Why you actually want to see “destructive weld testing” on your Pennsylvania auto body estimate:
If you just took a look over your estimate and found the term “destructive weld testing,” you might be asking yourself what that means and why you want it. In fact, the word “destructive” is a word you usually don’t associate with your vehicle.
When you take your vehicle to an auto repair shop, you want to trust that the technicians know what they are doing and aren’t taking shortcuts to speed up the repair process. Most collision repairs require some welding, and you assume that the technicians know what they are doing. But just like anything else, technicians who are in a hurry can skip steps that are crucial to a safe collision repair. Pennsylvania body shops that are under the gun to perform quick repairs might skip an important step called “destructive weld testing” because “it’s super time-consuming.” The actual setup process of the welder and performance of the destructive weld test are two separate processes that are known to take a long time.
What is destructive weld testing and why do you need it?
Think of it this way: when a band takes the stage to play a song, the first thing they do is check the tune of their instruments. Each time you turn one of the pegs on the neck, you’re either tuning to a higher or lower pitch, depending on where you set the pegs. But if you want it to have standard E tuning, all the nobs have to be turned a certain precise way to achieve that tuning. If one peg is slightly off, it will mess up the entire sound of the guitar.
This same principle can apply to a welding machine. Each car is different, each part is different, and these days, welding isn’t a one size fits all process. A good welder must actually dial in their welder to perform consistent, quality high penetration welds on your new parts. They do this through destructive weld testing, where the technician doing the welding will take some scrap materials off the parts that were cut off the vehicle, set up their welder and make a few test welds. They will then perform both a “peel test” and a “twist test” where they will try and peel or twist away the metal to make sure the welds hold. Once the technician is satisfied with the weld, they can move on to your car and make as many welds as necessary on the new parts knowing that the welder is set up correctly.
So, what does that mean for your car? In situations where no destructive weld testing is performed, your vehicle would be used as the testing grounds. The problem with this is every vehicle has its own unique variables that can change the setup time drastically. Not to mention, “each welding machine manufacturer may have its own unique configurations and setup processes” (CCC P-pages) and the shop may have more than one brand of welder being shared among the staff.
Without knowing this and not having performed a destructive weld test before the actual repair, technicians can be damaging or destroying your car instead of repairing your vehicle. The reality is this happens all the time.
Aside from destructive weld testing being time-consuming, it’s also a service that is “not-included procedure in all three estimating systems…” (Repairer Driven News). A less skilled estimator may not even know to put it as a line item on the estimate, and a high production shop may not include it as a way to cut costs for an insurer.
Destructive weld testing isn’t just limited to spot welding or MAG plug welding. Another common bonding procedure is known as weld bonding, which involves the use of super-strong adhesives instead of melting metal to join two panels. Just like welding, adhesive weld bonding should also undergo a destructive weld test to ensure that the adhesive is correct and properly mixed.
This is why it’s crucial you take your car to be repaired somewhere that would perform the destructive weld testing before working on your vehicle. When an auto repair shop takes the time to do this, it means they care about your car and taking the time to repair it properly. We here at 3D Collision Centers always perform destructive weld testing before we even touch your vehicle to make sure you have the best repair possible. We follow OEM repair procedures and never have your car be the test subject for welding.
We know you have several choices when looking for an auto repair shop in Pennsylvania, which is why we have 7 different locations across Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties. We have been serving the great state of Pennsylvania for several years and would love to assist you with your auto repair needs. Feel free to call us at (877)-692-7776. Or to contact one of our locations directly, feel free to check out our contact us page for the direct number!
We look forward to hearing from you!