What to Know Before Going to an Auto Body Repair Shop

When a vehicle is damaged, a body shop can help fix the damages so the car looks good and runs properly again. Damages can happen from an accident, from a branch falling, or from a number of other reasons, and all of them can be fixed at a body shop. Before going to a body shop for the first time, it’s a good idea to know what to expect and what options to pick when there are choices.

See What Needs to be done

The first thing that will happen is the body shop will inspect the vehicle to find out everything that is damaged. Even if it looks like the only damage is to the body panels of the vehicle, they’ll check underneath for potential damage. Hidden damage is common after car accidents, as it might not be possible to see everything that is damaged until the panels are removed. The body shop will then let the owner know the extent of the damage.

Repair When Possible to Save Money

Sometimes, there may be an option to repair or replace a part on the vehicle. Though there are exceptions, it’s usually less expensive to have a part repaired instead of replacing it. The vehicle owner should, however, be prepared for the body shop to recommend replacements for some parts that can be repaired. Usually, they will recommend this so there isn’t a visible repair or because it will help extend the life of the vehicle. If a part was getting old and close to needing replacing, for instance, it may be better to replace it at this time.

Request OEM Parts When Available

Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, parts are typically available. These parts are designed by the vehicle’s manufacturer, so they’re guaranteed to work properly and fit correctly. There may be aftermarket parts available that are less expensive, but these don’t come with any guarantee and may not work correctly once they’re installed. So, even though they might be a little more expensive, the OEM parts are recommended in most cases. The body shop can provide advice on whether OEM or aftermarket parts are available and which would be the better option for a particular part that must be replaced.

Ask for a Time Estimate for Repairs

The body shop will usually provide an estimate of how long the repairs will take. This is crucial information, as the driver will need to have an alternate mode of transportation while the vehicle is being repaired. If the shop doesn’t provide a time estimate, ask for one. Keep in mind that the time it takes for repairs can be longer than the estimate if parts don’t arrive as quickly as planned. The repairs can also be completed a lot faster if the shop already has the parts in stock or they arrive faster than expected.

If your vehicle has been damaged and you’d like to restore its look, taking it to an auto body repair shop is your best option. Make sure you talk to them about what repairs are needed and what your options are so you can make the best decisions for your budget and the vehicle.

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