Welding or bolting/riveting metal together has been the only way to structurally connect metal together since man has been constructing things from metal. On automobiles everything is put together with a fastener or welded somehow to hold it all together. In recent times adhesives and glue technology has progressed leaps and bounds and is now being used to help structurally join panels together.
Initially adhesives were used in auto body manufacturing to overcome an issue or weak spot in the construction of a car. As time has gone on auto body glue has become more and more beneficial. First the skill required to apply the adhesives is much lower as long as you can properly follow the mixing and application guidelines. Also glues are lighter weight and can join dissimilar metals like aluminum body skins to a steel inner structure. When used in modern automotive assembly the glues may be baked over an extended period of time to fully cure the joints without distorting the metal.
How does this relate to your auto restoration or rust repair? There are a number of instances where a panel adhesive might be a better option for you.
- Low Investment- If you’re only doing a few repairs and don’t have the money or space to invest in a welder you can buy individual No-Weld panel kits to repair an area on your vehicle. With this kit you can flange the repair panel and set the adhesive in the channel and clamp the panel in place. This will reduce the cost and time it takes to learn how to weld sheet metal.
- No chance for distortion- When you weld sheet metal you will get warping or distortion from the heat caused by welding this requires skill to reverse that can be hard to learn. Auto Body Glues do not emit a heat that will warp or distort the metal around your repair. This means you will have less body filler in your panel and the repair will last longer.
- Easy to Use- Welding sheet metal can be difficult to learn quickly and if you’re not careful you could make a larger hole/mess than you started with. Some panel adhesives are 2K and the applicator mixing the parts together equally making for easy mixing. You can then just evenly spread it on the repair and clamp the panels together until the adhesive cures fully.
- No clean up- Welding a panel in place requires grinding or sanding of the panel which can be time consuming and messy. As long as you apply your glue carefully you won’t have any grinding or sanding to clean up the seam.
- No Risk of Cracking- Welding a panel again takes skill and spot welds can actually be a stress point where metal may crack. Avoid thin welds from grinding and cracking from improper welding techniques by using an adhesive that bonds the entire repair seam and not just a few small spots.
Now we aren’t saying panel adhesive is the end-all for auto restoration but it definitely has its place and the advances in technology has allowed the strength to rival welding. If you’re just starting out or doing a few repairs this might be another option for you.