Repair Information, Direct from the Source

By Rene Young

In this world of fake news and questionable sources, it is good to know you can get manufacturers’ repair information directly from the people who built the vehicle you are working on.

Ever since the invention of the automobile, the aftermarket service and repair industry has tapped into a variety of sources for its repair information needs. Long before computers and the Internet, many shops owned libraries of repair manuals published by companies like Mitchell, Chilton, and Motor.

In the late 1980s, a fellow from Sacramento named Rod Georgiu started up a company called Alldata, which began the movement of automotive repair information into the digital realm. Rod saw that the volume of repair data necessary to repair and service vehicles was growing exponentially, making books too bulky to remain a practical solution. Besides, books wore out quickly in the shop environment and could only be updated by printed supplements, if available.

The company’s first product came on a few CD-ROMs, replaced periodically by updated editions. Within the product’s first decade, the number of CDs required to form a complete set had expanded to the point where they too were becoming impractical. Enter the DVD. With discs boasting a much higher capacity, the number of DVDs required was manageable. Meanwhile, the volume of repair information continued to grow, in keeping with the pace of advances in automotive technology.

In the early 2000s, the service began its migration to the Internet. Hard copies were eventually phased out. You simply logged in, entered the vehicle information and downloaded the information you needed. But many repairs began to require uploading programming updates into the vehicle.

Today’s vehicles are equipped with numerous components that must be recalibrated before a repair can be considered complete. Manufacturers are regularly releasing pre- and post-scanning information and updates. They claim these procedures are critical, so the only way to be sure you are following the correct steps and completing calibrations and component reprogramming is to go directly to the source.

This is why the Canadian service Information Standard (CASIS) agreement is so important to the aftermarket repair industry. It is a commitment from the manufacturers to make the information available.

The official CASIS website is oemrepairinfo.ca. It is a portal to all of the Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) service information websites as well as plethora additional resources. It also includes a tool so repairers can report any gaps in information availability they encounter, and the manufacturers have been exemplary in their response to submissions.

To repair vehicles to OEM standards, you need OEM information. The information is available, so why not go directly to the source?