Cedarbrae Automotive, is a successful independent service repair business in Scarborough, Ont. Founded in 1972 by Sam Scala and today operated by sons Frank and Corey, it’s a busy shop with a huge and loyal client base, that depend on its staff for their automotive needs year after year.
Yet as vehicle technology advances, Cedarbrae has taken steps to ensure it has the access to the latest and most accurate repair information, one reason why, says Frank Scala that “two years ago, we chose to partner with ALLDATA.”
Everything we develop is geared toward giving shops the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively
Since 1986, ALLDATA has been providing technicians with access to the right repair information and has developed deep and well-established relationships with major vehicle OEMs.
“Because of these close and long-standing relationships, we’re able to provide the largest database of OEM information on a single platform to automotive repair shops,” says ALLDATA President Satwinder Mangat.
The statistics are impressive— 115,000 subscribers to a database that includes more than 38,000 engine specific vehicle applications covering 95 percent of cars and light trucks currently on the road.
“Everything we develop is geared toward giving shops the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively,” says Mangat; “with the assurance of information direct from the manufacturers.”
He notes that ALLDATA Repair is able to provide both technician-verified repairs as well as OEM-accurate information. Additionally, ALLDATA recently updated its navigation system to enable techs to access information faster and more easily, with one single look up.
Given that time is money in the service bay, any tools to help technicians diagnose, fix and complete repairs more efficiently is most welcome, especially since vehicle OEMs today tend to outline very specific repair procedures and the vehicles technicians are working on are becoming more advanced by the day.
“With mechanical repairs and particularly those involving more advanced technology such as ADAS and sensor issues, it’s imperative that technicians follow the OEM specifications,” says Mangat.
To help, ALLDATA is able to publish new and updated vehicle information on a daily basis from OEMs which also includes the latest technical service bulletins (TSBs). “The speed at which we publish OEM content is our number one priority to make sure shops have the current OEM repair procedures, wiring diagrams, and other information they need,” says Mangat.
Strength in numbers
In addition to providing fast, easy access to accurate OEM information, a major benefit for any technician is the ability to connect with like-minded industry professionals who have experienced diagnosing and fixing complex problems. ALLDATA’s Tech-Assist hotline has received critical praise from service technicians across North America and provides access to over 30 ASE Certified Master Technicians, many of whom have experienced and solved the same issues the tech in the service bay is currently working on. Also included in the ALLDATA Repair/Collision subscription is ALLDATA Community, which includes a Q&A forum. Here, technicians can access the knowledge and expertise of over 300,000 techs.
… often, technicians need quick and ready access to this kind of information, while another trend is having access to what’s known as “probable cause” data—in other words, quick diagnostic information for a likely problem that may be causing an error code or drivability issue. “ALLDATA is able to provide over 20 million probable causes based on OEM Diagnostic Trouble Code information and possible symptoms.
For additional efficiency, ALLDATA has also introduced a new scan tool with portable access, meaning a technician can access the repair information they need right from the vehicle via a tablet, saving time during the work order.
OEM wiring schematics are often one of the biggest obstacles technicians face when it comes to diagnosing and fixing vehicles—understanding them takes considerable time and effort. This is something that ALLDATA has studied in great detail—not only does it provide factory OEM diagrams, it also includes clear and concise interactive colour wiring diagrams— more than 300,000 of them.
Technicians like Frank Scala say ALLDATA’s colour wiring diagrams lay out the entire circuit in ways that’s much easier to follow, compared with competitor offerings. This unique functionality lets techs view a full series of diagrams side-by-side and highlight or hide wires across pages. The result means less time trying to understand wiring schematics and more time being able to tackle the specific issue.
Additionally, because shops and technicians are looking to maximize labour efficiency, preventative maintenance is a key part of many successful repair shops’ overall business strategy. The ability to understand and know what’s required for specific maintenance procedures—such as particular vehicle service intervals, fluid capacities for specific engines, transmissions,differentials, brake systems and other key vehicle components is critical.
Satwinder Mangat says that often, technicians need quick and ready access to this kind of information, while another trend is having access to what’s known as “probable cause” data—in other words, quick diagnostic information for a likely problem that may be causing an error code or drivability issue. “ALLDATA is able to provide over 20 million probable causes based on OEM Diagnostic Trouble Code information and possible symptoms,” he says.
With vehicle OEMs introducing more and more safety features into the vehicles they design and manufacture, the need to understand these systems for those involved in the repair process, whether mechanical or collision, becomes ever greater.
ALLDATA has focused on leveraging its experience and expertise in both the collision and mechanical sectors to help ensure technicians in both industries get the information they need.
Specifically, on the mechanical repair side, Mangat says that while the actual repair procedures might differ somewhat, it’s still essential for technicians to have access to the right repair data in a timely fashion. He notes that for independent service shops, there tends to be a bigger “time cushion” since in most cases, dealer service departments handle repairs and warranty issues on newer vehicles.
Yet as time moves on, the synergies between collision repairers and automotive service providers continue to increase.
ALLDATA Diagnostics, Vehicle Connection Interface
“It’s really becoming critical for collision shops to understand mechanical repairs,” says Mangat, who notes that ALLDATA Collision also incorporates all of the mechanical procedures available in ALLDATA Repair, plus information specific to collision centres.
“ALLDATA Diagnostics—our new scan tool has been well received by both mechanical and collision shops,” says Mangat and, particularly on the collision side is forming part of a larger overall trend which sees body shops incorporate more vehicle diagnostic procedures into their workflow.
Looking to the future, Mangat says ALLDATA’s mission is to continue providing shops with the information that is accurate and delivered in a timely manner. He also feels that rapidly evolving automotive technology, which is leading to increasing vehicle complexity and connectivity presents new challenges but also opportunities, including over-the-air software updates and the ability to integrate with both service dashboards and vehicle telematics systems. “We want to ensure we can get that information quickly—as soon as a vehicle is released to the general public,” says Mangat. “We’re also looking to help the industry-wide shortage of repair technicians by offering tools and services like our Tech-Assist hotline and enhanced diagnostics.” The shift toward subscription-based vehicle ownership is another trend ALLDATA is tracking. Everything we do is geared toward helping repair shops be the best they can be,” says Mangat.
Special thanks to CarCare Business who published this in their December Magazine and provides up-to-date news, innovative products, technical discussions and industry reports that are designed to keep you informed.