Have you ever tried to build a puzzle without looking at the picture to see what it is supposed to look like? A simple project with a simple set of instructions: “You must insert correctly-sized pieces into their corresponding location.” Such a simple process and yet we all look at the “manual” to see what we are supposed to assemble. Even after building the same puzzle multiple times, you still utilize the box lid to assist in the assembly process. We should treat every vehicle repair exactly the same.
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Most vehicles have repair procedures, or manuals for safe and proper repair. These manuals have been designed to ensure that once performed, a vehicle — if wrecked again — will wreck as good as it did the first time. These manuals, so much more important than the box lid of a puzzle, don’t come with the vehicle. They don’t even come with the parts to the puzzle. They must be researched to obtain.
|Estimator Justin Weber writes the estimate on a Dodge truck with the repair procedures close by. Utilizing repair procedures is essential to ensuring the estimate includes all that is necessary to perform proper repairs.|
Vehicle manufacturers build cars with unique characteristics. One make will not be the same as another make, which is obvious, but even from one model of the same make to another model they can be built differently. Manufacturers change models and their production methods regularly. Some manufacturers even change the production methods during the same model run. This means a vehicle can look exactly the same as a year prior and yet contain completely different metals, attachment methods and have completely different collision characteristics. Therefore, different repair processes for each make, each model and each year are required. Many times, a repair method will evolve on the exact same vehicle; for example, a repair process on one model changed four times in just a year’s time!
Why is it so important to perform an operation as the OEM has designed? By now everyone has heard of the accident and subsequent judgement that happened in Texas. This was a glaring diversion from the OEM repair procedures, but even a small deviation can have huge implications. Fixing vehicles how they were fixed even a few short years ago can cause massive degradation to the crashworthiness of a vehicle, resulting in increased injury or death. A quick Google search of “crash test on incorrectly repaired vehicle” will show you many videos on crash test comparisons from grossly incorrect repairs to repairs that seem perfectly logical, all showing eye-opening results.
Why is it so important now, more than ever?
Construction of vehicles has changed substantially over the past few years. Cars have to be both lighter and safer. The increase in features has increased the weight, yet the mandate for better fuel mileage from the government requires a lighter car. Simply making a car lighter could create issues with safety. Safety requirements have increased as well as the demand from consumers for safer cars. This has created a need for new car design strategies, new materials and radical changes to how vehicles are built.
A typical vehicle will now have five-plus different substrates of steel, not including vehicles that are a mix of materials like aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and steel. Different strengths, different thicknesses, all designed to serve a different purpose. The high-strength steels (HSS, UHSS, HSLA, AHSS, etc.) all will be altered when heat is applied to them. Those metals are also stronger than the standard MIG welding wire. This means that any weld, spot or seam, performed with a MIG steel welder WILL affect the strength of those metals. This has created the need for specific replacement or sectioning locations and for the use of brazing, squeeze type resistance spot welding, riveting and bonding.
|Estimator Justin Weber reviews the repair procedures with technician Kristopher Barker. The two have mapped the vehicle and are discussing exactly how the work will be performed.|