Cutting Access Windows

Questions repeatedly arise about whether cutting "windows" is an acceptable collision repair practice. Let's take a look.

Several OEMs have developed sectioning procedures that include cutting and removing a portion of an outer body panel, sometimes called a "window" to allow access to reinforcement. However, some technicians have adopted the practice of cutting access "windows" in enclosed areas to access the backside of damaged panels to allow for straightening.

Cutting any type of access window is technically considered a sectioning joint. An access window can be more intrusive since a window has two or more cuts compared to just one in a traditional sectioning joint. Re-welding all these cuts creates a larger heat-effect zone, which can be damaging to the mixed materials construction, i.e. UHSS, aluminum, and composites. It also requires a larger area to be cosmetically finished.

For these reasons, access windows are made only when identified in an OEM procedure.

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