Fact #1: your car repair is probably going to need welding. your auto body repair probably requires welding. Fact #2: Only a few shops know how to weld properly, which means your safety could be at risk if you don’t take it somewhere that knows what they’re doing.
When you go into work every day for ten, twenty, or even thirty years, you feel confident with what you’re doing. There may be some specifics of what you’re working on that could change (and that’s to be expected). But for the most part, you are getting paid to do a job that you are already an expert in. What would happen if one day you go into work and the way you are supposed to do things is completely changed, but nobody told you? Wouldn’t you do your job the way you have always done it? What if doing things the “wrong” way still looked good once you were all done? Nobody would notice, right? However, what if this good looking job actually put someone’s safety at risk? Even worse, what if it killed someone but you had no way of knowing that it was what you did that cost someone their life?
These are all the problems collision repair technicians face today if their management does not support taking the time to research and build an individual repair plan for every single repair.
There is a lot of chatter today in the collision repair industry about getting back to the basics of welding. Manufacturers are building cars with specific instructions on how and where to cut weld their vehicles, which is why following the repair procedures is so critical in the repair process. In some instances, these instructions go against the methods used even just last year because they are constantly changing to adapt to the present needs for the vehicle. Some of the OEM instructions are also counter-intuitive. They might instruct technicians to weld directly over an existing weld. Even in the recent past, you would never think of doing a weld that way, and if you don’t take the time to study the procedure for that specific year make and model car, you have a very high chance of guessing wrong. The result could be fatal.
The best body shops in the world pride themselves on putting your car back together exactly the way it looked when it left the showroom. A skilled technician can repair your vehicle so well that it would be undetectable that the car was ever damaged or repaired. This has been a point of pride for over 100 years in the trade. There are even Facebook groups filled with posts of obviously repaired cars. You will often see a photo of a noticeable repair (usually a bad color match as the giveaway) with the tagline “OK, who done it?”
The Difference In Original Factory Welds Compared To Welds From A Repair:
We want to let New York drivers know the importance of a body shop knowing where the manufacturer instructs weld repairs. For example, any technician would know to reinstall and tighten the removed bolts during the repair with the same level of strength as before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the only thing that needs to be done in the repair process. This is where the importance of following OEM repairs comes in. There may be changes from when the car was first manufactured and the current repair procedures that a technician needs to follow.
Now the manufacturers have started telling shops to stop thinking like that, which is upsetting the status quo in collision repair.
And why is this?
The materials used in new car construction are designed to save your life. As a result, they sacrifice themselves while transferring crash energy away from the occupants. Even the advanced safety features your car is equipped with (commonly known as ADAS) are designed to keep you safer on the road. Throughout the repair process, these pieces must be cut out and new ones put in, but here is the problem: body shops are not manufacturers, and they do not have tooling or machinery to stamp in new parts. In several of these materials, they can’t even be welded back in because they are sensitive to heat.
Let’s use Audi as an example. Audi’s collision instructor and curriculum designer Shawn Hart stated an Audi “…factory has a much larger power level and uses ‘enormous’ weld heads compared to an aftermarket auto body shop. The collision repair industry has an option that duplicates the process well, but can’t match it 100 percent.”
As you can see in the above statement, there is a significant difference in OEM weld heads and aftermarket weld heads. And as you read from Shawn Hart, why would you ever want anything less than a 100% guarantee of fit and safety when it comes to your car being repaired?
Some structural parts and frame rails have to be glued back in, some have to be riveted back in, and some need to be glued and riveted or glued and welded. To the craftsman, performing a repair that would be visually noticeable is unheard of, and they might ignore the directives set forth by the manufacturer. This is not to say that the repairs will be noticeable to you on the outside of a vehicle, it just means that a proper repair might contain rivets on a frame rail that weren’t there when you purchased it. It may also mean that the spot welds are more massive, or there are more of them now than when the car was built. Not a big deal to you, but it’s a big deal that your technician is aware of these OEM procedures and that they follow them even if it means doing things differently for the first time in forty years.
OEM Repairs Are The ONLY Way To Go
The problem to the consumer is, and always will be (at least as of the time of this writing), no laws are forcing your shop or your technician to look up a manufacturer recommended procedure. Let alone, following these repair procedures. That’s right: you can buy unsafe repairs, and nobody and no law can stop that from happening. That’s why there are so many body shops out there who continue to perform repairs the way they have for decades, not realizing it could be costing someone’s life in the process.
This is why consumer education in collision repair is paramount today. And protecting yourself is as simple as having a conversation with your shop before they do anything. You have the right to ask the body shop questions regarding your repair, especially since car repair has gotten extremely complex over the years. All you have to ask is to see the procedure page for your repair. Then, ask the shop to walk you through the work performed to your car. These OEM procedure pages, or “P-Pages,” can be printed out and handed to you. Before you accept the vehicle after the repair, ask your customer service rep to show you where they followed those procedures. If you are not satisfied, refuse to take delivery of the vehicle and call your insurance company.
Who In New York Knows Where The Manufacturer Wants Them To Weld?
Thankfully, we at Mid Island Collision are here to show New York drivers the one and only way your car should be repaired. Your safety is our number one priority, which is why refuse to take any shortcuts in the repair process. At Mid Island Collision Center, we only give the highest level of auto body repair because that’s what you deserve from an autobody repair shop.
Our technicians are all highly trained in OEM repairs because they know the importance of these repairs. We feel quite confident we’d be able to provide you with the excellence in customer service and high quality that you deserve. If you’d like to schedule an estimate or to get a free online quote, click here to get started. Or, feel free to give us a call at anytime at (516)-766-0101.
We look forward to hearing from you!