You Can't Solve a Problem If You Don't Know What the Problem Is

Today’s vehicles are built with highly-complex technology, using computer and electronic systems. An auto undergoing collision repair may require scanning of these systems and sensors to ensure proper function and calibration for safe performance.

Collision repair diagnostics plays a critical role in identifying aspects of damage issues, many of which can only be pinpointed by diagnostic scans. Disruption from a collision may cause loss of connectivity, primary settings and system integration, fundamental to drivability.

Scanning indicates Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC), repair warnings from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), which signal if computer systems and sensors require repair or re-calibration. Unlike physical or mechanical damage that may be evident, scanning identifies a systematic problem that operates with programming code and electronics.

After collision repair, post-repair scanning/testing is necessary to verify systems and sensors are fully functional.

Car traveling on the highway

Collision repair diagnostics involves inspection, troubleshooting issues and planning methods for resolution. Here are some aspects that may be assessed:

  • Identification of Diagnostic Trouble Codes and intermittent issues.

  • Inspection of electrical damage.

  • Defining and troubleshooting electrical circuitry faults.

  • Initialization and calibration of electronic systems.

  • Examination of wiring and connectors; determination of what can be repaired.

  • Examination of vehicle communication network and computers; electronic control models and their interaction and communication with network sensors and indicators.

  • Analyzation of the control module; communication capacity.

  • Addressing hybrid systems: cooling systems used on high-voltage battery and inverter/converter; regenerative braking; sound alerts.

  • Process removal of panels and assemblies: electrical systems, HVAC, brakes and suspension, drivetrain, instruments panels, sensors, and more.

With any form of impact, including minor collision, an electrical or driver-assisted system may be affected. Functions such as spatial assessment for a lane change or software and data sensors that monitor acceleration and engine/vehicle speed can lose initialization, the data necessary to perform automated processes.


Computer and electronic systems operate in a majority of all auto components and are inter-dependent in running processes such as braking, engine performance, rear-camera parking and keyless ignition. Damage that causes compression, even shifts in position, may result in loss of connectivity and operability of these processes.

Lidar technology

Lane-changing and accident-avoidance systems use lasers, infrared sensors and cameras for spatial detection and tracking your vehicle’s position. These technologies analyze visual data; calibration and exact settings are essential to their performance.

Radar systems

Diagnostic evaluation determines if sensors used for detection of objects in the space around a car and cameras for parking-assistance features, as example, need replacement.

After a collision, your vehicle may experience concurrent damage, where multiple components are impacted simultaneously, such as damage caused by electric circuitry failure.

Contingent damage, on the other hand, such as with an Electronic Stability Control system (which helps a driver avoid a crash by reducing skidding or loss of control) depends upon computer technology to detect over-steering. If the system is damaged, it cannot control a dependent function of applying individual brakes.

Because of the different levels of damage and their integration, OEMs strongly suggest collision repair diagnostics to ensure optimum operability.