New, simplified procedures that use adhesives specifically formulated for plastic repair are providing body shop technicians with a straightforward alternative to often cumbersome procedures that require intensive training and sometimes costly equipment.
That means shop management must make it a priority to consider not just the cost of equipment but also the necessary training needed to use it before investing in the next “cool tool” when deciding on plastic repair methods for both cosmetic and structural repairs.
Torn bumper tabs, for example, can be created with plastic repair adhesive, enabling technicians to make a new tab, bond it to the assembly, and continue with the repair job from start to finish.
It also allows them to restore emblems, headlamp modules, grilles, cladding, and door trims, among other vehicle parts, to “like-new” condition with repair adhesives when used properly.
Basic training is a must to understand how to use adhesive plastic repair products, but repairing a damaged plastic car part is as simple as identifying the damaged part, choosing the right repair adhesive, proper surface preparation, and adhering to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) recommendations and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) provided by the product’s supplier.
The specific type of plastic material – i.e. flexible, semi-flexible, rigid or semi-rigid – does not need to be identified. This uncomplicates the repair process, saves the time involved searching for mold marks, and is particularly significant with the continued growth of plastics used in vehicle construction.
A repair process, such as plastic welding, requires the plastic welder itself and multiple rod adhesion tests to match the substrate. Many types of rods, which regularly need to be updated and restocked, are needed to fix the different types of plastic. They are also highly dependent on material compatibility – only like materials can be welded. The plastic must be identified to make repairs with a plastic welder, which can be both confusing and time-consuming.
The same amount of money that would be invested in a high-end model plastic welder, which can exceed $5,000, would provide enough adhesive repair product material to last five or six years and allow for several hundred repairs to be made.
No capital investment is required with adhesives, and there is the flexibility of just-in-time or as-needed ordering from a shop’s local paint distributor. Using repair adhesives also clarifies the potentially blurry line of who is responsible for the complete repair warranty because multiple methods or suppliers were not used in the repair process.