COVID-19 Update: Open, With Care

We are continuing with careful operation and have a well-established cleaning protocol between each step of the repair process. 

Vehicle Pickup and Delivery 

With the requirement of distancing we are no longer able to offer rides to customers for vehicle drop off but we are able to offer vehicle pick up. One of our front line staff will come to your home or office to pick up the vehicle; wipe the touch points clean before getting in and take to back to our shop. After the repair is done we will return it in the same way, fully clean and wiped down. 

Repair authorizations and pick up sign offs can be done by phone and email.    

Our office door is locked to manage access but we are here and will be able to start the drop off or estimate process by coming out to you in your car as a first step.

While car repairs may not be immediately top of mind, we know mobility is important, and we will continue to provide a safe experience for our customers and community.


The Tsawwassen Collision Team

Change and Next Accident Readiness

In every industry there is steady talk of rapid change and the need to be prepared for this change. The collision repair industry is no different and those of us working in collision repair have been hearing of big changes for many years. Very often these changes proved to be not as significant as claimed and could be met with only relatively small evolutionary adaptations.

This time the change is real, rapid and affecting all aspects of the industry very significantly.  Small tweaks to repair methods are no longer enough.

Energy management in an accident is an invisible component of vehicle performance which has no effect on the car or its performance until it is needed. With today’s smaller, lighter cars this energy management is carefully designed and built in through the use of metals and other materials of varying strengths and characteristics.

A car can be repaired to look and drive exactly as it did before the accident, but if the repair facility had not utilized all the available information and equipment to perform correct structural repairs the car will not perform to its design capabilities in another accident. Will the passenger compartment be protected as designed and will the airbag activate when it is needed? If the repair was done correctly and the car was returned to original specifications the answer is yes. If the repair was done without true consideration to correct, very specific repair procedures the answer will be no.

Every one of us has to deal with a constant load of important issues and minor diversions and it is understandable that ‘post-accident energy management’ may not be top of mind. At Tsawwassen Collision we repair the cars you will be driving and for us it is very much top of mind. We are very aware of the importance of the car being ‘Ready for the Next Accident.’




Quality and Safety Control in Collision Repair

If you take a flight on a commercial airline you may get a request to fill out a survey. The flight was on time, the attendants were efficient and polite, the pilot had the right announcements delivered in a friendly manner and the plane seemed to fly very well. That deserves 10s all around and you send in the form and get on with your day

It would never occur to you that Transport Canada would issue licenses using only your consumer survey to verify aircraft safety. After all what do you know about engines, electronics, duty cycles and maintenance schedules? All you know is you were treated well and on that flight got to where you were going. You assume, correctly, that there are technical people in the background who are doing the technical inspections and verifications.

The car you drive is getting to be as complicated as that plane and you would assume that there is a solid level of technical verification going on in the background of the repair process. Unfortunately in this case you are wrong.

In Canada there are no government standards for vehicle collision repair. In BC there is no requirement for the technicians working on your car to be licensed in any way. The only organizations that check anything are the insurance companies and their processes do not extend to safe and complete repairs. In fact, under the current system, repair shops doing truly safe and complete repairs are at a disadvantage

The relationship of the repairers and insurers is based on a variety of factors called KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. The three main KPIs are Severity (how much did it cost), Cycle Time (how long did it take) and Customer Satisfaction.  Low cost, fast and a customer with no complaints is the best possible outcome. Safety is not measured and a car repaired to be in truly safe, Next Accident Ready, condition will score lower because it will cost somewhat more and take some time longer.  The issue is the same in America and this video from 2016 gives a real example.

What is the answer?

Repairs will not get less complex and the answer will not be for consumers to become educated about the technical aspects of vehicle repair. The industry will have to mature to the point where the ability to perform safe repairs on modern vehicles becomes the minimum entry point for participants. This will not happen overnight.

At Tsawwassen Collision we have committed to a culture of safe repairs and are doing a lot of things that others are not doing, and that we are not being asked to do.  We are not waiting to be told to do the right repairs, we are doing them now

Windshield Replacement and ADAS Calibration at Tsawwassen Collision

Many people read this CBC article last week.  

At Tsawwassen Collision we started to include calibration of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in 2016.  We’ve worked hard to educate our customers and insurance providers about the complexities involved in an auto repair.  We do our own research in each vehicle and ensure that the calibration requirements are met.

The vehicle owner at the centre of the CBC story said that he had been told ‘to get the dealer to look at it’. Hopefully this is not what he was told, as it is the needed final step in the safe and correct replacement of the windshield. Something the owner will also want to know is that the cost of calibration will be $180 to $400 and he would need to coordinate this with his insurance company.

With calibration equipment and training being very vehicle specific it would not be financially feasible for most independent facilities to do this work in house. As a result currently almost all calibrations are done at dealerships.

At Tsawwasen Collision we manage the process to ensure that post repair calibrations are done in all cases and that the owner is fully aware of the needed calibrations.

Gold Plus Certified Collision Repairer

In March of 2017 Tsawwassen Collision became the third collision shop, out of more than 700 in BC, to achieve ARA Certified Collision Repairer designation. Few shops have reached this status. The level of commitment needed to achieve and maintain for this is high. Cars are far different now than they were even 5 years ago   and an honest shop cannot pretend that training and equipment from 20 years ago is good enough.

The BC Automotive Retailers Association, in cooperation with the national Automotive Industries Association has introduced a new certification program. This Certified Collision Repairer designation is based on equipment as well as training and in March of 2017 Tsawwassen Collision was the third shop  out of more than 700 in BC to achieve this certification. The Gold Plus level of our accreditation indicates that we are qualified for aluminum repairs.

We value the relationship we have with the community and believe that we have a responsibility to provide repairs of a consistently high standard. This certification is a part of that commitment.

Tsawwassen Collision Achieves I-CAR Gold Class

I-CAR is the not quite obvious acronym for the Inter Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. I-CAR was started in the mid-70s in America as a non- profit organization with membership from all facets of the collision repair industry. The primary objective was then and continues to be today the providing of training and technical resources for technicians and others working in collision repair.

Today I-CAR licenses its programs in Canada, Australia and New Zealand

For many years training in BC was dominated by the requirements of ICBC and I-CAR had a very limited presence here.  In 2015 management at ICBC realized that training of the industry should not be a core part of their business and they have moved away from their training role.

In mid-2106, of the more than 500 ICBC accredited shops in BC Tsawwassen Collision was one of only 23 that had become involved in the I-CAR program and reached the Gold Class in Progress level. In October, the first of these shops achieved the full Gold Class Gold level and on December 22 Tsawwassen Collision became the 9th repair facility in BC to become Gold Class.

We are proud of this significant achievement, which involved all our staff members and was reached after 53 On Line courses, 11 classroom courses and 3 hands-on welding qualifications.

There was a strong push in 2016 to reach this important level but we view it only as a step in the continuous process of learning and improvement. With more courses and welding qualifications we have maintained this status through 2018.

Aluminum Repair at Tsawwassen Collision

At the 2015 NACE conference (the main annual tradeshow and information conference for the North American collision repair industry) held in Detroit one of the speakers was a representative of the aluminum manufacturers supplying the auto industry.

The collision repair industry was in 2015 continuing to recognize that aluminum was becoming a common material in modern vehicles. Both training and equipment would be needed to be able to do proper repairs with aluminum. The main theme I remember from that speaker, who repeated it several times in comparing steel and aluminum repair ‘aluminum is different, it is not difficult.’ He was referring to aluminum repair compared to steel repair that was very common in the industry.

At Tsawwassen Collision we responded to the increase in aluminum use and the encouragement of ‘different not difficult’ with investment in training and equipment. Training and equipment costs were not trivial, but the results have been excellent and we have been working successfully with all aspects of aluminum repair for well over a year.

After some investigation we made the decision to use Pro Spot equipment for our aluminum work. We have been using a Pro Spot i4 resistance spot welder for high strength steel section replacement since January 2014 and were confident in their equipment and support. With a specific Pro Spot MWS-AL Aluminum Welding and Dent Repair Station, an SP2 aluminum wire feed welder and a PR5 Self Piercing Rivet Gun we are properly equipped for all aluminum repairs.

As an example of the of the growing use of this metal, the first two vehicles that required the aluminum  Dent Repair Station were a $110,000 2015 Mercedes and a $16,000 2015 Honda Fit.

The 2016 Ford F150 is the most prominently promoted vehicle using aluminum, with the entire body made for that material.  We have done extensive repairs on three of these trucks over the past 6 months, in each case using all three pieces of the aluminum specific Pro Spot equipment to allow a return to factory specs.

Community Events over the Summer

Collision repair is what we do for a living, but it is much more enjoyable to us if we are involved in the community.

In June we had active involvement in the Inaugural Tsawwassen Rotary Soap Box Derby, where this great photo was taken. The same weekend we made a small contribution to the AAA Girls High School Soccer Provincial Championships hosted by South Delta Secondary School.

Also in June, Tsawwassen Collision once again contributed the production and printing of the program for the Studio West Dance Recital Weekend. This is the fourth year of our collaboration with Studio West.

In July we did what is becoming our main community event, with active sponsor participation in the Tour de Delta. Tsawwassen Collision has been the Young Rider sponsor since the inception of that award in 2014 and for the last two years since 2015 we have also provided, through our affiliation with Enterprise Rentals, the 10 or 12 vehicles that the race requires for the weekend.

Vehicle Electronic Fault Diagnosis – asTech Remote Scanning

One of the main themes that we are very aware of at Tsawwassen Collision is the continuing rapid change in vehicle technology. High tech inside inexpensive cars you drive today

While we are better equipped than most collision repair shops with aftermarket scanners that allow us to diagnose codes and faults there is still situations with a requirement for OEM scanners .  A Toyota dealership can afford a Toyota scanner as they will be using it many times a day, and the one scanner will work with all the cars they can expect to see. It would be impossible for an independent  shop  working with Toyota, Honda, Mazda, GM, Ford, BMW, VW and many others to afford (and understand) each manufacturers  specific equipment.

Tsawwassen Collision is one of the first shops in BC to take delivery of an asTech2 scanner from Collision Diagnostic Services (CDS).  This tool connects to the vehicle diagnostic port and sends data over the internet to CDS techs, who work with the appropriate OEM scanner to do a full analysis of the vehicle systems, before and after the repair. The pre repair scan tells us what systems need attention and the post repair scan verifies that the repairs have been done and that any sensors and modules that have been replaced are communicating properly. 

I-CAR Collision Repair Training

Tsawwassen Collision has in the past year become an active participant in the I-CAR program of collision repair training. I-Car has its roots in America with an active Canadian component.

For many years training in BC was dominated by the requirements of ICBC and I-CAR had a very limited presence here.  Current management at ICBC has realized that training of the industry should not be a core part of their business and they have moved away from their training role.

I-CAR has an important neutral role in providing knowledge and training. Their mandate does not consider cost of repair but only in what is the best way of doing the correct, safe repair.

Of the more than 500 ICBC accredited shops in BC only 23 are at the I-CAR Gold Class in Progress and none are yet at Gold Class. Tsawwassen Collision expects to be among the first to achieve that level later this year.

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