Collision Repair Pre and Post Diagnostic Scanning

It is no surprise that today’s cars and SUV’s are high tech vehicles, equipped with sophisticated electronics and safety features. To consumers that means choosing an auto body facility that can do more than just repair the exterior of their vehicle. When a car is involved in an auto collision, sensors and onboard computers are shaken upon impact. These components control everything from your seat control to your airbags. Savvy auto body repair technicians know not to count on a dashboard light illuminating. The only way to know if a problem exists is to pre and post scan the vehicle. Scanning tools are expensive and require additional training.

Unfortunately, most collision repair facilities have not invested in the proper equipment or don’t believe there is a need to do so. Airpark Collision Center has made the commitment to pre and post scan each vehicle, making our team aware of all damage resulting from an auto collision.

What is Vehicle Diagnostic Scanning?

A collision repair planner will perform a diagnostic scan after the car is dropped off, but before disassembly. The scan ensures that our repair planners and technicians know what damage resulted from the collision and what ultimately needs to be done to return the vehicle to pre-collision condition.  After the auto body repair, the vehicle is scanned again to ensure all features are working properly.

Is Pre and Post Scanning Really Necessary?

Pre and post vehicle scanning is very necessary. Almost all vehicle manufacturers have issued position statements recommending or requiring pre and post scanning on their brand of vehicles. Our collision repair planners regularly see dashboards with no indicator lights, yet a scan will reveal dozens of trouble codes. Realistically, there can only be so many identifier lights. For example, a fully loaded Honda Pilot or Odyssey Touring Elite may have up to 1,000 diagnostic trouble codes. The only way to complete a proper auto body repair is to pre and post scan the vehicle.

What Happens if Diagnostic Trouble Codes are Found?

If error codes are found it might require a replacement sensor or part. Maybe the wiring is not quite right or sometimes a vehicle needs to be recalibrated.

I Don’t Drive an Expensive Model Car, Does Scanning Really Matter?

Newer model vehicles, even at lower price points are now equipped with advanced safety features, such as collision avoidance assist, or emergency breaking. For example, a 2017 Honda Fit (an entry level vehicle) can contain up to 510 diagnostic trouble codes.

What about the Dashboard Lights?

Indicator lights are for driver notification, they are not diagnostic tools for collision repair.

What if there are Diagnostic Trouble Codes from Non-Collision Damage?

Sometimes error codes appear but they are not from the auto accident. The date the error code was triggered is shown on the scan report. At this time the customer should be informed of any unrelated codes.  Insurance companies will not pay for any repair unrelated to the collision repair claim.

Airpark Collision Center is committed to repairing all damage related to an auto collision. This includes sensors, complex control modules, wires and other components in your vehicle. Please stop in or click for a quick online estimate.


Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.