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Chevrolet Silverado Design Simplifies Collision Repair

March 24, 2015

Photo of Chevrolet Silverado courtesy of General Motors.
Photo of Chevrolet Silverado courtesy of General Motors.

The 2015 model-year Chevrolet Silverado is designed to save time and cost if the pickup truck ever needs collision repair, according to General Motors.

When development work began on the current-generation Silverado several years ago, General Motors’ engineers incorporated several features that allow technicians to more efficiently repair collision damage, the automaker said.

“When we design trucks, we don’t only consider what features our consumers demand from a full-size truck,” explained 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.”

The Silverado reparability features include:

Front Frame Rail Section – Because of the way the Silverado’s front frame rails are engineered, minor impacts don’t necessarily lead 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 are 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. This allows technicians to cut out and replace only the damaged area instead of the entire assembly. “Our goal is to only have weld seams where we absolutely need them,” Szlachta said.

Flexible Bed Repair Options – If the Silverado’s pickup bed or outer bedside ever suffers significant damage, truck owners won’t necessarily need to purchase a new pickup box. Depending on the damage, the outer bedside or the bedside assembly can be replaced from the bed floor out.

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