Estimating Tips

Estimating Tip: CCC, Mitchell and Audatex – Wire Harness and Computer Modules

Repairs requiring wiring, cables, computers or modules to be removed or set back is NOT INCLUDED in repairs or panel replacement time, unless specifically noted in footnotes of the specific component you are working on. This will require an on the spot evaluation as each vehicle and model is specific due to vehicle options and various complexities running wiring in the vehicle.

Mitchell states the following:

“Computer Modules
When working with vehicles equipped with on-board computers, manufacturers recommend removal if temperatures are likely to exceed 176×F (80×C). Do not apply heat from a torch or weld in the immediate vicinity of computers without protecting them. Remove if necessary.

Many vehicles have multiple computers such as: Electronic Control Modules (ECM), Body Control Modules (BCM), individual computers for Anti-Lock Brake Systems and Electronic Suspension systems. All of these computers should be protected or removed before exposing them to high heat. Never connect or disconnect these units with ignition switch on, or charge a battery with battery cables connected. Before servicing, ground yourself and ground the work area to discharge stored static electricity.

Computer control information is listed in the Electrical Section of all Mitchell Collision Estimating Guides. There is a footnote below the listing or an illustration describing the location of each unit.”

Inquiry 12163 States that the estimated work time applied to Front End Alignment is to perform set up and align procedures on the front of the vehicle only. If any procedures or adjustments are required to be made to the rear of the vehicle they would be considered not included.
Example would be a vehicle with a non-adjustable rear axle. The front alignment is always dependent on the rear end to be in correct specifications prior to adjusting the front end. The correct way to add this on the estimate is to “Wheel alignment front wheels” + Add “Check Rear alignment” from the rear suspension group Additional operations to set up the heads and read the specifications prior to making any adjustments on the front.

Estimating Tip: Audatex – Color Tint

Audatex’s two stage setup refinish labor includes time for standard tint.

Standard tint is defined as the initial mix, check, one tint cycle, and check. Audatex’s studies revealed instances where additional time was required for the tinting process. The range of this additional time was commonly between 0.1 and 1.0 hours with an average of 0.5 hours per estimate per color. The appearance of color match can be difficult enough to require both color tint (tinting to adjust the color) and blending.

I-CAR Finish Matching (Module 2, Topic 3) recommends planning and preparing for blending before the work begins. Per I-CAR, tinting should be done only to achieve a blendable match.

Estimating Tip: CCC, Audatex and Mitchell – OEM Information Website Access, Research and Diagnostic Costs Not Included in Labor Times

OEM information website access cost is NOT INCLUDED in developed labor times in all three estimating systems. OEM technical information sites offer multiple subscription options available to end users depending on their specific needs and time. Research and disgnostic labor time is also not included in published labor times.

Both labor and subscription cost would require and on the spot evaluation to be added on the repair plan/work order.

Estimating Tip: Audatex – Not Included Drain, Refill and Bleed Operations

Audatex DBRM 4-2 Labor exclusions state the following are NOT INCLUDED considerations in labor time development:

  • Drain, refill and/or top off engine oil.
    • Drain or refill fuel tank.
    • Drain, refill and/or top off transmission fluid.

An example would be vehicle with oil, transmission coolers built into the radiator or separate cooler requiring to be disconnected, drained and refilled using the appropriate fluid.

Additionally bleeding operations are NOT INCLUDED in labor time development.

  • Bleeding of brake, cooling, or hydraulic systems (“Additional labor” for brake bleeding.)

An example would be having to bleed or purge air out of a cooling/ radiator during the refill process, or filling and bleeding a brake system after opening the fluid lines to disconnect.