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Bodywork - Tips on check-up, common defects and replacement

The body of a car includes all metal and plastic parts, that make the outer shape of the vehicle. It consists of movable and fixed components.

The construction of a car body

A car body consists of four components. The body-in-white is a big block of welded plates. It is the core of the vehicle, on which all other components of the car are attached with rivets, buckles or screws. The replaceable body parts attached on the body-in-white belong to the second group of components. These are the front fenders and bumpers. In case of damage due to rust or accidents they can be easily removed and replaced with new parts. They have no supporting function, they only serve for the aerodynamic and for the design of the car. The third group of components of a car body are the movable parts. Movable parts are the doors, bonnet and tailgate, the tank cap and possibly a roof or a retractable convertible top. If damaged these parts are easy to replace. Except the hood and the tank cap, the movable body parts, however, have a lot of electronics and inward oriented parts of the cladding. If these parts are replaced by a new one, they usually require an expensive dismantling of many body elements. The fourth group of the body parts includes any attachments such as moldings, emblems, plankings on moving elements and others alike. Their replacement is also quite easy to make and when all these attachments are in a perfect condition they can significantly enhance a car.

Wear of the body parts

The body of a vehicle essentially consists of steel sheet. Its main enemy is the rust. Factory protective measures such as underbody protection, cavity sealings or galvanized sheets, delay the premature rust. Nevertheless, the time has proven that also galvanized vehicles can corrode very quickly under certain unfortunate circumstances.
To prevent progressive rusting on a vehicle, every little rust stain should be eliminated immediately. Cars have specific vulnerable areas where rust should be typically expected. On the body-in-white, the rear wheel arches are often susceptible to rust. Particles that jump of the wheels during driving gradually destroy the protective lacquer seal on the lower edge of the wheel arch, after which moisture and rust will gradually penetrate. If this is detected early enough, the corrosion can be stopped by grinding the grate and resealing the wheel arch. Another weak point at many cars is the underbody. The side skirts are commonly affected by rust. The causes are partly the same as for the wheel arches. A lack of precaution while working on the car is also another cause: The side skirts are voids that in which water can accumulate and this can easily lead to penetration. The water then has time to catalytically accelerate the formation of rust. Should you find rust at the side sills, it usually helps only to cut the rusted part off and weld a steel sheet in its place. Strong rust is a reason for rejection at car inspections.
Doors and front wings are also subject to rust. In this case, normally you replace the whole component rather than to undertake a repair attempt. Then, it is essential to paint the replaced component in the existing body color as a different color body part will reduce the value of the vehicle considerably.
Bumpers are made today mainly of plastic. To replace them you usually have to loosen some screws and mount the new part. In the case of mass-produced cars, the purchase of new bumpers is usually quite inexpensive. For high-quality sports coupé cars this can be however very expensive. For this reason, we have repair kits for plastic bumpers that repair or partially decrease cracks.
At AutopartsPro.co.uk you will find numerous tools which will help you to maintain and improve the body of your vehicle. The selection includes polishes and paint cleaners, special car shampoos and special agents for aluminum parts. The doors, fenders and bumpers must be obtained from the spare parts market. In the online catalog you will often find highly suitable alternatives to the expensive original spare parts. This means that you can repair damages at you car with little money.

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