Choose the Right Body Shop
As a vehicle owner, it is your choice which body shop repairs your vehicle. All repair facilities are not alike, and price is not the only consideration when making your choice.
Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. Check with your local consumer organization regarding the reputation of the body shop. Look for professionalism in the service representatives, and the willingness to answer all your questions to your satisfaction.
Visit the body shop and ask if the shop is equipped to handle your vehicle make and model. Proper structural repairs are essential to maintain the safety of your vehicle. Most vehicles have uni-body construction, which means that the body and the frame are constructed as one piece. These repairs can only be done with specific equipment operated by properly trained technicians.
Look for certificates from various training organizations displayed on the wall in the office or waiting area. Ask if the repair technicians are involved in an on going training program for the latest repair techniques and procedures.
Ask what type of paint system is used by the shop, and what type of guarantee is provided by the paint manufacturer. Vehicles today are painted at the factory with a two, three, or four stage paint system. Base coat clear coat paint requires skilled technicians and proper equipment to match the color, texture, durability, and gloss that comes from the factory.
Replacement parts used in repairing your vehicle fall into three categories. Be sure to find out which type of parts are being used in the repair of your vehicle. Be sure to find out how the parts used will affect your vehicle's value, safety, and performance.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) -- which are parts supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. These parts meet the same specifications with respect to fit, finish, and corrosion as the parts that originally came on your vehicle. These parts carry the vehicle manufacturer's warranty.
After Market (AM) -- these parts are not made by the vehicle manufacturer. Warranty on these parts differ, and may void your vehicle's factory warranty.
Salvage or Recycled - these parts come from a salvage yard and are taken off a previously damaged vehicle. Again, warranty on these parts differ, and may void your vehicle's factory warranty.
All policies, guarantees, and methods of payment should be explained to your satisfaction. Ask for a written estimates showing the work to be performed and parts to be used, and a copy of the written warranty. Read them carefully before making your decision.
Every insurance company has its own procedures for handling insurance claims. Ask the repair facility to assist you in dealing with your insurance company, since they work with insurance companies on a daily basis.
If you do your homework before the repairs are started, you are likely to avoid problems after the work is done. It is you vehicle, and making the right choice on which facility to do the repairs is yours!