How a Panel Beater Deals with a Fibreglass Panel


In a bygone era, when life seemed to be a lot simpler, the average car on the road was not very much different from its neighbour. Its mechanical configuration would be similar, its design predictable and fuel economy was generally an afterthought. Consequently, the materials used in the bodywork of the vehicle were readily available and relatively easy to repair. Today much has changed, and with economy and aerodynamics in mind, your car may feature fibreglass, plastics and Kevlar. What kind of a challenge does this pose to the modern-day panel beater?

Less Predictable

When a panel is made from steel and is involved in an accident, it will deform in a predictable fashion. A panel beater will be faced with a relatively simple decision, as to whether to replace the panel altogether or coax it back into shape. Well worn techniques will be used to "planish" the material, and a skilled technician will return the vehicle to its former glory.

Fibreglass Panels

Today, however, that panel may be made from fibreglass, often a material of choice for many automobile manufacturers. After all, fibreglass is very strong but lightweight and will make the vehicle more efficient at the fuel pump. These fibreglass panels are typically created in a mould and then applied to the car or truck during assembly. They will perform really well and may stand up to an accident too, but a very different approach to repair will be required.

Specific Approach

To fix a fibreglass bonnet or wing, a technician will need to use a variety of different materials and a completely different technique. They'll work with epoxy resin, clay, Borax, limestone or sand, and will have to paint layers of this material onto the surface. They'll need to build up any inundation with this fabric and material before they can sand everything down and be ready to apply the new paint.

Additional Complexity

Remember, your car may feature fibreglass panels at the front and sides but a steel monocoque frame. The technician will, therefore, need to apply different techniques as they work on a significantly damaged vehicle, and will undoubtedly use all of their expertise and skill.

Choosing Wisely

If you have a car that is made from these materials, you'll want to find a technician with the requisite knowledge. Choose carefully, and they will return your vehicle in top-class condition at the end of the process.


5 October 2020

Getting an auto service for my racing car

I love to take my car down to the track on the weekend. Running a race car is an expensive exercise so I need to be smart about how I spend my limited car budget. I do some of my auto servicing myself, but I don't have the equipment to some of the more complex jobs. I have put a lot of time and energy into my car so it's quite a commitment to trust someone else with my car, even for a few days, so I've found a trustworthy car service centre with a lot of experience in high performance vehicles. This blog has some tips on finding car servicing for racing cars.