This article from Repair Driven News focuses on the changes to the Subaru scanning and diagnostic system, focusing on updates and changes to the scanning system and its software, changes to certification, and how the changes influence usage in your tool to task universe as a quality-minded collision repair technician. This update strongly encourages the proper use of the SSM3 in repairs of Subaru Automobiles.
A new version of Subaru’s scanning position statement <DOWNLOAD BULLETIN> removes references to the asTech device, but the OEM confirmed last week it still deems the tool acceptable for certified shops.
“The asTech tool operates using the Subaru Diagnostic System SSM3 and SSM4 software and meets the Subaru Certified Collision Center program requirement,” Subaru collision certification manager Devin Wilcox wrote in an email Aug. 12.
All the significant changes between Subaru’s last revision in March 2020 and the new August 2020 version appear to fall within the document’s fifth paragraph.
Besides deleting the asTech discussion, the revised position statement adds a reference to Subaru’s older SSM3 software and revises the language pertaining to other scan devices.
“The edits to the position statement were to clarify Subaru’s position on the proper scanning devices and software,” Wilcox wrote.
“Subaru of America’s position is that the only way to accurately determine pre- and post-collision status of a Subaru vehicle is by use of the Subaru Diagnostic System (SDS) using OEM Subaru Select Monitor 3 (SSM3) and OEM Subaru Select Monitor 4 (SSM4) diagnostic software applications and a Denso DST-i interface device. Information regarding the purchase of the Subaru tools and software can be found in the Subaru Technical Information System (STIS) at https://techinfo.subaru.com> Information > Special Tool Information.,” the rewritten Subaru position statement declares. (Emphasis Subaru’s.) “Subaru does not test or validate other diagnostic scan tools or interfaces in the market and therefore cannot comment on their capabilities or accuracy. Always refer to the applicable Subaru Service Manual or Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) for the most up-to-date repair procedures.”
Some scan tool manufacturers sell devices compatible with the SAE J-2534 standard, which allows a tool or laptop to run official OEM scanning software instead of a third-party option. Subaru national wholesale parts manager John Lancaster explained in a 2019 discussion of certified shop equipment that J-2534 worked for newer SSM4 vehicles. However, “cars older than the 2015-2016 era” used SSM3 scan software that wasn’t J-2534-compatible, he wrote at the time. This was still the case, Lancaster confirmed in April.
We asked Subaru this month if certified auto body shops could use J-2534 devices.
“We have tested and validated the use of the DST-i interface device which is our recommended interface device for the certified network,” Wilcox wrote, referring to Subaru’s official scan tool. “We cannot comment on the function or results of any other interface devices.”
The meat of the statement — scan everything from model year 2004 onward before and after a repair — remains intact.
As far as we could tell, Subaru’s only other changes include tightening the language in the last paragraph warning that alternative parts wouldn’t be covered under a Subaru warranty and using the term “pre-collision condition” instead of “pre-accident condition.”
And speaking of the term “collision,” it’s worth pointing out — as Collision Hub’s Jason Bartanen recently did to the CIC — that Subaru provided a definition of the concept in the March version of the position statement. That definition remains in the August edition, and the additional clarity might ward off fights over whether a particular vehicle merits a certain repair operation.
“Subaru defines a collision as damage that exceeds minor outer body panel cosmetic distortion,” Subaru wrote.
Finally, we should offer the usual caveat. Position statements are great, but you can’t fix a car with those documents alone. You’ve got to research and use the actual Subaru OEM repair procedures pertinent to the job.
Subaru, August 2020
Featured image: A 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Limited is shown. (Provided by Subaru)