If you’ve got yourself into a bit of a fender bender, chances are you’ll need to find a body shop to repair your car or truck. With thousands upon thousands of body shops in the United States alone, it’s important to know that they are certainly not all created equal.
And don’t think that the quality of a repair job doesn’t matter much. A really bad repair job can reduce a cars value by up to 50%. In other words, even if an insurance company is paying for repairs now, you’ll be paying for it later, when you’re forced to sell your car for less than it should be worth. For just this reason alone, you’ll want to choose a body shop very carefully.
Here are 10 things to consider when choosing the right shop to repair your car or truck.
1). Know a good body shop before you go!
Being prepared, with a good body shop in mind before you get into an accident, is ideal. This way, you’ll be ready to move fast and get the car in quickly, expediting the entire process. Further, you’ll prevent stress overload, and save yourself from making a hasty decision. If it’s too late for this, fear not; read on and get ready to find the right body shop!
2). How did you hear about the body shop?
Did you just find a body shop in a phone book, or was the shop referred to you by close friends, relatives, or co-workers? This could make a big difference, as people will usually speak highly of a body shop where they received good service and quality work.
3). Look at some recent body work
If possible, try to take a look at some recently completed work. Look for paint lines, swirls, uneven fitments, and other tell-tale signs of less than perfect work.
4). Ask about Guarantees and Warranties
Ask if any sort of guarantees or warranties are offered. Many body shops will guarantee their work for at least a 3 or 6 month period. If the shop does not offer guarantees, ask them why.
5). Look at what types of cars the body shop is working on.
If you see a lot of nice cars being repaired, this could be a sign that the body shop does quality work with quality parts. On the other hand, if the shop seems to be repairing a bunch of ‘beaters’, you may want to look elsewhere.
Also, it’s important to see if the body shop works on your type of car. Ask the owner if he’s ever worked on your particular model. Often times a shop will specialize in certain makes and types of cars. You’ll want to bring your car to a body shop that is familiar with repairing it, if you expect good results.
6). Take a look around the body shop
When evaluating a body shop, take a look around the work area if possible. If there is a large amount of dust and dirt present, and the shop appears to be dirty, you may want to look elsewhere. (A little bit of ‘dirtiness’ is expected in this line of work, so use your better judgment when evaluating the cleanliness of the body shop environment).
7). Ask about payments
This could have an impact on your decision, depending on how you plan on paying. Also, be slightly wary of body shops that ‘Only accept cash’ or have shady payment requirements.
8). Show your desire for quality body work
Make sure the shop is well-aware of how important quality body work is to you. If they know that you have very high standards, they will likely try to do good work. This may have a very positive impact on the final end result, and certainly can’t hurt.
9). Don’t ask them to ‘Cut Corners’
If an insurance company is paying for the repairs, don’t try to ask the body shop to ‘cut corners’ to cover your deductible. This is not only against the rules, but it will often result in you receiving a far poorer level of service. Pay your deductible and get the job done right.
10). Trust Your Gut!
By following all of the above tips, you should be able to choose a good, trustworthy body shop to complete your repairs. All in all, be sure to trust your gut feeling when making a final decision.
Buddy has authored several automotive articles and is President of Big Bucks Auto, one of the Tri State regions largest used car buying services. At Big Bucks Auto, you can
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