Laser Welded Joints
Vehicle makers use laser welds in two different ways and the joint configuration will help identify potential repairability.
A laser weld looks almost like a skinny GMA (MIG) weld with the bead concave rather than convex.
Tailor-welded joints use an open butt joint. In this configuration, the laser weld is joining different thicknesses and/or strengths of steel along the length of the same panel. Examples include front rails and outer unsides. Most vehicle makers do not consider laser-welded joints as a good factory seam for partial replacement. In fact, a tailor-welded joint may be a crush zone.
If you see panels overlapped and attached using laser welds, there may be a replacement option. Several vehicle makers use laser welds instead of spot welds for attaching some parts like roof panels. In this configuration, laser welds may be continuous across the flange or done in shorter intervals. Laser welds cannot be duplicated during collision repair. It is important to check vehicle maker procedures for specific replacement recommendations.
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