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The problem with floor pulls

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 07:00
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There I was reviewing estimates at a shop and found “floor pull” written on two estimates where the damage was assessed by the same insurance adjuster. As the shop manager and I were discussing the issue with floor pulls the insurance adjuster walked up to the vehicle we were reviewing.   

Those of you who know me can visualize what happened next. The shop manager and I told the insurance adjuster we were discussing the need to set the vehicle up on the frame machine and measure it before any pulls were performed. The adjuster said, “Nah, just hook up to it to see if you can line it up.” I, playing the devil’s advocate asked the adjuster what he thought pulling the vehicle without it being properly secured would do to the rest of the vehicle. He didn’t really have an answer but eluded the question by saying, “If pulled properly nothing else on the vehicle should be affected.” I went on to tell him what I will tell you in this article.

The problem with floor pulls is you do not know exactly what is moving during the pull. Unibody structures are made from a variety of metals which have different reactions to pulling forces. You also do not know what was actually damaged during the collision and you would only be pulling visible damage. Along with the primary damage, there is also secondary damage that occurs during a collision. Primary damage is the point of impact, and secondary damage is the vehicle’s reaction to that impact. Fixing only the primary damage without considering the secondary damage can lead to disaster.   

I was at another shop recently where a vehicle was brought in for a post-accident inspection because the vehicle owner felt that something was not right. He had wind noise at both of the front doors, the right rear door was hard to open and the shop that repaired the vehicle could not figure out what was wrong.

In the accident the vehicle slid off the road into a ditch and had damage to the left front. After reviewing the photos of the vehicle damage, the inspector asked if the vehicle was measured during the original repairs. The damage appraisal from the original repairs only indicated a floor pull was performed to correct damage on the left front. The inspector then had the vehicle measured and found that not only was the left front rail measurement out of specification, but the left front corner of the torque box was also out of specification as was the right rear rail end.   

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