We are all use to wheel alignments but how many have actually heard of chassis alignment? Majority accepted that wheel alignment is a necessity, either after you change brand new set of wheels or after you do tire rotation. It is performed to make sure the tires mounted on a vehicle are set so that the vehicle travels in a straight line as it drives a straight course. If you ask me, yes wheel alignment is a necessity and every car owner should have their wheels aligned on a periodic manner. What about the alignment of a vehicle’s chassis? Who should have their vehicle chassis aligned and how important is it?
Chassis alignment unlike wheel alignment can be performed after every tire rotation or tire change. It is only performed before and after a structural repair is done on a vehicle. During the old days, minor accident repairs does not require any electronic measuring as it is too much hassle and is not necessary. Today with new materials build in vehicles, repairers no longer have the choice to choose what to measure and what not to measure. Even the slightest bump may cause the crumple zone to collapse, unless damages only to cosmetic parts. How extensive is the misalignment can never be measured by any naked eyes, not even an experienced body technician working for 20 years can tell how much to pull in millimeters. However, the industry due to many factors is still far away from adhering the minimum requirement of having a documented chassis measurement before and after repair. Why is that? Body technicians are reluctant to change the way they repair a vehicle. They adopt repair methods that was pass down from their mentors during their apprenticeship and this continues to pass on further to their successors. Secondly, electronic measurement are not yet a standard repair procedure and the industry doesn’t recognize the effort. Most bodyshops will not invest in a computerized measuring system.
There are continuous effort from various parties to introduce and make electronic chassis measuring mandatory in every repair. This initiative can only be realized with the support from the road authorities and awareness of the public. The ultimate goal is to have every accident vehicle repaired back to OEM specifications before they can be put on the road again for the safety of the driver and other road user. What we want you to know today is that you as the car owner have the right to demand for a measuring report from the repairer. Safety is your priority.
What are the impacts if an accident vehicle repaired but not electronically measured? Most accident vehicles repaired today are not electronically measured. Ask yourself, how do you know if your vehicle is being repaired correctly and back to OEM specifications? How do you prove that your vehicle is safe to be driven on the road and will behave in the same manner in a second accident? Can your vehicle still protect you as good as a new vehicle? We know that it takes more than just dimensional measurement to decide on the structural integrity of a vehicle. But having the right chassis alignment is the least we could do or perhaps the first step in making sure only in-specs vehicle are back on the road. Without a chassis measuring report, you are risking your life and risking the lives of others on the road. To see a case study on the impact of improper repair, visit this Post.
It is very common that pick ups, or full frame chassis often misaligned the housing of the struts and this directly gives a problem to aligning the wheel properly. Workshops sometimes deliberately, adjusts the camber to compensate the misalignment of the struts but fail to realize that this is wrong and in fact putting more damage to the vehicle. As a result, car owner often complain that their vehicle is pulling to one side and significant tire wear. These are problems that we can visually see and feel but what is even more scary is the lives of innocent is at risk if misaligned vehicles are still allowed to be driven on the road. The crumple zone that is meant to collapse in a predictable manner can no longer behave accordingly due to improper repair. How many more lives lost do we still want to see before the industry starts to adopt a proper repair method that is fair to the paying consumers? As for the bodyshops, for them to stay profitable, “Repair It Right First Time” philosophy is most important. The question is how do they do that without having the chassis electronically measured?
How to measure a chassis electronically? Vehicle chassis is measured using Laser Technology whereby the system is able to detect the point of measurement up to 1mm of accuracy in 3 dimension. The software contains a database of over 80,000 vehicle specifications that covers most of the vehicle models in the world. Each specification will inform the locations on the chassis to be measured and using the recommended attachments, bar-coded targets will be hung on these locations. A laser scanner that rotates continuously will read the position of the target and cross reference to the original specifications in the database. The system will be able to compute the difference of the location in 3 axis and tells the misalignment of the point of measurement. This will in return inform the user/body technician what direction of misalignment and how much of force is needed to make the correction pull. As a standard of practice, any accident vehicle should be electronically measured in 3 dimension before and after a repair is done. The computed misalignment of the chassis can be printed out for easy reference and for proper documentation.
Computerized Electronic Measuring of the chassis is beneficial to all parties, namely the car owner, the bodyshop and the insurance company. This is how the measuring report can protect your interest if you are”
- Car Owner – Making sure that the vehicle is repaired back to specifications, thus ensuring safety features of the vehicle is preserved
- Bodyshop – Measuring report after repair will be evidence of a proper repair of the vehicle making sure all back in specifications. This will prevent further argument from any party after release of vehicle
- Insurance company – Electronic measuring is a method for insurance companies to make sure all panel workshop repair vehicles back to specifications. This is important to take care of the interest of policy owner
Under such circumstances, we can’t find any reason why an accident vehicle should not be electronically measured. Are the lives of many innocent being not worth the time and effort to measure a vehicle before and after repair??
Get your vehicle measured today! Demand for a computerized measuring report!