Structural Sectioning Procedures: General Motors

Structural Sectioning Procedures: General Motors

Ask I-CAR receives many technical inquiries referring to sectioning. The collision repair industry wants to know where can you section, does the OEM have a sectioning procedure, and where can I find the sectioning procedure? Most OEMs allow sectioning to outer body panels and the front and rear rails. Sectioning reinforcements is not as common, as most reinforcements are replaced at factory seams.

Parts are made from various materials including HSS, UHSS, aluminum, and carbon fiber. These parts also have complex designs to collapse or transfer collision forces in a specific manner. Introducing a sectioning joint to many of these parts will alter how the part reacts to those collision forces. For this reason, sectioning a part is only allowed if supported by vehicle maker repair information. Let’s see what General Motors (GM) says about structural sectioning.

Vehicle-specific GM repair manuals offer procedures for sectioning of various parts. However, it is crucial to pay attention to the various Notes and Warnings through the entire procedure. For example, in the rear rail sectioning procedure for the 2016 Buick Encore, one of the notes states, “Do not section the rail in any area other than the die mark location given.”

The vehicle-specific body repair manual is used to determine the required type of welding and sectioning joint for the repair being performed. Failure to follow OEM procedures will sacrifice the safety and quality of the repair.

GM has two position statements pertaining to structural sectioning that you should be aware of.

  • Collision Sectioning Warning which states, “Warning: Sectioning should be performed only in the recommended areas. Failure to do so may compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle and cause personal injury if the vehicle is in a collision.”
  • Non-approval of Clipping (Sectioning of Two Vehicles) for Collision Repair which has two key points to be aware of:
    • “GM does not sanction clipping repair because it cuts across the major load-bearing paths of a vehicle and can reduce the structural integrity of the repaired vehicle. This is extremely critical because of the increase in the use of Advance High Strength Steel (AHSS).”
    • “GM recommends replacing body components at factory seams. When applicable, GM will provide specific collision repair parts, and procedures for sectioning.”

For additional GM information, check out the following pages:
Chevrolet OEM Information
GMC OEM Information
Buick OEM Information
Cadillac OEM Information

Additional I-CAR Collision Repair News you may find helpful:
Collision Information Website Access: General Motors
Step-By-Step: Accessing General Motors Repair Information