Your Honda Deserves Respect

Or your Mazda, Chev, Toyota, Kia….. and you deserve respect and safety too.

The repair industry spends far too much time talking about very good repair shops fixing very expensive cars. Most non-industry articles you will read about car repairs suggest that these high end cars are very difficult to fix and require extra skill and care, and by implication your less expensive cars (that many more of us drive) can be fixed by more or less anyone working with old equipment.

It is true that the specialized equipment for the correct repair of high end cars is very expensive and very specific training is needed.  But it is not at all true that less expensive cars are easy to repair and do not require good current equipment and training.

The $100,000 car is very safe and strong but it mostly gets this strength and safety through the use of expensive components which can be replaced in very predictable and repeatable procedures.  

Your $30,000, or less, late model car is also a very safe and strong car, but it is also light to allow good fuel economy and designed not with expensive modular components  but with very accurate and sophisticated use of lighter materials welded together very precisely.

Repair and replacement of structural sections is not as obvious as it is with the more component built high end cars and it actually takes more skill and care to do these repairs correctly. If that very high strength light metal is heated too much, or at all in some cases, during the repair it becomes light weight non-high strength metal and will not perform as it should in the next accident. Correct removal and replacement of a section is far more time consuming than a repair with some heat applied, but if this is the required procedure then this is what needs to be done.  Modern cars can have any combination of five or more different types of steel, two or three different types of aluminum, five or more types of plastic, composite parts made up two different materials and perhaps some unrepairable magnesium parts.

These cars can be repaired and be completely safe after the repair, but not without the right training, equipment and respect for the process.

OEM Certification at Tsawwassen Collision

We take repairs seriously at Tsawwassen Collision and are certified by four manufacturers. Peter Sziklai, the company owner, has a national reputation in the collision repair industry as an expert in facility certification.

The core requirements for most vehicle manufacturers are very similar and not easy to reach. The baseline equipment has a cost of over $200,000 and there is a series of training courses that initially takes a minimum of 18 months to complete followed by annual continuous training requirements. The initial round of courses is well over $10,000 and the annual cost after that are between $1,500 and $2,000 (to this point none of this is needed to repair cars for insurance companies in BC)

With all that why are we not certified for more brands than we are? The quick answer is that there are requirements for certification that have nothing to do with repair capabilities. Take a look at our Certifications page for more information.

Small Town Shop Offers Big Time Service – Delta Optimist

In a recent article, the Delta Optimist sat down with owner Peter Sziklai to discuss Tsawwassen Collision celebrating a quarter-century in Century Square.

As quoted from the article:

What started as a 6,000-square-foot operation in 1995 has since doubled in size and now employs 18, but it’s the way the shop conducts business that makes Sziklai proud and has earned him a national reputation.

A veteran of the industry for almost 35 years, Sziklai says vehicles have become far more complex in the last few years. Sziklai says that increased complexity poses challenges for the industry and he’s responded by revamping the roles and responsibilities of his employees.

Sziklai says he continues to invest in equipment, technology and training to ensure Tsawwassen Collision is able to properly fix today’s vehicles, an approach that has earned the shop certifications from a variety of noted organizations throughout North American, some of which only a select few operations have achieved.

At the end of the day, Sziklai says it’s been a commitment to doing it right, and treating customers fairly, that has served Tsawwassen Collision well over the past quarter-century.

Current Estimating Systems – Following the Money

I have not written for over a year but I had been thinking about getting back at it for many months. The very serious COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown has affected everyone, but we are starting to see attention being paid to the business of repairing cars.

This morning in RDN, John Huetter has an article about SCRS and Audatex feather, prime and block that then went on to discuss other issues with Audatex.

I had drafted most of the following last week for an internal discussion, but when I saw John’s article I realized that it was topical and relevant.

Money has a lot to do with almost everything.

An account rep for an estimating platform will sell very few (maybe zero) programs to repair facilities based on the virtues of his program. He will sell many copies of that program if it has been accepted and mandated by an insurance company. In fact he will, with very little effort, be able to sell a mediocre program to a repair facility if he has first convinced an insurance company to use that program.

The money is between the insurance company and the estimating platform company and it would be naïve to think that as the seller in the relationship the estimating company does not pay close attention to what the insurance company wants. 

There is an example from motorcycle training that the total traction demand on a front tire cannot exceed 100%. If 80% is being used for braking only 20% is left for cornering; if 100% is needed for braking there had best not be a corner in the equation. Following this analogy if the estimating company puts 80% of its energy into making a sale to the insurance company they have only 20% left for the repair facilities. As the sale to the insurance company will guarantee the sale to the repair facility 80% may be a low number. With the sale to the insurance company the amount of effort left for the repair facility is acceptable as that operator will have little choice about buying the program.

The repair side has to know that the program has been influenced by a group that would rather pay less than more. This means that the program will pay for the minimum required to get an acceptable repair. In many jurisdictions outside regulation is minimal so the rules of repair are effectively set by the buyer of that repair.

What does this mean for where we are now and the theme of this site, which is correct repairs? Proper repairs can be done, and they will be paid for, but the repairer who wants to do these proper repairs and get paid for them will have to present facts in a very clear and honest way. This takes time and for most of the industry it will be easier and more profitable to follow the procedures as presented, do what they are asked to do and get on with the next repair.

Movement will not come from the overall mass of the industry insisting on a better result, but from some number of progressive operators who have the knowledge and are willing to put in the effort to expand the circle of what is needed.  These operators will not be thanked for most of their work, but they will move procedures first to the accepted category and then to the expected. At that point they may see a monetary return, as they will be ready to do the expected, with proper equipment, staff and company culture while others are scrambling to catch up.

5-in-10 Interview With

Watch as owner Peter Sziklai talks about investing in R&D as well as expanding his front office to improve the client experience with John Harvey from

COVID-19 Update – April 27, 2020

We have been working with the distancing and cleaning protocols for over a month and have these well incorporated into our procedures. We also continue to offer safe vehicle pick up and drop off along with phone and email repair authorizations and pick up sign offs.

While we are very aware of these protocols and precautions, we also know that your cars are with us for damage repair. The precautions around COVID-19 may be less impactful in the coming weeks and months, but the results of our repair work will be with you and your car for what could be years to come.

Our suppliers have adjusted their daily operations around the important safety protocols, and we understand how to work with these changes.  The primary concern for us had been parts availability and overall the supply lines have remained open.

Our equipment and training allow us to get the work done with much less reliance on sublet work than other collision facilities.  Your car stays in our shop and under our control through the repair process.

At Tsawwassen Collision we have not stopped paying attention to the core work that we do. We take pride in being very progressive and up to date in our repair knowledge and practices and we have not let that slip.


The Tsawwassen Collision Team

Read our previous COVID-19 update.

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.

Contact Us