There are different reasons people visit an auto body shop. It could be either to refurbish an aged car or fix an accident-damaged car. If it’s the later, sorry about your accident. Most likely, you want your car fixed soon enough. While it’s one thing to desire a good fix, getting the right auto body shop is another critical consideration.
Remember that ‘fast’ repairs do not automatically translate to ‘quality.’ While you want your car back on the road in no time, poor-quality fixes will cost you more and trigger extra downtime for your vehicle.
Before you entrust your car’s bodywork to any shop, here are some important questions you may want to ask. They will save you, not just money, but time and frustration.
Do they offer warranty? What type?
It will do you a lot good to settle with a repair shop that expresses confidence in their work with a warranty offer. Query the terms of their warranty – the type, duration, what it covers, and what can possibly void such offer.
Typically, for repairs, warranties cover finish, functionality, fit, and overall quality.
For a new car, find out if the fixing automatically voids the car’s manufacturer warranty. You may encounter some hitches if the auto shop’s repair methods and parts used contradicts the car’s manufacturer’s terms and conditions.
Do they acknowledge your Insurance?
We advise you to get a collision repair shop that can work with your insurance cover. This will speed up the claims and simplify the entire process. Not a big deal though, as most repair shops work with clients’ insurance. This will save you some serious insurance-related headaches.
How Long will the fixing take?
The time it takes to get your car fixed is dependent on some factors – the shop’s client traffic, the severity of the damage, the response speed of the insurance adjuster, the time needed to acquire needed parts, and whether or not there is a holiday within the period.
That said, a good repair shop ought to give a feasible time range for your car to get fixed.
Often, a good auto body fixing takes anywhere between a couple of days to a few weeks, albeit, based on the factors mentioned above.
Can they issue free, written estimate?
Over-the-phone or any word-of-mouth-issued estimates should not be taken seriously. Most times, these estimates are given even before an inspection – wrong!
Prefer, and insist on, a written estimate. If possible, it should come at no additional cost.
The estimate should capture items, including parts, taxes, labor, and discounts.
Your repairer may also encounter additional issues during servicing. Remember to ask for regular updates on any of such additional fees before they do effect any fixes. Take note of such hidden fees not captured in the initial estimates, as they may make you break the bank.
Are they specialists in my car’s brand and model?
Don’t skip this question for any reason. If you would trust any shop with auto body repairs, it better be one with relevant certification and experience with your particular car model.
You should be very sure your auto shop is familiar with your car model, can easily diagnose common model-specific issues, and apply the most appropriate measures for a good fix.
Can they match your paint?
After much expectation on your car body fixing, it can be frustrating to have it back with a paint off the original color. Such disappointments can be averted by simply asking the shop if they can repaint your car with the original body color paint.
Thankfully, most modern cars come with a paint code plate, placed at either door jambs or beneath the hood. If not found, check your car’s owner’s manual.
The goal is to have a matching color as with the original. Besides having the exact color, experience, and skill may still come handy to get a perfect color-match.
What is the payment policy?
Top collision repair shops are largely open about their payment methods and policies. Even, they usually put them up in places easily accessible by customers.
Such policies may include forms of payment, labor rates, materials, warranty information, and other relevant information. If not found around their shop, it’s ok to demand it – before you give them the go-ahead on your auto’s bodywork.
To Wrap it Up…
When selecting an auto body shop to fix the damage on your car, trust is a keyword. We understand you have gone through a lot of stress already seeing the condition of your car. Of course, you don’t want more.
Do well to ask your auto shop the questions above before settling with them.
That said, there are tons of auto body shops in Canada. You may ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. Also, check out online reviews and see what people have to say about a particular shop before you trust them with your car’s bodywork.