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SEMA Show 2010: Toby Chess at SCRS: Alignment is repairers’ next technical concern

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Nov. 3, 2010, LAS VEGAS—By 2012, every car manufactured will have electronic stability control, adding another step in the repair process—and another potential liability for repairers if not dealt with properly, according to I-CAR instructor Toby Chess.

Electronic stability control (ESC) will give repairers a “new last step” in the alignment process before they release_notes a repaired car to customers, Chess told the Society of Collision Repair Specialists at their board meeting Tuesday. ESC helps drivers retain control of their vehicle by detecting when a driver has lost control of their steering, and applying the brakes to help “steer” the car where the driver intends to go.

Most shops are still using four- and even two-wheel processes as the last step in checking a car’s alignment. However, ESC requires another step in recalibrating a car’s steering alignment. And if shops don’t take that last step, they’re sending potentially unsafe vehicles back out onto the roads, Chess said.

“We’re going to have to get trained on this,” said Chess, a collision repair technology expert. “It’s so critical, especially with how cars are going to handle in the future.”

“It’s a huge liability issue for a shop,” added Paul Val, an SCRS director and general manager of Raintree Auto Body in Scottsdale, Ariz.

For more information on ESC, go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website at nhtsa.org and search for electronic stability control.

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