I’ve fielded a number of calls lately asking whether or not copies of bulletins should be retained with the repair order.
Although there isn’t a specific requirement we can find in the P&P, we strongly urge clients to retain a copy.
As you know, bulletins are constantly updated to reflect revised diagnostic or repair procedures. Perhaps by design, all revisions tell you to “discard” the previous version.
For example, an initial bulletin dealing with “zebra striped” cylinder walls directed dealers to replace the engine.
Within a short time, that bulletin disappeared altogether and was replaced with another that said GM engineering had determined the zebra stripes were not detrimental to the engine’s durability.
The Saturn VTi transmission is yet another example. Early on, bulletins had dealers replacing the assembly to address a noise in the Vues and Ions.
Later revisions started with a fluid change, a little snake oil and PCM reflash. Only after that was done, and the condition persisted, could you replace the assembly.
Unfortunately, the audit team didn’t have access to the original bulletin and debited every assembly replacement on the basis of the revision, regardless of the repair date.
In their defense, they can’t keep up with every bulletin update any more than we can.
The only saving grace was a tech who had a copy of the original in his toolbox.
As I recall, we had 6 assembly debits reversed during the audit process—saving about $15,000 in potential debits and avoiding a lengthy appeal.
I also prefer retaining an electronic PDF copy of bulletins on your PC along with the revision date, just like you should retain old copies of the P&P Manual.