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auto body technician

Auto body technicians repair and replace damaged motor vehicle structures and body parts, and interior and exterior finishes
auto body personnel may be certified as:
  • auto body preppers
  • auto body repairers
  • auto body refinishers
  • auto body technicians.
Auto body preppers are responsible for the restoration of anti-corrosion treatments, substrate identification, surface preparation, undercoat product mixing and application. Since they are involved throughout the collision repair process, they generally:
  • apply anti-corrosion compounds while vehicles are still mounted on frame repair equipment
  • prepare substrate chemically or mechanically (if required by job conditions)
  • apply undercoat products in the correct sequence, ensuring chemical compatibility, adhesion and durability
  • remove and install bolt-on components such as hoods, deck lids, fenders, trim, doors, glass and interior components.
Auto body refinishers do damage appraisals, surface preparation, minor damage repairs, masking, accurate colour matching, priming and top coating. They are also do restoration of anti-corrosion treatments, substrate identification, product mixing and application. Since they are involved throughout the collision repair process, they generally:
  • prepare substrate chemically or mechanically (if required by job conditions)
  • remove and install bolt-on components such as hoods, deck lids, fenders, trim, doors, glass and interior items
  • match colours accurately
  • mix and apply refinish products in the correct sequence, ensuring chemical compatibility, adhesion and durability.
Auto body repairers do damage appraisals, frame and unibody structural repairs, body sheet metal work, plastic repairs, component replacement and alignment. In general, they:
  • repair supplemental restraint systems such as air bags and seat belts
  • restore the structural integrity of damaged vehicles by cutting away damaged components and welding in new or recycled replacement components
  • remove and install bolt-on components such as hoods, deck lids, fenders, trim, doors, glass and interior components
  • verify dimensional accuracy and system functions using precise measuring systems and manufacturer's specifications
  • test drive vehicles to ensure proper alignment, handling and component functions.
Auto body technicians are trained to do all tasks in the autobody trade. They may specialize in damage appraisal, frame straightening, surface preparation, sheet metal work and refinishing. After preparing or reviewing motor vehicle repair estimate reports, auto body technicians:
  • use frame machines to straighten bent frames and unitized bodies
  • remove badly damaged sections of vehicles (for example, roof, rear body panels) and attach new sections
  • repair damage to body panels and components made of a variety of materials
  • apply masking to the bumpers, windows and trim, use a spray gun to apply primer, and then clean and smooth the surface before applying the finish.
  • repair or replace interior and exterior components such as instrument panels, seat frame assemblies, carpets and floorboard insulation, trim panels and mouldings
  • replace accident damage components in hybrid systems, airbags and restraint systems
  • inspect vehicles for dimensional accuracy and test drive them to ensure proper alignment and handling.
Section revised November 2011

Working Conditions
Auto body personnel usually work a 40 hour, five day week with occasional overtime required. They work indoors in a noisy environment and may be required to lift and move items that weigh up to 25 kilograms.
Although most shops are well ventilated, the work involves exposure to dust and fumes. There is always some risk of injury involved in working with sharp metals and power tools.

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