How to Choose the Best Auto Body Shop
Getting into an accident including minor accidents is inevitable for a car owner.
Taking care as you drive does not guarantee that you will not get into a wreck since another driver can swerve carelessly towards you and hit you.
If your car is insured then your insurer will pay for the repairs.
Insurance companies often recommend certain auto body shops for the repair works but this does not mean that you cannot choose your own.
Some may look promising but do a terrible job.
In this article, you will learn:
· How to choose the best auto body shop
· How to tell if a repair job is well done
· What to look out for after an auto body repair
· Things to watch out for that some body shops don’t tell you
1. What to look out for when deciding on the best auto body shop to pick
Even with the list of auto body shops recommended by your insurer, it is still good to find the best shop. It will save you your time, money and the hassle of repairs.
a. Research on the service provider
Many car owners make mistakes that could be avoided if they had taken time to research the company. Looking at the track record of the auto repair shop will give you an idea of their experience. The best shops have a solid track record with testimonials to prove so.
b. Compare prices
Even though your insurer will pay the costs for the repairs, you must check on the prices. Get estimate costs from a couple of shops which you can access from their websites.
Also check on the estimated time it will take to repair your car. Some shops have higher prices not necessarily as an exaggeration but because they use sophisticated equipment to do the job while reducing the waiting time.
All these contribute to the price of the repairs. The best shops offer competitive prices that give you value for your money.
c. Proximity is best
Look for auto body shops that are near you. This gives you the time to visit the shop and check the progress of the repairs with no hassle. Look for local shops that are OEM certified.
d. Talk to your mechanic
Your mechanic has definitely had experience in dealing with auto body repair shops several times. As a result, they may have a personal relationship with some of the technicians at the shops. They can give you recommendations on what shops to visit. If they do, due diligence in investigating these shops is required.
e. Check for repair warranties
Most if not all of the best auto body repair shops offer warranties on their repairs because they trust the job that they do. This should be one of the questions that you ask every shop that you are researching on.
f. The qualification of the technicians
There are many people who are employed in an auto repair shop. For this reason, you need a repair shop with employees who know what they are doing. They should have years of experience because this shows they are knowledgeable about cars.
Technicians require some certifications which you can trust. Auto body shops like to display their certificates and awards on the walls and websites. Besides certification, look for employees who are courteous and professional.
g. Customer service
A good auto body repair shop should offer the best customer experience. They should be able to answer your queries. If they take too long to respond then you better look for another shop.
h. Follow your gut
Your gut is usually right most of the time. If you are not comfortable with an auto body shop but you cannot place your finger on the exact reason, you should walk away. Your gut can be activated by anything you notice in your visit. Don’t ignore this feeling.
2. How to tell if a repair job is done well
Your insurance company may be paying for the car repairs but you will be the one stuck with the car for the long haul.
Therefore, you need the car repairs to be done properly if you want to avoid any breakdowns and disappointments in the future. The following tips should help you tell if a repair job was done correctly:
Take a closer inspection of your car especially at the area that was repaired. The gaps between body panels should not be uneven. If they are then it is a sign that the panels are not being aligned correctly.
Also make sure that your doors open and close properly with good alignment.
If there was extensive front-end damage to the car, observe the distance between the tire and the fender. Where one side is wide and the other is narrow, the repair was incorrectly done.
You can also check the condition of the front-end damage to the car by turning on the headlights. The light beams should be properly aligned.
‘Butcher marks’ under a car show a poorly done repair job in case the car was hit in front and the bent frame required straightening.
Sometimes, visual inspection of the repairs on a damaged frame may not be reliable. Therefore, you should look at the automated printout of the frame specifications.
Paint matching is one of the most difficult jobs for an auto body repair shop. The work needs to be done by someone who really knows what he is doing. So the best way to tell whether the paint job was done properly is to pick your car during the day and look at it in the sunlight to make sure that the new paint matches the car’s original shade and finish.
Look for color consistency along the side of the car if the shop repainted several panels.
Examine the paint for runs or imperfections such as hair or specks of dirt trapped in the finish.
Scratches on bolts that happened while the car was being repaired should be given a touch up.
3. What to look for after an auto body repair
There are certain things that an auto body shop must do after the repairs are done which may not even be related to the repairs themselves.
Some of the things that you need to look for after the body repair include:
The cleanliness of the car. After the body repair, your car must be washed, cleaned and vacuumed. Appearances are important. There should be no dust or dirt in the car neither should there be old parts in the trunk. Auto body shops are very dirty places and your car will definitely get dirty in the process but it should not be returned to you in such a condition.
The mechanics should walk you through all the steps that they took while repairing your car. The parts they used need to be itemized in a list not just for your benefit but for the sake of your insurance company.
Few months after the repair, you need to check whether your front tires are wearing unevenly. If they are, this is a sign that the front suspension has not been straightened and repaired correctly
4. Things to watch out for that some body shops don’t tell you
There are several things that most body shops will not tell you because knowing the truth may discourage you from using their services.
Some of these things that you should watch out for include:
The fictitious assurance of a due date. Most auto body shops miss their deadlines and blame it on delays in delivery of parts which is usually not the case. Most miss deadlines because they take too much work to handle in time.
Replacement parts are not created equal. Most auto body shops use generic or salvage parts because they are cheaper instead of using original-equipment manufacturer parts.
A fender bender will cost you. Accidents that are your fault will have a typical $500 deductible for a collision.
When the auto shop offers you a rental car to use for the time being as your car is being repaired, be ready to pay a substantial amount. It could cost you $1000 to rent a car for a week. That is why you need to ensure that the repairs on your car are done on time.
Sometimes, the best option is to buy a new car. When the damage is too bad to be repaired, it is best to buy a new car rather than spend a whole lot of money on the repairs.
However since repair shops want to make money, they may not tell you that you need to buy a new car. You need to watch out for this so that you don’t end up wasting your time, money and effort on a car that might never return to its full functionality.
Auto body shops are run by human beings who make mistakes and tend to keep some truths to themselves.
You need to be cautious and very pro-active when it comes to your car’s repairs.
If you are interested in getting your vehicle looked at and have more questions or want a 100% Free Quote Today, contact us directly by clicking here.