Champlain Auto Body is an independent collision repair center in the Greater Moncton area of Canada. Receive latest new and articles related to auto body repair and have an insider look at what goes on in our fast pace environment by subscribing to their blog.
A repair plan is produced for each collision repair, for the same reasons a house builder needs a blueprint for a construction project, or a chef follows a recipe for a dish.
When a vehicle is towed in, or if we deem a vehicle to be non-drivable, a repair plan will be prepared upon reception to fully assess the extent of the damage. On the other hand, if a vehicle is safe to drive, and the owner agrees to schedule the vehicle for repairs based on the estimate provided, a repair plan will be prepared once the vehicle comes in for the repairs. Ultimately, both scenarios lead to the same repair plan and process.
The first thing we will do when drafting a repair plan is to ensure the vehicle is clean by going through the detailing department, whether they are drivable or non-drivable.
We then document all damages to the vehicle with photographs and videos.
Then comes the heavy lifting work, a full disassembly of all damaged parts if necessary, including: suspension, steering, drivetrain, outer body panels and adjacent panels that may need painting. This thorough process allows us to capture all of the hidden damage beyond the outer body panels at the first stage of our repairs. Having a full and thorough list of replacement parts upfront allows us to ensure our repair process flows smoothly and without delay. Failing to assess and order even the smallest of parts could withhold a vehicle from delivery for days.
“If the repair plan was a recipe, it would be like making the list of ingredients needed and figuring out the time required at each step,” Kyle Drouillard
Once our repair plan is completed, the customer is updated if required, documentation is provided to the initial estimator to order any parts, and the vehicle is moved to the build-down stage to begin repair or is parked in our secure compound to await the necessary parts.
Here’s a scenario to better explain this process:
The customer comes in for a quick estimate on a fender bender collision. The estimator deems the car driveable, and a quote is done. The client approves the quote, and the vehicle is scheduled for repair.
Meanwhile, a rental car is scheduled and this project is added to our production calendar.
On the day the vehicle comes back for the repair, we dismantle everything in order to write a very detailed repair plan. Let’s say the technician discovers that a small bracket on the headlight adjacent to the damaged fender is broken. This tab ensures the vehicle’s headlights are pointing in the right direction, and we have to replace it with a new one. Immediately, the initial estimator makes some adjustments to the first estimate, contacts the customer to inform them of new developments and orders the new parts.
That small 2 day job just doubled in time, but could have been even longer if it wasn’t assessed early enough.
In some body shops, the car could have been painted and in the reassembly stage before discovering the damaged headlight tab. Leaving the customer with a longer wait, extra costs and an unsafe vehicle until parts are received and installed.
“Repair planning allows us to maintain a fast turnaround, even with a high volume of vehicles,” Luc Robichaud.
Almost like that time you made a new recipe only to find out that you are missing this very important spice, so you had to return to the store to get some.
Reassembling a vehicle is one of the last steps of the vehicle repair process, where all the parts and components are put back into place. Unlike a 1000 piece puzzle, you don’t get to double-check a picture to guide you through the reassembly. But the guys aren’t completely in the dark: They rely on a system that helps make sure no pieces are left behind.
It makes sense that the basics of reassembly work begin during the first steps of the build down, where all the pieces are taken apart and deployed on a rolling parts rack. The technicians at the build down stage have to organize and document each part in order to guide the reassembly team.
Compartment case helps identify where the small pieces belong.
Bob Oke is an experienced auto body technician. He has worked in every department of the shop since 1996 and he is currently one of the assembly technicians.
“In the past, the same technician would perform all the repairs on a same vehicle so that that person would know all the little odd things about it when came time to reassemble,” says Bob.
Reassembling the tail gate of a vehicle.
Today, since a car moves from department to department to increase efficiency and turn around, it is mandatory that a good system be in place.
For one, the build down staff will use a compartment case and write down the names of the parts and their location on top of each compartment to better identify the pieces. They are also asked to identify odd looking pieces that could delay the reassembly process simply because the technician would have to spend time looking around to find out where it’s supposed to go.
“I always tell them [build down] to add as much description as possible and not assume I know where the part goes,” says Bob.
Odd pieces often need identification to help when reassembling.
According to Bob, reassembly relies 80% on experience and 20% on proper notes. Those notes can save delays and a walk in the shop to ask the build down technician if he can recall how the parts were assembled in the first place.
For more extensive jobs, — say more than bumpers and fenders — the technician who took the vehicle apart is usually scheduled to participate in its reassembly.
When the car is fully assembled, it’s time to scan it with a diagnostics scanner and perform one final visual quality control check.
Kings of the body shop - Champlain Auto Body Reassembly - YouTube