- by Montgomery Miller
- October 9th, 2017
What is Blueprinting and Why is it Important?
You may have heard the term blueprinting as it pertains to architectural design and engineering but for the automotive collision repair industry the term blueprinting has a very important meaning that can differentiate an average or low-end body shop from a superior, higher-end shop.
In simple terms blueprinting is a critical process that requires establishing a standard procedure for identifying all the damages prior to starting the repair work. This means each technician involved in the repair process will be asked to carefully evaluate their part. It’s also a process that many body shops skip because of the time and cost involved. The blueprinting process requires careful disassembly of the damaged portion of the vehicle so that all the damaged parts can be identified right down to the clips that will need to be ordered.
The blueprinter conducting this evaluation must be knowledgeable about the role each technician will play in the repairs as well as the correct OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) procedures that have been established for each part. This type of detailed review and analysis will often reveal hidden damage to the frame and other structural elements that can impact the performance and safety standards established for your vehicle by the original manufacturer.
Quality collision repair shops that incorporate blueprinting in their estimating process are able to provide the insurance company with a more accurate estimate of the cost of the repairs while providing the customer with a more accurate estimate of the time it will take to complete the repairs properly. This eliminates much of the back and forth that occurs when previously undetected damage is identified after the initial estimate has been approved. Discovering damage later in the repair process will require revising the original estimate and ordering additional parts which in turn will cause a delay in the repair process. As a general rule, shops that include blueprinting as a standard part of their operating procedure, will also be the kind of shops that will use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts.
The shops that do not use blueprinting in their process are typically insurance company driven and are often in a hurry while trying to save money by only repairing the visible surface damage, often using aftermarket or used parts, potentially placing your safety at risk. This type of repair may look fast and cheap, however the only real beneficiary is the insurance company. The problem with fast and cheap in the collision repair business is that this type of repair generally involves aftermarket parts or used/reconditioned parts. Parts of this nature do not perform to, and have not been tested to the same rigorous safety and performance standards that were established for your specific vehicle by the original manufacturer. Furthermore, if there is undetected damage to the frame or other structural parts of your vehicle that is not repaired, non-OEM parts will potentially perform with even less reliability because of the compromised integrity of the overall repair.
The next time your vehicle is damaged in an accident, be sure to ask the collision repair facility if they use blueprinting in the estimating process and ask if they will only use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts in the repair process.
These 2 critical questions can help to insure the repairs to your vehicle are done properly and that your vehicle performs to the safety standards established for your vehicle by the original manufacturer. The answers to these questions, combined with a little research into the customer reviews they’ve received and the certifications they’ve earned will help you in making an informed choice based on your safety and peace of mind rather than on the cost concerns of the insurance company. Remember, while the insurance company will likely try to steer you to the cheapest option, here in Texas, you choose where to have to have your vehicle repaired.