Association Exhibit at the SEMA Show to Highlight Value of Membership…

By Mike Wahl, NAPDRT President


Let’s talk about that huge elephant in the room—electronics, diagnostics and paintless dent removal—and how is any of this connected?

Well, late-model vehicles are basically rolling computers. The days of just unhooking the battery terminals and plugging them back in are no longer the accepted norm—and it shouldn’t be! I field many calls, texts, and even people stopping and asking me what this means for us and the automotive industry.

Am I the expert? Heck no! I am, however, constantly trying to expand my knowledge on all aspects of the new technologies, and you should, too.


What You Need to Know and Why

One of the common misnomers is if there’s no indicator light on the dash, then there isn’t anything wrong with the vehicle. My answer is always “how do you know?” How do you know that dismantling a vehicle to gain access to the damage and then repairing that panel to the best of your ability hasn’t jeopardized the integrity of the collision-avoidance system?

You won’t know until the vehicle’s internal system has been checked and verified that all systems are operating correctly. How do you check? It’s as simple as a quick pre-/post-scan of the vehicle.

Why do you need to do a pre-scan? By doing a pre-scan, you ensure everything is working and communicating with all the components in the system before doing anything to the vehicle—and, if something is not working correctly, you’ll see it immediately. The same thing can be said for the post-scan. Doing a scan after everything has been put back together will ensure that all is in working order. Oh, but you say the insurance company won’t pay for you to do all this work. Are you sure about that? I’ve said for quite some time that if you can justify it, the insurance company will pay for it.

This is where you need to do your homework. You need to be aware of your surroundings as well as what the automakers demand to ensure the safety and integrity of the components in a vehicle are intact after any repair. For instance, are you working on a 2000 Chevy Blazer or an all-new 2019 Blazer? There are lot of different bells and whistles now on new-model vehicles that aren’t on older-model vehicles, and they need to work the way they were designed and engineered. Just assuming they work is not the answer these days.

I’m not trying to scare anyone. But in today’s scapegoat-happy world, and in light of recent lawsuits that have assigned liability to repairers and techs who have failed to perform certain procedures, it is in your best interests to get up to speed on today’s emerging technology.

If you’ve stuck with me long enough to read this, then you’re already in the right mindset! Keep an open mind, don’t be afraid to ask questions and always strive to be better today than yesterday.

In closing, we are excited to announce that NAPDRT will host an exhibit at the SEMA Show to help spread the word about paintless dent removal and what we, as techs, can do to help the automotive industry be a better place. We invite you to stop by and visit our booth, 15012, in the Westgate Resort, across from the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Look forward to seeing you there!

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