Behind The Scenes At A Collision Repair Business - Understanding The Collision Repair
If your vehicle has been damaged in a collision, you probably heard this common misconception: your vehicle will never be the same. Chances are, it wasn’t your insurance company representative or an employee of a Mac Haik who said this. That’s because our collision industry professionals return collision-damaged vehicles to their previous condition – both structurally and cosmetically.
So what does it take to repair your vehicle properly after an accident? Because of today’s complex vehicles and high-quality paint finishes, technicians need to be properly trained in the entire repair process to achieve complete and safe repairs.
The repair process begins when a detailed estimate is prepared, indicated all of the repairs needed to restore your vehicle to proper function and appearance. In some cases this damage assessment requires removing damaged body panels or other parts. This results in the most accurate initial estimate possible. The parts listed on the estimate are then ordered. The collision repair business and your insurance company should explain whether the replacement parts are new parts ordered from the manufacturer of your vehicle, used parts ordered through an automotive recycler, or new parts manufactured by a company other than the manufacturer of your vehicle. Mac Haik and Insurance Co. can explain the pros and cons of using each of these types of parts.
If your vehicle was hit hard in the collision, Mac Haik will use a computerized measuring system that checks specific points of your vehicle structure against dimensions provided by the vehicle of equipment manufacturer. We will also need to measure your vehicle several times during the repair process to make sure it is within the recommended tolerances. In most cases, this tolerance is a strict as three millimeters – the thickness of three dimes. Some vehicles today require a tolerance no greater than one millimeter.
Whenever appropriate, original parts are repaired. Severely damaged parts need to be replaced. A properly trained technician can repair sheet metal and plastic so that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find any indication of damage. In some cases, parts not included on the estimate may need to be ordered during the repair process if “hidden” damage is found.
After repairs are complete, the vehicle is ready to be painted. The areas to be painted are fist prepared. Repaired areas are finely sanded, primer and corrosion protection products are applied and areas that won’t be pained are “masked off” and protected. The painted then uses a paint mixing system to mix the paint that will match your vehicle’s finish. A paint code on your vehicle provides the starting point, but generally requires a trained eye to match the paint to your vehicle. Often, paint will require “blending” a technique used to facilitate matching the color of your car. The paint is sprayed inside a spray booth designed to keep dust and other contaminants off the new finish.
Once the painting is complete, the vehicle is reassembled with all trim pieces, decals, and stripes. If any new glass is needed, it is usually installed at this point. The wheel alignment will also be checked if the collision damage was severe, if the vehicle spun, or if a tire, wheel, or suspension parts were damaged in the collision this helps to catch any potential problems with the steering and suspension parts.
Finally, your vehicle is taken to the detailing area for thorough interior and exterior cleaning. Any minor imperfections in the new paint surface will be removed by polishing and buffing. A final inspection checks that all work meets the repair facility’s standards and the final paperwork is prepared for the vehicle owner and involved insurer.
Throughout this process Mac Haik will be in contact with the insurance company handling the claim. The insurer may want to review the estimate and inspect the vehicle before or during the repair process. In some cases, the repair facility may need to obtain insurer and vehicle owner approval before completing additional necessary repairs not included on the initial estimate.
Locating a collision repair business that will follow the above procedures is important for any vehicle owner. Insurers and collision repair business owners alike say the key is looking for evidence of properly trained technicians, such as the I-CAR & ASE designation.
Changing Collision Repair Procedures
If you drive late-model vehicle, chances are you’re driving a unibody. Vehicle makers adopted the lightweight unibody construction after the rise of gas prices during the 1970’s. While today’s vehicles are lighter and more fuel-efficient, they’re also more difficult to repair after a collision.
Unibody vehicles are made of high-strength steel, welded into a single unit. Therefore, repairing collision damage requires specialized skills, combined with the proper training and equipment, helping to ensure that there is no loss in handling, performance, durability, or appearance.
With a unibody, it’s also more difficult to judge the extent of damage. What appears good on the surface may, in fact, be damaged underneath, where only a trained eye can detect it. An improperly repaired vehicle can cause even more problems such as suspension and handling problems, increased tire wear, and reduced durability or operation of key safety systems and structural parts.
It’s important that your vehicle is inspected and repaired by Trained and Certified Professionals because they have the most up-to-date training to repair your vehicle properly. Mac Haik Techs have been properly trained on how to repair your vehicle so it looks and rives as well as it did before the collision. More importantly, it will be safe for your and your family to drive.
New Vehicle Designs And Materials- Can Your Collision Repair Facility Fix Them Properly?
Today’s vehicle designers face some completive demands. They need to reduce fuel consumption and polluting emissions, but still recognize that consumers love sport utility and other large vehicles. Consumers aren’t clamoring for a return to the days of the compact car.
One solution is oblivious, but challenging- find a way to reduce the weight of vehicles, thus reducing fuel consumption, without sacrificing size.
The aluminum industry believes it offers vehicle makers a good alternative to the weight of steel. An aluminum-based vehicle may be 22 percent larger than a steel car of the same weight. In recent years, the use of aluminum has surpassed the use of plastic in some vehicles. Once limited primarily to engine, transmission, and suspension parts, aluminum is increasingly being used for cosmetic outer panels, door skins and trunk lids, inner structural parts and even structural frame rails.
A limited but growing number of vehicles are constructed almost a completely of aluminum. Aluminum industry officials recently used on such vehicle, to show off aluminum’s strength by supporting the 4,000-poud luxury sedan with only a six-pack of aluminum beverage cans under each wheel.
The steel industry is fighting back, however, with an ambitious multi-year project to develop an “ultralight steel auto body (USLSAB).” This consortium of steel makers says it has shown that steel can be used to create a typical five-passenger sedan with 25 to 33 percent less weight than a conventional steel-bodied vehicle, without raising production costs or sacrificing safety.
How is it done? First, the ULSAB uses more of what is called high-strength steel while between 20 percent and 60 percent of the body of most current vehicles is made from high-strength steels, these materials account for 100 percent of the ULSAB. Traditional vehicle parts are stamped out of a sheet of one type and thickness of steel. The ULSAB engineers recognized that some of these parts could instead be stamped out of a “quilt-like” piece of steel created by welding different thickness or strengths of steel into a single flat piece. A part stamped from this “tailor-welded black” can have high-strength steel in the areas where it is needed, and thinner or lower strength steel in other areas. This removes weight that does not contribute to performance.
For example, the ULSAB body side, including the rear fender and roof structure, is all one part made from a tailor-welded black that includes three grades of steel and five different thickness. By consolidating what have traditionally been multiple parts into one unit, designers also eliminate the weight of the flanges needed to weld the parts together.
Some of the non-structural portions of the ULSAB vehicle body, such as the spare tire tub and dash panel insert, are made from a steel sandwich material. Two very thin skins of steel combined with a plastic core create this one-millimeter thick material weighting 50 percent less than a comparable all-steel piece.
As aluminum and elements of the LSAB project are increasing being used on vehicles on the road today, proper training is becoming even more important to achieve a proper repair after a collision. Vehicle owners should select a collision repair facility that has the current technical training to understand how to work with the lighter weight materials and changing vehicle construction designs.
Mac Haik Ford Victoria is a Victoria Ford, Lincoln Dealer located at 4506 North Navarro, Victoria, TX 77904. Our new car line-up includes: Ford Econoline Cargo Van, Ford Econoline Wagon, Ford Fiesta, Ford Edge, Ford Escape, Ford Expedition, Ford Explorer, Ford F-150 Regular Cab, Ford F-150 SuperCab, Ford F-150 SuperCrew, Ford Flex, Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, Ford Mustang, Ford Ranger, Ford Super Duty F-250, Ford Super Duty F-350 DRW, Ford Super Duty F-350 SRW, and Ford Taurus, Ford Transit Connect. We buy and sell quality used cars and have a great selection of pre-owned vehicles including certified.
We sell genuine Ford, Lincoln and Mercury parts and accessories. We service and repair all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models. Let our Body Shop help with your collision repairs!
We are conveniently located near the following communities: Angleton, Aransas Pass, Bay City, Bishop, Brownsville, Channelview, Clute, Corpus Christi, Freeport, Harlingen, Ingleside, Lake Jackson, Odem, Port Aransas, Port Isabel, Port Lavaca, Rancho Viejo, Raymondville, Robstown, Rockport, San Benito, Sinton, South Padre Island, Surfside Beach, Victoria, Webster, West Columbia, Wharton