A Different World
The collision repair industry is changing fast. Not too long ago cars were not build with much plastic. Mostly, interior parts, but even much of the inside of a car was made with metal. In the past 15 to 20 years, plastics and composites have became widely used for interior, exterior, body parts, mechanical parts, etc. Plastic is not going any where, so we need to learn how to repair it properly.
The government started pushing car makers to make cars more fuel efficient. One obvious solution was to make the car lighter. This is when car makers started working with metal and other materials to reduce weight in vehicles. Lighter metal started being designed, such as high strength steel to allow the metal to have equivalent strength with much thinner metal. At the same time, engineers started brainstorming and started using light weight plastic for many of the parts that were made of steel. Apparently, the results were positive, as there is more plastic in each new body style of cars.
More Fuel Economy
To this day the government is requiring car maker to meet certain requirements in order to sell car in the US. Therefore, the automakers are going to do what ever it takes to make this happen. I believe we will see more plastic, aluminum, carbon fiber, and other composites in the years to come.
Like It Or Hate It
There are many technicians that do not like working with plastics. However, whether we like it or not, the fact that it is here to stay is a pretty safe bet. I am not trying to promote the use of plastic, but we do need to teach technicians how to properly repair it.
With all of the plastics, companies such as 3M have developed some awesome products to repair plastic. There are a few folks out there that may prefer to use a plastic welding method, but the adhesive products have really made this a simple process. Sure, there are different concerns for repairing plastics than repairing metal, but when plastic is repaired properly, it’s as good as new.