Panel beating requires the mind to be able to accurately bring the car back to its proper shape.
(Credit: Umar Nsubuga)
MOTORING | CAR REPAIR
Once you've been involved in an accident and your vehicle's body and shape are affected, you will surely want to restore it to its original look. Panel beating will be your way out of this one.
Panel beating requires the mind to be able to accurately bring the car back to its earlier desired shape.
Daniel Katumba, a senior mechanic in Rubaga, says panel beaters use a number of techniques to remove dents and shape panels to match the original contours of the vehicle, before smoothing, re-surfacing and spray painting the damaged areas.
He says the correct stream living (aerodynamic shaping) allows the car resistance created by air, so as to give you a smooth ride.
"We have experts in Uganda who make damaged cars look like they are brand-new," says Katumba.
THE PANEL BEATING PROCESS
Martin Semambo, a mechanic and a scrap dealer in Bwaise, says severe accidents can affect the shape of your car so much that at a certain speed, the car stands a risk of overturning because its body is shaped badly.
According to Semambo, after an impact or accident, the car must be realigned before any body works can take place.
A hydraulic lift is used to carefully pull the chasis into place before it is squared up.
Shrinking or stretching
If a panel on a car's body is dented, the metal is stretched out of shape. Semambo says the panel beater has to shrink and stretch the metal back to its original dimensions. This needs heat. The panel beater applies heat to the surface using a heat gun, and then hammers the area with a special shaping hammer to re-shape the metal.
Katumba says that sometimes the vehicle requires more than panel beating to restore the original contours. So, a putty filler might be applied.
He says there are a number of sanding techniques, depending on the stage of the repair process. "Sanding can either be a wet or dry procedure and is used to re-shape a contour and prepare the surface for painting.
Katumba says the final stage of the repair job is spray painting with strong, chip-resistant paint. "Your panel beaters will use an identical paint colour to ensure the body repairs go undetected. And the painting process is carried out in a dust-free environment.
Yusufu Kalemba, a panel beater in Matugga, says if your body is improperly shaped, battered and bent, this will affect the equilibrium of forces that work together to keep your car balanced on the road at very high speeds.
He says the shape of the body of a car is designed to cut through the resistance that air presents to its movement.
Severe accidents affect the chasis of the car, and bringing it back to its original shape is a difficult job. "Clients should remember panel beating is expensive work so they should drive carefully so as to avoid accidents".
He says car bodies are made out of aluminum as well as steel pressings. The advantage of steel panels is that they can be gad welded. Filler parts are used to ensure a smooth car body line.
Degree of damage
Kalemba says it is the joy of any panel beater to bring the car back to its original shape. Panel-beating requires time and funding for a perfect job. The accuracy of your panel work will be determined to a large extent by the magnitude and extent of the damage.
The quality of the work of the panel beater is improved with good vehicle colour spraying. An inexperienced sprayer will ruin the effect of the accuracy of the panel beater and hence will not produce a result that is pleasing to look at.
There are many workshops that do panel beating and other kinds of body work in Uganda. The quality of their work, however, can be expected to vary. The product speaks for itself.
All drivers must know that a badly-shaped car body resulting from an accident makes a car unstable at high speeds.