Honda Increasing Crash Parts Production, Transitioning Certified Auto Body Shops Over Time

Honda Increasing Crash Parts Production, Transitioning Certified Auto Body Shops Over Time

Collision repair shops reporting difficulties in getting replacement parts this year may be glad to hear Honda is ramping up parts production.

“As we all know, back orders are really hitting the industry hard, regardless of the manufacturer,” Dane Rounkles, manager of wholesale collision parts for American Honda, said during a Guild 21 webinar in late summer. “So we went to senior management, and anything we stamp here in the U.S., we’ve asked for them to increase production to make the parts available.

"Now, some of you may still have some back orders on sheet metal, and that may be something we stamp in another country," Rounkles continued. "But we have increased greatly the availability of sheet metal parts, and we will continue to do so. Right now, I don’t have the quantities that we want of every part, but we are trying to get the common sheet metal items out to shops on a timely basis. We are checking our back orders and seeing which [other parts] we can ramp up production on.”

The automaker also used the webinar to highlight some information about the new 2022 Civic related to collision repairs. The vehicle, for example, has extended range blind spot information sensors on some trim packages.

“The original radar saw, I believe, 3 or 4 meters,” said Scott Kaboos, collision technical specialist for Honda. “This one can see 75 meters. So it’s much more intense of a radar.”

The system no longer requires a specific aiming inspection procedure, but instead is capable of self-learning while the vehicle is driven more than 18 mph. Those test driving the vehicle should be aware that until the self-learning is complete, the reset system is limited to 9.8 feet of detection.

There are also new limits on what repairs can be made to the areas on the rear bumper through which the radar system operates. Honda provides a printable template technicians can tape onto the bumper to determine where the radar wave area is.

“If within that area, there is a crack, a dent, a gouge, anything like that, it cannot be repaired,” Kaboos said. “As a matter of fact, they tell us we cannot even use touch-up paint in that area or it can mess with the radar. If it has some fine scratches, you can polish, but you need to polish that entire area evenly. The thickness of the paint affects the radar quite a bit.”

He said that also means no blending of primer or color can be done in that area.

“It is a challenge if you have damage near that area, I’m not going to lie to you,” Kaboos said. “There’s going to be more bumpers replaced than in the past generation of Civic.”   
Another change to the 2022 Honda Civic collision repairers need to be aware of is the resin composite front bulkhead, replacing mild steel one on the previous Civic model. The automaker says the design improves access to the engine compartment for assembly and service but also that it should be checked for cracks following a collision.

“It can look fine, but when you wet it down, all of a sudden a crack can become apparent,” Rounkles said. “So you really need to pay attention to that. While the vehicle may not have gotten hit hard enough to hit into the rails, these [composite parts] can crack and not be overly visible.”

Kaboos concurred.

“I know just spraying a little wax and grease remover on it to add a little gloss does make those cracks show up a lot better,” he said.

Kaboos said the 2022 Civic is now the third Honda model with a laser-brazed roof panel that requires a combination of welding, adhesive and mechanical fasteners for replacement. Shops need to be aware they must order a number of brackets and bolts in addition to the replacement roof panel.

Kaboos and Rounkles said they sought to have the parts bundled as a kit with the roof panel, but think because the parts come from different vendors, creating a kit wasn’t feasible for the automaker.

Honda also doesn’t supply much information about the foam dam that must be used in replacing the roof---to ensure the adhesive, a specified 3M product, doesn’t flow out of the joint while it cures---but Kaboos found a Kent product that works.

“If you skip that part of the step, there’s a good chance you’re not going to have enough adhesive left in that joint when you’re done,” Kaboos cautioned.

The 2022 Civic also has a hem flange on the rear side outer panel the 2021 model did not.

“Honda has a special tool to install these available in our Honda tool rental program,” Kaboos said. “Or you can buy it, but I’ll be absolutely honest: It is ridiculously expensive. It was designed in Japan, and by the time it got through the build process, they had put such tight tolerances on it, that it is extremely expensive. We are working on that. But probably your best solution is to go through the tool rental program and just rent it from us.”

Rounkles also provided more information about the automaker’s auto body shop certification program, which will begin transitioning certified shops from ProFirst to the new Honda and Acura Certified Collision program on their next renewal date. He said the company hasn’t ruled out certifying additional shops in some markets.

“We are currently technically full in terms of the number [of shops] we wanted to have in our certification program,” Rounkles said. “But we will add shops as needed based on geographical and units-in-operation conditions. We do not have a specific radius of how close a [certified] shop can be to another one. We’re going to try not to put one right across the street from another, but I can tell you that I have actually seen four certified shops in a two-block area. But that’s because in the metro area, that’s where they put all the body shops. So we will have situations like that.”

He said Honda maintains a waiting list for shops interested in joining the program.

“As units-in-operation change, or shops decide to no longer be certified, we will reach out to the shops that we have on our list first before we go seeking other shops,” Rounkles said.

John Yoswick

John Yoswick is a freelance writer and Autobody News columnist who has been covering the collision industry since 1988, and the editor of the CRASH Network... Read More

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