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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

Just purchased a new Chevy Bolt. Absolutely love it, and while I was aware that the car had aluminum door panels and other exterior components are fabricated with aluminum, which can be harder to repair, I didn't expect that someone would back into me one week after I bought the thing. The front right side door is moderately dented, and the rear right door is significantly dented to the point that it doesn't light up with the other panels now.

Has anyone else had experience with repair or replacement of aluminum parts on their Bolt or other vehicles? Should I look for a special shop or return to the dealer?

I am aware that they may even have to choose to replace the entire panel, which would be nice considering the cars otherwise practically mint condition. Should I be skeptical if they choose NOT to replace any panels?

Thanks for any advice or feedback you can give. I will post a follow up on my repair experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Bummer. Wonder if Boeing ever perfected their induction heating method to repair aluminum skinned aircraft. This is electromagnetic after doing a google search:

https://www.electroimpact.com/Products/Specialty/EDR/Overview.aspx
Yeah this ordeal made me start to wonder "What the heck do they do when a plane bonks into something or has underlying structural damage?" I think planes have the benefit of using many rivets as their assembly method, probably pretty easy remove rivets and put in new panels. I will be interested to see what kinds of techniques they decide to use for these panels.
 

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Should I look for a special shop or return to the dealer?
My inclination would be to contact the dealer and have them recommend a shop (assuming they don't do the work themselves). I assume that the repair is going to be paid for by the insurer of whoever backed into you, so it probably doesn't pay to shop around for the cheapest price.
 

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My inclination would be to contact the dealer and have them recommend a shop (assuming they don't do the work themselves). I assume that the repair is going to be paid for by the insurer of whoever backed into you, so it probably doesn't pay to shop around for the cheapest price.
This was my inclination as well... My dealer does have a collision center, so I will be contacting them to see if they can do it or not. I have learned that a lot of Tesla owners have to find special repair shops because of this... It will be interesting to see if GM is is involved in any degree to having their dealers learn how to deal with aluminum repair now (on top of learning how to sell and service electric cars).
 

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Yeah this ordeal made me start to wonder "What the heck do they do when a plane bonks into something or has underlying structural damage?" I think planes have the benefit of using many rivets as their assembly method, probably pretty easy remove rivets and put in new panels. I will be interested to see what kinds of techniques they decide to use for these panels.
I've done repair work on aircraft. You install a patch using flush rivets if you want to hide it well. But you need access to the back side for the bucking bar. For shapes, you pound it out on a wood mold or just use a sand bag. We had a guy run an airplane through a tee post barbwire fence where the broken tee post gauged the top of the wing. This was a wing that had the aluminum panels bonded and it was a wet wing. We ended up filling the dents with bondo on that one.

Edit: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aircraft/amt_airframe_handbook/media/ama_Ch04.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got two different estimates today. The door panels reportedly cost $700 each for the front and rear, and as I suspected, the rear will need to be replaced entirely and likely the front one as well. They will recieve primed door panels and paint them to match in the shop. They will then transplant the windows, weatherseals, trim, etc, into the new panels. The repair will probably be in the $3K range. So basically, they are disposable doors if there is anything more than a minor dent. Oh well.

The insurance appraiser did not write for new panels because I don't think she really understood the implications... Hoping the auto body shop I will be going to soon will straiten that out.
 

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These days, with cost of labor, it is faster and a cost wash to just replace. Even for steel. Unless you do the work yourself, where the labor is "free"
 

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This should not be a big fix. Take it to the dealer collision center. If they can work on Corvettes then the Bolt is no harder. While the doors are aluminum, the structural body is not. At worst you are looking at 2 new door skins.
Let us know how it turns out.
 

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Don't forget, this car will suffer from diminished value due to this accident. You need to make sure
the drivers insurance company compensates you for the loss in value from this damage.

Trying to sell/trade a car with a crash/damage history will cost you when trying to sell it.
Don't get ripped off by this insurance company. Do not sign anything or accept the car
after repairs without having properly inspected the car before you sign off at the body shop.

If the ins. co. refuses to compensate you for diminished value, take them to court. Don't accept
any money/checks before settling your claim 100%. If you sign or take money, you,re gonna
have a hard time collecting whats truly owed to you from this situation.
 
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