Why We Advise Against Used Quarter Panels In Collision Repair


No matter what a repair shop tells you, they should never replace your damaged quarter panel with a used “aftermarket” quarter panel. However, many repair shops still do. But guess what, many of them do. Even though quarter panels aren’t considered a structural component to the overall vehicle, they do interact with the structural elements. 

Over the past few years, there has been a significant change in the way cars are repaired. The push for more repair shops to follow OEM repair procedures has shown just how important it is for technicians to follow. However, some shops will dismiss the specific OEM repair procedures that are released when repairing your exact vehicle. Instead, they’ll approach a repair from “experience,” often cutting corners in the repair process. Technicians will do this to maintain a profit while feeling the pressure from insurance companies refusing to pay for specific steps or repairs, like OEM repairs. Thus, putting you at risk of getting injured in a second accident and the advanced safety features in your car to no longer function properly. 

Vehicle Collision Experts CEO Mark Olson stated, “how the OEM built the vehicle and how you fix it might not be the same, and a repairer can’t assume that duplicating what they saw on the vehicle will work.” A technician can never assume in the repair process, and yet, many do. This is why it’s so important you know what is going to happen to your car during the repair process because your safety needs to be a top priority. Any assumption in the repair process will cause severe consequences. 

Approaching Repair On Quarter Panels 

Let’s take, as an example, repairs for quarter panels. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM for short) of your vehicle has specific repair requirements for technicians to follow. Your car’s manufacturer would instruct a technician to use an entirely new panel, not a previously used one with existing weld nuggets from another vehicle. Approaching this type of repair on quarter panels, a technician needs to go through the following checklist: 

  • What’s it made of? 
  • What’s it attached to? 
  • Sectioning location? 
  • Attachment methods (such as remove and replace)? 
  • How do you remove the panel? 
  • Supporting materials? 
  • Required tooling and equipment? 

The Controversy Behind Quarter Panel Repairs

There is a reason why there is much commotion over quarter panel repairs in the auto repair world. For starters, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) constitutes this type of repairs as cosmetic. However, quarter panels are vital to the overall structural integrity of your vehicle. Also, cars that are made out of metals other than steel will usually require welding (i.e., heat). If technicians replace the quarter panel on your car with a used quarter panel, the plug weld will be too big. 

Olson also stated, “any holes drilled in a used quarter panel might be 10 mm, perhaps 10.5 after deburring. As the OEM wants only 8 mm plug welds, it’s officially impossible to deliver the repair with a used quarter panel.”

Bigger welds are not better for your car when it comes to collision repair. Yet, some technicians will argue, “when this thing gets hit, it’ll never break.” However, that’s not what we’re talking about here. You don’t need a bandaid level of repair that “won’t break.” You need a repair that will last, which is why your vehicle must be repaired precisely how the OEM said to do it. 

Used quarter panels have been tempered with or heated multiple times in the welding process, more than you’d ever see on a new quarter panel. It doesn’t take a well-trained technician to see used quarter panels can’t provide the same level of safety a new quarter panel would. 

Other Reasons Why Used Quarter Panels Won’t Work

As stated in Repairer Driven News, a second reason why used quarter panels wouldn’t work is because of the inability to follow OEM repair procedures. Repairer Driven News also stated, “…the idea of producing holes (such as spot welds on a quarter panel) outside of OEM tolerances also means the repair would be a nonstarter.” 

A third reason would be due to something known as “work hardening.” What this means is some quarter panels are installed with rolled hem flanges that have eventually been work-hardened. This happens when the metal is unrolled and rerolled to the point where it can’t be rolled back out. Think of what it’s like when you’re twisting a paper clip over and over. Eventually, it weakens, and the metal clip breaks. This the process of work hardening on used quarter panels. 

To learn more about what’s wrong with used quarter panels, check out the video below from Collision Hub that goes in-depth about these repairs. 

Who In North Carolina Knows How To Perform Quarter Panel Repair The Right Way?

Here at Statesville Collision Center, we are committed to providing North Carolina drivers with the highest level of auto repair they deserve. We don’t believe in using used quarter panels in any repair, and neither should you. We have invested in our technician’s training because we believe a safe repair is the only way to go.

Our technicians are all I-CAR Gold Class certified, which only about 10% of auto repair shops achieve. This means that our technicians have received the highest level of training and know what it means to repair your car the right way. We are always checking OEM repair procedures and understand what it takes to give you the best possible repair out there!

Our motto is, “we may not be related, but you’ll feel like we’re family!” This is because we genuinely care about North Carolina drivers receiving the highest level of repair possible for their vehicles.

Feel free to give us a call at (704)-881-0410. If you’d like to schedule an estimate or get an online quote, we’re more than happy to help out! We offer these on our website to make the car repair process as stress-free as possible!

We look forward to hearing from you!