In the world of automotive repair and restoration, the terms “repair” and “restoration” can mean two very different things. Those individuals who have received collision technician training from a certified collision repair school will understand the difference, as will those with formal training in other areas of auto mechanics.
Defining Repair Versus Restoration
When we talk about making repairs to a vehicle after a collision, we usually mean addressing the obvious – the physical, visual, cosmetic damage… as well as the obvious corrections that are required to make a vehicle roadworthy again. In contrast, vehicle restoration takes into account many areas of damage that may be hidden. Correcting this underlying – and often difficult-to-detect – damage is the key to restoring a vehicle to what trained technicians and insurance adjusters call “pre-accident condition.”
After a collision, most people only address obvious visual damage – a dented fender, broken headlight or buckled hood. While these things are important, the areas of damage that remain unseen – even by an adjuster – can be a tremendous threat to driver safety. In even a moderate collision, serious engine, suspension and frame damage can occur.
The Restoration Process
To restore a vehicle to pre-accident condition, your trained collision specialist must first assess the extent of the damage. Professional restoration facilities and certified collision repair schools employ specialized equipment – including both precise lasers and advanced ultrasound – to both measure and straighten vehicle frames, something especially critical on modern vehicles built on a unibody-and-subframe foundation. Without specialized equipment and training, it is nearly impossible to restore a frame-damaged vehicle to pre-accident condition.
With the right tools and the right training; your trained collision specialist can not only return your vehicle to the way it is supposed to look, but return proper road performance, maintain sound structural integrity, and ensure driver safety as well.
Paint: The Next – and Final – Step
While frame, suspension, or engine damage after an accident can easily go unseen, damage to the body is obvious. It’s the very first thing that a vehicle owner – or an insurance adjuster – will notice. That is why proper color matching and paint application are so critical. In years past, color matching was done exclusively by eye, a process both error-prone and time-consuming. Now, most modern collision-repair facilities used advanced systems to facilitate this procedure.
First; a database matches your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to retrieve the factory paint codes, manufacturing dates and other information to determine how a vehicle was originally finished. Next; a computerized spectral analyzer will scan both factory paint samples and your vehicle’s current finish to match the color exactly and correct for fading over time. Lastly; an advanced mixing system will create the correct shade of paint based on this scan.
To learn more about the specialized tools and techniques that collision-repair experts use to repair and restore damaged vehicles after an accident, download our free eBook today!