Originally Posted by tech69
terrible bodywork is often times what the customer asks for. They think the stuff is easy so they go hire these crack tweaks and generally don't know what to ask for or look for in qualifications. These poor victims are the guys that go into your shop and have a heart attack when you tell them the cost of the repair. So they look for "cheaper" ways and end up getting the short end of the stick. You also got "buddies" who do bodywork. I'm sure we all heard that before. Or what about the car flippers who tell their victims in a russian accent, "It's a salvage title but just a little front end damage, nothing major."
Yes, the good old flipper that takes a vehicle that has a salvage title and puts it back on the road...There are many vehicles that when there is a salvage title, the only reason it has a salvage title is age and the value of the vehicle doesn't allow enough for a reputable shop to do proper repairs...say for example, you have a 10 year old vehicle and it's hit in the right front corner...the damage is hood, fender bumper, headlight assembly, grill and rad support, nothing structural...That car, if it was 5, 6 or 7 years newer, would be repaired and the car would be safe without any one needing to worry about safety or other issues.
The "flipper" is the one that takes vehicles with extensive frame damage and with nothing more than a telephone pole and 15 feet of chain, wraps the frame in the chain and proceeds to back up as rapidly as possible to bring the frame close enough to hang used sheet metal from it making door gaps close enough to open the door and if the gap is to wide, nothing more to the fix than than carve 3/16 of an inch extra to the panel out of fiberglass. If the gap is to small, a grinder will shorten that panel much quicker than getting proper measurements on the frame to achieve fit and finish.
And then there's the "flipper" that imports vehicles from another Province "Canada" or state where rust is a major concern. No salvage title, the car looks great, but structurally the car is a hazard. In Canada most vehicles brought in from another Province need to be mechanically and structurally certified before they can be licensed...this should, one would think, eliminate dangerous vehicles being put on the road when buying a vehicle from one of these rust prone areas. Not the case.
12 years ago I was involved in a situation where the wife of a former employer of mine was in the market for a 95 Camaro (the car was only 5 years old at the time)...I was asked if I would help her find a suitable Camaro and I agreed...I checked local reputable dealerships, gave her a call and said that I had found 4 or 5 that we could go and look at. I was told at the time that she had just purchased a white 95 Camaro and all was well. I said OK great (now my Saturday was free). A month later she called me and asked if I could adjust the driver's side door for her because it was getting more and more difficult to open and close. My radar went off and I agreed to "look" at the car. When I got to see the car I opened the door and as it opened it dropped at least 2 inches. I lifted up on the door (hoping I would see loose pins and bushings in the hinges), this moved the front fender...same situation on the passenger side, the door pillars where completely rotted out. We brought the vehicle to the shop and lifted it up in the air...The rear frame rails where so bad, by tapping them with a hammer we put holes in the frame. This car had been certified so it only gets better.
We drove the car to shop that certified it and they said that at the time they certified it there was nothing wrong with the vehicle, (it had been certified about 45 days previously). I asked who the government insurance agent was for that area and I wanted him to see the car. After much hesitation and a little song and dance all I got was a name and we where told to leave which we did. I called the agent and he mentioned that he knew the shop that certified the car well and that they where very reputable. I told him that if that was the case he wouldn't mind meeting us there so he could physically look at the car himself and make up his own mind...he agreed. At the shop we put the car up in the air and we showed him the door pillars, frame rails and the rust scales on the underneath of the floor...I couldn't believe what I heard, the insurance agent said it was surface rust and nothing to worry about...I took a blunt screwdriver, poked it through the floor and said "surface rust?" The insurance guy then asked me how long I had been in the trade and if I knew what I was doing, because if I had any experience at all I would notice that the doors had no rust at all and if rust was an issue that is where it would show...I told him that the bumper covers didn't have rust either and that if he had any experience at all he would know that they where both made of plastic.
We ended up suing the used car lot, the inspection station and the government insurance...it was settled that the purchase price of the car was refunded. The used car lot lost there license, the inspection station lost their privilege to do inspections and the insurance agent was given an opportunity to be successful some place else...(they fired him).
It just goes to show that just because a car has a salvage title, doesn't mean it not road worthy, or, on the other side of the coin, just because a car is certified doesn't mean it is road worthy...The old adage, buyer beware, is alive and well. If someone is buying a used car that doesn't have a good deal of knowledge about vehicles should bring people with them that do, not just the mechanic guy, the body guy as well, and make sure the people that they bring with them are credible.