Current auto body repair estimates, when written accurately, could be longer then 4,000 line items. Compared to the more simple “remove, repair, replace, paint” estimates we would see a decade ago, it’s much more detailed and complicated. With advancing safety technology and parts in modern cars, its only natural estimates would also parallel those advances. To add fuel to the fire, it gets even more complex when you start comparing an estimate from a high quality auto body shop like Telesis Collision with a national auto body shop chain like a Caliber Collision or a Gerber. Unbeknownst to most people, those chain shops will only do the minimum amount of work to make more money rather than prioritize the correct, safe repair.
If you see “sectioning” and “partial part replacement” on your repair estimate, you aren’t alone if you wonder what each of those things entail. Sectioning was once popular repair practice where technicians would replace an entire section of damaged car with a new section from another car by welding it in. For example, if you were in a fender bender where your bumper was damaged, it was normal and quicker to cut the rear portion of the car off and weld in a used back section from a car out of a junk yard.
While this was normal in the past, we are appalled that this is still common practice at some shops because we now know how dangerous and unsafe this is. However, don’t fret if you see sectioning on your recent repair estimate. Sectioning has a new meaning today and as a Honda, Acura and Subaru OEM Certified shop, some of the manufacturer’s procedures call for sectioning as well as partial part replacement. You’ll just want to be sure to ask your shop to define what sectioning they are doing for your repair to ensure it is the correct and safest one for your make and model.
To elaborate, let us define both “sectioning” and “partial part replacement”.
First we must explain that factory seams are where two parts or two panels are welded together during vehicle assembly using spot welds, rivets, fillet welds, etc. When these areas become damaged in a collision they have to be removed and replaced somehow.
Partial part replacement is defined as replacing a part at a factory seam. This requires removing the original attachment method to disassemble an assembly at a factory seam. When this is done, the factory seam sealer is removed and eventually replaced and new welding is introduced to the panel. The parts in your car are made of many different types of steel or even aluminum and each one reacts differently to heat. When a partial part replacement is allowed by the manufacturer, then we know it is ok to weld the new panel together at the factory seam, or join the two together with rivets or other boding methods as dictated by the manufacturer.
Sectioning is defined as the process of cutting a portion of a part out and replacing the damaged portion. What is worth noting is that this does not happen at the factory seam and could even be halfway down the part. This sectioning location is pre-determined by the vehicle maker procedures. Some vehicle manufacturers offer multiple sectioning locations for a part.
When sectioning a part, the technician will cut “section” out of the part, containing the damage. It is important to note that this process will create a new repair joint, and a seam that the car did not come with originally. Most likely you will not see this seam as it will be covered by the outer body panels.
This does not mean that your car is no longer safe to drive after the repair. Quite the opposite, if we are doing any sectioning on your vehicle, it is only because the OEM manufacturer tells us that we need to do this in order to properly repair their vehicles. At Telesis Collision we spend hours researching the manufacturer procedures, and we also document the repair in detail.
Before performing any repairs we always perform a destructive weld test. We do this to make sure that our welder is properly set up to do the welding on your specific car, and the welds pass a destructive weld test. Not every body shop in Palmdale does this which is why we are confident in saying that you won’t get a more factory correct repair than you will right here at Telesis Collision.
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