If you review your repair estimate and see the line item “destructive weld testing,” you might be wondering what that means and why it is on there. You probably see the word “destructive” and think that is a word you wouldn’t want to associate with your vehicle when trying to get it repaired.
Its safe to assume when you need collision repair, you want to trust that the technicians know what they are doing and aren’t skipping steps to speed up the process. Most collision repairs will require some welding, and most of us wouldn’t think twice about worrying if a technician is skilled enough. Unfortunately, not all North Carolina technicians will take the necessary time and skip an important step called “destructive weld testing” because it’s time-consuming. The actual setup process of the welder and performance of the destructive weld test are two separate processes that are known to take a long time. “Each welding machine manufacturer may have its own unique configurations and setup processes” (CCC P-pages) and the shop may have more than one brand of welder being shared among the staff.
What is destructive weld testing and why do you need it?
Every car make and model is built with their own materials sometimes changing year over year. Some have steel, others have aluminum and some utilize both metals which react differently to heat. This means welding isn’t a one size fits all process. A good welder must actually research the manufacturer’s requirements then calibrate their welder to perform consistent, quality high penetration welds on your new parts based on the type of metal they are. They do this through destructive weld testing, where the technician doing the welding will take some scrap materials off the parts that were cut off the vehicle, set up their welder and make a few test welds. They will then perform both a “peel test” and a “twist test” where they will try and peel or twist away the metal to make sure the welds hold. Once the technician is satisfied with the weld, they can move on to your car and make as many welds as necessary on the new parts knowing that the welder is set up correctly.
So, what does that mean for your car? In situations where no destructive weld testing is performed, your vehicle may be unsafely welded and no longer maintain its structural integrity if the incorrect welding technique was used. Every vehicle has its own unique variables that can change the type of welding repair so its imperative to take the time to perform testing and research on every single repair.
Besides the fact that destructive weld testing is time-consuming, it’s also a service that is “not-included procedure in all three estimating systems…” (Repairer Driven News). A less skilled estimator may not even know to put it as a line item on the estimate, and a high production shop or larger corporate chain may not include it as a way to cut costs for an insurer.
Destructive weld testing isn’t just limited to spot welding or MAG plug welding. Another common bonding procedure is known as “weld bonding”, which involves the use of super-strong adhesives instead of melting metal to join two panels. Just like welding, adhesive weld bonding should also undergo a destructive weld test to ensure that the adhesive is correct and properly mixed.
This is why it’s crucial you take your car to be repaired somewhere that would perform the destructive weld testing before working on your vehicle. When an auto repair shop takes the time to do this, it means they care about your car and taking the time to repair it properly. We here at Statesville Collision Centers always perform destructive weld testing before we even touch your vehicle to make sure you have the best repair possible. We follow OEM repair procedures and never have your car be the test subject for welding.
We look forward to hearing from you!