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Nobody wants to be involved in an auto accident. However, it’s called an accident for a reason, so if you find yourself with a damaged vehicle due to an auto accident it’s important to have your vehicle repaired as quickly as possible.
If the vehicle is not driveable, you already understand the importance of having it repaired. Even if you can still drive it, you need to do what you can and have it repaired. Collision repair services will help you with this.
You don’t want to just take the vehicle into the first random repair location you find. You need to know what to look for and questions you need to ask before taking the vehicle into a collision repair shop.
This way, you’ll have better peace of mind that comes with knowing your vehicle repair will be done right the first time.
What Is Collision Repair?
After almost any auto accident, your vehicle will be damaged. The extent of the damage may not be noticeable by simply looking it over. Even simple fender-benders may have resulted in a bent frame, which will cause performance and safety problems down the line.
Collision repair garages usually work on vehicles after multi-vehicle accidents, but there are other instances where you may need auto repair; some occur without another vehicle involved.
You may have accidently backed up into a curb or an electrical pole. Hail may have damage your vehicle if it was left exposed, or falling branches, trees, and debris during a heavy windstorm may have substantially damaged your vehicle. In these situations, you must find a collision repair garage.
Whatever caused the damage, you likely need to have it repaired sooner, rather than later.
Superficial damage, such as damage sustained only to the exterior of your vehicle, may still affect your overall driving experience. Wind may flow differently over your vehicle. At high speeds (such as when driving on the highway), it may push your vehicle in one direction or another, making it difficult to steer.
In other instances, chipped and exposed paint will eventually rust, which will lead to the vehicle rusting out. Whatever caused the damage or whatever kind of accident you were in, it is important to find professional collision repair services.
What to Look For in a Body Shop
When looking for a collision repair facility, which many call a body shop, there are a few specifics you need to remember. The best choice doesn’t always have to do with the physical appearance of the garage. Instead, you’ll want to learn and consider qualifications.
Certifications are a sign that the auto mechanics at the garage know what they’re doing. While plenty of other professionals may not have a certification and yet still offer quality help in repairing your vehicle, you don’t want to leave this up to chance.
If you check for certifications, you’ll know the individuals working on your car have gone through important training requirements. To obtain these certifications, individuals first need to work at an auto garage for several years, apply for certification and complete the testing.
There are different certifications available for different areas of the vehicle. Some servicepeople may receive certifications in engine work while others in body repair or transmission work. Auto manufacturers provide certifications.
For example, if you have a Ford vehicle and need to have it repaired, you can choose a Ford-certified technician to help you out.
Many cars function the same in basic ways, but there are also key differences between brands, especially if we think about a domestic vehicle versus an import. Volkswagen and BMW, for example, have different design features than what you might find on a Chevrolet.
Due to this wide range of technologies and design differences, going with a professional with certifications for the vehicle you need to have repaired is important.
Shop Works with Your Insurance Provider
This is a two-way street. You’ll want a collision repair garage that will work with your insurance carrier because you likely don’t want to spend money out-of-pocket for your repairs. However, you don’t want the auto garage to simply do everything the insurance provider dictates.
Most insurance providers are interested in saving money, but not necessarily in getting you with the highest quality repair.
An insurance provider might even want the repair specialist to use non-factory-specific parts or supplies. Parts made specifically for your vehicle, by its manufacturer, are generally more expensive, but they may provide a higher-quality repair.
Sometimes going with a non-factory or used part is fine, but there are other times where you’ll need the highest-quality repair for your vehicle. To know if a repair garage will do this, you will want to check out the garage’s reviews.
Word-of-Mouth Information and Reviews
You will want to look up specific information and check with your insurance provider. Then, you can ask around and talk to friends, coworkers or family who have had the need for auto repair. They can tell you about their experiences and whether they would recommend the same service facility to you.
Some of this can be helpful, but your friends may not know what to look for in a repair. That’s why you also need to look for online reviews.
Websites like Yelp and Angie’s List are helpful for this. But please don’t just look over the favorable reviews. Look at the negative reviews, too. There are typically two kinds of negative reviews.
There are those from individuals who are upset over things that had nothing to do with the repair, and there are others who are upset with the quality of their service.
Look for any negative reviews in which someone had an actual issue with the repair, with the company overcharging, or something of a serious nature like that. Through a combination of word-of-mouth information and online reviews, you should be able to identify which of many garages may suit your particular needs best.
Once you’ve done all of this, you’ll be ready to go out and take your vehicle to the right garage.
Questions to Ask
After you’ve taken your vehicle in, you’ll want to ask a few questions both prior to the repair and after the repair. This way, you’ll always have a solid idea what is going on with the collision repair and your vehicle.
What Repairs Are Needed?
After an accident, you may just drop the vehicle off and then go pick it up when the repair is done. However, It’s better to know exactly what is going on with the vehicle and what needs to be replaced.
This way, you’ll know whether the company needed to repair one fender or if they needed to repair the entire frame. Knowing what is being replaced this time will help you if you run into performance issues down the road.
What Parts Are Being Installed?
Your garage should keep you abreast of the repairs being performed. You’ll still want to know what parts are being used, though. Is the garage using “factory,” manufacturer-brand parts designed specifically for your vehicle, or did the insurance provider tell them to use parts for a fraction of the price?
Ask them about the quality of the parts and what they think of using these parts. If there is a concern, the collision repair facility should let you know on the spot, but there are some that might not want to lose the favor of an insurance provider, in which case they may not tell you right off the bat.
Stay on top of what your garage does. Doing this may help you pinpoint performance problems later.
What Will it Cost? When Will It Be Done?
It’s always a good idea to know what auto repair will cost and when your repair will be done. You must know what portion of the repair the insurance company is covering and have a general idea when the vehicle will be completed and ready. It’s important to know which repairs necessarily take longer.
If it’s a superficial problem and only exterior parts need to be replaced, this repair may not take as long as a more complex job (although there is often time for repainting to consider).
When other areas of the vehicle are damaged, such as the engine or anything else under the hood, it will take longer because the mechanics will need to perform extensive testing. This can take quite a bit of time. certain tests may show additional damage that needs to be repaired, which might mean going back to the insurance provider.
Having a general idea and being kept up to date is very important.
When it is time for collision repair, it is important to find a suitable garage for the work. To make sure you have a garage that will offer quality work done right the first time, you’ll want to check certifications, ask around and stay on top of the repair.
Ask questions and, when the vehicle is done, inspect it in plenty of light. This way, you’ll know if the repair looks good, if everything lines up, and if the paint job matches the rest of your vehicle.