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Tackling corrective repairs

Thursday, August 2, 2018 - 07:00
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I went back the following day to inspect the cause of the loose radar assembly and saw the vehicle torn down (Figure 5); I was disturbed by their findings. The prior body shop had installed the wrong bumper cross member, which did not accommodate a radar sensor assembly, and they decided to drill their own holes in it and used sheet metal screws to secure it in place. These screws were stripped in the holes and did not bite the metal properly. The radar assembly was compromised because it would never be able to sit in the proper position as designed. The bumper supports looked similar (Figure 6) and mounted correctly, but the one for the radar unit was much more money and had nuts welded on the inside to accommodate the radar assembly.

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Figure 5 Figure 6

This can of worms had only just started because other problems were unfolding with the prior repairs. The body shop found a bent radiator support that should have been replaced but was not for some reason (Figure 7). It was also discovered that the right-side headlight was damaged with a large hole on top of the housing. The prior body shop used duct tape to cover the hole and went one step further by painting the duct tape with black paint (Figure 8). I was still looking to see if they used any bubble gum as a filler to close any gaps.

Figure 7 Figure 8

I just don’t understand how any shop could perform these kind of repairs and sleep well at night. The insurance company had to come back out to evaluate the findings and decide how they were going to pay out for the repairs. The customer was not liable here, but someone was paying. I’m guessing either the prior body shop was picking up the tab or the insurance company was eating this one, but in any case “Corrective Repairs” had to be made to get the job done to meet the manufacture “As Build” specs for road safety.

When all the repairs were made, I went back to the shop on my final visit and was able to calibrate and realign the radar assembly and there was no longer any error messages coming up on the dash and we had a very happy customer. I felt bad for the owner of the vehicle because he was unaware how the vehicle was being repaired the first time. There are a lot of unanswered questions here. Was it about keeping the costs down so the car would not be totaled? Whose decision was it to reuse damaged parts? Why was the wrong bumper support installed and modified? How can body shops be in business and not put the car back to original specs? I’m not here to judge the whole turn of events but what I learned over the years working on cars is “Do it right or don’t do it at all.” I have learned that these type of repairs will eventually come back to bite you and your reputation goes down the tubes along with business revenue. My only hopes are that this story will keep you abreast of what can go on out there.

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