Undoubtedly, the most valuable of all the services we provide is the
post-repair inspection. The inspection ensures that the repairs that needed to be done were in
fact completed, and that those that were done, were done properly and thoroughly.
Unfortunately, most consumers don't know very much about body repair
and commonly judge the quality of the workmanship on the appearance - the paint. In the case of
collision repairs, it's what lies beneath the shiny finish that matters most - and these are the
areas rarely seen by the general public.
Modern vehicles incorporate a unitized body and frame construction,
or "unibody". The unibody frame rails are what protect the occupants in the event of a collision.
The unibody frame rails also play a vital role in the deployment of the airbags. For these two
reasons, if damaged, it is imperative that these structural pieces be properly repaired.
A weakened unibody rail can result in delayed deployment of the
airbags - or even failure for them to deploy at all. Weaknesses include kinks and buckles like
those shown in these photos.
The airbag sensors - which are mounted to the unibody rails - sense
the rate of deceleration. A weakened rail can result in the sensor not detecting the deceleration
rate properly; the rail can fold up instead of the energy being transferred to the sensor. Since
it takes less than a second for an occupant's body to contact the dashboard or steering wheel, and
airbags are activated (deployed) in milliseconds, even a slight delay in the airbag deployment can
result in serious injury.
Another important topic of concern is welded areas. Structural
parts, such as bumper reinforcing beams, door aperture panels, hinge pillars, and quarter panels
are welded at the factory. These panels work in conjunction with other structural parts (such as
the unibody frame rails) to protect the occupants in the event of a collision. It is vitally
important that when these parts are replaced, the welding must be properly performed - failure
to do so can result in separation of these integral parts, risking serious injury. Even worse,
sometimes these important parts have been found to be "glued" on using a panel bonding adhesive
instead of structural welds.
Inferior welds such as these certainly would not withstand the
impact of an accident.
There are several other types of defects and deficiencies, and
while they may not have as much influence on safety, they can assuredly have an impact on the
value of the vehicle. For examples of these other errors, omissions and oversights, please visit
our Examples of Poor Repairs page.
The post-repair inspection reveals these defects, and includes
a panel-by-panel assessment
of the condition of vehicle - written in everyday language that doesn't require an automotive
degree to understand - as well as photo-documentation of the
deficiencies. (The photos on the "Examples of Poor Repair webpage are taken from actual
This documentation can be used to address necessary re-repairs
with the repair facility (or, if the original shop is not competent enough to properly perform the
repairs, to identify the areas of concern for another repairer).