Look what happens when youre not looking

A vehicle owner hardly ever sees their vehicle undergo the collision repair process. Smash repairers claim it is for safety reasons why owners cannot enter the workshop repair area to watch their vehicle being repaired. Whilst there is some merit in this comment another more likely reason might be repairers simply do not want you to see what they really do to your car.

Collision damaged vehicles undergo what are known in the industry as ‘conventional repairs’. Vehicles are not handled with care and attention as is purported, there are no ‘kit groves’ here, they are literally bastardised during the repair process to the point where safety is compromised and incredibly, undamaged components are being damaged during the repair process. The smash repair industry uses archaic equipment and applies antiquated methods and process to repair vehicles. The truth of the matter is, it’s essentially a ‘butchers’ approach toward repairs.

An example of the current industry practice of repair is to chain the undamaged end of the vehicle to the workshop floor or repair apparatus, thence apply three (3) – four (4) tonnes pressure to the damaged area and ‘pull’ or ‘stretch’ the damaged area back into shape.

From a visual perspective this might ultimately achieve the desired effect however structurally (under the car) further new damage is being sustained to undamaged components whilst the vehicle is being stretched.

To explain further, a collision damaged vehicle with front end damage would be chained and secured by the rear. The front end would also be chained and pressure applied from the front to ‘stretch’ the vehicle to achieve the desired length.


Both images show how cars are chained by the front and rear then stretched during the repair process. This process causes extensive damage to undamaged areas of the vehicles which are usually left un-repaired when returned to owners.

The resulting problem is that the ‘pressure and pull’ is not localised to the damaged areas only and the ‘stretching’ effect consequently causes extreme stress to the entire vehicle further damaging structural and other components not damaged as a result of the initial impact. During this process every joint, weld, bolted section and seam undergoes enormous strain as it stretched. The pressure applied to the straining joints and welds is so great that the emanating noises could only be described as the vehicle ‘groaning with pain’.

Consequently it is very common for bolts to sheer, rivets to fail and welded joints to crack open in undamaged areas of the vehicle when such extreme pressure is applied but the new damage is negligently left un-repaired when the owner finally collects their vehicle. This problem will continue to remain whilst conventional repair methods and equipment are used and considered acceptable in the industry.

Example: One owner had his vehicle returned to him after collision repairs only to find each time he navigated a roundabout, the left rear door would ‘fly’ open. His continual complaints to stakeholders fell on deaf ears and after having a structural tolerance inspection conducted on his vehicle, it was revealed the chassis over stretched on one side creating a ‘banana’ shaped chassis. This was directly attributable to using conventional collision repair equipment and methods

The above is a clear example of how conventional smash repair equipment and practices cannot reinstate structural components to a safe crashworthy condition, nor can they reinstate structural integrity to the manufacturers recommended specifications.

The schematic below identifies what smash repairers do to your car when you are not looking.

A smash repair industry fact - Did you know? - Seat belts sustain irreparable damage in motor vehicle collisions at low speed impacts. Seat belts are manufactured with a particular fibre which will stretch to cushion the impact of a collision for the occupant. Seat belts will stretch in collision impacts generally where structural damage is sustained which can be in many vehicles as low as 45 Kph. This is a safety feature implemented by motor vehicle manufacturers to ensure occupants do not sustain secondary injuries from safety devices.

It’s interesting to note that seat belts are also designed so they do not retract nor can they be re-tensioned for further use after an impact collision, they are essentially designed to be a throw away item.

However, did you know that insurers do not approve the fitting of new replacement seat belts and subsequently have educated smash repairers not to include these items in their repair quote.

To support this claim, IVIC contacted a number of seat belt suppliers and were told that seat belts sales accounted for less than one percent of all items they supplied to smash repairers.

This is an appalling situation when there is approximately one million five hundred thousand (1,500,000) recorded motor vehicle collisions each year in Australia. Many of these statistics were vehicles having sustained previous collision damage but since been repaired without replacement seat belts fitted.

One must wonder how many persons have been injured and how many unnecessary deaths could have prevented if new seat belts had been fitted to the vehicles in some of these statistics. It’s hard to accept that a life could be worth the cost of a seat belt.