We’ve all heard stories from other drivers about collision repairs that didn’t quite meet their expectations, making them a little leery about using that shop again. And when you’re involved in an accident, finding an honest and reliable auto body repair shop for your car will help alleviate your concerns well after the work is through. To help you find a shop that’s more likely to meet your expectations, use these tips from the pros.
DO THEY PROVIDE WRITTEN ESTIMATES?
It’s always wise to get written repair estimates from several shops, and to find out if they will honor their original estimate, and for how long. All other factors being equal, shops that don’t provide written estimates may be ones to avoid. When getting a written estimate, ask about any potential costs that may not show up on the original invoice, as repair needs can change once the technicians start “breaking down” your car’s exterior. If you have any doubts about the estimate, don’t be afraid to ask the shop manager how they arrived at their figures.
ARE THEY CERTIFIED?
Better body shops and their technicians are usually certified by professional collision repair organizations like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and I-Car. That just means they have met I-Car and ASE quality and testing standards, which are re-evaluated every few years. So as a consumer, look for shops that proudly carry the ASE and I-Car certification labels.
WILL THEY PATIENTLY ANSWER QUESTIONS?
Collision repair shop “lingo” can be confusing, so find a business with technicians that will take the time to patiently respond to any questions you might have. Some shop managers or owners will physically bring you into the repair bay and point out what they’ve found, along with repairs that need to be done to correct the problem. When a shop doesn’t take the time to address your concerns, or let you see your vehicle once the repairs are underway, that tends to leave doubts in your mind.
DO THEY ADMIT THEIR LIMITATIONS?
Many shops don’t have the repair equipment or facilities to perform certain jobs, like fixing
aluminum body panels or frame straightening. Look for a shop that’s not afraid to refer you to another one down-the-street if they feel it’s outside their expertise. Other shops specialize in auto glass repairs, for example, and maintain reciprocal relationships with their competitors to ensure the highest-quality outcomes for all. That’s just smart business, and when it comes to your vehicle, find a shop that’s not afraid to admit their limitations.
WHAT DO THEIR PAST CUSTOMERS SAY?
One of the best ways to determine the quality of a shop’s work is to read their customer reviews and customer satisfaction (or not!) feedback. That information is readily available through online sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), American Automobile Association (AAA), Angie’s List, Yelp!, or Google Reviews. Word-of-mouth is another reliable way to gauge a collision repair shop’s reputation, good or bad. In the end, don’t rely on just one or two reviews, but instead consult multiple sources.
DOES THE SHOP WARRANTY THEIR WORK?
Another aspect to consider is if the body shop warranties their work, in writing, and for how long. Better shops usually back their repair outcomes with a written warranty for a specified amount of time or miles after the work is completed. And, as a driver, nothing says peace-of-mind quite like having a warranty when you drive away with your newly-restored car!
PROMPTLY FIND AN HONEST BODY SHOP BY USING CARWISE
Finding an honest collision repair shop when your vehicle’s future weighs in the balance can be frustrating. At Carwise, we’ve simplified the process with our online auto body and glass repair business locator features. By conveniently using our website or downloadable Smartphone app, finding an honest and reliable body shop is easier than ever before. All the shops in the nationwide Carwise referral network are I-Car and ASE-certified, and most warranty their work to put your mind at ease.
Most shops in the Carwise network also work directly with insurance companies, so you don’t have to, and come with informative customer reviews right at your fingertips. Carwise’s online resources also allow you to receive daily updates on your vehicle’s repair status, so that you don’t have to play “phone tag” with the shop. To get started now searching your zip code for an honest auto body or glass repair shop nearby, please visit: www.carwise.com.