Tech Comments

Back before the regional training centers were closed, they were slated to spend time in each class instructing technicians on proper comments and other compliance requirements to support their repair.  Somewhere down the line, that idea fell by the wayside.

As we’ve said many times before, as long as you’re in this business, you’ll need to be diligent with insuring technician comments meet the requirements to list the cause and correction.  It sounds simple enough, but there’s really more to it than meets the eye.

In addition to the cause and correction, techs have to explain the diagnostic process that led to their conclusion.  If they claim a certain test, the test results must be listed.  Along with that, they must detail all steps taken that would lead to a request for straight time.

Many times we tend to fall into a lull of accepting inadequate write ups simply because of the repetitive nature of the repair, perhaps assuming it’d be common knowledge, but that’s not always the case.

There was a manager disputing a claim debit because the tech didn’t list the cause of failure.  His reasoning: “You know what happens to those, right?”  The auditor had a simple reply: “Yeah, but I don’t know what happened to this one.”

In another case, a technician had spent two hours of OLH to locate and repair a wiring short, but the write-up was an abbreviated version saying something to the effect of: “Found pinched red wire in LF kick panel.”  Even though the time records and approval were in place, the auditor felt the comments didn’t justify 2 hours and only allowed 0.5 hr.

As our friend Don Kelley of Jim Keras Chevrolet pointed out recently, if you really think about it, “leaking” isn’t a cause, it’s a condition—even though it’s listed as a cause code.  The cause would be something to the effect of poor sealing, poor fit, improper installation, worn, or so forth.

All too often we see technicians use “Per bulletin xxxxx” to justify a repair.  Unfortunately, experience has shown that the bulletin will usually have certain specifications or other requirements that must be met before the part is condemned and that information must be documented. 

Another common shortcoming is using the term “below specs” without providing those specs.  By the same token, stating “Had code for O2 sensor,” without providing the actual code could subject the claim to debit.

Of course, you have to be on the look out for the phantom part that ended up on the repair order, but doesn’t have an explanation.  Familiar examples would include a water pump and thermostat, or an A/C compressor and belt.  That’s not to say these parts weren’t required, but they still have to be supported.

Any conversation about tech comments wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the use of terms such as “broken,” “bent,” “torn,” “damaged,” “ripped,” etc. 

Granted, these are all listed as potential cause codes in GWM, but if one of

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