Your car is one the most costly purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. Dealing with this valuable possession being damaged in a wreck or other calamity can cause you significant stress.
In the urgency of having your vehicle repaired, it’s important to take time to find an experienced, professional body shop that will do the job right — the first time. The need to have work redone adds to the stress in an already burdensome situation. Poor body repair can hurt you in the future as well, when you try to sell or trade your vehicle for the best possible price.
You should never drive a car that may be unsafe due to damage. To preserve your car’s value and ensure that it’s safe to drive, have it professionally repaired by a reputable body shop. Asking the following questions can give you confidence that you’re choosing the right professional for the job:
Do you offer a warranty, and what does it cover?
This should be your first question when you’re considering working with a body shop. If the answer is no, keep looking. After a car is repaired, a warranty won’t cover new or additional damage, but it will provide full coverage on previously provided repairs and materials. When a body shop offers a warranty, you know the business is in it for the long haul and plans to be around should you need further assistance.
To help ensure that you won’t need to invoke the warranty, inquire about the specifics of how the repair will be done. Experts can spot a poor paint job from tell-tale splatters on various parts of the vehicle. When damage is repaired, will nearby parts — including door handles — be removed first so paint doesn’t get on them?
How often are cars returned for the same repair?
Chat with the shop owner or manager to find out how often they have to honor the warranty. This can be an indication of the quality of the work. Large, national chains — typically driven by numbers — often try to push cars through as quickly as possible. Because of their size, such shops can afford to take cars back on a regular basis when the same issues must be addressed again. Smaller, locally owned shops are highly motivated to get it right the first time.
Is a warranty even important?
In a word, yes. But a warranty should be considered a given, not a bonus, since a shop that is trustworthy and has been around for a long time will stand by its work with no questions asked. Be sure to ask about the warranty and the specifics of what it covers.
Choosing the right shop in the first place can help you ensure that you never need warranty service. Pay special attention to the demeanor of the people working with you. Are they friendly and courteous, or do they seem to be in a rush? Ask questions like how long the job will take, and get an estimate in writing that spells out the exact work to be done, parts to be used and any costs to you — including what your insurance company will be billed, in the case of an accident.
Selecting a professional, reputable body shop is vital for getting the best results when your car has been damaged. Asking the right questions and understanding the warranty can give you peace of mind that you’re making a sound decision.