Top Five Questions to Ask About Vehicle Frame Welding

September 1, 2021 5:21 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You might have heard conflicting information about whether welding on a vehicle frame is safe and legal. Vehicle wear and tear, minor accidents and rust can all create scenarios in which welding is necessary. After all, you wouldn’t get rid of an entire truck just because the frame is slightly damaged—right? While state and local laws may vary, the federal government generally permits welders to work on vehicle frames. Here are the top five questions you should ask when considering buying a truck with a welded frame, or when thinking about repairing your own.

Is it legal?

You’ll need to consult the local and state laws in your area to find out whether frame welding is legal in your state. There are two questions to ask: is it legal to operate a welded frame vehicle on highways in your area, and is it legal to sell a vehicle with a welded frame?

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Title 49: Subtitle B: Chapter III: Subchapter B: Part 393.201(d) states that it’s not legal to operate a commercial vehicle with a welded frame on the highways. That means if you own a welded bus, 18-wheeler or large truck for commercial use, it may need to be relegated to off-highway use only.

As for selling a welded frame vehicle, that is usually legal (again, seek professional legal advice)—as long as you disclose that the frame has been welded. This is because the welds could create questions about safety and value.

What kind of welds should be used?

People often ask whether MIG or TIG welds are better for a vehicle frame. The short answer is that as long as you hire a skilled, professional welder who is experienced in frame welds, they’ll determine which type of weld is best for your frame. Be sure to work with welders who have experience welding vehicle frames—not all welding projects are equal.

Will the welds crack?

Working with a skilled welder is your best interest—especially because they will know that a vertical butt joint (where two halves of the frame are joined with a single weld) is to be avoided. They’ll also know how to weld the frame without weakening the surrounding areas.

Will welding damage the computer?

Professional opinions vary on this. Some think it’s inevitable that the risk outweighs any potential rewards, so one shouldn’t even bother trying. Others believe that the vehicle computer will be fine, as long as a grounding cable is used. Ask your welder what they think about the possibility, and what kind of precautions they take.

Is special equipment necessary?

Generally, no. Your welder should already have the gear that they need to weld a vehicle frame—especially if they’re experienced with frame welding. It does not require additional equipment beyond traditional welding gear.

When you need truck repair, the team at United Diesel Power – Truck Repair can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.

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