Choosing a Qualified Collision Shop

Remember – it’s YOUR choice!!!

The obvious:

  • Is the facility neat and clean? 
  • Are employees genuinely concerned with your questions?
  • Are their answers direct, to the point and reasonable?

Most repair facilities will post certifications or accomplishments and professional business affiliations in the waiting areas. Look for affiliations with trade associations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Look for certification offered by the products used by the shop such as PPG Paint.

Ask about the equipment used to estimate and perform the repair or service. Is it up-to-date and are the technicians educated in the proper equipment use?

Make sure a written estimate is provided prior to letting the repair begin. Approval on any changes to the original estimate that exceed 10 percent must generally be approved by both you and the insurance company.

Ask about the shop’s warranty. Most automotive service facilities will warranty their parts and labor either in writing or in shop posted announcements.

Ask family, friends and neighbors for their recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals are the shop’s best form of advertising.

Training is more important now than ever before. Vehicle designs are changing rapidly and technicians must keep up with new developments. Look for certificates displayed and ask questions to be sure technicians have received advanced training and certifications.

Proper structural repairs are essential to maintain the safety of your car. Today’s unibody designs offer far better protection for the driver and passengers than just a few years ago, but special equipment and repair methods are necessary. Proper wheel alignment for safe handling and normal tire wear also depends on correct structural alignment. Look for a three dimensional unibody measuring system, and a unibody and frame straightening system. With the right equipment, training, and skills, technicians can identify hidden structural damage that might not otherwise be detected, and proper repairs can be made.

Ask what type of paint system the shop uses and what type of warranty is provided. Ask to see a copy of the warranty. To maintain the appearance and value of your car, the color, texture, gloss, and durability of the factory paint finish must be duplicated. Modern basecoat/clearcoat, pearl, mica, and three stage finishes require special blending and equipment to obtain a satisfactory match. How the paint looks one year, two years or more after the repair is just as important as how it looks the day the repair is completed.

Proper restoration of your car to pre-accident condition involves far more than structural repairs, parts replacement, and painting, however. Air conditioning systems are charged with pressurized refrigerants which require highly specialized equipment for servicing. Safety systems such as air bags and anti-lock brakes can be damaged by improper repair methods. Mechanical components which used to be very simple are now electronically controlled. Be sure the shop you select is prepared to handle these more complex repairs.

The exterior appearance of a shop also says a lot about the attitude of the management and employees. A clean exterior and an attractive office and waiting area are usually indications of a professional attitude which extends into the shop and the repair of your car.


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