Front-end damage is one of the most common reasons people bring their vehicles to an auto body repair shop. It can be caused by everything from tapping a parking garage wall to a serious head-on collision. While you may see front-end damage every day, it’s important not to treat every job the same. The extent of damage inflicted during a front-end collision can be wide-ranging and depends on multiple factors. You must consider the repair from all angles. So you don’t miss any damage during the estimating process, you should start each front-end repair with a thorough evaluation of the vehicle’s body, structure, mechanical components and paint. A complete evaluation is part of a process called “blueprinting,” which auto body repair shops are increasingly using to improve CSI scores, profitability and cycle times.
The Evaluation Many auto body repair shops team an estimator with a technician to perform the vehicle evaluation, while others may use just one of the two. Whatever the job title, the people conducting the evaluation should be thoroughly trained in collision dynamics. Collision dynamics show how the forces involved in a collision travel beyond the point of impact, which is crucial to understanding how the energy from a front-end impact can affect the entire vehicle. Follow these steps during the evaluation process to ensure you don’t overlook hidden damage created by a front-end impact:
Step 1: Assess body damage Before taking anything apart, note the condition of the bumper cover, headlights, grille and other plastic front-end body components. If these plastic pieces are cracked, they will likely have to be replaced.
Step 2: Measure the structureToday’s cars and trucks are built to transfer collision forces around the passenger compartment to protect the people inside. That means a front-end impact could affect the vehicle’s entire structure. The only way to find all the damage is to measure the whole vehicle.