The need for accurate virtual prototyping prediction is well documented in the literature. For welded body structures one notable shortcoming has been the ability for finite element analysis (FEA) to accurately predict the failure of welded joints due to cyclic loading. A new approach to representing spot-welds for durability evaluation in automotive sheet metal structures is presented here.Excellent correlation with spot-weld failures in actual tests have been observed through this modeling approach. We present a method of representing spot-welds using the finite element method. This method has shown to be able of predicting the behavior of spot-welds prior to the build of any prototypes or testing. Further, for spot-weld failures we present evidence that reveals which radial quadrant of the spot-weld will contain the failure. This method also allows engineers to determine the mechanism of failure.This paper describes in detail the spot-weld modeling method. The supporting theory for this method will also be investigated. Correlation with testing will be shown. Finally, the local failure initiation will be investigated and correlated to test.