Video of the Week

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Hoffman Estates, Illinois -- June 9, 2014 -- I-CAR has launched its new interactive Advanced Steering and Suspension Systems Damage Analysis (DAM15) course. This course provides detailed information on the considerations for inspecting steering and suspension systems and provides knowledge that can lead to increased efficiency and a positive customer experience.

Josh McFarlin, I-CAR Director of Curriculum & Product Development stated, “Advanced steering and suspension systems are common in today’s vehicles and if not repaired properly, other vehicle systems can be compromised.” He continued, “Repairers can apply knowledge learned in this course throughout the repair process.”

The course features a series of interactive classroom activities and problem-solving scenarios designed to engage the student and enrich their learning experience in order to further prepare them to apply their knowledge on the job. Toward the end of the course, the student will engage in a “damage discovery” activity where he/she will simulate the estimating process.

This instructor-led, Live 3-credit hour course meets training requirements for Estimators, Auto Physical Damage Appraisers and Electrical/Mechanical Technicians in I-CAR’s Professional Development Program (PDP). DAM15 has replaced Electronically Controlled Steering and Suspension Systems (STE05). If STE05 has been completed, training credit earned will not be lost.

To register for Advanced Steering and Suspension Systems Damage Analysis (DAM15), please visit

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Jeremy Lessard of Quebec, Kevin Disterhoft of Manitoba  and Jacob Wall of British Columbia all placed as medalists in the secondary school auto body category. Disterhoft (centre) took home the gold ahead of fellow medalists Wall (silver) and Lessard (bronze).

Jeremy Lessard of Quebec, Kevin Disterhoft of Manitoba  and Jacob Wall of British Columbia all placed as medalists in the secondary school auto body category. Disterhoft (centre) took home the gold ahead of fellow medalists Wall (silver) and Lessard (bronze).

By Andrew Ardizzi

Mississauga, Ontario -- June 9, 2014 -- When the sparks settled, the paint dried and the final tallies were made following Skills Canada's national skilled trade competitions, four students took home gold medals in their respective age brackets in the auto body repair and car painting categories.

The 2014 Skills Canada national skills competition was held inside Mississauga's International Centre, featuring over 500 youth training in the skilled trades. The event, which ran from June 5 to June 6, brought together the top youth from across the country from 42 different trades with the field composed of the provincial winners from Skills Canada's regional competitions. 

Alberta's Justin Dambitis won gold in the post-secondary auto body repair category, finishing ahead of silver medalist Steven Le-Magueresse of Ontario and bronze medalist Marc-Andre Benoit of New Brunswick.

In the secondary auto body category, Kevin Disterhoft of Manitoba won gold, beating out silver medal winner Jacob Wall of British Columbia and bronze medalist Jeremy Lessard of Quebec.

Nova Scotia's Ryan Smith painted a quality first place performance, winning gold in the post-secondary Car Painting category. Smith finished ahead of silver medalist Daniel Kidd of Ontario and Kassandra Plante Bilodeau, who took a bronze medal to her home province of Quebec.

At the secondary level, Quebec's Vicky Bouchard won car painting gold, finishing ahead of silver medal winner Catherine Elizabeth Mathewson of Ontario and bronze medalist Ryan Beattie. 

The competitive aspect aside, Skills Canada's purpose swells far beyond simple competition and works to show students a path towards a future in the skilled trades.

Leanne Jefferies, AIA Director of Collision Programs and the Director of the CCIF skills program, says the importance of the Skills programming is immeasurable and is a great way to reach the youth of today and introduce them to skilled trades like auto body repair and car painting.

"It's great to show interest in these young kids in the industry and it's a great learning experience for them," Jefferies says. "I think they can really feel the support of the industry here."

Complementing the practical learning experiences for the students taking part, Jefferies and other CCIF members were on-hand at the CCIF booth where pamphlets were available for competitors and the general public so they could read about the various career paths collision repair training provides. Additionally there was an interactive painting demonstration where anyone could try their hand at painting a digital representation of a car part.

"This is a really great opportunity for industry and education to come together," she says. "It's nice to get all of the stakeholders together for something that benefits the industry. It lets them meet the kids in person, and some have even been offered jobs right on the floor."

William Speed, an auto collision repair instructor at Danforth Collegiate Technical Institute and Chair of Skills Canada for the last several years, says he likes to see his kids succeed, especially noting one young female competitor in the car painting category who he says is so good she's already been receiving work offers.

"I can take very little credit for what they do though," he says. "Some of them just grab the opportunity and run with it."

From a technical perspective, he adds these competitions serve the additional purpose of putting each competing youth in a real-life high-stress situation where they must be efficient and technically sound in order to finish their trade-specific tasks within the allotted time.

"It puts them out of their normal realm, so they need to step up their skill level because in some cases they may not have ever done the tasks we're asking them to complete."

Echoing Jefferies, Speed feels the industry response has been immense however its stakeholders need to continue supporting Skills Canada to further the grow the profile and stage skilled youths are being given.

"We need even more employers to come out and see what these kids are doing because they're the industry's future," he says. "The average age is getting higher and we need to get some young blood into shops."

It's that reality that defines Jefferies' reasoning for being so supportive of Skills Canada's programming, which allows skilled youth to converge and continue their path into the skilled trades, and to see support growing from the industry is gratifying for her. Even more, the competitions habitually see former competitors returning to take part in the organization and judging of the events.

"They get to have this experience as competitors, and they get to share that experience with each other and the next generation," she says. "I think this competition altogether highlights industries like ours and shows where you can work in the industry if youth follow their passions."

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NACE set to bring top training

Written by Mike Davey
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Colleyville, Texas -- May 15, 2014 -- NACE | CARS 2014 has released the full training and education conference program that promises to have shop owners, technicians and industry stakeholders covered from A to Z when it comes to training, education and unbeatable new sessions. In addition to the largest conference offering in NACE | CARS history, the show will also have many of the industry’s leading experts speaking at this year’s event.
The Schedule-At-A-Glance is available on the NACE | CARS website or at this link.
Now in its 32nd year, NACE | CARS 2014 features numerous opportunities for technical training, business and management education, demonstrations, networking and technology showcases for stakeholders, owners, managers and technicians in the collision and mechanical repair industries.
The complexity of today’s vehicle from a collision- and mechanical-repair perspective is eliminating competition and reducing the number of shops in the country. Cars manufactured today require specialized tooling, training and equipment, and the use of aluminum and high-strength steels are changing the dynamics of the collision repair industry. These are just some of the challenges that will be addressed with real world solutions at NACE.
CARS is also on track to be better than ever with a specific focus on telematics. Today’s “connected car” can communicate information to the car in front of you, behind you, a streetlight, a stop sign or a satellite as you drive down the road. Telematics is a hot issue and CARS is fortunate to exclusively offer a six-hour dedicated program, the Technology & Telematics Forum, on Friday, August 1, sponsored by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
The full Conference Program is available here
“Investing in training to ensure a proper repair and remain current with today’s technology is a requirement. Your customers and the success of your business are dependent upon your commitment to ongoing education. We’ve spent countless hours developing this years program to ensure we deliver upon our goal to assist collision and mechanical repair professionals in performing a safe and proper repair while improving efficiency and profitability,” said Dan Risley, ASA president and executive director.
NACE | CARS 2014 welcomes students and educators focused on the automotive repair industry; special discounts are available to both. In addition, shops dedicated to ongoing education may be eligible for a 50 percent discount. To qualify, shops, owners, technicians or staff must be I-CAR Gold, I-CAR Platinum, ASE Blue Seal or an ASE Master Technician.
Registration is now open and available here
All NACE | CARS participants are encouraged to book their hotel reservations at their earliest convenience, as the rooms are filling fast. Attendees can review the hotels within the official housing block and reserve rooms online through this link or by calling 800-221-3531, Monday to Friday from 9 7 p.m. EST.
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Hoffman Estates, Illinois -- April 8, 2014 -- I-CAR has announced that its popular Steering and Suspension Damage Analysis (DAM06) course has been completely revamped. The course now includes up-to-date information on damage analysis procedures on the range of steering and suspension systems and parts featured in vehicles being repaired today. The course also includes a series of interactive classroom activities designed to engage the student and enrich their learning experience to further prepare them to apply their knowledge on the job.

“This course provides an understanding of steering and suspension repair considerations that can help eliminate the chance of compromising the vehicle’s integrity during the repair and reduce comebacks,” says Josh McFarlin, I-CAR Director of Curriculum & Product Development. “Content included in this course is beneficial to repairers, business owners and ultimately consumers.”
During the course students will gain a detailed overview of steering and suspension systems and parts. They will also have the opportunity to analyze certain issues such as caster, camber and toe. Other content, including understanding ride height difference and additional inspection methods, plus how to use alignment angle readings are covered in DAM06. Students will participle in multiple activities throughout the course, including an interactive alignment activity where they will determine alignment angles. 
This instructor-led, Live 3-credit hour course meets training requirements for Estimators and Auto Physical Damage Appraisers in I-CAR’s Professional Development Program (PDP). 
To register for Steering and Suspension Damage Analysis (DAM06), visit the I-CAR website at

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