Selecting an Auto Body Repair Shop

Due to the amount of time we spend on the road the chances of us needed to find a great auto body shop may come up more than once. Most of us get a little flustered at the thought of searching for the right place that can work in your price range. No one ever knows where to start though. Here are a few tips on choosing the perfect auto body shop for you.

The first step is finding an auto body shop that will fix your car to look like the collision never happened. Some good auto body shops will only have the ability to fix your car to a point called pre-loss condition. Pre-loss condition is when the mechanic fixes your cars appearance, body structure, and keeps your cars mechanical reliability.

Next comes customer service, our favorites. Everyone has horror stories about bad customer service in numerous places of business. However, if you are calling an auto body shop that means that lives were once in danger so they should immediately ask if anyone was injured. Their chance at making money should never overshadow your needs or concerns. Many body shops are only in the business because they know that everyone will need to have their car repaired at some point. Most of those businesses do not have a skilled and knowledgeable staff. That is why it is so vital to find the right body shop so you and your insurance company are getting what you have paid for.

When dealing with your insurance company, make sure that you fight for the right to pick your own repair shop. Most insurance companies and repair shops have a deal worked out to lower the shops cost in exchange for giving them business. The shop then cuts corners and leave out steps to keep the cost down. This in turn means you are paying the insurance company the inflated premiums and your deductible but are only receiving second rate repair. The insurance company may respond saying that they can not guarantee the work of other shops but in reality all good shops guarantee their work for as long as you own that car. If a shop says that they do not have that standard, it is a sign to keep looking.

Always ask the person who is estimating your damage questions. If you are working with a smaller shop the person you are speaking with will probably be the one working directly on your car. In larger chain shops they have sales people who do the estimates and have no direct connection or knowledge about your car. The techs working on your car may not want to rewrite you an estimate to make it the correct amount. Never be afraid to ask questions if you are confused. Larger shops may have fancy equipment and tools to make people believe that they are much more advanced then other shops but in reality, those fancy tools are rarely even used in fixing your car.

Always ask the body shop about their insurance programs or DRP (direct repair programs) because this may mean they can not create their own business and need the help of a deal. Not all shops that have these programs are bad shops but it can defiantly be a red flag.

The very best way to find a good body shop is by word of mouth, so ask around. Most people would never send you to a place where they were not satisfied with the work they were given.

Now when you are stuck in a bind after a collision you will have the right information and questions to ask before selection the body shop for you. The last and the most important thing to remember is, if you ever feel uncomfortable or pressured by a body shop, move on because they may be desperate for business because they are not known for their good service.

Choosing an Auto Glass Repair Shop

If you are like most people, the first time you ever need to think about windshield repair or replacement occurs when you happen to be driving across the road and hear the pop of something like a rock smash into your windshield; or maybe shortly after when you see that annoying crack that forms, distracting you from driving safely. It’s a frustrating feeling, one that most motorists don’t deal with fast enough or in the correct way. Do you know postponing having work done on a chipped or cracked windshield can wind up costing you a higher price since it is likely to become worse without any timely fix? The average car owner is usually not aware of how much a windshield does when it comes to their own safety. This information is here to present you with what you should know about the windshield repair vs replacement choice from beginning to end because like most hardworking people, you probably don’t have time to put together everything required to make the right choices for yourself as well as your car.

Step one is always to quickly examine the damage that’s been done to your window or windshield as well as educate yourself about the general process for repair. It’s useful to be informed enough to make the basic diagnosis by determining whether or not the cars window is cracked, chipped, or just scratched so you have a pretty accurate idea of what sort of service you need. As a general suggestion, chips can be repaired if they’re not much larger than the size of a quarter. Cracks are often repaired if they are not more than six inches long, which is about the length of a dollar bill. When the damage is any worse you probably will require a full windshield replacement job. It’s equally important to be aware of why you should give consideration to a little crack or chip at all. In case you are in a wreck while you have a damaged window, there exists a higher chance it would break and even shatter, often creating severe injury as a result of the shards of glass or allowing you to be ejected from your vehicle. Driving safety professionals are quick to point out how important uncompromised auto glass is to the structure of a car.

Your next and even the most vital step you need to take to fix your car’s windshield or auto glass will be to know who to contact. Most people because of a lack of knowledge seek out auto body shops only to find out they do not replace or repair auto glass. Some other people call standard glass or window shops and so are averted again. Auto glass replacement and repair is really a separate industry that’s focused on knowing how to correctly fix or replace your auto glass to help you to continue driving safely and without worrying about the distraction of window damage. Even though you now understand what types of business you should contact, never assume all windshield replacement and repair companies are exactly the same. When choosing a company, one thing to consider is if they normally use. OEM is short for original equipment manufacturer and basically signifies that the items they choose such as adhesives utilized in the repair process as well as the replacement windows are a similar quality that had been originally used in your windshield when your car was manufactured. Aftermarket materials used by many businesses are typically not as high of quality will not have the same quality or safety standards of the OEM materials. Something else you probably should check on is the company you select has NGA and AGRSS certifications. NGA means the National Glass Association and leads the industry in preparing quality technicians for auto glass repair and replacement certification. AGRSS is short for Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council. This is a non-profit organization that concentrates on safety and high standards in the industry.

Another major concern car owners have when looking into auto glass repair or replacement involves the price. Fixing vehicle glass is an expense which will come from nowhere and almost never at a good time. While costs are probably going to be different dependent upon the area your home is, getting your auto glass repaired is definitely going to be cheaper compared to a full windshield replacement for your automobile. To provide you with an over-all estimate, repairs often are less costly than one hundred dollars and replacing the windshield can cost you upwards of $ 500. Whichever kind of fix you have to have done, jumping for the least expensive option is generally not the best decision especially in the long run. The good news is a good number of auto insurance companies handle part or all the expenses of auto glass repair or replacement jobs. It is in their best interest for you to be secure on the streets plus they understand how important having a quality undamaged windshield is when it comes to your safety one the road. And also they encourage you to quickly replace or repair your auto glass as opposed to waiting until it needs replacement. By doing this, you both save your time or cash and you will drive with a bit of safety yet again. You will see auto glass repair underneath the comprehensive part of your insurance coverage. It’s additionally a great situation since there is usually no fault in window repairs so auto insurance won’t rise simply because of your simple auto glass repair or replacement.

How To Find The Best Auto Body Collision Repair Center For You And What Constitutes As A Good Shop

The event of an accident can be very stressful. Finding the right Auto Body Shop can be just as excruciating, I hope to alleviate most of your worries in this article explaining what makes a good (if not great) Auto Body Shop, and how you can find the one that’s right for you.

The best auto collision shops are determined by the quality of work/materials that are applied, and the timeliness of the overall job. Quality can be separated by two different attributes (1) parts/materials and (2) labor. The quality of factory OEM parts far exceeds that of the aftermarket kind. Sure aftermarket products are cheaper, but that’s what’s also happening to your vehicle it’s being “cheapened.” Simply put the materials used are of poor quality, this problem magnifies with misshapen parts due to terrible molds. A good shop will avoid this route by any means necessary. With a factory OEM part the vehicle owner is maintaining the value of their automobile, along with its structural durability. The bondo, primer, and paint needed to repair your vehicle should be of the highest quality in order to produce the best resulting finished product. Most auto body shops have converted to water-based environmentally safe painting, and only a good body shop will offer a lifetime guarantee on these paint jobs.

The quality of labor is a significant factor in a vehicle’s finished result. Starting with properly trained technicians who should be certified in their field of automotive work (iCar, PPG, etc.). Their experience plays a bigger role as well, for example we have employees with various related backgrounds in mechanics, engineering, and custom fabrication. This helps out when rapid knowledge is needed regarding a vehicle with custom modifications. A good collision repair shop will also have knowledge in all major automobile models including old and new.

A shop’s slow repair process can sometimes be unintentional. Insurance companies are required to pay within 10 days after a claim receipt has been made, but this isn’t always the case; Insurance companies avoid payment by evading phone calls to “wear you out”. A good shop will stand up for their customer, and deal directly with the insurance. This is not to be confused with a “direct repair shop” or a “preferred provider” shop that works with the insurance to save them money and devalue your vehicle with aftermarket parts in order to secure work for themselves. A good shop will advocate for their customer against the insurance company in order to receive optimum repair coverage for your vehicle. Once the correct claim estimate is fashioned a well-established body shop will order the parts needed to repair the vehicle as soon as possible. It is important to do this right away to keep from back orders, shipping delays, or any other problems that can occur (like the wrong part showing up). The overall turnaround time is determined by the amount of work needed for the vehicle, delays caused by insurance and parts companies, and the effectiveness of the auto collision repair shop.

A great way to determine how effective an Auto Body Shop operates is to use review sites. Yelp is a great way to see how well a collision repair shop is doing. You will most likely be able to verify a business’s time or quality based off of reviews created for that specific shop. Another way to find reviews regarding a shop is to use Facebook or Google Reviews. Although these sites aren’t as reputable as yelp (due to superior algorithm functions), they can give you more perspective of how well that specific collision repair shop is doing. Try to use your best judgment, and don’t always trust every review. Remember you have the choice to choose the body shop you want! Don’t be steered by your insurance company or anyone else. Do the research and educate yourself, and I promise you will be satisfied with your newly repaired vehicle.

Choosing A Local Auto Body Repair Company

Ah, you have been in accident! Not a favorite experience of many people. Whats even worse than the actual fallout of the automobile accident itself is getting your vehicle repaired.

If you go through a reputable and ethical auto body repair shop you will end up with an automobile that drives and looks just like its was never wrecked. If you go through a shady company you will have a substandard vehicle that will have a really low re-sell value in the future. Here is what you can do to prevent the latter from happening.

Make Sure The Estimate Includes Factory Parts

How can one body shop give you an estimate that is half the cost of another? The answer usually is that one will use aftermarket parts that cost half the price.

This is very important to know! Aftermarket parts are usually not high in quality and many times do not fit exactly like original ones made from the actual manufacturer. Shops usually have to play and bend aftermarket parts to work and they do not usually last a long time. They can also compromise a car’s tolerance to withstand another wreck. A bumper for instance made by the manufacturer is made to withstand a certain impact. Its made to bend and crumple a certain way so that the people in the car absorb as little shock as possible. An aftermarket part may look genuine but it is probably made out of inferior materials and its threshold is a lot lower.

Demand that original parts be used to rebuild your car.

Check the Better Business Bureau for Any Complaints

Look up a company in the BBB and see if any complaints have been filed in the last year. If so try to inquire why. If a certain business has high stars and a high satisfaction rate then you have a good idea of what company you are dealing with.

Ask For A Couple References

Ask them to supply you with the name of recent customers who they have serviced. Call them up. See if these individuals were happy with the work that was performed for them. If an auto body shop is hesitant to supply with at least three names then I would go somewhere else.

Warranty

Any service like this should stand behind their work and offer some type of guarantee. They should back all their parts and labor with a warranty that lasts at least a year. If something falls off or if the paint fades after only a month then you want to make sure that they are willing to fix their mistake.

Ask To See Pictures

Ask a body shop to see some before and after photos. Do they have experience in doing the work you need done? Have they ever worked on your type of car before? What is the worst wreck they have fixed? These things are good points to keep in mind.

How to Determine Your Bidding Limits for an Auto Auction

Buying a used vehicle at an auto auction is a great way to save money on a car or truck, but before the day of the sale it’s important that you determine the amount of money that you can spend. After you purchase the vehicle, you don’t want to discover that you can’t afford the insurance, taxes and other costs that are associated with the purchase of a used car. In addition to the bidding price of the vehicle, don’t forget to figure in the costs below so you don’t go over your budget.

Insurance

The cost of an insurance policy on a vehicle will vary and it depends on several factors including the make and model of the car or truck. If you know what type of vehicle you want to buy, give your insurance agent a call to get an estimate of the cost of insurance. Since you won’t need a lender to finance your vehicle, as you must pay for the vehicle in full before it leaves the lot, you don’t have to get comprehensive or collision insurance if you don’t want it. Of course, if you can’t afford to pay for car repairs in the event of an accident, it’s a good idea to have this extra insurance, but it’s not mandatory. Purchasing liability insurance is the law in every state, so you will at least have to purchase a liability policy.

Taxes, Plates and Additional Fees

After buying a used vehicle, you will have to visit a Department of Motor Vehicles office in your area to pay the state sales tax. You can contact the DMV office before going to the auto auction to find out the sales tax rate in your city. The amount of sales tax you’ll pay is determined by the price you pay for the car. After determining your vehicle budget, you can figure out an estimate of the sales tax after finding out the rate.

After buying an auction vehicle, you’ll also have to get license plates and tags. If this vehicle is a replacement for your current vehicle that already has license plates, you can request a transfer of plates and then pay the fee. Contact the DMV in your area to find out the fees for license plates or a transfer.

When buying a vehicle at an auto auction, it’s also necessary to pay a buyer’s fee. You can find out how much this fee is by calling the auto auction contact number. The fee is usually based on the selling price of the vehicle during the auction.

When figuring out your bidding limit at the auto auction, don’t forget to add in these costs and fees. By doing a little math first, you’ll be confident that you can afford the car you want and the extra costs won’t stretch your budget.

Five Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

Choosing an auto body shop doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Estimates from different shops will likely fluctuate, sometimes to the point where you wonder if you are getting quotes for the same repair on the same vehicle. Consider these five tips to help guide you in making your decision:

1. Get Multiple Estimates

This one is obvious. Not only will multiple auto body shop quotes give you some idea of the “middle ground,” you’ll feel better knowing that you did your homework and you aren’t simply going with the cheapest… or worse yet, the most costly proposition.

2. Are They Certified and Insured

Do they seem reputable and carry all the appropriate certifications insurance?

Is the location a direct repair facility for your insurance company?

If you are completely new to the facility and going in with very little information on them, check for appropriate licensing hanging on the wall near the register.

Things can go wrong with any repair shop and your vehicle will be living there for a while, so you want to make sure that the repair facility you choose is protected in the event of fire, theft, or natural disaster.

3. Parts and Warranty

What is the warranty on repairs? Depending on whether they are a direct repair facility for your insurance company, you will likely get anywhere between 1 year and a lifetime warranty. Comparing warranties between locations can be a big indicator of the quality of parts and workmanship. You want to hire someone willing to stand by their craft.

Do they use aftermarket or used parts? Used parts don’t necessarily mean quality is bad, but when comparing quotes, you want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If one location is offering used parts and another new, and their estimates are the same, look closer. What is making up the extra cost in the estimate for the shop offering the used parts? The per-hour labor costs may be higher at that particular shop.

What kind of paint matching technology do they use? You want to be sure that they can make an exact match of the paint code for your vehicle, and that they are using a high-quality coating.

4. Reputation

Do they have a good local reputation? Are they part of a social network where you can check for reviews? Ask around to friends and family; almost everyone has used an auto body shop at some point, and you’ll be surprised how much information you can gather by listening to other people’s experiences.

5. Trust Your Gut… and Relax

If you are searching for an auto body shop, you and your car likely just went through a stressful experience. Trust your gut after visiting the location; you want to leave feeling that the customer service seems knowledgeable about their industry and genuine about service. If anything about the experience seems not above board, keep looking, and use the tips above to guide you until you find a professional you can feel good about.

Important Steps For Selecting An Auto Repair Shop

When a car breaks down, most customers just want to get back on the road soon without paying an extreme price. However, a little research and patience can go a long way in finding an auto repair shop. In fact, doing the due diligence now means that the next trip to the mechanic won’t be anytime soon.

Find the Best Local Options

There are a few advantages to finding an auto shop in the neighborhood. First, you can ask neighbors and friends for their personal recommendations and experiences. Local shops will value customer loyalty and trustworthiness because they depend on word of mouth to create new customers. Secondly, the car can be dropped off and picked up easily, hopefully avoiding the process of arranging rides to and from the store. Lastly, a strong connection to a neighborhood shop can result in fair pricing to keep the customer coming back.

Check Customer Reviews

Even if the auto repair services aren’t close by, or there are no referrals from friends and family, there are a variety of internet reviews sites worth checking. A lack of reviews online may suggest inexperience. Of course, most stores will have a range of good and bad reviews, but the overall trends about price, customer service, and quality work are worth reading about.

Compare More Than Prices

Shop around and don’t always go with the cheapest option. Some auto repair shops will use a customer’s impatience against them and raise the price when they sense a lack of negotiating skill. Remember that they need the customer and not vice versa. It is hard to wait when your primary mode of transportation needs fixing, but patience can pay off both now and in the future if it results in a good business relationship.

Prepare a List of Questions

In a similar vein, don’t be afraid to ask questions. General questions about their experience, certifications, warranties, and work timeline let a mechanic know that you take this exchange seriously. Of course, getting an estimate on the price is the best way to ensure you’re not getting ripped off, and it helps to do some amount of previous research to understand what a fair price might be. Shopping around and comparing prices can assure the best possible deals.

Get to Know the Mechanic

Establish a good working relationship with the shop to get peace of mind for future auto repairs. Rarely will this be the last visit to a mechanic. Fair pricing, communication, and a serious disposition will result in a good deal for all parties. Furthermore, if you leave a good review online or promise to come back, the relationship will find solid footing.

No matter how the search plays out, remember to trust your instincts and do what feels comfortable. No one wants to deal with a tense or strained business deal. Be patient, have confidence, and rely on those who have been through it before.

9 Things to Consider Before Choosing an Auto Body Shop?

If you have been in a car accident, you may need extensive repairs on your auto. Even if you don’t need a lot of repairs, you will still need to have your car looked at by a professional to make sure that your car is safe to drive.

While most shops can do the mechanical work required to make your car road worthy again, not all auto body shops can repair damage to the body of the car. This may include things like matching the paint in the new parts with the rest of the car, matching the panels and trim, and aligning the car properly. Don’t forget about the fact that the shop will probably also need to restore the electrical wiring and the electronic devices in the car.

There actually is quite a lot to do to repair your vehicle to the way it was before the accident and it takes an experienced group of technicians to do the work.It is very common for cars to need extensive diagnostic services before the repairs can even be done. For example, your car may need to undergo a special computer diagnostic in order to determine how extensive the damage really is and what needs to be repaired.

In order to correctly perform the diagnostics, your car will need to be hooked up to a special machine which will evaluate all of your car’s main systems. This means that a shop will need special diagnostic equipment in order to run the tests. Of course, not all shops will have the necessary equipment.

You may not think that it is necessary to do such testing if the damage in the accident was not that bad. Remember, not all the damage to your vehicle will be immediately apparent! In most cases, you will need to go to an auto body shop in order to get such repairs done.

Your insurance company may give you several shops to choose from, or you may need to find a shop on your own. You may even need to take your car to a special shop to get a repair estimate before getting the repairs done. In order to find a good auto body shop, you may want to check with friends and family. No doubt they have been in an auto accident and have found a good local shop.

You can also look online for a shop. However, before deciding on a particular vendor, you should do a little bit of homework. Here are some things to consider.

  • Is the shop certified?
  • Are the mechanics and other staff members certified in their field of expertise?
  • Are their certificates of qualification displayed in the shop?
  • Does your insurance company work with the shop?
  • Is the shop a member of the Better Business Bureau or other organization?
  • Does the shop offer warranties and money back guarantees?
  • Does the shop use new parts or used parts to repair the damage?
  • Does the shop offer a courtesy van or rental car for your use while they are repairing the damage to your vehicle?
  • Is the shop close to your job or home?

Remember too that you often get what you pay for. Don’t choose a shop simply based on price. Instead, choose a shop that is qualified to do the repairs.

Avoid Being Taken Advantage of by Auto Mechanics

Auto repair rip-offs, frauds, scams are a common practice inside the auto mechanic industry. That is not to say there aren’t any reputable auto repair shops, but according to the Consumer Federation of America’s “2007 Consumer Complaint Survey Report,” the number one category among the top ten consumer complaints is auto.

To not be taken advantage of, here are a few tips to avoid unscrupulous auto repair shops.

Research and Get Repairs in Writing – Understand your car’s problems. Know what needs to be done to improve your car’s overall performance before you have the car repair shop begins any work on your vehicle. Make sure all the quotes worked on your car are in writing for you to know exactly what is done to your car with the complete service and labor cost.

Don’t be Pressured into More Services – The California Auto Body Association estimates 40% of repair bills have some degree of fraud. It is the shops job to tell their clients what else needs to be done in their vehicles, but do not be pressured to have more services done if there is no need for urgency. Be aware of long list of repairs when you only brought the car in for only one service, get a second opinion if needed.

Go for a Drive with a Mechanic – A good mechanic would not mind taking a test drive of your car to accurately identify the car problem pertaining to noise or a problem that comes and goes. Be aware of auto mechanics not taking their time to identify the problem because they are probably wasting your time and money.

Look for Reputable Repair Shop Clues – Finding honorable repair shops might not be as difficult as it may seem. Look for signs that the shop is California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), or “Triple A” approved. Other clues to look out for are professionalism, shop appearance, and personnel.

Get a Guarantee from Mechanics – Ask for the shop’s guarantee of its work in writing if possible. Find out what the guarantee covers. By receiving a guarantee, no matter where you are, the work done on your car is covered under the warranty. If you do run into trouble though, try to work it out with the shop first. Most honorable mechanics should try to make it right for you.

How to Avoid Auto Repair Ripoffs

Auto repair is like any other business-there are some unscrupulous cheats out to take your money. But you can avoid getting ripped off for auto repairs if you keep your wits about you. Here's how to do it.

First, get a referral to a reliable, trustworthy mechanic. Friends are a good source for referrals. Ask them who they've had good experiences with, and who they would avoid. That's probably the best way to find a winner.

But don't simply take a friend's word for it. Check out your mechanic! You can call the Better Business Bureau to see if he's had any complaints. Look for certifications like an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) seal, which means he's at least met some minimum standards for skills and service.

Before you get any work done, ask about labor prices and prices for parts and supplies. Not asking means you really have no right to be shocked if they pad your bill. And be sure to find out about the warranty on parts and labor (don't forget the labor piece of the puzzle).

Most important, get everything in writing. That means the estimate for the work, the details of the warranty on parts and labor, everything. If a mechanic won't give a written estimate, he's either too lazy to do it, or he's leaving the door open for fraud. You don't want to play either game. And once you're armed with the price and warranty information, don't be afraid to shop around to see if you can lower your cost.

If your problem is a little out of the ordinary, such as those annoying intermittent rattles most cars experience from time to time, take a test drive with the mechanic beforehand to show him exactly what you need addressed. Don't make him guess. If you can show him the problem, he might know exactly what to target, which will save you labor cost, and probably save him from making unnecessary repairs.

Before you pay the bill, go for a test drive to make sure the car is fixed to your satisfaction. If it is not right, ask the mechanic to make it right. Even great, honest mechanics who pay attention to detail can miss things. A test drive can bring those misses to light, and probably save you a hassle later.

And speaking of the bill, read it. Check it over carefully. Ask about anything you don't understand, or that does not sound right. If you just pay the bill without checking, it's like signing a mortgage document without reading it. Silly, right?

Finally, pay your bill with a credit card if you can. That gives you maximum flexibility to protect yourself from fraud. If something goes wrong, you can call the credit card company and dispute the charge. Many cards also offer some fraud protection, so you might have another line defense.

As with most things, you can avoid getting ripped off for auto repairs by being informed, and by being careful. If you will do a little work up front to prepare, and take small steps to protect yourself, you can save yourself aggravation and expense.