Vehicle Design and Collision Repair

Materials in automotive applications are selected to minimize weight, while meeting key criteria including crash performance, stiffness and forming requirements. OEM’s have been desperately striving to improve fuel economy and one of the ways is to reduce the weight of vehicles by using lighter and stronger materials. Advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) helps engineer meet the various requirements for safety, efficiency, emissions and quality at a relatively low cost. While AHSS offers many advantages over their mild steel ancestors, they can’t be repaired using the same old processes. Doing so may actually do more harm than good.

The front and rear section are designed to crumple and absorb energy in a collision while the center section withstand and diverts forces around the cage to keep passengers safe. What happens if the repairer does not understand the behaviour of materials used on vehicles and the proper repairing method? Will a repaired vehicle withstand a second collision in the same manner? The understanding of vehicle design in collision repair is important.

Below is an example of a crash test performed in Brazil on a Peugeot 307 sedan to study the stringer deformation. The test was conducted on frontal impact with fixed barrier at 18km/h 40% offset left. The same vehicle was used to conduct 3 impact tests on different occasions;

Stringer deformation

1) The new Peugeot 307 sedan was crashed with the said tests condition. The stringer deformation was observed
2)  The crashed vehicle was repaired but using an improper method. The repaired vehicle was crashed again and the stringer deformation was observed
3) The same vehicle was repaired for the 2nd time but using proper method. The vehicle was crashed and the stringer deformation was observed

The stringer deformation results are as below

Crash Test

The results shows that the deformation of stringer after crash was almost similar for the new vehicle crash (1) and a properly repaired vehicle (3). However, if the vehicle was not repaired according to the proper methodology (2), the deformation observed was 3 times more severe. These tests were conducted at only 18km/h. How do you think your vehicle if not repaired using proper method will behave in the event of a collision if you are traveling at 80km/h? You deserve a proper repair from a well qualified bodyshop. Request for documented repair procedures and check if this is according OEM recommendation. Don’t put you and your family safety at stake just because you are not aware of the danger of improper repairs.

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