What is a Repair Plan and why does my auto body shop need one?

What is a Repair Plan and why does my body shop need one?

Besides getting you from point A to point B, your car serves one important function; protect you and your occupants in the event of a crash. The technologies in your car have been advancing at an amazing rate since vehicle safety started to get public attention in the 1950’s. Cars built today are some of the safest and strongest ever built. It does not matter if you are driving an economy car or a luxury cruiser, your car will protect you in an accident like no models that came before it.

Prior to about 2004, most cars were built of a softer stretchable heavy gauge steel which could be pulled and beaten back into shape. Steel has a memory to it and good body man could hammer and dolly your vehicle back into shape.

This is not the case with High Strength Steels (HSS).  HSS and UHSS (ultra high strength steels), cannot be cut and most are very susceptible to heat.  In the old days it was common practice to weld in a replacement frame rail, or structural part. Each manufacturer requires differing techniques for structural part replacement. Sometimes parts have to be bonded not welded, or possibly cut and welded way beyond the area of the collision.

When picking the right repair shop ask them if they perform the following procedures:

       Research the repair prior to repairing the vehicle. Manufacturers put out Technical Service Bulletins(TSB’s) all the time based on data pulled from the field as more and more of that model are crashed and sent in for repairs. All manufacturers have a hot line available to the repair shop to check each vehicle prior to repairing it to see if any information has changed.


       A repair plan helps the auto body shop if a technician is out sick or has an emergency. A proper repair plan will instruct that technician’s replacement on what needs to be done to be within safe compliance of that vehicle.


       Sometimes even a ½ year model difference can mean a completely different repair technique. It is not uncommon for models to change materials mid way through a model year. It may look exactly the same on the exterior but could be made of a different material depending on when it was built thus affecting the repair process.


       A repair plan will tell your auto body technician the exact measurements and tolerances necessary for the functioning of the safety equipment of that vehicle. If not exactly right, things like airbag timing and structural integrity could be affected.


When selecting your auto body shop, ask them to walk you through the repair process and don’t forget to ask them how they will be crafting the repair plan for your vehicle. Your vehicle can be repaired safely, and it can be brought back to exact factory specifications if you choose a shop who can get it done right.


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