Solera’s Top Tips for Technicians May 12, 2020

Solera’s Top Tips for Technicians
May 12, 2020

Each week Solera highlights some of the real-world, experience-based fixes our users at Identifix and OE technical fixes our users at Autodata discover. Here are this week’s favorites:


Confirmed, experience-based fixes directly from technicians and shop owners. Find this and over 3.5 million other confirmed fixes in Direct-Hit. Get a 14-day free trial.

The Vehicle:

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS 1.4 Liter 4 Cylinder

The Problem:

The air conditioning does not work and always blows warm air.

Check out the solution in our Fix of the Week


Confirmed fixes sourced directly from the manufacturer. For information on how to get OEM-sourced fixes for your workshop, see

The Vehicle:

2015 Audi TT

The Problem:

Clicking noise from the front of the vehicle when turning the steering wheel.

Other Applicable Vehicles:

Vehicles: 2014-2018 Audi TT’s

The Diagnosis:

To confirm the complaint of a clicking noise the vehicle was road tested. Then the vehicle was placed on a hoist and the steering and suspension components were checked for loose, bent, damaged or worn parts. All the pieces visually are okay. Next was to check that the bolts in the suspension system are tightened to the correct torque.

The Solution:

The noise is due to movement between the wheel bearing housing and the hub carrier. To complete this repair a specific grease, which is available from an Audi parts dealer, will be required. Remove the front wheel bearing housing from the hub carrier. Clean and apply a light coating of the grease to the mating surfaces of the front wheel bearing housing and hub carrier. Install the front wheel bearing housing to the hub carrier and ensure retaining bolts are tightened to the correct torque. Repeat the same procedure for the opposite side. Carry out a road test to ensure the noise has been eliminated.




In continuation of our blog series about “COVID-19: What’s Now and What’s Next”, we take a look at the digital transformation auto collision and repair shops are experiencing, and what steps they should take to emerge stronger as the world establishes its new normal.

Due to the required shelter-in-place and stay at home regulations around the globe, and the need to protect their team members, shops are experiencing a reduced workforce. To stay operational within the current limitations shops need to use this downtime to adapt historical workflows to become technology-inclusive and automate repetitive tasks that will free up SMEs—both of which offer valuable efficiencies as we climb out of the pandemic and shops manage their staffing needs.

With fewer cars on the road and fewer collisions, now is a prime time to train teams to start or further their digital journey, because as restrictions lift and people become increasingly more mobile again, work volumes may exceed what they were pre-pandemic.

The automotive industry has become extensively more digital through COVID-19, and it’s important not to lose momentum and continue accelerating the adoption of game-changing technologies. Solera, for example, has spent over 1,000 hours providing training to the emerging market in India, where there’s a lot of natural churn and a lower level of digital awareness.

COVID-19 has also greatly impacted the way consumers and businesses interact, and this move toward contactless experiences— from vehicle drop-offs/delivery services, virtual repairer instruction, managing workflows and payments—will likely be what customers continue to expect post-pandemic. Even as shelter-in-place orders are lifted and less stringent measures are employed, new social distancing norms will prevail, and shops must adopt digital solutions to align with these expectations.

Furthermore, sanitation and cleaning services could evolve from add-on services to standard practice. Cleaning charges have been widely acknowledged and accepted by insurers to help stop the spread.

We’re also seeing collaboration like never before with shops working together to support the industry. Some shops can get cars into their shops, but they can’t get the necessary parts, so parts sourcing has become common during this challenging time. From sharing data to connect the supply chain and working around any shortage of parts, we’re witnessing how shops can utilize technology to further connect the automotive ecosystem.

As the industry embarks further on its digital transformation, the output will only be as good as the data leveraged in its technology. Solera uses an unrivaled breadth of high-quality data sources, big data technology and a team of analysts who scrutinize trends and movement in real-time.

Finally, there’s no better time to connect with our iATN network and take advantage of the expertise and knowledge of over 80,000 technicians around the world. With our combined global data and boots on the ground, we can partner together to combat many of these challenges.

Get involved in the conversation by listening to our most recent webinar about COVID-19: What’s Now and What’s Next, and register for upcoming discussions on how you can emerge from this time of uncertainty even stronger.




The COVID-19 pandemic has led to record lockdowns across the globe, leaving the automotive industry to navigate the uncharted waters of drastically changing consumer and industry behavior.

A panel of Solera’s global leadership team recently participated in a webinar where they discussed the current state of the industry amidst COVID-19 and offered insights into what businesses need to consider if they want to emerge stronger on the other side of the pandemic.

With fewer cars on the road and fewer repair demands resulting from shelter-in-place mandates throughout the world, the volume of work has dropped. Dave Shepherd, Regional Managing Director of Audatex EMEA, explained that volumes across the UK in April were significantly down, and other parts of Europe were seeing lows of almost 90% during the strictest lock-down periods.

Because of COVID-19’s unprecedented nature, there really isn’t historical data to pull insights from when looking to the future. And unsurprisingly, there’s a feeling of uncertainty surrounding when everything will return to “normal”—and what the “normal” will look like.

But we do recognize that this unique situation, while presenting some challenges to our industry, also brings with it real opportunity to introduce digital solutions with full force. To keep claims moving in the midst of COVID-19, the key is open, contactless, digital communication when facilitating workflows and repairs. Progress made during these unprecedented times in implementing digital touchpoints throughout the workflow could carry on permanently and become the “new normal” of claims.

Solera already has the ability to do this, with customer-driven digital image capture at the point of first notification of loss (FNOL), starting the customers digital journey and being the first step of our AI and machine learning workflow. Now is the time to digitally integrate all parts of the claims ecosystem and make it whole. The best part is that end consumers already have an appetite for this fully digital experience. Now industry players need to embrace it.

While there are still many variables at play to the continued impact of COVID-19, we have the ability to glean insights from is what’s going on in different parts of the world where communities are experiencing different stages of the pandemic. Quarantine measures are still in place throughout most major cities, but updates from our team in China show activity on the roads is picking back up as restrictions slowly lift.

Claims started returning almost immediately as people became mobile again. Even though it’s been a gradual lift of restrictions (for example, some businesses are operating at only 50% capacity), many people have preferred driving personal vehicles in an effort to avoid public or shared transportation.

By embracing this time to consider when and how to begin implementing digital touchpoints throughout the workflow, insurers, assessors and repairers can help customers transition towards a more streamlined, contactless experience as the next phase of the claims process. As a global leader in risk and asset management data and software solutions, Solera is uniquely positioned to support and serve our customers along their digital journey and throughout the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Get involved in the conversation by listening to our most recent webinar about COVID-19: What’s Now and What’s Next, and register for upcoming discussions on how you can emerge from this time of uncertainty even stronger.

COVID-19 Small Business Loan Accelerator Helps Submit Applications for CARES Act Relief

COVID-19 Small Business Loan Accelerator Helps Submit Applications for CARES Act Relief

COVID-19 has been an unprecedented disruption for organizations and individuals globally. While the impact has been universal, small businesses have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. 

In response, the recently passed CARES Act includes critical access to financial assistance for small businesses. But with many options now available, it can be hard to determine eligibility and apply, potentially delaying access to needed funds.

As a part of our ongoing efforts to help our communities during these unique times, we’re excited to share the launch of the COVID-19 Small Business Loan Accelerator.

What is the Small Business Loan Accelerator?

Developed in partnership with Quick Base and Vista Equity Partners, this free, publicly available online diagnostic tool helps small business owners quickly evaluate eligibility for and prepare applications to financial assistance programs offered by the Small Business Administration.

The application provides the following to small businesses: 

  • Information on key programs available through the CARES Act
  • A diagnostics tool to determine eligibility for these programs
  • Guided form completion and generation to speed up application

How does it work?

Simply visit the application page here and go through the following process:

  1. Answer a series of short questions about you and your business
  2. Learn what programs you’re eligible for
  3. Your forms will be filled out automatically and ready for submission

You can determine eligibility for a number of programs available through the SBA, including:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): This program provides 100-percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EDIL): These lower interest loans of up to $2 million are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
  • 7(a) Loans: The SBA’s primary loan for providing financial assistance to small businesses—terms and conditions vary by specific loan type.

“With COVID-19’s devastating impact on small businesses, the CARES Act puts forth a range of substantial programs and money to help small businesses adapt quickly,” said Jay Jamison, chief product & technology officer at Quick Base. “The problem is that small businesses often struggle to navigate the maze of government regulations and programs successfully. Quick Base is committed to doing our part to help, and we have built this app to provide a way to streamline the process small business owners will have in applying for relief, aid and loan programs.”

Learn more about the COVID-19 Small Business Accelerator. To see other resources available to you, check out the COVID-19 response page.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Advanced Digital Claims and Repair

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Advanced Digital Claims and Repair

The insurance and automotive ecosystems currently face a revolutionary business process innovation: harnessing maturing technologies to add considerable value to the digital claims and collision repair process. With an abundance of mobile technologies and machine learning capabilities available, properly combined with expertise, powerful data and content, breakthroughs are possible for all stakeholders to unlock significant value by employing a new, modern workflow where the time from initial incident to claims resolution is significantly reduced and the consumer experience exponentially improved. 

With advanced telematics, connected vehicles, augmented driving programs and the like, driving and insuring a vehicle has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. The data gathered through insurance monitoring programs and manufacturer reporting can be used to not only shed light on driver behavior for advancements in safety, but also to predict vehicle damage and assess repair costs.  

Solera  has been studying the practical application of AI and machine learning in regard to vehicle damage assessment through guided image capture. This technology utilizes AI to accurately identify vehicle damage and automate an initial estimate. The company’s proprietary solutions combine advanced photo analytics and next-generation mobile claims technology, supported by a robust database composed of global data assets. 

Solera’s solution  also allows drivers and assessors to model and report light, cosmetic* vehicle collision damages  through guided image capture and markup tools. This in turn allows the repairer, after accessing the images, to determine what parts are needed for the repair prior to the vehicle leaving the scene of the accident—thus the wait time for parts can be significantly reduced and the claim settled at a much faster rate.  

With reduced cycle times and more accurate repair diagnoses, more vehicles can be repaired and returned to customers in their original state, improving overall vehicle safety. Additionally, total losses can be more appropriately and factually determined, reducing the number of hazardous vehicles on the road. 

Users of these technologies can make better decisions for their businesses and in turn serve customers with greater care, fulfilling a higher mission to provide convenience and transparency in the handling of their vehicle. 

*Cosmetic auto collision damage claims are defined as external only damage of $2,500 or less, for a drivable vehicle that did not deploy airbags. 

To download the complete white paper on artificial intelligence and machine learning, please visit

Paying It Forward in Vehicle Repair Education

Paying It Forward in Vehicle Repair Education

Written by Betsy Fata, Solera Content Writer

If you pay attention to the automotive news cycle, you’ll hear a familiar refrain: there’s a widespread shortage of skilled technicians. Shops and dealerships have been hurting for entry-level workers for many years now, and the need is only increasing as more vehicles, often with complex technology packages, are rolled out to consumers. 

CREF, the Collision Repair Education Foundation, estimates there are 14,000 new job openings every year, due to turnover and workers leaving the industry, which means 14,000 new technicians are needed each year to keep the industry growing and thriving. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the job outlook for educated automotive service technicians is very positive—so, what explains the lack of bodies to fill these bays 

One potential deterrent could be the perceived difficulty of the career in relation to the expected pay. Sure, you can potentially earn more as a full-time Starbucks barista than as a first-year technician. Carpentry and trucking have starting salaries similar to this kind of trade work. However, according to CREF’s Director of Development, Brandon Eckenrode, if technicians are willing to put in the hard work in the beginning of their career, they can potentially make six figures in as little as five years. It may be that the level of difficulty and technical skill required is enough to deter younger workers from entering the field, despite the potential payoffs.  

The schools responsible for educating and training the next generation of technicians face constant uphill battles with each incoming class—lack of funding and scarce resources have contributed to a decrease in U.S. schools, with more than 100 of these specialized programs closing in the last five years.  

But it’s not all doom and gloom. CREF is one of several organizations determined to build up the industry’s workforce and educate skilled men and women to address the growing need for techs. Since 2013, the number of schools CREF supports has grown from 443 to 599, awarding grants and donating materials to the programs that sorely need the resources. 

Many educators are forced to come up with their own materials to train students or even dumpster dive for spare parts to show in class. With the support of CREF, these teachers can equip their classes with brand-new equipment, donated software and crucial items like safety glasses. 

Bodyshops have also started giving back to these programs and contributing materials and spare parts that will help the future workforce gain valuable experience in the classroom and in the shop. In case you’re not moved by our podcast on this topic and the stories of dedicated teachers stretching just $50 per student for an entire year of class, consider a high-school class whose program can’t afford to purchase professional shop shirts for the students. Knowing that a professional look can help students feel confident and work at their best level, local businesses have started sponsoring uniforms and outfitting students in the look of a polished, skilled technician—proving the old adage that even a small thing can make a big difference.  

CREF was founded under the name I-CAR Education Foundation in order to fund schools and train a workforce that was steadily aging. CREF created and distributed curriculum to the high schools and colleges so students could graduate with industry-recognized training and entry-level skill sets. In 2008, CREF became a solely philanthropic entity and has since raised over $100 million in support for these programs. 

If you’d like to learn more about education and donation opportunities with CREF, please visit