Auto Collisions: Repairing Structural Damage

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Auto Collisions: Repairing Structural Damage

24 July 2023
 Categories: , Blog

Auto collisions can result in varying degrees of damage to a vehicle. Among the most critical is structural damage, which refers to damage to the integral components of a vehicle's frame or body. This damage can significantly affect a vehicle's performance, safety, and value.

Understanding the process of repairing structural damage can help car owners navigate this daunting process more confidently.

Structural Damage

Structural damage often occurs during high-impact collisions, when the force of the crash is severe enough to compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle's frame or unibody.

  • Structural Damage: This damage can affect the vehicle's alignment, its ability to withstand future impacts, and its overall safety. Because of these potential implications, repairing structural damage is a complex task requiring specialized tools, knowledge, and skills.

Initial Assessment and Estimation

The first step in repairing structural damage is conducting a thorough inspection to assess the extent of the damage.

  • Assessment: This process involves a visual examination and, often, using computerized measuring systems to accurately pinpoint areas of deformation. From this information, auto repair professionals can create an estimate of what the repair will entail in terms of time, labor, and costs.

Straightening the Frame

If the structural damage has led to a bent or twisted frame, the repair process often involves straightening the vehicle's frame back to the manufacturer's specifications.

  • Frame: This task is accomplished using a hydraulic machine called a frame straightener, which exerts massive amounts of pressure to manipulate the frame back into its original shape.

Replacing Damaged Components

In some cases, parts of the vehicle's structure may be too damaged to repair and must be replaced.

  • Replacement: Using precise cutting tools, technicians will remove the damaged sections and weld new parts into place. This process requires a high level of skill to ensure the new components align correctly and that the welding is strong enough to withstand future stresses.

Aligning the Vehicle

Once the frame or unibody has been repaired or parts replaced, the vehicle will need to undergo an alignment.

  • Alignment: This ensures that the vehicle's wheels are correctly adjusted to the manufacturer's specifications, which is essential for the vehicle to drive straight and true, and for even tire wear.

Quality Control and Safety Checks

After the structural repairs and alignment, a comprehensive quality control check is undertaken.

  • Quality and Safety Check: This involves re-measuring the vehicle's structure, inspecting the quality of the repair work, and testing the vehicle's functionality. Safety systems, such as airbags and seatbelts, will also be checked to ensure they are functioning correctly.

Restoring the Appearance

The final step in repairing structural damage is restoring the vehicle's appearance.

  • Restoration: This can involve repairing or replacing body panels, performing bodywork like filling, sanding, and painting, and replacing any damaged trim or glass.

For more info about auto collisions, contact a local company.