By Erin McLaughlin
Toronto, Ontario — January 2, 2018 — Karco recently developed crash-testing footage of three Honda Fits—a red 2009 Honda Fit with a glued roof and other non-OEM repairs, a blue 2013 Fit with numerous aftermarket parts, and a control black 2010 Fit. The 2009 vehicle replicates the repairs done by John Eagle Collision Center to a 2010 Fit, deviating from OEM repairs and gluing a roof onto the vehicle, supporting the argument for abiding by OEM repair procedures.
The video reveals a delayed airbag on the 2009 Fit and 2013 Fit, compared to the airbag on the 2010 Fit.
The results will support what OEMs and collision repairers have been arguing for quite a while—that deviating from OEM collision repair procedures can affect the crashworthiness engineered into a vehicle by that manufacturer.
According to our partner Repairer Driven News, the footage also supports OEMs’ warnings that aftermarket parts might not perform like new OEM components, and collision repairers’ protests that imitation parts aren’t “like kind and quality”—despite insurer claims to the contrary.
Karco’s frame-by-frame look at both test cars up against the control Fit shows significant differences in airbag timing.
Control 2010 Fit vs. glued-roof 2009 Fit
According to Repairer Driven News, Texas repairer Burl’s Collision took an undamaged 2009 red Fit and attached the roof panel with 3M 8115 panel bonding adhesive, instead of the dozens of welds required by Honda. It also installed an aftermarket windshield and simulated other alleged John Eagle Collision Center repairs, which deviated from those approved by the OEM. Karco Engineering crash-tested it December 18, 2017.
The black control Fit fires its side-curtain airbag around Frame 63, at around 0.063 seconds. But the glued-roof Fit’s side airbag doesn’t start to appear until about 0.011 seconds later.
The control Fit’s steering wheel airbag starts to blow at about 41 frames (0.041 seconds). The glued-roof airbag doesn’t appear until Frame 45 (0.045 seconds)—by which time the control airbag is already quite visible. The glued-roof’s passenger-side dashboard airbag appears to blow a millisecond before the airbag on the control car.
Control 2010 Fit versus aftermarket-parts 2013 Fit
The 2013 Fit crashed December 19 carried Certified Automotive Parts Association-certified fenders and a CAPA-certified hood; a NSF-certified bumper reinforcement beam; an uncertified aftermarket radiator support, windshield and drivers-side front wheel; and two uncertified aftermarket hood hinges, according to Repairer Driven News. Like the glued-roof Fit, the 2013 blue Fit with aftermarket parts doesn’t manage to blow its side-curtain airbag until about 11 milliseconds after the Frame 63 deployment on the control black 2010 Fit.
The steering-wheel airbag begins to blow about a frame or millisecond before the OEM edition, but the passenger dash airbag seem to be almost perfectly in sync.
However, the passenger’s head in the aftermarket-parts Fit appears to be thrown to the left of the headrest more than in the control car, a dangerous distinction for passenger safety. It appears to do so to a lesser degree in the glued-roof Fit. On the other hand, the driver’s head lolls more to the right in the control Fit compared to the other test cars.
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