.
The majority of rear-end collisions occur at lower speeds, usually at stop signs, red lights, and congested traffic where cars are likely to stop suddenly. However, they can also happen on freeways at high speeds, often as a result of a distracted rear driver or a front car having to suddenly break due to unexpected debris or pedestrians on the road.

Steps You Should Take After A Rear End Collision

Any time your car comes into contact with another vehicle or object, you need to stop to ensure everyone’s okay, exchange information, and check for damage. It’s also important to take certain steps to protect your financial and legal interests in the event that the other driver isn’t honest.
Here’s what you should do immediately following a rear-end collision:

  • Check for injuries. Keep in mind that you may not feel injuries until the adrenaline of the crash has faded.
  • Move to safety. If your car is blocking traffic or likely to cause another accident and is drivable, you should also move it to a safe location. Otherwise put the hazard lights on.
  • Don’t admit fault. Even if you think you’re to blame, it’s important not to take responsibility at the scene.
  • Notify the police. File a report and tell them the truth about everything you remember.
  • Take photos. It’s important to make sure you have evidence of the scene and any damage to your car.
  • Exchange information. Get the full names, phone numbers, insurance and driver’s license info, and plate numbers of all involved drivers. Also write down the makes, models, and colors of the vehicles and the location, date, and time of the accident. It’s a good idea to exchange information with any witnesses as well.
    • Call your insurance provider. If possible, try to do this from the scene. Tell them the details of the accident and ask any questions you have about filing an auto claim.
  • See a doctor. Before you worry about your car, it’s important to make sure you’re okay and that you get any necessary medical treatment.
  • Take your car in to check for damage. Even if you don’t see any noticeable dents, scratches, or broken parts, there may be hidden damage that can impact the function and value of your vehicle.

What Problems to Check For After a Rear End Collision

Even if you don’t see any visual evidence of damage following the incident, it’s a good idea to get your car checked out by a reliable collision repair shop to insure that there aren’t any problems, as hidden damage can still impact the functionality of your car.


A crushed or misaligned frame may not be immediately noticeable. But it can significantly impact your level of control while driving, causing your car to drift to one side of the road. Crooked frames can also put unnecessary stress on other important parts of your vehicle.


Bumpers are located at the front and back of your car. Modern bumpers are metal bars surrounded by a plastic frame, which is usually the first thing to get damaged in a rear-end collision. This damage most often manifests in the form of dents, and can usually be repaired without replacing any parts.


The suspension on a car is a protective system of springs and shocks that absorb energy from your tires and maintain stability and control on uneven road surfaces. This system can be impacted during a rear-end collision and can significantly affect the way your car drives and your ability to maintain control while driving.

Check Engine Light

If you notice your “check engine” light is on after a rear-end collision, it’s possible that your engine has shifted or been damaged and you should take your car in to get checked as soon as possible.


Modern cars are more electronically advanced than ever before. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of this is that even small collisions can loosen the wires that connect to your tail lights, brake lights, or other electrical features. These components are essential to basic road safety, so you should get them fixed if they’ve sustained any damage following a rear-end collision.

Aesthetic Damage

Even if there’s no structural damage to your car and it drives just fine, there may be cosmetic damage. Dings, minor dents, scratches, and scuffs are all considered cosmetic issues for the most part. They may not impact how your car functions, but they can lower the value of your car. Many – but not all – auto insurance policies cover the cost of cosmetic repairs.

What to know more? please visit our last month’s The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face. All Blog listing can be found here.

The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face

The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face.

It’s no secret that Oregonians love their Subarus. Known for their ample storage space, off-roading capabilities, sporty look, and built-in safety features, Subarus are excellent cars for anyone who loves the great outdoors. But like all car owners, Subaru drivers are bound to run into issues at some point.
Different makes and models tend to come with different issues. It’s always helpful to know the common problems associated with your vehicle, so you’re informed and prepared to deal with issues when they arise.
Keep reading to learn about the most common Subaru problems you might run into and what to do when they occur.

Why Drivers Choose Subarus

Even though Subaru is one of the smaller nationally recognized manufacturers, their cars are exceptionally popular in certain regions like the Pacific Northwest and New England, where people love to get out and explore the outdoors!
Every car comes with benefits and drawbacks. But here are a few of the reasons Subarus are so popular among drivers in the PNW and beyond:

  • They have extra cargo space and convertible top racks to hold bikes, kayaks, and other gear.
  • Subaru models are consistently rated among the safest vehicles in the event of a collision by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • They’re known for being comfortable and intuitive to drive.
  • They’re one of the more socially responsible car manufacturers.

How long do Subarus typically last?

Subarus generally have higher-than-average reliability ratings. With proper care and maintenance, most Subarus can last 200,000 to 300,000 miles or about 12 to 13 years before major repairs are needed.
However, the reliability and longevity of your Subaru (or any other car, for that matter) depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • The specific model
  • The model year
  • Driving conditions
  • Routine maintenance
  • Accidents

You can help prolong the life of your Subaru by taking your car in for routine maintenance and keeping up with oil changes, tire pressure checks, brake-fluid checks, and belt and air-filter replacements.
Common Subaru Problems

Subarus are among the safest and longest-lasting vehicles on the market. But like any car, problems can arise due to manufacturing mistakes, wear-and-tear over time, and collisions on the road.
Here are some of the most common Subaru problems to look out for:

  • Fast battery drain
  • Dings and dents
  • Broken fuel pump
  • Starlink issues
  • Cracked windshields
  • Sudden unintended acceleration
  • Electrical issues
  • Misaligned frame
  • Scratched or chipped paint
  • Faulty light switch
  • Defective CVT

Subaru Accidents

No one wants to be involved in a collision. But accidents happen regardless of the type of car you drive. Subarus are among the safest cars to drive, especially when it comes to accidents on the road. They come with a wide range of advanced safety features, such as EyeSight technology, automatic braking systems, and distraction mitigation mechanics.
Subarus are also known for built-in safety and expert craftsmanship. With superior weight distribution, durable seatbelt technology, and reinforced frames, Subarus are designed to protect the safety of passengers in the event of a collision.

How common are Subaru accidents?

Subarus are exceptionally safe and protective when collisions happen. But accidents are actually quite common among people who drive Subarus. In fact, Subaru drivers cause traffic accidents at the second highest rate in the country, with over 10% of Subaru owners reporting an at-fault accident.

Subaru Collision Repair

If you’ve been involved in a collision that resulted in damage to your Subaru, it’s important that you receive reliable repair services from a Subaru Certified Collision Repair Center.
Subaru-certified body shops are guaranteed to have received rigorous training specific to Subaru makes and models. They also have access to advanced equipment and genuine Subaru OEM parts. If you own a Subaru, choosing the right body shop is essential to restoring your vehicle and staying safe on the road.

Is it expensive to fix a Subaru?

On average, Subarus require about $617 annually for standard maintenance, which is slightly above average. They’re also slightly more expensive to repair when they break down or sustain damage compared to other mid-range vehicles. But the cost of Subaru repairs can vary substantially depending on the model you drive, the extent of the damage, the type of repairs needed, and the repair shop you choose.

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Who is Who in a Car Repair Shop. All Blog listing can be found here.

Who is Who in a Car Repair Shop

Who is Who in a Car Repair Shop

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Who is Who in a Car Repair Shop.

When your car needs repairs, the thought of going into a car repair shop can be daunting. You may not know what’s wrong with the car or what needs to be done – and you may not even know what type of mechanic you need.

In this blog, we’re taking the stress out of this process by explaining whom you can expect to find in a repair shop and the kind of work they may do on your car.

General Automotive Mechanic

This is the type of mechanic you’re most likely to encounter – they do general repairs and replacements on a vehicle. They diagnose mechanical problems and repair them as needed. If you are bringing in your vehicle for a check-up or routine maintenance, this is the type of mechanic you likely need. They’re kind of like the GP for your car.

Auto Body Mechanic

These are the mechanics you’ll often encounter after an accident. They can handle everything from minor paint job touch-ups to complete structural replacements in a car after an accident. These mechanics receive specialized training to keep up with all the current car technologies, and they have a special certification.

Brake and Transmission Technician

This type of mechanic is exactly what it sounds like – they specialize in brake and transmission issues. While a general mechanic will also be versed in these areas, a brake and transmission technician can correct more complex issues and has the training to use special alignment equipment. If a general mechanic notices something that seems off with your brakes or transmission, they will often hand your car over to this type of specialist within the shop.

Service Technicians

Service technicians can diagnose and check mechanical and electrical components within a vehicle. When they look at a car, they’ll do things such as check the oil and fluid levels, or work to find causes of operational issues. Rather than looking at specific mechanical components, they tend to look at the general systems that work together in a vehicle to identify any problems or issues.

Auto Glass Mechanics

Fixing or replacing the glass on a vehicle can be tricky. Some auto glass mechanics have been specially trained in working with auto glass. They’ll know how to identify if cracks or dents can be repaired, or if the entire piece of glass needs replacing. These mechanics are also trained in weatherproofing glass, installation and more.

Tire Mechanics

General mechanics will be trained in basic tire care, but tire mechanics have even more training to spot complex issues and optimize tire usage and wear. They can identify tire issues, do tire rotations, and complete tire replacements. They’ll also inspect tires for any abnormalities and to ensure proper inflation.

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision. All Blog listing can be found here.