Post Repair Inspections
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.
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.
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 with photos taken from actual reports.
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.
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.
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.
Inferior welds such as these certainly would not withstand the impact of an accident.