Torque Tips | Quality control at a panel beater

Quality control at a panel beater

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So many things happen unexpectedly in our lives; one such thing is the time you accidentally reversed into a street light when you miscalculated a rushed three-point turn. This has resulted in a damaged bumper, rear window, boot, nameplate, and dented tow bar. Luckily your insurance covers this, and will send your vehicle to one of their reputable, approved panel beaters. You can’t help but wonder what their quality control includes. Today we are here to satisfy your curiosity and talk a little about quality control at a panel beater.

This is a separate process, better described as the ’check-list’ stage where they will have a look at the quality of the workmanship. This is where the quality control manager will walk around the vehicle and inspect the vehicle from top to bottom and determine whether the vehicle meets all the standard requirements of AA and SAMBRA (The South African Body Repair Association). It is a national organization that represents the Retail Motor industry in South Africa for the last twenty-five years. For a panel beater service provider to join SAMBRA, they need to work according to this national organizations ’grading system’ and obtain a ’certified and valid panel beating qualification’.  

To have a successful quality control analysis, the panel beating team has to individually ensure that each department provides quality work so that the result, in the end, will be of an exceptional standard. Some examples will be using genuine OEM body and mechanical parts, as well as using skilled techniques. They will also double-check everything, such as checking barcodes of these parts. Doing this will ensure that no faults or problems arise when inspected by the qualified quality control manager. 

A basic quality control inspection includes the following:

- Inspection of the alignment of the fitted parts and panels.
- Looking for any gaps between the panels.
- Checking of the vehicle’s instruments and controls after the physical inspection.
- Look out for any dents and defaults (bad repair or replacement that needs to be fixed).
- Panels that had been fixed or replaced would have likely been resprayed or painted. They will inspect the paint and the smoothness and whether it is the correct colour.
- Inspection of the panel outside as well as the inside. They will also test whether the door, boot, etc. seals and closes efficiently or like it should.
- Finally, the quality control manager will walk around the vehicle and have a closer look for any accidental ’defects’, e.g. a thumbprint on a painted bonnet.

If the inspection fails any criteria then the vehicle will be returned to the correct department. If the inspection was successful and meets all the standard requirements, you will be contacted to pick up your good-as-new vehicle.

We hope that this basic explanation of regulatory quality control at a panel beater – who should belong to an accredited and national organization - will give you peace of mind if you have your vehicle repaired at one. 

Written by: Ashley Roos