Back-To-Basics: Cold Straightening

Sometimes going back-to-basics can make the difference between a quality repair and a failed repair. When it comes to straightening vehicle parts without heat, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Cold straightening is the process of straightening metal without using heat; for example, removing damage from a panel with a hammer and dolly or pulling a damaged rail without heat. Generally, minor damage can be repaired without heat depending on the construction material, thickness of the part, or the extent of damage.

Straightening certain materials, such as aluminum or ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS), without heat will often cause the part to crack. Sometimes when cold straightening cannot completely remove the damage, limited heat may be applied to assist moving the molecules to help reduce the chance the part will crack. It is important to keep in mind that heat should ONLY be applied if allowed by the vehicle maker.

If a vehicle maker specifies that cold straightening is not allowed, then no repairs can be performed, replacement is the only option.

Examples of cold straightening:

  • glue pull repair (GPR)
  • paintless dent repair (PDR)
  • hammer and dolly
  • straightening structural/non-structural damage without using a heat source

Always follow OEM information when repairing any part of a vehicle to help ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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