Straightening And Heat: General Motors

A question often asked of the Repairability Technical Supports (RTS) team is, "Can heat be used to straighten?" Several OEMs provide steel repairability matrices that provide heating times and temperature limits based on the type of metal being repaired, while other OEMs have restrictions on using heat at all. Let’s see what General Motors (GM) has to say.

GM provides use of heat guidelines in their Recommended GM Steel Repairability Matrix. You are also able to find steel descriptions and repairability information after logging into their service site by:

  1. Selecting a vehicle
  2. Opening the Service Manual
  3. Clicking on Body Repair
  4. Clicking on Collision Repair
  5. Clicking on Description and Operation

The following are just a few examples of recommendations found in vehicle-specific BRMs:

  • According to the GM service site, for ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS), dual phase steel, and ultra-high-strength dual phase steel, "The use of heat to repair damage is not recommended for this type of steel."
  • For mild steel and high-strength low alloy (HSLA) steel, GM specifies that, "Controlled use of heat can be used to repair damage, if the heat does not exceed 650°C (1200°F). The heat should be applied a maximum of 2 times, for up to 90 seconds."

As you can see, there are specific use of heat guidelines that need to be followed to maintain structural integrity. Using heat during a repair when it is not permitted, can compromise the vehicle structure and passenger safety. Always follow OEM procedures and recommendations when it comes to using heat for repairs to ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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