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When you are at the receiving end of poor customer service, you can either suffer through it or use it as a “teachable moment” that will help your business grow.  I recently had the pleasure of interacting via telephone and in person with both my cell phone service provider and my cable company. These contacts were the result of a perfect storm of investigating a switch in cell phone providers and concurrently having my cable box stop working.

Did you know that the average comeback costs a shop $237? We're here so you can fix it right the first time
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Ron Ananian is the owner of R\A Automotive in Waldwick, New Jersey. Since 1991, he has also educated and entertained millions of listeners through his nationally syndicated radio program, The Car Doctor.  We sat down with Ron recently to talk about what he does in his downtime. Turns out that besides his CrossFit regime, he’s passionate about learning.

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In June, ALLDATA recognized outstanding auto repairers who were submitted by shops across the country for ASE Automotive Service Professionals Month.

Now we’re pleased to share photos of the honorees from Firestone Complete Auto Care in Lawrence, Kansas. They received certificates, AutoZone gift cards, ALLDATA shop stools, and other swag.

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The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has designated June as Automotive Services Professionals Month. To celebrate, we’re featuring some of the outstanding auto repairers as submitted by shops across the country.

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Interview with Aaron Stokes, Part 3

ALLDATA recently interviewed Aaron Stokes, the founder of Shop Fix Academy, owner and operator of five auto repair shops, and the radio show host of “Fixin’ Cars with Aaron Stokes” on Nashville’s 99.7.

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Interview with Aaron Stokes, Part 2

ALLDATA recently interviewed Aaron Stokes, the founder of Shop Fix Academy, owner and operator of five auto repair shops, and the radio show host of “Fixin’ Cars with Aaron Stokes” on Nashville’s 99.7.

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The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has designated June as Automotive Services Professionals Month.

“Automotive service professionals go above and beyond, providing essential services to ensure that vital vehicles stay in service to perform their important roles and keeping the motoring public on the road,” said Tim Zilke, ASE president and CEO. “Because these skilled professionals deserve our thanks, ASE has designated June as Automotive Service Professionals Month to recognize the valuable work they perform each and every day.”

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With COVID19 vaccines becoming readily available for all age groups, it won’t be long before the travel and vacation industry returns to normal. Most travel destinations have already begun to reopen so it’s a great time for shop owners to start planning for a vacation. But how do you trust the running of your business to someone else?

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Interview with Aaron Stokes, Part 1

ALLDATA recently interviewed Aaron Stokes, the founder of Shop Fix Academy, owner and operator of five auto repair shops, and the radio show host of “Fixin’ Cars with Aaron Stokes” on Nashville’s 99.7.

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In the year 1918, many events took place: World War I was well underway, Woodrow Wilson was president at the time, time zones and daylight savings were officially established, the Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs in the 1918 World Series, and the Spanish flu ravaged the globe, killing at least 50 million people worldwide. 


In 2020, as a result of the pandemic, we saw a dramatic shift in automotive repair trade shows. With safety concerns about in-person events, the industry transitioned to online forums, creating opportunities whereby automotive service professionals could still have access to speakers, interactive training, content, networking, exhibitors – and deals.

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We’re all doing things differently this year. And SEMA is no exception. ALLDATA is pleased to support this year’s SEMA360 by offering attendees a number of ways to engage with us during the virtual event, Nov. 2-6, 2020


In a lot of ways your business is like the cars we work on. There are many complex systems that work together in concert, but if the intake system isn’t operating correctly it causes numerous difficulties. Without proper procedures you shouldn’t guess at diagnosis or adjustments.

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Shop Management DYK

Today’s independent automotive repair shops range in size from a single location to multi-shop organizations, each with its own unique business needs. So when it comes to running your business efficiently, a one-size-fits-all shop management system isn’t necessarily the best solution. 

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When it was announced that the collision industry’s foremost trade show was going virtual for 2020, ALLDATA embraced the opportunity to offer attendees an online experience unique to these challenging times.

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Discounts don't add up

An Interview with Lynne Cardwell by David Bry

When the phone rings and there’s a potential repair customer on the line, you have a choice. You can offer a price quote and hope that it’s not too high and scares them away. Or you can take the approach of a fellow shop owner with decades of experience: offer a quote ...

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This article is for you, shop owners and shop managers. Brave souls that entered the automotive repair business hoping to eke out a living. You may have come into this endeavor with excellent hands-on skills and now have been compelled to track profits and losses and negotiate wages. Along the way you might have heard or used (or overused) a term:  Return on Investment.

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A visit to the doctor typically involves having one’s vital signs checked. This provided the medical professionals a baseline report on the patient’s condition. Checking is done prior to treatment to determine if there are any underlying conditions. If any treatments are provided, the vital signs may be inspected again to determine if treatment has created any issues. Text is visible fully now 

August is National Brake Safety Month, so now is the time to emphasize the importance of brake maintenance to your customers. It’s normally difficult to sell maintenance work outside of OEM service schedules (and being in the midst of a pandemic doesn’t help the situation) but here are some strategies to convince your customers that maintenance is in their best interest. 

Since 1991, Ron Ananian has informed, educated, and entertained millions of listeners through his nationally syndicated radio program, The Car Doctor

Drivers are holding on to cars and trucks longer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The average age of a vehicle on U.S. roads rose by a month this year to a record 11.9 years.

ALLDATA has a new product to showcase: ALLDATA Shop Manager. It’s a shop management system seamlessly integrated with ALLDATA Repair or ALLDATA Collision. It simplifies creating shop documents like estimates, repair orders, and invoices, and it’s with this simplification that you’re able to appreciate the efficiency of this product. This article will serve as an exploration of the features that showcase this efficiency.  


Over the past few months, the automotive industry has experienced challenges unlike any we’ve seen before. With the onset of COVID-19, customers stopped calling, parts stores experienced disruptions in their supply chains and shop owners throughout the nation were wondering if they were going to close their doors for good.

There are roughly 750,000 automotive technicians and diesel mechanics nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Let’s say that you had the good fortune to have hired 10 of the best technicians in your area. Their skill levels range from fledgling lube technicians to highly qualified master technicians. What can you do to ensure they keep their toolboxes anchored in your shop for years to come?

Without a doubt, the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic will be the defining event of 2020. Along with memories of mass closures, social distancing and financial volatility, we will also remember how communities and nations across the globe were bound together in solidarity to overcome a common threat.

The coronavirus continues to impact everyone – in widely varying degrees. As the situation plays out in the next weeks and months, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with your customers.

The health, safety and well-being of our customers, our employees, and the community at large remain ALLDATA’s top priority during these unprecedented times caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19.)

While most of North America “shelters in place,” essential automotive-related businesses – including gas stations, auto repair shops, and retailers like our parent company AutoZone – continue to serve the needs of first responders and the general public who rely on safe, reliable transportation.

We’ve gathered the best health and safety practices from our customers and throughout the industry to keep your business running – and to keep you, your employees, and your customers safe.

Did you know that the average comeback costs a shop $237? We're here so you can fix it right the first time

It has been said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. While that is true, it is equally true that we get multiple chances to improve on or ruin that impression. Nowhere is that truer than in customer relations. It’s also true in marriage… but that’s a subject for another time and place.

The automotive repair industry has a public relations issue. Much of the public is wary of us. And often, automotive folk relate better to machines than to people. We can improve our PR using some simple techniques which we will explore.

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is the nation’s leading provider of technical training for people seeking careers in the automotive, diesel, and welding industries. They also offer motorcycle, collision repair, marine mechanics, NASCAR, and manufacturer-specific training. Founded in 1965, the first UTI school was located in Phoenix, AZ and only had five students. It started with a single subject: automatic transmissions, with a diesel program added to the curriculum in 1968. It wasn’t until 1983 that UTI added a second campus in Houston, TX. 

One of the biggest trade shows in the automotive industry is right around the corner: SEMA 2019 is taking place November 5 – November 8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. With over 3,000 products in the New Products Showcase, educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, and networking opportunities, the list of stuff to do is overwhelming. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your SEMA experience.

For all of its collision repair information and automotive diagnostics, the crew at Bennett Dunlop Ford Collision Centre constantly calls upon ALLDATA to repair approximately 200 cars monthly.

This dealership group has four locations in Canada and three of these feature body shops, all of which are busy and consistently receive five-star reviews from its ecstatic customers.

Shops struggle with parts pricing and sometimes ignore the link between parts markup and shop profit margins. Healthy shops often sell parts for more than the “street price.” The concern shop owners face is how much over that retail price they should mark up the parts and how to make the markup process as painless as possible.

There is a “science” (and some math) to parts-pricing strategies. There are also software tools available to help you with this daunting task. When these strategies are used properly a shop will improve profitability and will avoid leaving money “on the table.”

At the NIADA Convention and Expo, George Verkamp (shown above), Vice President of Sales & Business Development at ALLDATA, and Doug Turner, Director of Service Operations at Byrider, revealed a statistic: the #1 reported problem facing independent dealers today is the increased cost of doing business. Why? Running a service department is increasingly complex and it’s more and more difficult to maintain margins.

YouTube was founded on February 14, 2005 in an office above a pizzeria in San Mateo, California. One year later it was one of the fastest growing sites on the internet. Today, over 45% of smartphone users access YouTube. People access YouTube not only for entertainment; they visit to learn how to tie a tie, remove ingrown hairs, clean clogged drains, or how to safely shear sheep in the springtime.

We know it’s a significant problem. So this past January, we surveyed shop owners, service writers, and technicians and across the country to get their take on the technician shortage in the automotive repair industry.

What did they say is the primary cause? And what should the industry do about it?

ALLDATA provides a certification program for ALLDATA Repair®: the CAIS (Certified Automotive Information Specialist) Program. It’s essentially a test to show how well you can use ALLDATA Repair. As soon as you pass with an 80% or higher, you’re a Certified Specialist; the personalized certificate is immediately available for download and you can then request to receive a free CAIS patch for shop uniforms.”

Both Aaron Stokes and Rich Diegle know their stuff. Not only is Aaron Stokes the founder of ShopFix Academy, he is also the owner of six repair shops with almost 20 years of experience in the car repair industry.

Having access to OEM repair information has many benefits for those in the collision repair industry. Not only does it ensure a vehicle is repaired properly for the customer, but it can also potentially limit liability for a body shop and the insurance company, according to Satwinder Mangat, president of ALLDATA, an AutoZone Company.

As always, our friends at I-CAR provide the collision industry classes and programs that promote safe collision repair and profitable shops. At SEMA Education Days, I-CAR comes out huge with 13 courses that are structured around individual roles within the industry. Additionally, passing these courses will count to your I-CAR Gold and Platinum Class programs, giving attendees the ability to enjoy SEMA and further their industry credentials. In the interest of promoting best practices in the collision industry we have provided the class list for your consideration.

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