Car part 'selfies' help consumers decide if they need repairs

33 Central Florida auto repair shops using digital inspection software

ORLANDO, Fla. – Just in time for Memorial Day, car and truck owners considering repairs for their vehicles can get digital vehicle inspections to help them decide if they really need repair or replacement service.

Orlando-based Sloan’s Automotive started using Bolt On Technology five years ago as a way to become “transparent” to its customer base.

“It gives everyone on our end and the customers’ end peace of mind," owner Kenny Sloan said.

The fourth-generation garage started using the technology five years ago after reviewing a demonstration of the software at a conference in Puerto Rico.

The software allows each mechanic to prepare a report with photographs and text the information to their customers before they call.

Retired school teacher Elaine Matthews said the reports give her the visual information she needs to make repair decisions for her 1998 Jeep Cherokee.

“I’m actually learning as I go,” Mathews said. “You don’t have to be a computer person to understand this, you don’t have to be a car person to understand this.”

The digital pictures are stored on a tablet and sent directly to the customer’s phone.

All parts and fluids are scored much like a health report card, using a color code from red to green for parts and fluids.

Sloan said there are no app fees or additional costs to the customer for the service. Dealers pay roughly $250 a month for the program.

Pennsylvania-based Bolt On Technology introduced the system in 2010.

Now, 9 years later, the company estimates more than 6,000 repair shops in the U.S. are using their system, with more than 180 shops across Florida, including in Orlando, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Tampa, Miami and Tallahassee. 

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