While new vehicle assembly is driven forward with composite materials and high-strength metals, repairers are being denied the properly researched methodology to restore accident damaged vehicles to their original state.
Repairs are often being delayed as a result of unavailable parts or methods.
In some cases, bodyshops have no alternative but to repair using their best judgement.
Andrew Marsh, advanced technology and methods operations manager at Thatcham, said repairers and motor insurers cannot be confident without researched and approved repair methods.
He estimated that repairing a five-star EuroNCAP rated car without the methods would restore it to only two-stars in terms of safety.
As consumers become aware of the issue, it could have severe implications for the used car marketfor repaired vehicles.
Thatcham has begun researching the availability of manufacturers’ repair methods to independent bodyshops.
Of 100 vehicles, 97 were missing some panel repair methods, 95 were missing structural repair methods and 34 were missing mechanical and electrical repair methods.
“It is unacceptable to have vehicles in the marketplace with fairly common accident repairs not covered by manufacturers’ methods,” said Marsh.
The licence fees to access all the manufacturers’ technical data totalled £36,000 – a cost which few bodyshops could bear.
But the PAS 125 standard requires bodyshops to get and use methods where available.
Thatcham would like to see a data hub, where manufacturers post their methods, for access by bodyshops on a pay-per-view basis.
Repair equipment accreditation launched
Thatcham’s recent Triple Focus event saw the launch of Repair Equipment Accreditation.
Thatcham wants to help bodyshop owners and repair technicians identify robust, quality tools and equipment, suitable to meet their needs and with the build quality to last in daily use within a tough working environment.
Integrated with Thatcham Quality Accreditation (TQA) processes, the programme has initially defined criteria for spot welders, spray guns and hand tools with the option of defining criteria for any further tools and equipment where the need or demand arises.
First products to satisfy the criteria are Sykes-Pickavant’s body repair kit, Stanners’ MI100 spot welder and Deltalyo’s DL3000WB spray-gun.