Measuring Paint Thickness as an Estimating SOP
Whether performing conventional, hybrid, or paint-less repairs it pays to know what you’re dealing with in a panel. A simple 10 second paint thickness measurement can save you minutes, hours, days, and possibly the dreaded negative review.
...And a simple line on the estimate can get you paid for it.
For conventional materials there is a threshold in which failure will occur once surpassed. We all know how common it is to run across vehicles with pervious repairs, sometimes even from the factory. Chances are if someone has conventionally repaired the panel prior to you, you’re getting fairly close to the threshold. Once the threshold is broken you’ve claimed the liability of future failure.
Using a Mil Gauge in the estimation process is a great strategy to assist in determining the repair method(s) on a panel by panel basis. If the millage (thickness) is too extreme you'll immediately know to replace or strip the panel depending on the severity. This will keep you within compliance of manufacturer warranties and save the time of physical trial and error. Also consider you probably don’t want to be using PDR methods on a panel caked with body filler or on panels with a paint millage much over factory readings. In some cases readings may even be on the lower side of the tolerances e.g. Hyundai rails.
When entertaining the idea of incorporating mil readings into your estimating process the answer should always be - Yes. Consider this the diagnostic scan of the body panels. The time it takes is minuscule compared to the time it will save.