The Washington Post offers readers advice on choosing a body shop

The Washington Post offered its readers a list of seven things to consider when choosing a body repair shop, offering advice for consumers to “cut the hype to find a reputable company that can restore your car. in its original condition”.

Written by Laura Daily, a writer specializing in consumer advocacy, the list was put together with the help of Brian Haggerty, owner of Cross Island Collision in New York.

“Remember: you are an amateur and you need a professional. Proper repair and the integrity of the car are most important – not the price of the repair,” Haggerty told readers.

The seven tips, along with some additions and observations offered by Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) board members contacted by Repairer Driven News, are listed below.

While we’re talking tips, be sure to check out the customer-focused quick tips offered weekly on the CSIS YouTube channel. This week’s episodehosted by Database Improvement Gateway Administrator Danny Gredinberg and CEO Mike Anderson, covers what consumers need to know about what a supplement is and why it may incur additional costs .

The Washington Post story can be read in full here. Note that it may be behind a paywall.

1: Get recommendations

Daily suggests consumers ask a neighbor or friend, check out networks like Nextdoor, and check reviews online. If there are negative reviews, consumers should check with the store to see how the issues were resolved, suggests Julie Bausch, Car Talk’s editor.

“Note how long the store has been in the community. Does he have a good reputation? Word of mouth remains the best marketing for small business owners,” says Daily. She also suggests that the car owner’s insurance company could be a good resource as they perform “background checks” at shops and can verify OEM and industry certifications.

2: You do not have to use the recommendation of your insurance company

The article correctly notes that consumers can choose where to have their vehicle repaired, even if their insurer has a direct repair program (DRP) or preferred partners “who can expedite the process.” Bausch told the Daily about his own experience when his vehicle was hit by a delivery van. “Their insurance company wanted me to go to a dealership. Instead, I found a long-standing local independent shop with positive reviews that provided a seamless experience from towing to insurance to repair, and restored the car to like-new condition.

Kye Yeung, CSIS board member and owner of European Motor Car Works in Costa Mesa, Calif., added some important consumer questions: “Who pays the difference if the store I choose charges a higher rate? How long do I have to wait for their appraiser to review the store’s repair plan if I choose not to use a DRP insurance store? »

3: Ask questions

Daily features this list:

  • Are the technicians I-CAR certified?
  • When will work start?
  • How long will it take?
  • Are the necessary parts in stock?
  • How often will you receive progress reports?
  • Does the store offer a loaner car or is there a rental service on site or nearby?
  • What type of security is provided at night and on weekends?

She adds Haggerty’s recommendation to look for a store that offers a lifetime warranty on workmanship. That’s a pointer endorsed by CSIS board member Todd Hesford, general manager of Mission Viejo Auto Collision in Mission Viejo, California.

“I constantly hear from consumers, ‘My insurance company said if I choose their preferred provider, the job is guaranteed,'” Hesford told RDN. “I quickly remind them that the insurer said ‘Guaranteed as long as you own it, right?’ and they agree. My question is always the same: “If you repaired the vehicle correctly, who cares who owns it? Then I present them with our lifetime warranty… whoever owns the car. .

Yeung offered RDN a number of additional questions a consumer should ask:

  • Does the shop use ASE certified technicians and OEM trained technicians?
  • Should the car owner pre-order parts to speed up repairs?
  • Will the insurance policy’s rental coverage run out before the repairs are complete?
  • What are the differences between original, used and aftermarket parts?

Rob Grieve, owner of Nylund’s Collision Center in Englewood, Colorado and CSIS board member, encouraged consumers to ask if genuine or aftermarket parts will be used for the repair. He also suggested they find out how the necessary ADAS calibrations would be done – in-house, by a dealer, or not at all.

4: Find a manufacturer-certified store

Daily suggests that owners use a workshop that is certified to properly repair their vehicle and that uses genuine parts rather than aftermarket parts. “You want a place that’s certified to work on that specific vehicle, with the proper equipment, training, and parts,” Ryan Marrinan, 3M senior application engineer and collision repair specialist, told the Post. The role of the insurer is not mentioned in the story and how disagreements are resolved when a carrier refuses to pay for an OEM part, which consumers might want to ask.

Yeung adds a clarifying question for consumers: “Is the OEM certified store a real certified store or is it a paid certification?” He suggests that consumers ask what kind of training and testing technicians have undergone.

5: Get an estimate in writing

Daily advises that estimates be given freely and in writing. She cites Marrinan’s advice that the vehicle should be washed first, to ensure there are no hidden damages under the dirt and that the car is examined out of direct sunlight. sun, to avoid miss damage. A good estimator will take detailed notes and photos and provide them in a file to the owner and the insurer, she says.

6: Ask for a store visit

Consumers should look for OEM-specific certifications displayed in the reception area and request a store tour to see if it’s messy or organized.

Hesford offered RDN some details owners should look for during a visit. “If you don’t have any automotive experience, you might not know if you were in a collision center or a shredder shop,” he said. “You see cars, check. Parts, check. Technicians, check. I would suggest that as a consumer they should look to see if the setup looks organized. Is it clean? Is the lighting adequate? Ask to see some examples of their finished work. Are the color matches consistent? Are the panels aligned correctly? »

Yeung added, “I’ll look to see if they have any similar vehicles” being repaired. “If I have a Honda and there are no Hondas in the store, I would be a little worried.”

7: Prepare to wait longer than you think

Haggerty suggests the average repair takes 10 working days, thanks to the complexity of modern vehicle design. He lists unibody construction, shipping of parts, and the possible need to recalibrate a vehicle’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) as factors.

Hesford suggested to RDN that “How long will the repair take? question is a bit loaded, because no one really knows or will know until the vehicle is completely disassembled.


Featured Image: A tow truck moves a damaged vehicle. (iStock/cliff man)

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