Estimating Plastic Repair

  Approximate Length: 2 hours  

Estimating Plastic Repair is an online, self-paced course designed to educate collision damage estimators and technicians on determining the repairability of damaged plastic parts. The course is designed to educate someone with no prior knowledge of plastics or the repair of plastics to the point where they can confidently discuss the differences in plastic types and repair methods with technicians, and to be able to quickly determine whether a damaged plastic part is a candidate for repair or if it should be replaced. The course is divided into four modules:

Module 1: Identifying Plastic Parts

Module 2: Tools & Products Used in Plastic Repair

Module 3: Methods of Plastic Repair

Module 4: Estimating Plastic Repair

Modules 1 through 3 build the foundation of knowledge for the student, ensuring that they understand the different plastic types that are commonly used, what tools and products are used in their repair, and the different methods of repair, from welding to adhesives. This foundation will enable the student to discuss the subject with technicians to determine part repairability.

Module 4 will introduce the student to a plastic damage repairability scale which ranks plastic bumper damage on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being very easy to 5 being impossible or extremely difficult. The student will work through 30 different exercises with bumper damage of various levels, asking the student to evaluate each damaged bumper and coaching them to the appropriate damage rating. After completion of Module 4, the student should have a good grounding on how to determine whether a damaged bumper should be repaired or replaced, enabling them to make better decisions that will improve shop profitability and cycle time.

Course Objectives

Training Needs

  • Many plastic parts that could be repaired are discarded because the estimator does not know how to determine the repairability of the part. This negatively impacts the shop's labor hours billed, its repair vs. replace ratio, and its cycle time.
  • Many estimators do not have experience in plastic repair and are thus unfamiliar with the terminology, tools, and techniques involved. This makes communication with the technicians difficult when it comes making repair vs. replace decisions on plastic parts.
  • Determining the repairability of damaged plastic parts depends on the type of plastic, the application, the tools and equipment available, and the technicians' skill level, among other things. Most estimators (and many technicians) are unfamiliar with these subjects.
  • Determining the repairability of plastic bumper damage often takes years of experience doing actual repairs since no two types of damage on any bumper are identical.

Training Objectives

  • Identify different types of plastic
  • Understand the various tools and supplies used in the plastic repair process
  • Understand the three main methods used for plastic repair depending on the type of plastic
  • Understand the various aspects of plastic bumper damage that affect its repairability, including plastic deformation, crack length, and damage location
  • Explain the five levels of plastic bumper damage from "easy" to "extremely difficult" and have a grounding in the variables which determine the damage level for a particular bumper


No prior training course or body shop experience is necessary.

Time Required

Each module will take about 20-30 minutes, for a total of about two hours.

Additional Training Affiliations

This course is eligible for AMi (Automotive Management Institute) accreditation, and is eligible for two (2) I-CAR® credits under the Industry Training Alliance program. As Polyvance® is an I-CAR® Sustaining Partner, the student may redeem these credits at no additional cost. In order to obtain the credits you must add your I-CAR® ID in your user profile.