Honda increases crash parts output, offers repair tips

By John Yoswick

Collision repair shops reporting difficulties in getting replacement parts this year may be glad to hear Honda is ramping up parts production.

“As we all know, back orders are really hitting the industry hard, regardless of the manufacturer,” Dane Rounkles, manager of wholesale collision parts for American Honda, said during a recent Guild 21 webinar. “So we went to senior management, and anything we stamp here in the U.S., we’ve asked for them to increase production to make the parts available. Now, some of you may still have some back orders on sheet metal, and that may be something we stamp in another country. But we have increased greatly the availability of sheet metal parts, and we will continue to do so.”

The automaker also used the webinar to highlight some information about the new 2022 Civic that is related to collision repairs. The vehicle, for example, has extended range blind spot information sensors on some trim packages.

“The original radar saw, I believe, three or four meters,” Scott Kaboos, collision technical specialist for Honda said. “This one can see 75 meters. So it’s much more intense of a radar.”

The system no longer requires a specific aiming inspection procedure, but instead is capable of self-learning while the vehicle is driven more than 18 mph. Those test driving the vehicle should be aware that until the self-learning is complete, the reset system is limited to 9.8 feet of detection.

There are also new limits on what repairs can be made to the areas on the rear bumper through which the radar system operates. Honda provides a printable template technicians can tape onto the bumper to determine where the radar wave area is.

“If within that area, there is a crack, a dent, a gouge, anything like that, it cannot be repaired,” Kaboos said. “As a matter of fact, they tell us we cannot even use touch-up paint in that area or it can mess with the radar. If it has some fine scratches, you can polish, but you need to polish that entire area evenly. The thickness of the paint affects the radar quite a bit.”

He said that also means no blending of primer or color can be done in that area.

“It is a challenge if you have damage near that area, I’m not going to lie to you,” Kaboos said. “There’s going to be more bumpers replaced than in the past generation of Civic.” 

Another change to the 2022 Honda Civic that collision repairers need to be aware of is the resin composite front bulkhead, replacing one that was mild steel on the previous Civic model. The automaker says the design improves access to the engine compartment for assembly and service but also that it should be checked for cracks following a collision.

“It can look fine, but when you wet it down, all of a sudden a crack can become apparent,” Rounkles said. “So you really need to pay attention to that. While the vehicle may not have gotten hit hard enough to hit into the rails, these [composite parts] can crack and not be overly visible.”

Kaboos concurred.

“I know just spraying a little wax and grease remover on It to add a little gloss does make those cracks show up a lot better,” he said.

Kaboos said the 2022 Civic is now the third Honda model with a laser-brazed roof panel that requires a combination of welding, adhesive and mechanical fasteners for replacement. Shops need to be aware they must order a number of brackets and bolts in addition to the replacement roof panel. Kaboos and Rounkles said they sought to have the parts bundled as a kit with the roof panel, but think because the parts come from different vendors, creating a kit wasn’t feasible for the automaker.

Honda also doesn’t supply much information about the foam dam that must be used in replacing the roof – to ensure the adhesive (a 3M product is specified) doesn’t flow out of the joint while it cures — but Kaboos found a Kent product that works.

“If you skip that part of the step, there’s a good chance you’re not going to have enough adhesive left in that joint when you’re done,” Kaboos cautioned.

The 2022 Civic also has a hem flange on the rear side outer panel that the 2021 model did not.

“Honda has a special tool to install these available in our Honda tool rental program,” Kaboos said. “Or you can buy it, but I’ll be absolutely honest: It is ridiculously expensive. It was designed in Japan, and by the time it got through the build process, they had put such tight tolerances on it, that it is extremely expensive. We are working on that. But probably your best solution is to go through the tool rental program and just rent it from us.”

Collision repairers also need to be aware that the aluminum fenders on the 2022 Acura MDX (released this past summer) and the 2021 Acura TLX (released about a year ago) require the use of specific insulation clips.

“If you do not use those insulation clips, if you use a regular tin clip or something else, there is a good chance that the dissimilar metals are going to corrode each other, and you’ll end up with fenders that are flopping in the breeze,” Kaboos said. “These are not one-time use only. They can be reused. But you have to be sure to use those correct insulated clips.”

Both cars also have cast aluminum strut towers. There are procedures in Honda’s service information for inspecting the strut towers for damage by checking for cracks in coatings or body sealer. If those signs exist, the coatings need to be removed to inspect the rivets and conduct a dye penetrant test to make sure the casting is not cracked (if it is, it will need to be replaced). In order to avoid shops needing to buy a self-piercing rivet gun to install a replacement strut tower, the part comes as part of an assembly that can be welded on.

“We do want you to apply body sealer over the self-piercing rivets, and on both seams, inside and out,” Kaboos cautioned. “That’s not going to come with the part you get in the box. That’s something body shops are expected to know and do.”

Kaboos that a special tool, some simple blocks, are available through Honda and should used when removing a passenger side airbag from the 2021 Acura TLX.

“Without those, it’s really easy to damage that airbag,” Kaboos said.

He said the inner and outer portions of the front rails on the vehicle are made of two different strength steels, neither of which is repairable.

“So if we have damage to a front rail, we’re going to do a replacement on that part of the rail,” he said. “You can replace just the outer or just the inner, or both, but neither one is repairable. That’s going to be a challenge for the industry, I’m sure.”

The steel used for the rear rails on the TLX offers more opportunity for some repair.

The rail situation is reversed on the 2022 Acura MDX, where it’s the front rails shops can do some straightening or pulling on.

“We even have a sectioning procedure written for both the inner and the outer,” Kaboos said of the MDX front rails. “It replaces the front 8 inches or so. If there’s damage behind that, then it’s going to be a full replacement.”

It’s the rear rails on the MDX that are made of an ultra-high-strength steel that is non-repairable.

“The nice thing is it’s not a complete rail assembly. It actually comes as a subset. So it’s about an 18-inch piece that you have to replace if that rear rail is damaged,” Kaboos said.  •

John Yoswick, a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore., who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988, is also the editor of the weekly CRASH Network bulletin ( He can be contacted by email at