Five Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

Choosing an auto body shop doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Estimates from different shops will likely fluctuate, sometimes to the point where you wonder if you are getting quotes for the same repair on the same vehicle. Consider these five tips to help guide you in making your decision:

1. Get Multiple Estimates

This one is obvious. Not only will multiple auto body shop quotes give you some idea of the “middle ground,” you’ll feel better knowing that you did your homework and you aren’t simply going with the cheapest… or worse yet, the most costly proposition.

2. Are They Certified and Insured

Do they seem reputable and carry all the appropriate certifications insurance?

Is the location a direct repair facility for your insurance company?

If you are completely new to the facility and going in with very little information on them, check for appropriate licensing hanging on the wall near the register.

Things can go wrong with any repair shop and your vehicle will be living there for a while, so you want to make sure that the repair facility you choose is protected in the event of fire, theft, or natural disaster.

3. Parts and Warranty

What is the warranty on repairs? Depending on whether they are a direct repair facility for your insurance company, you will likely get anywhere between 1 year and a lifetime warranty. Comparing warranties between locations can be a big indicator of the quality of parts and workmanship. You want to hire someone willing to stand by their craft.

Do they use aftermarket or used parts? Used parts don’t necessarily mean quality is bad, but when comparing quotes, you want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If one location is offering used parts and another new, and their estimates are the same, look closer. What is making up the extra cost in the estimate for the shop offering the used parts? The per-hour labor costs may be higher at that particular shop.

What kind of paint matching technology do they use? You want to be sure that they can make an exact match of the paint code for your vehicle, and that they are using a high-quality coating.

4. Reputation

Do they have a good local reputation? Are they part of a social network where you can check for reviews? Ask around to friends and family; almost everyone has used an auto body shop at some point, and you’ll be surprised how much information you can gather by listening to other people’s experiences.

5. Trust Your Gut… and Relax

If you are searching for an auto body shop, you and your car likely just went through a stressful experience. Trust your gut after visiting the location; you want to leave feeling that the customer service seems knowledgeable about their industry and genuine about service. If anything about the experience seems not above board, keep looking, and use the tips above to guide you until you find a professional you can feel good about.

Help the Environment With Auto Body Repairs

We all live, breathe, eat, sleep, and enjoy our lives on the planet earth. Even though we do so much here and depend so greatly on our earth we continue to harm it by harming the environment. There are many things that we can do to help the environment and keep it clean for a long time. Things like not wasting water, recycling, not cutting down trees, not polluting the earth and getting auto body repairs. Yep, you heard right! You should get auto body repairs versus replacements parts or new vehicles to help the environment. Helping the environment is easy, find out how you can do your part by getting auto body repairs!

You are probably surprised that auto body repairs help the environment. Well, they do. Auto body repairs involve using the existing materials on the vehicle and repairing them. With means there is less trash to go to the dump. Whereas with auto body replacement there is a lot of waste going to the dump from the old part being thrown away and the packaging that the new parts come in. Also most auto body shops recycle what materials they do have to discard, which is a big help and keeps a lot of build up at the dumps. In case you don’t know there are many auto body repairs that can be completed on all vehicles. Some of these repairs include paint touch up, auto body repair, bumper repair, windshield repair, wheel rim repair, paintless dent removal and more. Also another plus with auto body repairs is that they can be completed quickly, usually within two to six hours. The best part is that they are affordable for most people and auto body shops will work with insurance companies. Make sure that you choose an auto body shop who is part of the “Go Green” campaign and that it is doing their part to help the environment.

Also, if you are thinking of getting a new vehicle because your current vehicle has a few damaged areas, you should reconsider. With so many different auto body repairs that can be completed there is no reason to just give up on it and get a new vehicle. Many times old vehicles end up in the dump if no one will buy them. So many cars go to the junk yard and the dump too soon. So, getting auto body repairs will keep less vehicles from being sent the dump too soon and filling it up. Also remember that new cars cost a lot of money. Auto body repairs can cost you some money out of your wallet, but not nearly as much as buying a new vehicle.

So, join everyone else with the “Go Green” campaign and do your part to help the environment! Doing something as simple as getting auto body repair instead of replacement. You will not only be helping the environment but you will be saving money and get your vehicle looking great for less!

How To Find The Best Auto Body Collision Repair Center For You And What Constitutes As A Good Shop

The event of an accident can be very stressful. Finding the right Auto Body Shop can be just as excruciating, I hope to alleviate most of your worries in this article explaining what makes a good (if not great) Auto Body Shop, and how you can find the one that’s right for you.

The best auto collision shops are determined by the quality of work/materials that are applied, and the timeliness of the overall job. Quality can be separated by two different attributes (1) parts/materials and (2) labor. The quality of factory OEM parts far exceeds that of the aftermarket kind. Sure aftermarket products are cheaper, but that’s what’s also happening to your vehicle it’s being “cheapened.” Simply put the materials used are of poor quality, this problem magnifies with misshapen parts due to terrible molds. A good shop will avoid this route by any means necessary. With a factory OEM part the vehicle owner is maintaining the value of their automobile, along with its structural durability. The bondo, primer, and paint needed to repair your vehicle should be of the highest quality in order to produce the best resulting finished product. Most auto body shops have converted to water-based environmentally safe painting, and only a good body shop will offer a lifetime guarantee on these paint jobs.

The quality of labor is a significant factor in a vehicle’s finished result. Starting with properly trained technicians who should be certified in their field of automotive work (iCar, PPG, etc.). Their experience plays a bigger role as well, for example we have employees with various related backgrounds in mechanics, engineering, and custom fabrication. This helps out when rapid knowledge is needed regarding a vehicle with custom modifications. A good collision repair shop will also have knowledge in all major automobile models including old and new.

A shop’s slow repair process can sometimes be unintentional. Insurance companies are required to pay within 10 days after a claim receipt has been made, but this isn’t always the case; Insurance companies avoid payment by evading phone calls to “wear you out”. A good shop will stand up for their customer, and deal directly with the insurance. This is not to be confused with a “direct repair shop” or a “preferred provider” shop that works with the insurance to save them money and devalue your vehicle with aftermarket parts in order to secure work for themselves. A good shop will advocate for their customer against the insurance company in order to receive optimum repair coverage for your vehicle. Once the correct claim estimate is fashioned a well-established body shop will order the parts needed to repair the vehicle as soon as possible. It is important to do this right away to keep from back orders, shipping delays, or any other problems that can occur (like the wrong part showing up). The overall turnaround time is determined by the amount of work needed for the vehicle, delays caused by insurance and parts companies, and the effectiveness of the auto collision repair shop.

A great way to determine how effective an Auto Body Shop operates is to use review sites. Yelp is a great way to see how well a collision repair shop is doing. You will most likely be able to verify a business’s time or quality based off of reviews created for that specific shop. Another way to find reviews regarding a shop is to use Facebook or Google Reviews. Although these sites aren’t as reputable as yelp (due to superior algorithm functions), they can give you more perspective of how well that specific collision repair shop is doing. Try to use your best judgment, and don’t always trust every review. Remember you have the choice to choose the body shop you want! Don’t be steered by your insurance company or anyone else. Do the research and educate yourself, and I promise you will be satisfied with your newly repaired vehicle.

After an Accident, Choose a Body Shop That Can Handle Frame Straightening

After an accident, most cars need frame straightening, or at least a check to see if the car sustained damage to the frame. When the body of your car is repaired without the frame being fixed, you may find that your car is always out of alignment and that your tires wear unevenly and need frequent replacement.

How does a Shop Assess Condition of your Frame?

Modern cars either have a straight rail system or unibody construction that determines how the shop will approach your frame straightening. In any case, they will put your car on a frame machine that measures your car to make sure all parts are properly aligned.

Full-size cars, pickups, and vans with a straight rail system have a frame that consists of two steel beams running the length of the vehicle attached to a front beam. The transmission, engine, and suspension are mounted on the rail system, and the body of the car is set on top.

Cars with unibody construction, which describes cars built after the 1980s, have a skeleton formed by metal panels and a subframe where the transmission, engine, and suspension are mounted. Exterior panels of the car are attached to the skeleton. Although there may be less damage to the frame if the unibody construction absorbs some energy from the crash, cars are built with crumple zones that crush if a collision occurs to protect the driver and passengers from the impact of the crash. As a result, even a car involved in a low speed accident may need frame straightening.

How Frame Straightening Works

In examining the frame, a body shop technician puts the car on the frame machine, secures it with chains and clamps, and raises it up for greater visibility to assess the damage. They compare what they can see visually with a computer readout, which targets areas of the car that need straightening. Then using hydraulics and torque, they get it back to factory specs. Continuous printouts verify that the car is aligned correctly down to the last millimeter.

They used to straighten cars with straight rail frames by softening the middle with heat before straightening. Newer cars use high molecular steel that changes structure in the presence of heat, so heat is no longer used. On badly damaged unibody cars, the shop may replace damaged parts if straightening does not get the frame back to normal.

In selecting a body shop, you should verify that the facility has straightening equipment in-house or if they send the car elsewhere for that part of the repair. A place that claims to do it on-site should have straightening machines, laser measurement tools, and laser frame straightening tools, plus technicians who are qualified to do the work. It is more convenient to use a shop with straightening equipment on hand.

Future Problems with Frame Straightening

What is important is that a proper frame straightening takes place. You may find yourself paying out-of-pocket later if your car has problems that relate to the frame. Since accidents weaken the frame and result in small cracks that can make the car more susceptible to future damage, driving around with a bent frame can be dangerous. Unresolved frame issues also affect the resale value of your car.

After an accident, make sure that your car is thoroughly inspected for damage and that any necessary frame straightening is properly done.