Joseph M. Henmueller is President & COO of the Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association / Motorist Assurance Program, widely known as AMRA/MAP. AMRA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen the relationship between auto care professionals and vehicle owners, and it accomplishes that by developing industry standards for vehicle inspection and communication. Its complementary association, MAP, educates both service providers and consumers, so motorists receive options and information to help make the best decisions for their vehicles’ repair and maintenance.
AMRA was founded more than 20 years ago, during a time when, as Henmueller says, service providers were “really good at fixing cars, but really bad at communicating the value they were providing for the consumer.” Since then, AMRA has focused its efforts primarily on service providers, setting industry standards for communicating and documenting the results of vehicle inspections and services performed, with an end goal of demonstrating value to the consumer.
“AMRA writes the standards, and helps convey the value of services performed back to the consumer in a way that consumer understands. We don’t ever want consumers to walk away feeling they were oversold,” said Henmueller.
A Big Part of the Industry
“We’re a big part of the industry,” explains Henmueller. “Based on the number of participating shops, the number of repair bays, and the average number of jobs performed per year, we estimate that our MAP Standards and MAP Process are utilized in over 90 million car repair transactions every year.”
AMRA’s membership is composed of about 20,000 service provider shops, representing nearly 75,000 MAP-Qualified technicians and 90,000 service bays, including “everyone from independent Mom-and-Pop shops to national retailers like TBC Corporation and Bridgestone Firestone, to banner groups like TECHNET, regional operations that have 150 shops, and everything in between; along with schools, educators, OEM suppliers, and equipment and tool manufacturers.”
Participation in the program primarily involves education, as provided through MAP Technical Committee meetings; each year, there are two in Chicago, and one in Florida, and one General Membership meeting held in Las Vegas, during SEMA/AAPEX. AMRA/MAP standards are also available to all member shops online. AMRA produces vehicle inspection check-sheets, as well as standards on how to complete them, to help repair technicians inspect each vehicle, to document their findings and to communicate the results back to the consumer. In addition, each member shop has access to an online training module that earns them “MAP-Qualified” certification.
Defining Recommended vs. Required Repairs
Before any service is performed by a participating AMRA/MAP service center, it’s policy that an inspection of the affected system is performed. The results of the inspection must then be documented; along with MAP’s “Reason for Repair Codes” ensuring the customer understands the reason for the repair recommendations.
While the consumer always has the right to refuse vehicle service, and is never bound to complete any service, AMRA/MAP helps to distinguish between when a shop should require, vs. suggest part repair or replacement.
Reasons to “Require” Part Repair or Replacement
A – Part no longer performs its intended purpose
B – Part does not meet a design specification (regardless of performance)
C – Part is missing
“Required” means that the shop is required to replace the part or perform the service in order to bring that system back to its proper operating condition. Anything beyond that is always suggested/optional, says Henmueller, because a part may be near the end of its useful life or as preventive maintenance designed to prolong the life of the vehicle.
When a service center joins AMRA, the owner/operator signs a contract confirming a commitment to follow AMRA/MAP Standards. And, at least one person on that shop’s staff must be trained and receive MAP-Qualified certification. They’re then designated as a MAP-Participating Facility, which consumers may find via MAP’s online shop locator, and via a “MAP Participating Facility” logo, which confirms that MAP-Qualified individuals are inspecting and making consistent service and repair recommendations, based on uniform industry standards.
If you’re a consumer looking for more free information, check out MAP, the Motorist Assurance Program.
And, if you’re an automotive service provider, or any company that supports the automotive aftermarket, consider joining AMRA, the Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association
Big thanks to AMRA/MAP for advancing professionalism within the auto care industry. Openbay is an online marketplace for auto repair, and we know that a well informed consumer is a happy consumer. Whether you’re a vehicle owner or the owner/operator of a service center, check out Openbay today.