Automotive Body and Glass Repairers
Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.
Automotive body and glass repairers typically do the following:
- Review damage reports, prepare cost estimates, and plan work
- Remove damaged body parts, including bumpers, fenders, hoods, grilles, and trim
- Realign car frames and chassis to repair structural damage
- Hammer out or patch dents, dimples, and other minor body damage
- Fit, attach, and weld replacement parts into place
- Install and weatherproof windows and windshields
- Grind, sand, buff, and prime refurbished and repaired surfaces
- Apply new finish to restored body parts
Automotive body and glass repairers can repair most damage from everyday vehicle collisions and make vehicles look and drive like new. Damage may be minor, such as replacing a cracked windshield, or major, such as replacing an entire door panel.
Repair technicians use many tools for their work. To remove damaged parts, such as bumpers and door panels, they use pneumatic tools, metal-cutting guns, and plasma cutters. For major structural repairs, such as aligning the body, they often use heavy-duty hydraulic jacks and hammers. For some work, they use common handtools, such as metal files, pliers, wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers.
In some cases, repair technicians do an entire job by themselves. In other cases, especially in large shops, they use an assembly line approach in which they work as a team with each repair technician specializing.
Although repair technicians sometimes prime and paint repaired parts, automotive painters generally perform these tasks. For more information, see the profile on painting and coating workers.
The following are occupational specialties:
Automotive body and related repairers, or collision repair technicians, straighten metal panels, remove dents, and replace parts that cannot be fixed. Although they repair all types of vehicles, most work primarily on cars, sport utility vehicles, and small trucks.
Automotive glass installers and repairers remove and replace broken, cracked, or pitted windshields and window glass. They also weatherproof newly installed windows and windshields with chemical treatments.
Upholsterers make, replace, and repair coverings on furniture and in vehicles.
Upholsterers typically do the following:
- Consult with clients to discuss alterations to the furniture and to help customers choose fabric
- Estimate costs for the project, including approximate fabric and labor costs
- Inspect furniture to find needed repairs in the frame, upholstery, and springs
- Remove and replace old and worn padding, filling, and broken springs
- Measure, cut, and sew fabric, and attach it to the furniture frame with tacks, staples and glue
Upholsterers put on covering and cushions to create new furniture and update old furniture and vehicle interiors. Although some upholsterers specialize in either working with old furniture or creating new furniture, most do both.
Upholsterers need to stay current with trends in furniture design and styles. They help choose fabrics that meet their customer's lifestyle, preferences, and needs. For example, upholsterers may help a client who has young children choose a long-lasting and durable fabric for a family room sofa that matches other furniture.
Sometimes they have to choose fabrics that meet building codes—such as being fire resistant—or fabrics that reflect the style of the building. They also may work with interior designers and architects who need furniture for a new building. For more information, see the profiles on interior designers and architects.
Upholsterers may specialize in working on cars and other vehicles. These workers create and replace upholstery for the interiors of cars and other vehicles. They upholster seats, carpet floors, and cover door panels. To replace interiors with another fabric or other material, such as leather, these workers first remove the seats from the vehicle before replacing the upholstery.
Some upholsterers own their business. In these cases, they may do management and administrative tasks, such as managing the finances of their business and taking orders.