As a professional auto body technician you’re bound to see more than your fair share of front and side car panels smashed beyond the limits of repair. Seasoned auto body technicians have the skills and experience to remove those welded on car panels and replace them with no trouble at all. They also know to make sure that the panels are put back on the vehicle properly, and that the seams are properly waterproofed—among several other important considerations.
Here’s a closer look at what goes into replacing body panels.
Auto Body Technicians Start by Locating the Factory Spot Welds
In order to remove a panel the first thing an auto body technician needs to do is find out where on the vehicle the factory spot welds are located. Spot welds can be relatively easy to find if you know what you are looking for, so start by searching for small indentations in the seams and brackets connecting the panels to the vehicle. One of the ways to make finding these small indentations simpler is to use a bit of sandpaper to even out the area.
It’s also a good idea to remove windows, handles, and other parts near a spot weld so it’s easier to locate. Once the spot welds have been located, professionals with auto body technician training will use a marker to indicate each of them so that they can be easily spotted.
Pros with Auto Body Technician Training Drill at Low Speeds When Cutting Spot Welds
Auto body technicians usually start this process by sharpening their drill bit so that it cuts into the spot weld effectively. However, one of the most important things that auto body technicians keep in mind while removing a panel is the speed of their drill.
While it might seem like a good idea to crank a drill up to its highest speed, what you’re actually doing is making the bit a lot less effective at drilling through the spot weld. That’s because when the drill is operating at a high setting, it can overheat the drill bit, making it dull. Instead, auto body technicians will keep their drills spinning at a lower speed to get the job done. Graduates also make sure to not get carried away and drill too deep!
How Auto Body Technicians Keep the Replacement Panel Straight During Welding
Students in auto body repair courses know to always make sure that replacement panels are the right make and size. The last thing you want to do is have mismatched panels that leave gaps on the vehicle! Once you’ve taken care of that little caveat, you’re going to want a surefire way to make certain that while you’re welding the panels stay straight as a board.
Auto body technicians go about keeping panels straight in a number of different ways but the one that works best is to use clamps to pin the panels to the vehicle. Once the panel is properly secured, auto body technicians can then get to work on welding the panel back onto the car. Auto body technicians will also use a welding blanket to prevent sparks from entering inside the vehicle.
Of course, auto body technicians make sure to keep themselves safe too by wearing protective gloves and a welding mask. After the panel has been welded, it’s a simple matter of using sealant on the seams around the panel to keep rainwater from entering the car’s interior!
Are you interested in auto body technician careers?
Contact Automotive Training Centres for more information about our training programs!