Detroit-based Chevrolet today announced the 2015 Silverado is easier to repair following a collision or accident than its predecessor. The new full-size pickup includes modifications to the front frame rails and front fenders, various body panels, and the bed.
“Designing automobiles to be both durable and light weight is a challenge for the automotive industry,” says John Van Alstyne, president and CEO of I-CAR, an international organization that shares repair procedures among automotive professionals. “Advanced materials may deliver both qualities, but automakers need to still ensure vehicles are still designed for affordable reparability.”
The Silverado reparability features include:
Front Frame Rail Section
Because of the way Silverado’s front frame rails are engineered, minor impacts don’t necessarily equate to substantial repair bills. Depending on the severity of the impact, technicians may be able to repair a leading section of the truck’s frame instead of replacing the entire chassis. If so, the damaged section can be cleanly cut away at a specific location, and a new service section – shipped fully assembled – can be welded in place.
Structural Front Fenders
On many passenger vehicles, unbolting a damaged front fender removes only the outer skin, leaving behind additional structure welded to the cab. If that structure is damaged, technicians then need to drill out welds in order to remove the panel. On the Silverado, the front fenders incorporate both outer sheet metal and the supporting inner structure, allowing simple unbolting of the entire assembly.
Bond-On Body Panel Procedures
When it comes to replacing non-structural body panels, including outer roof panels or outer door panels, technicians can use an ultra-strong structural adhesive to bond the panels onto the vehicle. This helps avoid welding and possible corrosion issues later while speeding the repair.
Pre-prepared roof panels
Technicians can get replacement panels that essentially plug-and-play, thanks to pre-installed studs and pre-drilled holes for accessories.
One-Piece Body Side Outers
If damage occurs to the outer panels of the cab, technicians can order a complete body side outer, shipped as a single, complete assembly, allowing technicians to cut out and replace only the damaged area instead of the entire assembly.
Flexible Bed Repair Options
If the Silverado’s pickup bed or outer bedside should ever be significantly damaged, owners won’t necessarily need to purchase an new pickup box. Depending on the damage, the outer bedside or the bedside assembly can be replaced from the bed floor out.
“When we design trucks, we don’t only consider what features our consumers demand from a full-size truck,” says Mark Szlachta, a GM serviceability design engineer. “We also approach the process with our technician hat on, ensuring we engineer a truck that is straightforward and cost-effective to repair.”