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Failed Door Hinge Welds

The driver side front and rear doors of a Pontiac Sunfire were violently ripped from the vehicle during a two vehicle accident. The subject vehicle is shown in Photograph A.

Overall view of Pontiac Sunfire after accident.
Photograph A  Overall view of the subject Pontiac Sunfire.

The subject car was moving less than 30 MPH rounding a 90 degree curve when it was struck by another vehicle. The force of the impact tore the driver side front and rear doors from the vehicle, killing several people.

View of driver's side front and rear doors after two vehicle accident.
Photograph B  Front and rear driver's side doors from the subject vehicle.

The integrity of the door hinge welds was questioned. A close-up view of the front driver's side door hinge is shown in Photograph C.

Close-up view of failed door weld hinges.
Photograph  C Close-up view of failed front door hinge bolts.

Visual examination suggested that the door hinge welds failed without significant deformation, i.e., failed to withstand normal collision forces. An investigation into the metallurgical and mechanical quality of the hinge welds was initiated. The matter was resolved before any destructive testing and metallurgical failure analysis was conducted.

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J.E.I. Metallurgical, Inc.

5514 Harbor Town
Dallas, Texas 75287

Phone: (972) 934-0493
Fax: (469) 737-3938

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