Auto body repairers typically do the following:
- Review damage reports, prepare cost estimates, and plan work
- Remove damaged body parts, including bumpers, fenders, hoods, grilles, and trim
- Realign car frames and chassis to repair structural damage
- Hammer out or patch dents, dimples, and other minor body damage
- Fit, attach, and weld replacement parts into place
- Install and weatherproof windows and windshields
- Grind, sand, buff, and prime refurbished and repaired surfaces
- Apply new finish to restored body parts.
Auto body repairers can repair most damage from everyday vehicle collisions and make vehicles look and drive like new. Damage may be minor, such as replacing a cracked windshield, or major, such as replacing an entire door panel. Repair technicians use many tools for their work. To remove damaged parts, such as bumpers and door panels, they use pneumatic tools, metal-cutting guns, and plasma cutters. For major structural repairs, such as aligning the body, they often use heavy-duty hydraulic jacks and hammers. For some work, they use common hand tools, such as metal files, pliers, wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers.
In some cases, repair technicians do an entire job by themselves. In other cases, especially in large shops, they use an assembly line approach in which they work as a team with each repair technician specializing. Although repair technicians sometimes prime and paint repaired parts, automotive painters generally perform these tasks. For more information, see the profile on painting and coating workers. Auto body and related repairers, or collision repair technicians, straighten metal panels, remove dents, and replace parts that cannot be fixed. Although they repair all types of vehicles, most work primarily on cars, sport utility vehicles, and small trucks. Automotive glass installers and repairers remove and replace broken, cracked, or pitted windshields and window glass. They also weatherproof newly installed windows and windshields with chemical treatments.