|Your Frame Repair Questions
FOLLOWING ANSWERS ARE PROVIDED AS A GENERAL AND PRACTICAL GUIDE.
YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR OWN ATTORNEY FOR SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE.
Are cars ever the same after the frame is bent? I've been told they never are.
Frame or unibody
damage that is corrected properly result in a vehicle with no chronic post repair problems
such as tire wear, vibration, or premature steering or suspension problems.
How can I be assured the frame or unibody has been
Although no method is
foolproof, many shops can provide for you a before and after computer generated report of
either frame or unibody damage and the subsequent corrective action. Also, in many
cases, the shop performs a suspension alignment after all repairs are complete. A
report can then be printed assuring no deviation from the factory specifications.
Who decides if a unibody or structural component should
be repaired or replaced?
The repair shop, as
experts, should make the call on this. Their decision should be based on the
manufacture's recommendations as well as I-CAR
guidelines for structural components.
How is the decision made whether a structural part is
repaired or replaced?
The decision is based
upon the degree of damage sustained by that particular structural component. Unibody
cars are designed and built with crush zones to disperse the energy of an accident.
It is important for the repair shop to recognize the limitations of damage that can be
repaired safely. This is a very important aspect of the repair process.
How are such structural parts replaced?
They are typically
accomplished by a welding method called GMAW, which is gas metal arc welding, commonly
referred to as MIG welding. The proper welding technique is paramount to the safety
of the vehicle. Unfortunately, the average consumer is not aware of this since the
results of the welding operations are seldom seen once repairs are completed.
Can any welding method be used on unibody vehicles?
No. The steel used in
structural components on unibody cars are commonly referred to as high strength (HS) and
ultra high strength (UHS). Without getting into the metallurgy of these steels, they
are used because of their high strength to weight ratio. The welding method and
procedure is well defined by the vehicle manufacturer, and hence, I-CAR. Also restricted is the
amount of heat that can be used in the straightening, repairing or welding of these
What else can I do to be assured the frame or
structural unibody components on my vehicle are going to be repaired properly?
It is recommended you
ask to see the credentials of the technician or technicians working on your vehicle.
Ask to see the frame/unibody measuring and straightening system employed at the
repair shop. Finally, ask some questions about the procedures that will be used on
your vehicle, including if a before and after printout is available.
Do all vehicles sustaining frame or unibody damage
automatically get a suspension alignment?
No. In general,
if the impact has caused damage to areas around the steering or suspension components, an
alignment should be performed to insure all the damage is repaired and to identify any
bent steering or suspension parts.
Should I allow my windshield to be replaced in my yard
or parking lot at work?
In almost all cases, the windshield and back glass are structural components of
your automobile. They are set with urethane, which cures to become an integral part
of your car's structure. Contact us
for more information.