Becoming an Auto Body Repair Technician? 3 Tips for Frame Straightening

Within the automotive industry, auto body repair technicians are experts at automotive repair. When a vehicle sustains damage in an accident, it’s up to an auto body technician to conduct the corrective work necessary to restore it to its prior condition. If you’re seeking a career in the auto body repair industry, one of your main responsibilities will be to repair damaged vehicle frames. When a vehicle experiences a significant impact in an accident, its frame often becomes bent, weakening the structure of a vehicle and forcing other components out of place. Over time, this can lead to greater mechanical issues, leading to premature wear and tear and endangering the safety of drivers on the road. 

In order to repair a vehicle with a bent frame, auto body technicians will perform a frame straightening service, returning the vehicle to its original structure. Below, discover three tips for effective frame straightening.

1. As an Auto Body Repair Technician, Determine the Type of Frame Before Starting

Vehicles are equipped with one of three frame designs, and after your auto body technician training, you’ll be equipped with the skills to work with each of them. One of the most common frames on modern cars is a unibody frame, in which the frame, floor pan and occasionally the rear supports and aprons are included in a single unit. This makes for a lighter vehicle design, and also causes the vehicle to ride lower to the ground. In a body on frame vehicle, the vehicle’s body and the frame are separate components, bolted together for use in bigger SUVs, vans and trucks. Lastly, a lightweight Spaceframe design is used in some luxury vehicles. This frame is more expensive to manufacture, and the frame goes across the entire vehicle, running from the floor pan to the roof. When performing a frame straightening procedure, it’s important to tailor your approach to the type of frame you’re working with.

A vehicle may be equipped with a unibody frame, a body-on-frame design, or a Spaceframe

2. Get Familiar with Common Frame Components

There are several different components attached to a vehicle’s frame to provide structural support. When a frame becomes bent, these components may be forced out of place, requiring the attention of an auto body repair technician. Professionals in auto body technician careers are familiar with these components, allowing them to conduct an effective repair. For one, the pillars are the components which support a vehicle’s windows. The floor pan is the metal sheet which acts as the cabin floor of the vehicle. The core support and rear support are components which provide support to the front and rear of the vehicle, respectively, and these components work to hold the radiator, bumper, and trunk floor pan in place. Another frame-related component is the firewall, a metal plate which works to keep the engine compartment separate from the cabin. Lastly, the aprons are located between the firewall and the core support that stabilizes the front suspension. 

Several different components are integrated within the structure of a vehicle’s frame

3. Use a Frame Straightening Machine to Correct Damage

Now that you know all about the different types of frames and the frame-related components of a vehicle, you’re ready to launch into the technical aspects of frame straightening. A frame straightener is a machine commonly found in auto body repair shops, and once you know how to use it, you’ll be ready to correct even the most extensive of frame damage. The frame straightener raises a vehicle on a platform, where an integrated device can then be used to measure the amount of damage suffered by the frame. The most advanced of these devices will use lasers or sonic senders to assess a vehicle’s frame and gather the data needed to properly fix it. The vehicle is bolted to clamps, preventing it from moving, and through the use of strategically placed chains and hydraulics, the vehicle’s frame is pulled back into place. 

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