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Why Adaptability Matters in Collision Repair

( 03/27/2019 ) Written by: Douglas Craig

Creativity and artistic skills come into play when making vehicle repairs with adhesives, in addition to following proper procedures. Technicians must be able to adapt to specific repairs. Although the basic techniques may be similar, each repair is unique. 

A vehicle made of composite with a 6-inch crack that shoots off to the left or right is just one example. Two separate patches would be needed for this repair, but the fiberglass cloth has to be crisscrossed. Trying to abut them – i.e. line up next to each other – would cause a weak spot.

The part of the vehicle and size of patch needed will factor into the repair approach. Structural damage to a fender requires a reinforcement – a.k.a. “backer” – patch to be created first before the pyramid patch can be built.

A backer patch is nothing more than fiberglass cloth, a product (such as Fusor 100 EZ) or a piece of fiberglass or comparable substrate, like an existing piece of the fender material. The patch also needs to be the same shape as the repair area.

This means repairers have to be adaptable as to whether a patch is created on or off a vehicle, which may depend on the size of the vehicle or the repair. In the case of a fender, the patch will need to be built directly on the vehicle if the fender is not removed for the repair. The autobody technician may need to build the patch smallest to largest or largest to smallest. 

The size and shape of the repair will dictate whether the repair is made on or off the vehicle. Typically, a patch can be built up and then laid over any repair the size of a hardball or smaller, while anything larger may need the patch to be built on the vehicle.

Small repairs are easier to build off the vehicle using the pyramid patch method, while bigger patches are easier to build on the vehicle so the fiberglass cloth can be layered and placed where necessary.

The key point is that technicians need to be able to adapt to what is called for in the repair.

How have you or your shop adapted to repairs? Tell us about it here.


To learn more, sign up for our training clinics or see the full listing of repair adhesives

Douglas Craig

In his structural adhesive technical service role at LORD, Doug is responsible for providing guidance and repair solutions to repairers, OEMS and insurers which incorporate the proper materials and methods. Doug's previous role, as the Collision Repair Manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobile, was focused on all topics related to collision damageability and repairability.

He has been a member of the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collision Repair Committee, including 2-terms as chair, and also a member of the SAE Service Development Steering Committee. In addition to this he has worked extensively with I-CAR and many other well respected entities in the collision repair industry including VeriFacts.

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