Welding a Vehicle Frame: A Brief Guide for Those in Automotive School

Being an auto mechanic is not just about servicing and repairing mechanical or electrical issues in vehicles. It also involves welding a vehicle’s frame together, depending on the damage sustained to a vehicle, or how worn out the body of the vehicle becomes. So, knowing the fundamentals of welding is a good skill to have for an auto mechanic in the automotive industry. 

At ATC Surrey, you’ll get hands-on training on becoming an automotive service technician. You’ll learn how to service and repair different types of vehicle models and makes, and also learn welding fundamentals that are crucial for ensuring that a vehicle’s frame is safe and secure for driving. 

So, read on to learn about welding a vehicle frame in this brief guide!

Know the Equipment You’ll Need to Perform Frame Welding After Automotive Training

When it comes to welding a vehicle’s frame, it’s important to have the right equipment and safety gear to perform the job well. Welding protective gear consists of a welding beanie, a welding helmet, safety goggles and a face shield. This helps protect you from hot metal, flying objects, sparks and UV radiation. For welding equipment, you’ll have TIG and MIG welders and an angle grinder. Also, after your automotive training, you may be working with C-clamps, electrode tip cleaners, needle nose pliers, a ball-peen hammer, a chipping slag hammer, wire brushes, cold chisels, screwdrivers and round and flat files. Other pieces of equipment that you’ll use depend on the type of frame welding you’re doing. They may include a plasma cutter and fit-up gears. These are used when you’re welding a vehicle’s frame channel or structural tubing. 

You’ll need the right protective gear and equipment after automotive training to weld a vehicle frame

The Basics of Proper Vehicle Frame Welding

When welding a vehicle’s frame after you finish automotive school, it’s important that you know what to do and what not to do, in order to prevent any cracks in the frame of a vehicle. A basic rule that you should follow is never performing a single weld for a single vertical butt joint on two halves of a frame. When using a single weld, the frame of a vehicle comes under a lot of stress and over time tends to lose its solidity and crack. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that the vehicle frame joints are welded from top to bottom and on all sides while positioned at a 45-degree angle. This guarantees that the frame has an optimal surface area and weld bead to balance the stress load on the weld joint.

Use of TIG or MIG Welding for Vehicle Frames

Most auto mechanics who perform vehicle frame welding use TIG or MIG welding techniques, with TIG being the most popular choice. TIG welding is more popular due to the different filler materials that can be used for it. However, you can use either MIG or TIG welding techniques for most stamped steel vehicle frames. 

TIG welding is the best choice for welding vehicle frames, especially for race car frames

However, when a vehicle’s frame has tubing made of chrome-moly (alloy steel) that is used to support the curves of a racing vehicle frame, TIG welding is the best choice. MIG welding is mostly used for heavy-duty industrial vehicle frames, but if it’s not set up correctly it can cause the base material not to be thoroughly welded. This will compromise the weld joint in particular areas. 

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