When Is A Scan Tool Required?

Recently, two collision repair diagnostic experts suggested that 70% of today’s collision damaged vehicles require some type of diagnostic work. That’s a lot of vehicles! So it comes as no surprise that I-CAR has received a number of Ask I-CAR inquiries asking when collision repair diagnostics are required.

Unfortunately, the question doesn’t have a simple answer. It will often be based on the age of the vehicle, the type and extent of damage, and which options the vehicle is equipped with (and their component locations). Collision repair professionals will have to research OEM repair information to determine if a scan is required.

Similar to using a three-dimensional measuring and part removal to find hidden damage, using a scan tool will help you identify hidden electronic damage. If you’ve incorporated an otherwise robust blueprinting practice into the damage analysis process, you may want to add collision repair diagnostics into that process to identify all of the damage. Checking for diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) during blueprinting may help to avoid “time bandits” (supplements, last minute sublets, etc.) later in the process.

It is important to note that many vehicle makers require calibration/initialization of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) following part replacement, regardless of the extent of damage. If the repairs being performed include the replacement of sensors, wires, computers, etc. the OEM service information must be referenced to identify if calibration/initialization is required. Many of today’s advanced vehicle systems won’t illuminate a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL), even if there is a fault in the system. The only way to ensure that these systems are free from DTCs would be to perform some diagnostic checks.

Recently, the I-CAR Repairability Technical Support (RTS) team developed a video highlighting some instances of scan tool requirements on the 2015 Ford F-150. This vehicle is equipped with a number of advanced safety and driver assistance systems that often require calibration/initialization following part removal and/or replacement.

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