Why We Advise Against Used Quarter Panels In Collision Repair

No matter what a body shop tells you, there is never an acceptable time for the your car’s damaged quarter panel should be replaced with a previously used “aftermarket” quarter panel. Unfortunately, many autobody repair shops still do, completely ignoring what strict requirements the manufacturer has specifically for your car. Not to mention, the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t require technicians to be licensed to perform a repair.

We at 3D Collision Centers are here to inform Pennsylvania drivers of why we advise against used quarter panels in collision repair. Part of that reason is due to how complex cars have gotten over the past few years, especially with the adaption of advanced safety technologies coming standard in most cars. Because of this, there has been a major push for body shops to follow OEM repair procedures, which are the exact repairs laid out by your car’s manufacturer that ensure quality and safety.

Even though these are the best option for your car, a lot of body shops will still approach a repair from “experience,” often cutting corners in the repair process. Technicians will do this to maintain a profit while feeling the pressure from insurance companies refusing to pay for specific steps or repairs, like OEM repairs. Thus, putting you at risk of getting injured in a second accident and the advanced safety features in your car to no longer function properly. 

Vehicle Collision Experts CEO Mark Olson stated, “how the OEM built the vehicle and how you fix it might not be the same, and a repairer can’t assume that duplicating what they saw on the vehicle will work.” A technician can never assume in the repair process, and yet, many do. This is why it’s so important you know what is going to happen to your car during the repair process because your safety needs to be a top priority. Any assumption in the repair process will cause severe consequences. 

Approaching Repair On Quarter Panels 

Let’s take, as an example, repairs for quarter panels. Every OEM repair would instruct a technician to use an entirely new panel, not a previously used one with existing weld nuggets from another vehicle. Approaching this type of repair on quarter panels, a technician needs to go through the following checklist: 

  • What’s it made of? 
  • What’s it attached to? 
  • Sectioning location? 
  • Attachment methods (such as remove and replace)? 
  • How do you remove the panel? 
  • Supporting materials? 
  • Required tooling and equipment? 

The Controversy Behind Quarter Panel Repairs

One of the biggest reasons why there is a lot of commotion over quarter panels in the collision repair world is the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) constitutes this type of repairs as cosmetic. However, quarter panels are vital to the overall structural integrity of your vehicle. Cars that are made out of metals other than steel will usually require welding (i.e., heat). If technicians replace the quarter panel on your car with a used quarter panel, the plug weld will be too big. 

Olson also stated, “any holes drilled in a used quarter panel might be 10 mm, perhaps 10.5 after deburring. As the OEM wants only 8 mm plug welds, it’s officially impossible to deliver the repair with a used quarter panel.”

Bigger welds are not better for your car when it comes to collision repair. Yet, some technicians will argue, “when this thing gets hit, it’ll never break.” However, we aren’t talking about a repair that is strong, yet not what the manufacturer calls for. You need a repair that will last, which is why your vehicle must be repaired precisely how the OEM said to do it. 

Used quarter panels have been tempered with or heated multiple times in the welding process, more than you’d ever see on a new quarter panel. It doesn’t take a well-trained technician to see used quarter panels can’t provide the same level of safety a new quarter panel would. 

Other Reasons Why Used Quarter Panels Won’t Work

As stated in Repairer Driven News, an additional reason why used quarter panels wouldn’t work is because of the inability to follow OEM repair procedures. Repairer Driven News also stated, “…the idea of producing holes (such as spot welds on a quarter panel) outside of OEM tolerances also means the repair would be a nonstarter.” 

A third reason would be due to something known as “work hardening.” What this means is some quarter panels are installed with rolled hem flanges that have eventually been work-hardened. This happens when the metal is unrolled and rerolled to the point where it can’t be rolled back out. Think of what it’s like when you’re twisting a paper clip over and over. Eventually, it weakens, and the metal clip breaks. This the process of work hardening on used quarter panels. 

To learn more about what’s wrong with used quarter panels, check out the video shown below from Collision Hub that goes in-depth about these repairs. 

Who In Pennsylvania Knows How To Perform Quarter Panel Repair The Right Way?

Here at 3D Collision Centers, we refuse to repair your car with used quarter panels because there is no guarantee over the level of safety or protection that can come from this type of repair. We only perform repairs the way the manufacturer tells us because your safety is our top priority. We are also among the 10% of auto body repair shops in the country that are I-CAR Gold Class trained.

This is especially important when looking for the best place to take your car to be repaired when technicians aren’t legally required to follow OEM repair procedures. Why take the risk of taking your car somewhere else that is probably in the majority of shops that will cut corners in the repair process, feeling their “experience” is all that matters?

We have seven different locations across Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. Feel free to give us a call at anytime at (877)-692-7776. For a list of the phone numbers for each of our locations or to schedule an estimate, click here.

We look forward to showing you the 3D difference!