After an accident, you want to have your car fixed as quickly as possible. While you want the work completed quickly, you do not necessarily want to go with the first auto repair service you find. In order to choose the right body shops to do the work, you should follow these simple tips.
It might sound like a waste of time, but getting quotes from three or four body shops is a good idea. This is especially true if you are trying to file an insurance claim. In the event that you are working with an insurance company on the repairs, you should visit the businesses they have on their list to give them the best price. However, do not feel pressured to use those specific shops. As the driver, it is your choice in which company to use.
Most companies will do an estimate for free. However, some do charge a small fee to take a look at your vehicle.
It is your car, and you have every right to know all the information you can about the people who are working on it. You should ask about any certifications the body shops may have. Do not be afraid to see copies of the certifications in order to verify that the group really does have them.
When talking about repairs to your car, ask if the technicians use aftermarket or salvaged parts in order to save money. You have the right to request new manufacturer parts be put on your vehicle. If you prefer manufacturer parts, you should tell them up front so that your quote is accurate.
You should also ask about any warranty that comes with their work. Most have a limited term warranty directly attached to the work they do. While speaking on warranty, if you have items on your car still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, you need to know if their work will void these terms.
Finally, you need to know how long they think the repairs will take. If they need to wait for delivery of parts, ask for a “no longer than” estimate. This keeps you from having any unwelcome surprises in the repair time. If it takes more than a day or two, ask about loaner vehicles or rental cars.
Even though you have asked about credentials and certifications, you still need to follow up and check them out. Many body shops are part of their state’s Auto Body Association. If they are, you can quickly verify qualifications online. Ideally, you want a service center that carries, at least, an ASE certification from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence. Another good organization for the service to belong to is the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, better known as I-CAR.
Finally, be sure to check out any references you obtain from the company. You should also ask around for customer feedback and check online to see if any complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau.