auto body technician repairing semi tractor trailer panel
Heavy Duty Truck Repair

Specialized procedures for commercial vehicles.

About Heavy Duty Truck for Collision Repair

All of the work that you perform in a body shop – aluminum and composite panel repairs, seam sealer removal and installation, headlight restoration, corrosion protection – becomes larger and more important with the size of the job. Whether you’ve only started repairing heavy truck bodies or you specialize in heavy duty truck repair, you know how true that is. So, 3M has developed a collection of standard operating procedures and technical tips for repairing heavy duty trucks. This knowledge is designed to make the big job of heavy truck repair, repairing medium duty trucks, commercial fleet and utility trucks and semi trucks, as efficient and cost-effective as any other segment of collision repair.

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    Standard Operating Procedures for Heavy Duty Truck Repair

    For all the processes critical to heavy truck collision repair, 3M provides standard operating procedures (SOPs) to help you work faster, better and more efficiently. You’ll find clear procedures and best practices for seam sealer removal and installation, truck panel repair and reinforcement, corrosion protection and more.

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    Technical Tips for Heavy Duty Truck Repair

    3M technical staff provides the knowledge and experience to guide the effective repair of heavy duty trucks. These tips represent some of the most frequently asked questions from repair shops. You’ll find information on jobs which are unique to truck repair, including products and methods for SMC, FRP and composites.

  • Important Note
    There are of course many factors and variables that can affect an individual repair, so the technician and repair facility need to evaluate each specific application and repair process, including relevant vehicle, part and OEM guidelines, and determine what is appropriate for that repair.

Featured Standard Operating Procedures for Heavy Duty Truck Repair

  • heat gun heating plastic repaired fiberglass area

    Cosmetic Repair for Heavy Duty Trucks

    Cosmetic repairs are some of the most common procedures in heavy duty truck repair. These SOPs cover the basics of cosmetic repair for trucks, from cleaning, rough grinding and feather-edge to final sand and inspection. These SOPs contain the procedures for repairing the front side of SMC, FRP and composite materials common on utility and heavy trucks. You’ll also find helpful information on which substrates require the use of adhesion promoters. SOPs include the 3M products and tools for cosmetic heavy duty truck repair.

    Download English Cosmetic Repair Details (PDF, 1.7 MB)

    Download Spanish Cosmetic Repair Details (PDF, 199 KB)

Metal Shop for Truck Repair

Plastic and Bumper Repair

Seam Sealers and Coatings for Truck Repair


Heavy Duty Truck Paint Shop

Paint Application and Finishing

Technical Tips for Heavy Duty Truck Repair

These heavy duty truck technical tips are just a small sample of our specialized knowledge in commercial vehicle repair. Our technical team is here to help meet your technical challenges in the repair of heavy duty trucks.

    • inside of fiberglass panel is cleaned before repairs begin

      Customer Challenge: Much of our work on heavy truck collision repair involves composite panels. What should we be most aware of to ensure effective panel removal and installation?

      Technical Tip: It’s important to know that SMC/FRP panels should be cleaned only at the beginning of the repair process. Cleaners should not be applied after the initial cleaning through the rest of the repair. If you use flame heat to help separate composite panels, you must remove the afterburn with a P80 abrasive. If you are using an adhesive such as 3M™ SMC/FRP Repair Adhesive and you need to adjust the panel during installation adjust it by sliding the panel to avoid causing air bubbles in the adhesive. Finally, do not over clamp during part mating, as this can result in too much squeeze-out and can reduce the strength of the bondline.

    • array of 3M heavy duty truck repair products

      Customer Challenge: As a 3M distributor, will I need to update my 3M product selection for heavy duty truck repair accounts?

      Technical Tip: The main differences between truck repair and repairing smaller vehicles are the size of the vehicle and the higher frequency of composite panel materials. Heavy truck repairs require many of the same sealers, cavity waxes, metalworking and aluminum repair products as the smaller vehicles many shops work on every day. Therefore, you should not need to make major changes to your product mixes, though you may require larger amounts.

    • Customer Challenge: What are the advantages of using bonding adhesive in conjunction with metal mechanical fasteners on large truck panels?


      Technical Tip: In most cases, bonding adhesives can be used with rivets or other mechanical fasteners to enhance the strength of the bond between metal parts. (You should always use a bonding adhesive if it is specified by the vehicle OEM.) When the addition of an adhesive bond is not required, a high-quality bonding adhesive can also be very useful as an isolator when working with dissimilar metal panels and fasteners during heavy duty truck repair. This involves simply applying the adhesive to bare metal on mating flanges and allowing it to cure. The adhesive can also be applied to drilled holes where dissimilar metals and rivets come into contact to help prevent galvanic corrosion.

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