By Bruce Adams, ABRN Correspondent
Neil Anderson’s seminar on Estimating Heavy Duty Trucks on Wednesday emphasized that it’s important to have a thorough understanding of impact forces and how they affect the vehicle, as well as a systematic approach to determine all the damage.
“Writing a thorough and accurate estimate will cut down on the time you have to spend on supplements, which will increase profitability,” says Anderson, president of Anderson Autobody Management Systems in Calgary, Alberta, a training and consulting company.
“When a driver lays a loaded truck over, the jarring nature of that accident can cause a lot of damage and you will have to check everything,” he says. “A truck pulling an 80,000-pound load could tear up the mounts, break the bell housing or affect the entire drive line. That’s a lot of weight bouncing on the rubber mounts. It is essential to understand how the impact forces and collision variables work so you can explain and justify the many different areas and types of damage that will occur to the truck. If you understand the construction of the vehicle, accident conditions and the impact, you will be able to write a better damage report.”
Passive safety design characteristics built into automobiles car bodies are more complex than in the past, causing these types of bodies to be more difficult than trucks. But the vast amount of mechanical damages combined with new truck body designs and materials create a different dimension to estimating truck damage.
“Cars incorporate rediverted energy around and away from occupants to keep them from being injured,” he says. “The main thrust of the truck is the power train and the frame, you deal with more mechanical issues.”
Technicians who are used to working on cars will not find many estimating systems available for heavy-duty trucks.
“You need to take a systematic approach that breaks the truck down into eight areas from the front bumper back,” Anderson says. “I recommend using a checklist of major items to look for damage from the collision.”
Checklist items include the bumper; hood; cab or cab and integral sleeper; fairings, extenders and side skirts; frame; mechanical; suspension, wheels and tires; and refinishing.
“Body damage is more obvious on trucks than on cars,” he says. “Trucks have straight, flat panels that show the damage. But the majority of body damage will be in the inner structure, which is not visible making it difficult to determine the total amount of damage until disassembly has been done.