Automotive Excellence, Inc.

 

Auto Body Repair Frequently Asked Questions

Setting the standard since 1985

Frame Repair FAQ's



AUTO BODY REPAIR

 

THE 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 repaired properly?
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 components.

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?
Absolutely not.   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.


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Last updates:  Sunday, January 20, 2013.


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