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.
Painters, Construction and Maintenance
Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls, buildings, bridges, and other structures.
Painters typically do the following:
- Cover floors and furniture with drop-cloths and tarps to protect surfaces
- Remove fixtures such as pictures, door knobs, or electric switch covers
- Put up scaffolding and set up ladders
- Fill holes and cracks with caulk, putty, plaster, or other compounds
- Prepare surfaces by scraping, wire brushing, or sanding to a smooth finish
- Calculate the area to be painted and the amount of paint needed
- Apply primers or sealers so the paint will adhere
- Choose and mix paints and stains to reach desired color and appearance
- Apply paint or other finishes using hand brushes, rollers, or sprayers
Applying paint to interior walls makes surfaces attractive and vibrant. In addition, paints and other sealers protect exterior surfaces from erosion caused by exposure to the weather.
Because there are several ways to apply paint, workers must be able to choose the proper tool for each job, such as the correct roller, power sprayer, and the right size brush. Choosing the right tool typically depends on the surface to be covered and the characteristics of the finish.
A few painters—mainly industrial—must use special safety equipment. For example, painting in confined spaces such as the inside of a large storage tank, requires workers to wear self-contained suits to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. When painting bridges, tall buildings, or oil rigs, painters may work from scaffolding, bosun’s chairs, and harnesses to reach work areas.
The following are examples of types of painters:
Construction painters apply paints, stains, and coatings to interior and exterior walls, new buildings, and other structural surfaces.
Maintenance painters remove old finishes and apply paints, stains, and coatings later in a structure’s life. Some painters specialize in painting or coating industrial structures, such as bridges and oil rigs, to prevent corrosion.
Artisan painters specialize in creating distinct finishes by using one of many decorative techniques. One technique is adding glaze for added depth and texture. Other common techniques may include sponging, distressing, rag-rolling, color blocking, and faux finishes.
Painting and coating workers apply materials to manufactured products, such as furniture, toys and pottery, as well as transportation equipment including trucks, buses, boats, and airplanes. For more information about these painters, see the profile on painting and coating workers.