As vehicle designs evolve, frame racks and measuring systems becoming integral to collision repair

Aug. 15, 2014
Even as the use of sectioning and parts replacement grows, the foundation of a solid collision repair remains the trusty frame rack, backed by a reliable measuring system.

The increasing use of aluminum and other "exotic" materials in vehicle design has led to evolving repair procedures. Long gone are the days of pulling out every dent. But even as the use of sectioning and parts replacement grows, the foundation of a solid collision repair remains the trusty frame rack, backed by a reliable measuring system.

Although high-strength steel and aluminum vehicle bodies are getting a lot of industry buzz, even the most cutting-edge light duty trucks and many other SUVs and vans continue to be built on steel frames. These steel frames may need to be pulled back into shape after a collision. Frame racks also play a crucial role in keeping a vehicle in place during the parts removal and replacement process.

"Using high-strength steels and aluminum, vehicle manufacturers are able to direct collision forces around the passenger compartment and into areas specifically designed to absorb an impact," explains Bob Holland, director of collision in North and South America for Chief Automotive Technologies parent company Vehicle Service Group (VSG). "This protects passengers, but also transmits damage across the entire vehicle. If any damaged components are not properly repaired or replaced according to OEM specs, the vehicle's entire impact-absorbing design could be compromised. Today's damaged vehicles should be fully measured before and during the repair, held securely while being fixed, and, if needed, pulled in multiple strategic locations."

Before attempting to repair a modern vehicle, technicians must look for damage beyond the point of impact. Using Chief's LaserLock™ Live Mapping™ system, they can map an entire vehicle at once. LaserLock measures more reference points than any other system to provide a thorough depiction of all damage. Since its out-of-level capabilities simplify the setup process, LaserLock can be used to measure every vehicle that comes in to blueprint repair plans that reduce the risk of repair delays.

During the repair, Chief's new Structural Holding Package can help ensure that new high-strength steel and aluminum pieces are placed according to OEM specs. This preserves the vehicle's impact-absorbing design. The Structural Holding Package works with any Chief frame rack and features more than 50 components that can be combined in a variety of ways to add holding points at strategic locations along the body. These additional holding points prevent the vehicle from shifting out of place during the repair process.

The Structural Holding Package includes vice clamps that can be used to secure vehicle frames to the rack at multiple locations. The additional holding points provided by the Structural Holding Package help distribute pressure when pulling out frame damage, which reduces the risk of inflicting additional damage to the vehicle.

When paired with a modern frame rack, the LaserLock Live Mapping System and Structural Holding Package can provide shops with an ideal setup for returning modern vehicles to OEM specs. Chief's full-sized impulse®-E/VHT, Goliath® and Titan®-360 frame racks all feature 360-degree, multipoint pulling capabilities that allow technicians to isolate damaged areas for accurate, efficient repairs. Their decks offer variable height settings for versatility and each pulling tower is equipped with 10,000 lbs. of power at the hook for handling nearly any job.

"Vehicle design has evolved, and without the right equipment, shops will not be able to properly repair the vehicles of today and tomorrow," says Holland. "Chief's collision repair equipment is more powerful, versatile and capable than ever before, and has been specifically designed to service modern cars and trucks."

To learn more about the full line of Chief collision repair equipment, contact your local Chief distributor, visit or call (800) 445-9262.

SOURCE: Chief Automotive Technologies

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