7 Things Auto Body Shops Don't Tell You...
...And One Bonus Thing
by Dan Anderson
After a car accident, it’s just natural to want the body shop to take care of the repairs and get your car back on the road as quickly as possible. But a quick turnaround can be one sign the shop is cutting corners and quite possibly taking advantage of you. Here are 7 things you need to know going in.
1. That minor fender bender will be a major expense. If the accident is your fault and you have the typical $500 deductible for a collision, you’ll pay the full deductible. Replacing a fender on a 2016 Buick LaCrosse can cost as much as $980. A new front bumper on a 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class can go as high as $1,650.
2. Approved shops are beholden to tight-fisted insurers. Auto insurers contract with providers to repair vehicles for a prenegotiated rate (think of it as managed care for sick cars). And your car could be the victim of cost-cutting. Some practices, such as requiring low hourly rates and making the shop pick up the rental-car tab if a repair takes too long, could tempt shops to cut corners -- by, say, neglecting to align the wheels or using plastic filler in a dent rather than replacing the sheet metal. "Insurers have wired the shops to give them so many discounts that, to stay alive, the shops often do the bare minimum," says Erica Eversman, of Vehicle Information Services.
3. Not all replacement parts are created equal. Original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are designed to match precisely and may be safer. But insurers prefer that shops use generic or salvage replacement parts because they're cheaper. If you cause an accident, you could be bound by wording in your policy to use aftermarket parts -- or pay the difference for OEM parts. But if someone hits you, tell the shop to use OEM parts.
4. The due date may be fiction. Technicians routinely blame missed deadlines on delays in parts delivery. But the truth is that many of them take on more business than they can handle. Before you commit your business to a shop, check the local Better Business Bureau and government consumer-affairs offices for complaints against it.
5. A rentel car will cost you. Renting a car for three weeks could cost $1,000 or more. Even if you have optional rental-car insurance (which costs $1 or $2 a month), your daily reimbursement may be limited to the cost of a compact car. If you need a minivan while your car is in the shop, make sure you have minivan-size coverage.
6. Your car needs a shop that speaks its language. Many European cars use aluminum and ultra-hard steel that require special equipment to repair. Plus, replacement parts for late-model European vehicles have to be fit with an especially high degree of precision. Shops should be certified by the manufacturer to do the work, meaning that they have specialized training and equipment -- and charge higher rates. Insurers won't necessarily recommend these shops, but they should be willing to pay the tab.
7. The insurer's warranty isn't all it's cracked up to be. Insurers sometimes dangle warranties on the parts (for as long as you own the vehicle) to entice you to go to shops in their network. But the body shop's guarantee is the one that's important. Nearly all shops will guarantee their work, and parts makers guarantee their parts, making the insurance warranty all but worthless.
Make sure to tell the body shop that you’re dealing with that you don’t want to see any overspray on the trim, trash in the paint, or excessive orange peel. Basically, you want the paint to have a good reflection when you wave your hand past it and it should not be totally distorted to where you can’t make out that it’s your hand. If you see that or things in your paint that look like specs of sand demand to have the car cut and buffed, but make sure to make arrangements to bring the car back approximately two weeks after the work has been completed. This gives you ample time to ensure that all of the solvents have evaporated and that anywhere body filler work has been performed and the combination of materials have had time to settle.
All in all, just be careful with what body shop you choose, definitely don’t go to the cheapest body shop because in the world of paint and body you get what you paid for and sometimes not, so watch yourself! Word of mouth and online reviews are a great way to choose a body shop, just ask around for who’s the best while being the most affordable body shop around.
Is Your Damage Minor?
THEN SKIP THE HASSLE OF A CONVENTIONAL BODY SHOP!
USE A MOBILE BODY SHOP
How a Mobile Body Shop Works
Imagine the convenience of driving to the office and having your vehicle repaired right there in the parking lot while you work. When you’re ready to leave the office the repairs are complete and you can drive your car home.
A mobile body shop is a truck equipped with everything the service specialist needs to perform minor repairs in your driveway or at your workplace. This is a great convenience because you don’t have to be without your vehicle for days at a time while it sits at the body shop. A mobile body shop is also a great money saver; no need to rent a car while yours is still in your driveway.
The mobile body shop is a unique service; very convenient and inexpensive. The service specialist should be able to assess the damage, provide a free estimate and do the work the same day. They do have their limitations; if the sheet metal of a body panel is damaged needing replacement or overall damage is extensive, they will recommend taking the vehicle to a conventional body shop.
Some people are concerned with the quality of repair that can be done by a mobile body shop. A good service will be able to computer match the color of the paint on site for a perfect match. There is no reason to sacrifice quality for this convenience. Advanced technology enables a mobile body shop to carry everything they need to be portable.
A mobile body shop can complete some repairs in just a few hours. These same repairs, done in a conventional body shop, would require leaving your vehicle for a day or two. These shops often focus on the bigger, more expensive jobs while the vehicles in need of minor repairs sit and wait.
Since there is considerably less overhead with a mobile body shop they are able to pass the savings on to the customer. They don’t have to lease a building and expensive equipment, pay utility bills, property insurance or any other costs associated with a building. Everything they need is in their vehicle.
One of the main reasons a customer will use a mobile body shop is that most of the minor repairs that need to be done cost less than their insurance company’s deductible. Most people would rather pay for these small repairs without involving their insurance company for fear of an increase in premiums. They want to remain in good standing with their insurance company in case they need them for something more serious.
I'm Dan Anderson, owner of Newlook Body Works, a mobile body shop serving Columbia / Lexington, SC for over 25 years. I come to your home or office to provide bumper and paint repair.
I have a FREE online estimate system is in place to provide you with a quick estimate of needed repairs. Get yours now!
"We recently had a tear in our bumper and it was gonna cost us $800 to have it fixed at body shop. Dan was able to fix it like it was plastic surgery! He snipped and cut, welded and put back together, and when he was done you couldn't tell there was any damage at all, and that was for only $290! What a deal!" - Jack B.
I used Newlook Body Works for the first time, and the online quote process was quick and easy! They called me back the same day and sent me a quote. Once I got it, they came out the next morning and did all the work in two and a half hours. The work they did is excellent! You can't even see where the work starts and stops! - Josh R.
"The thing that I loved most about my experience with Newlook Body Works was that they made the process so simple and easy. It was really easy to upload the pictures and get a quote in a timely manner. Once I agreed to the price they were able to get someone out really quickly to work on my car. The fact that they come to you is also a huge plus in terms of convenience." - Tara B.