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Auto Body Corner
Welcome to the Web-Est blog! Where we post interviews, survey results, and commentary on every day happenings in the Collision Repair industry. Click the button on the lower left side to Request a Free Trial on our Collision Estimating Software!
Friday, November 16, 2012
Auto Body Training for Shop Owners and Technicians

How important is training to shop owners and technicians today?

Ten years ago technician training was not nearly important as it is today. Vehicles were slightly less complicated high strength steel was for bumper reinforcements and we were just entering the multi stage and located everywhere safety systems we have today. I took my first ASE test about ten years ago. I felt the need to validate my 30 years experience with some training and some verification of what I felt like I already knew!

I tested well and got grades in the 90% zone. I was now ASE master certified. I also obtained some General Motors structural training that year and felt like I was validated. The dealership I did work for at the time was under pressure to even have their sublet shops like mine, certified to do warranty repairs on GM vehicles.

Today's environment is far more complicated than then. Shops that have relationships with Insurer's are being force fed training. Technicians and other shops may be free from mandated training, but this may also damage your shop image. Training is far more important than we once thought.

Liability for our repair work being foremost on the list of things we take seriously, proper training can also avoid important issues affecting shop liability for repairs. At least I would recommend looking up the repair procedure for the job at hand. OEM's all provide this information on the web. This information may not be Free; however subscription's can be purchased for 48 hours in some cases. The prices I have paid seemed very reasonable for the amount of information that was available. If I can find all the secret clips for panel removal and not break something that costs several hundred dollars I feel like the purchase was worth the price. Cars and parts are super expensive today compared to ten years ago. I think that replacement parts prices can seem out of hand compared to what a vehicle is worth. That subject is for another time.

Liability for safe repairs and following OEM repair procedures can help protect you from future law suits. We all want our repairs to be safe but who better to certify a method for repair than the designer of the vehicle? Sectioning procedures, welding procedures, coatings, corrosion prevention and part removal. Just these few items can make the factory procedure worth looking up!

I-Car offers some great training, although more general and not model specific, the procedures and outlines can be very helpful in your shop. I teach I-Car classes part time and I have found that the information portrayed can be very helpful. General safety, personal safety, care of vehicle, handling of hazardous waste and the list goes on. I-Car offers hundreds of relevant classes for all aspects of collision repair. A lot more options exist than in the past. There are Alliance classes for tech's starting out, I-Car Live 4 hour setting and I-Car online. All are helpful and my students get 2 hours classroom and 2 hours lab twice a week. The techs with more experience do not need to learn the basics. I have found there are some good things to learn. Of the 50 classes I can teach, I have taken away something for every class.

Don't rule out training at any level of Auto body employment. Things in our trade are constantly changing. If you do what you always do, you will get what you always get!

Bob Winfrey


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