08 Apr Body and Plastic Work
Following frame repair, our technicians at Collex are ready to replace and/or repair the additional damage. Here is where a technician’s work is largely both an art and a discipline toward doing things right. In replacing parts, it is more an application of discipline. There are procedures that need to be followed to replace parts properly. Most people picture replacing a part in the simplest light: a fender, a headlamp, or a hood. Even these parts require disassembling associated pieces as well as careful handling to insure no nicks or scratches. Still though, a headlamp for example, is singular and self-contained. Often times, what needs to be replaced are sections of the unibody or structural parts. Again, our technicians need to follow disciplined rules. For example, a typical repair might require a technician to remove original spot welds, section (or cut) structural parts in the right place, apply corrosion protection, use mig and/or spot welders and proper techniques to successfully join metal together, and seal joints and seams to prevent moisture, fumes and noise from entering the passenger compartment.
Aligning the replacement parts takes place during this period of the repair process. From the initial frame work to replacing structural parts – all of this must be done to extremely close specifications: when it is time to align the outer sheet metal (fender, door, quarter panel, hood, decklid) an excellent job earlier in the process makes this a matter of small adjustment. Space between panels should be consistent and the same as the opposite side; running one’s hand along the side of a vehicle should reveal no unevenness.
If damage to a vehicle is not sufficient to warrant the replacement of the part, the part will instead be repaired. Here a Collex technician uses a higher degree of artistry to pull, hammer and tap a part back to its original shape and then finish the work by applying coats of body filler to shape to its true lines and contours. The sanding and feathering of this plastic is critical to the smoothness and final finish. A minor imperfection that could go unnoticed before the vehicle is painted can easily stick out like a sore thumb when that part of the vehicle is refinished.