BMW North America has advised shops to look up OEM repair procedures fresh on every individual vehicle rather than referencing a document from a prior repair. BMW North America collision program manager Jonathan Inzano acknowledged that “it sounds a little crazy, but a rule of thumb would be. as soon as you print it, its outdated. That document should only be used on that specific repair.”
He called it a bad idea to “pin them up somewhere” for future reference, because nobody knows when those instructions on www.bmwtechinfo.com have been updated. The shop could be working off of outdated repair procedures.
Moderator George Avery referenced aviation and power plant technician Jeff Al-Mufleh, who described a similar requirement within that industry. Al-Mufleh had previously said that aircraft technicians must print repair procedures “every day.” Every manual used needs to bear the current date: “If it does not have that day’s date on it, then you’re more or less out of compliance. The procedure could have changed overnight, you just don’t know.”
Inzano said that procedures could change for reasons like a vehicle lifecycle update or a technology or supplier change. “You just never know,” he said. He also argued that this practice of starting fresh “covers you” as a repairer. BMW repair procedures automatically receive a date and time stamp when printed, allowing the shop to prove it used the right procedures at the time.
The www.bmwtechinfo.com website is free to BMW-certified auto body shops, who are required to use it exclusively, according to Inzano. However, it’s accessible by anyone. “It’s always available,” Inzano said. Insurers were welcome to use it too, and moderator George Avery encouraged them to do so.
BMW insurance manager Attila Princz said the access was the same for any subscriber, be they insurer or repairer, or anyone else with an interest. “We want that information to be out there,” he said. “We want safe and proper repairs.” He added that some insurers may even have a centralised information resource for staff, and that hub will have access to the OEM procedure site.
Inzano was asked about looking up BMW information on the popular third-party repair procedure aggregator ALLDATA, a question which he had received before. “I looked into this, but the data’s not the same. A body shop couldn’t be sure it was getting the original repair instructions, and he’s seen “even deviations in them.”
ALLDATA licenses OEM repair procedures from BMW and other automakers.
“I don’t think it’s a bad source,” Inzano said. “But even an exact copy of repair procedures could grow outdated if the repair procedures change on the BMW site.”
This article courtesy of John Huetter of Repairer Driven Education (RDE). Check out their website at; http://www.repairerdrivennews.com/ for this and many other informative and educational articles on the collision repair industry.