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How to Speed Up Vehicle Inspection Times: A Guide for Auto Repair Shops

March 19, 2024
Guides & Templates
4 mins read

Vehicle inspections should be a key workflow component and priority in every auto shop, yet many shops find them to be a bottleneck — slowing down overall shop efficiency and productivity. 

Other shops don’t perform inspections because they feel like they lack the time. In a survey of 618 general auto repair shop owners and managers, PartsTech asked, “What is one thing you wish you had more time to do?” and “Inspections” was a repeated answer: 

What is one thing you wish you had more time to do?

  • “Implementing a thorough and standardized vehicle inspection checklist for all repairs.”
  • “Offering comprehensive vehicle inspections before purchase to assist customers in making informed decisions.”
  • “Improve the accuracy of repair estimates by conducting thorough inspections and identifying potential issues upfront.”
  • “Offer complimentary vehicle inspections for new customers to build trust and identify potential issues.”

Whether you’re looking to improve your current vehicle inspection process or implement inspections for the first time, the guide below provides actionable steps and strategies for implementing an efficient inspection process so that your shop can conduct a fast, in-depth inspection for every vehicle that enters it.

Steps to Implement Efficient, Accurate, and Thorough Vehicle Inspections

Step 1 — Explore Digital Vehicle Inspection (DVI) Tools and Choose One: Switching to DVIs makes inspections quicker and more thorough. And we get it — the idea of a new digital tool may seem overwhelming, and finding a new tool may seem like it will steal time, but it’s well worth the return on investment (and many of them are very easy to use). DVIs enhance efficiency and allow your technicians to capture and attach images and videos, add notes, and share them quickly with your service advisors and customers. Changing to DVIs drives efficiency, significantly increases customer transparency, builds trust, and assists greatly in gaining approval for recommended services.

Tip 1: As a starting point, look at shop management systems (SMS) built for auto shops, as many offer DVIs as one of their core features. (Check out this blog post on shop management software systems and find a list of some of our SMS partners: Click Here

Tip 2: Consider a DVI solution that works well with mobile devices (see step 5).

Step 2 — Use Standardized Inspection Templates: A detailed and comprehensive template checklist for vehicle inspections standardizes the process, ensuring each vehicle is inspected to the same high standards. This minimizes the risk of overlooking critical issues and makes the inspection process more efficient for technicians. Depending on your service offerings, you might consider multiple inspection templates tailored to the specific reasons a vehicle is brought in. If you’re not ready for digital vehicle inspections, the creation of inspection templates is still highly valuable to speeding up your inspection process. Check out this blog post for inspiration on inspiration inspection checklists: Click Here.

Step 3 Train Your Team: Thoroughly train your team on the inspection processes to ensure inspections are conducted efficiently and comprehensively for every vehicle. When everyone is aligned on the inspection methodology, it maximizes the process’s ROI — enhancing both the speed and accuracy of inspections and creating more upsell opportunities.

Step 4 — Schedule Wisely: Factor in inspection times when managing your shop’s schedule. Allocating sufficient time for each vehicle’s inspection ensures technicians have enough time for comprehensive inspections without feeling rushed. This allows them to identify critical issues and recommend additional services if applicable — potentially increasing the value of the repair order.

Step 5 — Implement Mobile Devices and/or Apps: Providing technicians with mobile devices and/or apps for their phones makes it super easy to complete inspections and then send them directly from the bay to the service advisor. It cuts down on manual data entry and the need for technicians to verbally communicate findings to the service advisor — aligning them more quickly. 

Step 6 — Analyze and Optimize: Regularly review and analyze the inspection process to identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies and make the necessary adjustments. This continuous improvement cycle ensures the inspection process becomes increasingly efficient, leading to quicker turnaround times.

By integrating these strategies and tools into your vehicle inspection process, you speed up inspections, enhance service quality and customer experience, and create more opportunities to increase your ARO.

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