No matter what needs to be done to your car, no autobody shop should ever replace your damaged quarter panel with a used one. Unfortunately, many shops still do, putting your safety majorly at risk. But guess what, many of them do. Even though a quarter panel isn’t considered a structural component with regards to the vehicle structure, they do interact with the structural components.
Over the past few years, car repair has had significant changes, such as the push for more shops to follow manufacturer repair procedures for any car, no matter what needs to be done. These procedures are known as OEM repairs, which are the highest quality and safest for your car. However, there are some auto body shops who don’t care why specific OEM repair procedures are release and will get right to work on your car from “experience,” often cutting corners in the repair process. Or worse, they are looking to cut corners to maintain a profit while being squeezed by the insurance companies who refuse to pay for certain steps. As a result, you have a higher risk of getting injured in an accident because the advanced safety features your car comes with are no longer working properly.
According to Vehicle Collision Experts CEO Mark Olson, “how the OEM built the vehicle and how you fix it might not be the same, and a repairer can’t assume that duplicating what they saw on the vehicle will work.”
A technician can never assume in the repair process, and yet, many do because they feel their years of experience trumps anything a manufacturer would say. They think repairing the vehicle quickly is what matters, but there’s a catch. Technicians who repair a car without consulting the manufacturer’s procedure pages are essentially only putting a bandaid on the repair. However, proper repair fixes whatever problems the car had to last the lifetime of the vehicle.
Approaching Repair On Quarter Panels
Let’s take, as an example, repairs for quarter panels. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM for short) of your vehicle has specific repair requirements for technicians to follow. Your car’s manufacturer assumes a technician would be using an entirely new panel, not a donor/used one with existing weld nuggets from the car it was removed from. Approaching this type of repair on quarter panels, a technician needs to go through the following checklist:
- What’s it made of?
- What’s it attached to?
- Sectioning location?
- Attachment methods (such as remove and replace)?
- How do you remove the panel?
- Supporting materials?
- Required tooling and equipment?
The Controversy Behind Quarter Panel Repairs
So why exactly is all this commotion over quarter panel repairs? For starters, the IIHS considers this a “cosmetic” repair, even though quarter panels are vital to the overall structural integrity of your vehicle. Also, cars that are made out of metals beyond steel will often require welding (i.e., heat). If technicians replace the quarter panel on your car with a used quarter panel, the plug weld will be too big.
Olson also stated, “any holes drilled in a used quarter panel might be 10 mm, perhaps 10.5 after deburring. As the OEM wants only 8 mm plug welds, it’s officially impossible to deliver the repair with a used quarter panel.”
When it comes to collision repair and welds, bigger is not always the way to go. Some technicians might argue that bigger welds will never break if you get involved in another accident, but it’s not about that. It’s about repairing the vehicle exactly how the OEM said to do it.
What you may not realize is used quarter panels have been tempered with or heated multiple times in the welding process, more than you’d ever see on a new quarter panel. It doesn’t take a well-trained technician to see used quarter panels can’t provide the same level of safety a new quarter panel would.
Other Reasons Why Used Quarter Panels Won’t Work
As stated in Repairer Driven News, a second reason why used quarter panels wouldn’t work is because of the inability to follow OEM repair procedures. Repairer Driven News also stated, “…the idea of producing holes (such as spot welds on a quarter panel) outside of OEM tolerances also means the repair would be a nonstarter.”
A third reason would be due to something known as “work hardening.” What this means is some quarter panels are installed with rolled hem flanges that have eventually been work-hardened. This happens when the metal is unrolled and rerolled to the point where it can’t be rolled back out. It’s like twisting a paper clip over and over until eventually, it weakens, and the metal clip is destroyed. This the process of work hardening on used quarter panels.
To learn more about what’s wrong with used quarter panels, check out this video from Collision Hub that goes in-depth about these repairs.
Who In California Knows How To Perform Quarter Panel Repair The Right Way?
So many things can go wrong if a technician repairs your car with a used quarter panel that can seriously put your safety at risk, even after your car has been repaired. Here at Telesis Collision Center, we don’t believe in using used quarter panels in any repair and you shouldn’t either. Your safety is our number one priority and we refuse to cut any corners in the repair process.
We are an OEM Certified repair shop with a team of highly skilled technicians capable of performing any repair that comes into our shop. This is especially important since California doesn’t require technicians to be licensed to work in your car. Why take the risk of bringing your car anywhere else when here at Telesis, we perform repairs exactly as the manufacturer would instruct?
We have been successfully serving the Antelope Valley for over 20 years and are committed to giving you the best service possible. If you’d like to schedule a free estimate or get a free online quote, click any of the buttons below! Or, if you’d prefer to call us, feel free to give us a call at (661)-952-4732.
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