Questions To Ask an Auto Body Repair Shop
After being involved in a car accident, one of the first things you’ll think about is getting your car repaired as quickly as possible. But taking your car to the first auto body shop you find would be a hasty decision. In order to find a reliable and reputable auto body shop, take time to do your research and ask questions so that you’ll receive high quality auto body repair work for your vehicle.
Here are some questions and things to consider before allowing an auto body repair shop to repair your vehicle
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOP.
Reading an online review about an auto body repair shop can be a useful resource. You can get a sense of the quality of the auto body repair shop based on customer feedback, ratings and reviews. You might want to ask the following questions after reading an online review:
- How often will I receive text or email updates about my car’s repair status?
- Can I view repair updates online?
- Can I arrange for a loaner or rental car online or through an affiliated rental car service
WHAT KIND OF WARRANTY COMES WITH THEIR AUTO BODY REPAIR WORK?
If they offer a warranty, ask how long it lasts and what it will cover.
DOES THE AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOP HAVE RENTAL CARS ON THEIR LOT OR DO THEY PROVIDE LOANER VEHICLES?
Being without a car is an inconvenience, so you’ll need to make sure that you have a rental, loaner or courtesy car while yours is in the shop. Some auto body repair shops have a car rental facility located in or near their shop. Other auto body repair shops may offer loaner or courtesy cars that can be used while they are repairing your car.If there is a pre-rental agreement, review it carefully – read the fine print. Take photos of the car before it leaves the shop & when you return it (honest shops will not object to this; it’s common practice in the age of Smartphones). Take note of the mileage as well.
HOW LONG WILL THE AUTO BODY REPAIR TAKE?
This is the #1 question asked of all auto body shops. There is no hard and fast answer since each case is subjective. There are many factors related that can affect the length of repair time, including the extent of damage to your car, how busy the auto body repair shop is at that particular time, or even holidays during which the shop may be closed. A 2017 Industry Trend Data report published by CCC Information Services Inc. showed that the average length of customer loaner or rental car usage – the measuring stick used to determine length of repair time – has grown from 9.26 to 9.85 days.Additional factors may include the level of the repair technicians’ certifications and training, the quality of the shop’s parts procurement process and the channels through which parts are acquired (does the shop deal with parts suppliers and manufacturers or with auto junkyards?) and/or the equipment with which the shop is outfitted. Is their equipment state-of-the-art or antiquated? Are work areas clean and efficient? What, if any, repairs are outsourced? All of this can shorten – or lengthen – the time of your car repair.
IS YOUR CAR COVERED WHILE IT IS IN THE SHOP?
Ask the auto body repair shop if they carry fire and theft insurance. You want to be sure that you’ll be covered just in case your car is damaged, destroyed, stolen or burglarized while it is in the auto body repair shop. It is also not advisable to stop paying auto insurance premiums on your car while it is being repaired. Most states require auto insurance and will penalize you for a lapse of even one day. Also if the mechanic needs to drive the car for testing purposes, he/she could be penalized if pulled over. By allowing your auto insurance policy to lapse, you will likely spend more on penalties than save on premiums — even if the repair time is lengthy.
WILL THE PAINT MATCH THE REST OF MY CAR?
In most cases, cars have a paint code on a plate located either in a door jamb, under the hood, or in the trunk. This paint code will give the exact color of the manufacturer’s paint. Make sure the auto body repair shop will be using the same exact color of paint and not a similar color. For further reading, check this blog post: How Much Does a Car Paint Job Cost?
HOW SOON CAN YOU WASH YOUR CAR AFTER AN AUTO BODY REPAIR?
An auto body repair shop usually returns your car back to you clean. They may have already washed it or waited for the paint to dry so that you can drive your car immediately after the repair. Still, it is important to know whether it is it safe to take your car to a car wash that uses friction brushing or a touch-free car wash with acid presoaks and super concentrated car wash soap soon after a fresh paint job.
What is friction brushing?
Friction brushing usually employs a combination of high pressure blasters with foam and/or cloth brushes. Brush-equipped washes generally perform better and move faster, as brushes clean in hard-to-reach places. Additionally advances in soft-touch systems increase the quality of the wash while reducing the possibility of damage to the finish. Consult with your auto body repair technician on the best option in your car’s case.
What is a touch-free wash?
Touchless washes employ a combination of chemicals, presoaks, detergents, high water pressure and modern systems even include laser-guided contour sensors. The advantage of a touch-free wash is that nothing touches the vehicle for the duration of the wash, which is typically longer than a friction wash. One possible disadvantage is, because a touch-free wash is so reliant upon chemicals, certain mix ratios can cause stains on the paint. Consult with your auto body repair technician on the best option in your car’s case.
DOES THE AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOP HAVE ANY CERTIFICATIONS?
Certifications, such as I-CAR and ASE, are a good sign of a reputable auto body repair shop. A certification usually means that the auto body repair shop has the skills and knowledge required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs.
WILL THE AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOP PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING?
When bringing your car into an auto body repair shop, ask if you can receive a written estimate. You should also ask for an itemized bill after all work is completed. If the written estimate doesn’t match the itemized bill, don’t be afraid to ask about any discrepancies.
WHAT IS THE PAYMENT POLICY?
Most reputable auto body repair shops post their policies and payment methods where customers can easily see them. The payment policies may include labor rates, materials, warranty information, guarantees, and acceptable forms of payment. If you don’t see payment policy information, ask before the shop begins any auto body repair work on your vehicle.