Subaru recently revised its scanning position statement to declare pre- and post-repair diagnostic checks mandatory on all vehicles dating back to the 2004 model year. The statement supersedes a July 2017 document declaring that Subaru “recommends” the diagnostics operations.
“For Subaru vehicles from model year 2004 and forward involved in a collision, Subaru collision repair procedure requires that pre-repair scanning be performed,” Subaru wrote. “Pre-scanning will reveal DTCs for items that are not functioning properly in the vehicle. It allows a shop to identify any issues early in the estimate process, allowing a more complete estimate and encompassing repair process. Additionally, Subaru collision repair procedure also requires that post-repair scanning be performed on these vehicles. Post scanning is critical in ensuring the malfunctioning items have been repaired and there are no remaining DTCs. It may also assist in assuring the appropriate calibrations and reinitialisations have been performed.”
Subaru’s revised statement still “recommends” shops use its Subaru SSM4 diagnostic tool for all scans. If the shop lacks this device, Subaru “recommends” the repairer use an asTech, which “performs a diagnostic scan remotely using a genuine Subaru scan tool.” As Subaru’s position indicates, its vehicles have featured scanworthy electronics for more than a decade — years longer than the age of the average repairable vehicle (5.9 years, according to CCC data) or total loss (9.73 years, if you throw out hurricane totals).
‘Recommendation’ and ‘requirement’
On a practical basis, an OEM “recommendation” and “requirement” are synonymous. I-CAR repeatedly has stated at least as far back as 2013 that OEM repair procedures take precedence over anything I-CAR says – or that you think “I-CAR says.”
“Those are not ‘recommendations,’” I-CAR industry technical relations director Jason Bartanen said. “Those are service specifications.” OEM procedures “should not be adjusted,” he said. Realistically, a customer – and possibly a jury – would be appalled to hear that their repairer is ignoring the directives of the guys who built the car. Collision repair attorney Erica Eversman in 2017 warned shops that the idea that an OEM “recommendation” is merely a suggestion is incorrect. “Consider it a requirement whether they’ve used that word or not,” Eversman (Vehicle Information Services) said during a 2017 “Repair University Live.”
If there’s anyone who knows how to correctly fix the vehicle, it would be the automaker, Eversman said. “If you don’t follow what the OEM tells you to do, you’re going to end up in a lot of trouble” should another collision occur, she said. “That’s just not the place you ever want to be,” Eversman said.
OEMs call it a recommendation for “legal reasons,” Eversman said. In an interview with Repairer Driven News, she explained that it has to do with the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act; calling them requirements would force the OEMs into various warranty obligations under the law. But for a shop’s purposes, “you can pretty well equate that with a standard,” she said. “When you read: ‘recommendation’… you should read: ‘requirement,’” she said.
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.