Why Toyota Cares So Much About the Quality of Your Auto Body Repair, And So Should You

Toyota and the quest for brand loyalty after a repair

Certain brands have very loyal followings, Volkswagen, Subaru, and Toyota come to mind. Toyota and Subaru are sold as long-lasting, trouble-free vehicles, and the people who buy them tend to keep them in service for many years. Because of their longer than average length of ownership, statistically, these vehicles may also see some collision repair because the average driver needs collision repair once every seven years. Perhaps that describes you right now.

Brands like Toyota and Subaru have fought hard to build their loyalists and are very much in tune with what keeps an owner in their vehicles, purchase after purchase, without ever switching brands. It’s safe to say that these manufacturers have the recipe for brand loyalty dialed in. It was puzzling to Toyota when a customer decided on a different brand after trading in, and they wanted to learn why. So, Toyota conducted an independent study and was surprised at the outcome.

According to Toyota national manager of service and collision operations George Irving Jr., “believe it or not,” the strongest driver of brand loyalty is a collision repair order, bet you didn’t know that.”

This came as a major surprise when the results came in, according to Irving.

The impact on brand loyalty from a collision repair “far exceeded” a mechanical warranty issue, which also had a positive result on brand loyalty, he said. Unlike a warranty repair for a manufacturing defect, a collision repair warranty repair order “doesn’t work” for brand loyalty, he said. In other words, customers are more forgiving of a factory defect warranty than they are for a bad collision repair warranty issue.


So what is a collision repair warranty issue? 


On the day you pick up your car form the body shop, the work is fresh, the paint is fresh, and everything seems in order. But with bad collision repair, issues start to show up almost immediately. One day you are looking at your car as the sun is setting, and you notice the color doesn’t match the way it should. Or perhaps the steering feels off, or the door doesn’t shut right. Maybe you start to find water in the trunk or worse, and the paint starts bubbling.

What you probably didn’t realize when you picked up your car is that you are the victim of a “cut corners” collision repair.

A collision is about the worst thing that can happen to a driver, with the most potential for disaster (including death) to people and their cars. Even if you not injured, chances are you are badly shaken up. In order to feel confident that your car is as safe and long-lasting as it was before the accident, the quality of service you receive from the body shop, and the quality of workmanship in the repair are paramount to your sense of brand quality. In other words, if you have a bad experience with the repair, you will most likely blame it on the manufacturer for building a car that “turned out to be nothing but problems.” The research about the importance of the collision process gave the OEM a “real vision” into what it should do, Irving said.



Toyota Dashboard



Ford and Chrysler found the same to be true of their brands when they conducted similar research a few years ago. The new research from Toyota confirms the link between repair quality and brand loyalty.

Why This Matters To You, The Toyota Owner


Irving said, “everything we do” at Toyota surrounds brand loyalty. Handling a collision incident properly, producing quality and safe repairs, and satisfying the customer should lead to customer satisfaction and then brand loyalty, he said.

Toyota has now made changes to its Toyota OEM Collision Repair program and will no longer chase satisfaction scores and will instead focus on the “customer experience.”

Toyota realized they need to expand relationships with Toyota OEM certified shops and get more cars to Toyota OEM certified auto body shops.

While Toyota has “great communication” with insurance companies, in the future, your Toyota vehicle will help direct the actual collision process,” according to Irving.

In the short term, this may increase repair costs, but go-backs or ‘transactions’ would fall. Toyota was working to bring out “value-line parts” when important and had been in talks with Toyota headquarters in Japan on lowering parts prices. However, at the end of the day, the big idea is to fix a vehicle correctly and get it back on the road.



Toyota Supera

Repair Decisions That Affect You Financially


As a Toyota owner in need of collision repair, you have a choice to make in who fixes your car. You may think that the insurance company controls this decision, but they do not. Toyota has an OEM certification program, but it also makes its repair procedures available to body shop owners and technicians. The problem is, not all shops care about that. You can either guess how to properly perform a repair procedure, or you can look it up from Toyota. Make sure that the shop you chose always pulls up and follows the Toyota certified repair procedure for your vehicle.

If your car is under warranty, The use of non-approved procedures or aftermarket parts could void your warranty. A poor repair job could not only affect your personal safety, and it could kill any resale value in the car.


Syndicated content from https://capturethekeys.com/.

Toyota To Body shops: OEM Position Statements Are A Direct Order, And Why That Matters


An issue with the auto collision repair and the insurance industry seems to be the notion that OEM repair procedures are merely recommendations. They are not. Toyota procedures are based on best practice and company research. It is important that customers know this.

Toyota has repair information for technicians in two different online locations and stresses that these procedures are not just some basic guidelines, but they must be adhered to in order for the repair to be safe for both the technician doing the work and for the vehicle owner after the repair.

From Toyota:

 “To prevent dangerous operation and damage to your customer’s vehicle, be sure to follow the instructions shown below. . .

° When performing the operations following the procedures using this manual, be sure to use tools specified and recommended. If using non-specified or tools other than recommended tools and service methods, be sure to confirm the safety of the technicians and that there is no possibility of causing personal injury or damage to the customer’s vehicle before starting the operation.

° If part replacement is necessary, the part must be replaced with the same part number or equivalent part. Do not replace it with an inferior quality part.


Toyota Dashboard

What Toyota says about OEM parts

Toyota does not allow for the use of non-OEM repair parts in their vehicles. This means any other parts built by a company other than Toyota or a Toyota supplier are not allowed. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your repair shop won’t use them, so it is important to discuss with your repair shop what parts they are using, and what is covered under your insurance policy.

As an example, Toyota referenced a particular compressor and battery blanket built specifically to keep the Prius battery at a stable temperature regardless of outside temperatures. Toyota said that if it fails and it’s not an OEM part, it could void the warranty. The Toyota Prius powertrain warranty is 5 years or 60,000 miles so older if it’s still within the warranty window you would be stuck having to buy a new battery plus replacing the non-OEM parts.

What Toyota says about proper tools

Toyota is firm on shops having the right tools for the right job, as it could be dangerous to the technician and the car owner after the repair if they are not approved tools. And why is that? Cars today are built to very exact tolerances. The collision industry, in turn, builds tools and equipment, even fixtures to hold parts in very exact locations during a repair. But it is an investment that not every auto body shop makes.

auto repair technician working on a car 

Why you should care

You purchased a Toyota because you value safety and dependability in your vehicles. These are principals that the brand stands for. If you want to maintain that safety and reliability you owe it to yourself to find a collision repair shop that takes the Toyota OEM repair guidelines seriously and makes them a part of how they repair vehicles. Not all shops do, and it is probably the most important distinction you need to be aware of as a Toyota owner. You have the final say in your repair.


Syndicated content from https://capturethekeys.com/.

GM: How Bad Auto Body Repair Can Affect Your Safety Systems


Your car has safety systems, known universally as ADAS- Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. These cover everything from ABS brakes to Electronic Stability Control and up to more complex systems like lane departure warning systems and auto-braking.


All of these systems rely on very sophisticated computers. They get their information from very advanced cameras and sensors, which must be in the exact right location and calibrated to properly collect and compute the data, which is always changing as the car is driving.


So what happens to these systems after an accident then?


Well, they get all out of whack, and often in the repair, parts have to be disconnected and reconnected or even replaced. Now you have a situation where a perfect system has been rendered imperfect, and must then get recalibrated.


But sometimes these recalibrations don’t work because of an underlying problem. GM is very specific about the underlying causes of these recalibration issues, and the vehicle owner actually inflicts some of them.  Here is GM breaks out three areas of caution regarding the recalibration of their ADAS systems but the same could be said for just about any vehicle on the road:


ADAS problems caused by the body shop.


According to the new General Motors ADAS guide, the windshield camera’s failure to calibrate could be attributed to a camera not correctly installed or is not fully secured in the windshield bracket, or from the windshield itself not properly centered in the windshield opening.


All these sensors are attached to some type of bracket. It is very tempting for a shop trying to repair the car cheaply and quickly to “bend back” the bracket when replacement is the only correct option.


auto repair technician working on laptop in garahe


If the vehicle received an incorrect collision repair, or still has collision damage or includes a bent or damaged Long Range Radar Sensor Module bracket or mounting surface, the long-range radar sensor module might fail to calibrate or calibrate more slowly than it should


GM says that the left- and right-side object sensor modules frequently will calibrate themselves, and no specific calibration is required as a part of service.  The car owner will want to know that parts of the warning systems might not get back to full working order.  However, according to GM, a repair shop’s missteps or omissions can slow the calibration process and result in limited system functionality” for that technology. According to GM, these issues could arise from damage to the rear fascia, underlying vehicle body structure, or sensor bracket or Incorrect collision repair.

The Customer

Sometimes, the customer’s poor treatment of the vehicle might be to blame for ADAS calibration failures. But some customers love to modify their vehicles, unaware that things like lift kits and other modifications alter the positions of the safety sensors and corrupt the data.


Vehicle add-on equipment such as a windshield tint strip or vinyl banner, or equipment that blocks the view of the road, such as bug deflectors or grill guards, can alter ADAS performance.


On the rear, items such as bumper stickers can hinder land departure and blind-spot monitoring systems, but the customer would never know that the sensors are mounted behind the bumper cover. It’s up to the repairer to educate their customer when they see that according to GM.

Bumper sticker on a car

Customer negligence, such as driving around with a dirty windshield or even a cracked or damaged windshield, can affect the windshield camera calibration, according to GM. Mud or slow build-up in the sensor area” can compromise the left and right object sensor modules’ ability to self-calibrate.


After repairs, a road test that also serves as the recalibration itself might be to blame.


The road test


To properly calibrate a GM windshield front-view camera, an ideal calibration environment is a two-lane divide highway with lane markings on both sides of the lane and driving speed between 35-65 MPH.


An ideal calibration environment has stationary objects on the roadside, such as mailboxes and street signs, minimal curves and hills, multiple vehicles to follow at a distance of100-165 ft.


According to GM, heavy or stop-and-go traffic can affect either component’s calibration, but so can “No traffic” in the long-range module.


Therefore, the driving conditions and even the time of day are important for your shop to be aware of when performing your recalibrations if they don’t have a third party recalibration specialist or use the dealer.

Syndicated content from https://capturethekeys.com/.

More Insurers Using Photo Estimates In 2020 And Why That May Be Bad For You


If you’ve just been in an accident, you may have been asked by your insurance company to submit a photo estimate. In order to do so, you may have had to download an app built by your insurance company, or you may have submitted photos online.


What happens next is some sci-fi technology analyzes the damage and writes an estimate, and it may even cut you a check immediately. Sounds convenient doesn’t it?


The trend towards photo damage estimates had been growing before Covid 19 brought massive changes to just about every aspect of our lives.  Collision repair industry estimating system company, CCC, has recently reported the insurers recently hit their 3 millionth photo estimated since 2019.


Body shops use CCC to write all estimates (it’s a universal platform) and because they have access to all this data, they publish trends articles in the industry.


CCC reported that the percentage of claims processed through their Quick Estimate, the company’s mobile photo estimating solution, has more than doubled from January to April of 2020 as carriers are accelerating use and adoption of digital tools in response to COVID-19.


Is this push for photo estimating good news for you, our customer?


It might not be. It is widely held by auto body shops that it is not possible to accurately estimate the total cost to repair a vehicle until it is torn down, and the photo systems cannot possibly see hidden damages.


Insurance companies want to move in this direction because it cuts their labor down.  It also cuts down on claims pay outs as many customers with small repairs are likely to just keep the check and live with the damage even though they could be entitled to much more if they would just get a proper estimate and a proper repair.


A proper estimate requires full teardown of the damaged areas to see what is behind. Photo estimates cannot detect kinks in frames. They cannot measure and check for frame or unibody straightness and they cannot measure critical components like steering columns that shops need to measure to accurately assess damages.


You could get a photo estimate, go to some cheap shop where they do not follow all the OEM procedures and end up driving an unsafe vehicle with hidden and unfixed damage


However, photo estimates and other AI systems are part of the future.

sun shining through auto repair shop


What do the Insurers say about photo estimating accuracy?


USAA auto claims Vice President Anne Warner said they have learned to allow progress over perfection even though the insurance industry tends to want to be “100 percent sure”.


Liberty Mutual claims general manager and U.S. retail markets Vice President Dean Peasley said the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 response showed that Insurance companies really can change more aggressively than expected.


He called it amazing how much Liberty Mutual changed in the few months before the May 26 webinar and estimated advancements had been pulled forward “several years.”


We will how things shape up when Covid 19 ends.

Syndicated content from https://capturethekeys.com/.