Auto Body Repair 101

Did you know the average person experiences a fender bender once every ten years? If you are like most people, you want to choose an auto body repair facility that will restore all aspects of the collision damage.

Some things to consider:

  • Matching the paint to the non-damaged exterior parts
  • Matching the lines and curves of the vehicle
  • Straightening the unibody or frame
  • Restoring electronics and mechanical functions
  • Restoring all safety features, such as sensors, airbags, seat belts, etc.

Don’t assume all auto body repair shops are the same. Consumers should look for a collision repair facility with the latest equipment and certifications that assure a qualified technician is restoring your vehicle. At Airpark Collision Center, our technicians are chosen for adherence to proper repair methods including welding, color matching, and mechanical repair. If there is a repair that we don’t do in house, we use the very best sublet specialties in the valley. For example, during a collision vehicles may undergo wiring issues which are sometimes difficult to find during an auto body repair. This requires sending the vehicle to the dealer or a qualified mechanic that uses the latest engine repair software and diagnostic equipment.

Auto Body Repair 101

When choosing an auto body repair facility customers should question:

What kind of facilities do they have? Is the collision repair shop indoors or outdoors?

Believe it or not, many auto body repair shops in the valley are outdoors including dealerships. This is also an indication, that it may be an older auto body shop with less modern equipment.

What kind of certifications do they have? In the auto body industry I-Car is “the” certification. Airpark Collision Center is I-Car Gold Class Certified, only 10% of collision repair shops have achieved this status nationwide. It is hard to believe but, I-Car certification is not mandatory. Beware of auto body shops, both dealer and nationally owned shops that do not hold this certification. Another certification to look for is manufacturer certifications. Airpark Collision Center holds most manufacturer certifications and as a recognized I-Car Gold Class shop we are qualified to repair every brand of car using the latest techniques. Did you know that most dealership auto body repair facilities are not manufactured certified? The dealer is certified to sell the brand but probably not certified by the manufacturer to repair the auto body damage.

What about rental cars? If the accident isn’t your fault the other party’s insurance should cover the cost of a rental car. If you are at fault, your insurance policy may have rental reimbursement coverage. Occasionally we have customers that pay out of pocket for rental cars. Because of the volume of business we do with both Hertz and Enterprise they will extend our special auto body shop rates to you. In any case, Hertz or Enterprise will pick you up at our facility and take you to their store. Again, because of the volume of business we do, Hertz and Enterprise will allow you to return the rental car to Airpark Collision Center when you pick up your repaired vehicle.

Is this an honest and reputable collision repair facility? Airpark Collision Center is a locally owned auto body shop and dependent on repeat business and customer referrals. If we can remove a dent via paintless dent repair for less than traditional dent repair we will tell you. We offer customers paying out of pocket different repair options as long as it does not affect the safety of the vehicle.

What about insurance claims? We can only submit accident related damage to the insurance company. We work for our customers and have no problem working with the insurance company to repair collision damage resulting from the claim. If you have damage not related to the claim, then a separate claim will need to be made or the repair can be paid out of pocket.

Auto body shops do not have the authority to make repairs without insurance authorization. When a vehicle gets checked into an auto body shop, the original estimate only includes exterior damage. That original estimate is billed to the insurance company. Once exterior panels are removed, we may find additional damage to interior parts. This slows us down a bit, but we can only submit what we can see and prove to the insurance company. In other words, we cannot just assume parts are broken underneath and bill the insurance company. When this happens it is called a supplement. We submit the supplement (additional damage) and wait for approval.

Unfortunately, this means both the auto body shop and the customer must wait until approval is granted.

What kind of parts will be used? If your repair is being paid by an insurance company, the insurance policy states whether replacement parts will be aftermarket (not made by manufacturer),  used or new OEM factory parts. If an insurance company insists on us ordering aftermarket or used parts, we must cooperate. However, if the part does not fit or is damaged, we are allowed to reorder. If we receive the same part three times and it is not good quality, we can send pictures and receipts as proof and then…the insurance company will pay for a new factory part. We know this process can extend the repair, but we have a high standard of quality and will not compromise.

How long is my car going to be in the auto body shop? Auto body repair facilities usually do not get paid by the insurance company until the vehicle is returned to the customer. Therefore, the customer and the collision repair facility both want the car completed as soon as possible. Collision repair is a process dependent on correct parts, mechanics, and insurance approval. Our goal is to return the customer’s vehicle as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety.

Dodge Challenger After

Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.

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