A fender bender, damage from hail or weather, or just getting your car clipped in the parking lot. It’s maddening and frustrating. You need to get it repaired, or more damage will occur, like rust and it cheapens the look of your vehicle.
Car repairs are expensive. Plus, you worry about getting ripped off. It can be intimidating for a lot of people to have to go to an auto repair shop. So how do you find the best auto body shop?
There are definitely some easy and helpful steps to know before you hand over the keys. Let’s take a look at a few things you should do to find the best auto body shop to get your repairs.
Always do some digging before you pick the auto repair shop. There are a few ways to do this.
Ask around. Asking your friends and family, your neighbor who recently had work done or just at your local can get you a decent list of names. Your referral from a friend is valuable for who to go to as much as who to avoid.
Your insurance company may recommend a mechanic but you should keep in mind they may not have you and your car’s best interest in mind. They are only worried about the money.
While not always the case, they might have a deal with an auto body shop to use less than top of the line parts and do less than what is required for the car.
Once you have your list of repair shops you want to look into, check the online reviews. People are often very honest about the good and bad issues they faced. Keep in mind that sometimes people are not always kind, and that may have been a personal problem.
Read the bad reviews carefully. If they are complaining about a person and not the service, then keep them on your list. You are looking for a good mechanic, not a lunch date.
Call or visit all the shops you have short-listed. Check the prices offered and ask if that included everything, labor, paint, and parts. You don’t need any surprises. Don’t base your decision on price alone.
The lowest price is not always the best. Plus, you need to factor in how convenient it is for you. Are they open after your work hours, will they pick up, get you a loaner and offer to tow if you need it?
If the vehicle is still under warranty, you can go to the dealership you bought it from. However, you don’t have to take it to the dealership where you bought it for services or repairs. It might be a lot less expensive to go to an independent auto body shop.
This warranty goes for the repairs you get done, as well. Ask about their promise for the work they do, as their name is their reputation. Ask them to put it in writing, as John Harris Body Shops will do.
It’s important to ask about this, as each shop may have a different policy. Is it parts and labor, or just a limited time? If they don’t stand behind their work, you have to wonder why.
Maintenance versus Repairs
There are differences in where you might want to go for services and repair or just scheduled maintenance. If the car is new, you should be having it regularly serviced.
This is also a good way to check out a shop that is unknown to you. Take your car in for a regular oil change and get an idea of their shop, their service, and their prices.
Go For Brand
If you are taking it to the dealership, they will be more likely to have the parts you need, plus they know how to fix that brand of car. There are also independent auto repair shops that will deal with specific brands of cars.
If you have a foreign car, you don’t want parts from a different brand just because they are ‘close enough’ or not as expensive. Using parts for a different brand can nullify the car’s warranty from the dealership.
Asking about certifications is all part of the research. This should be on their website, in their ads and posted at the shop itself. If you don’t see it, then ask or give them a pass.
Shops need to be certified but some do slip through the cracks.
Ask them to Explain Everything
Not understanding car-talk is not a crime. Ask them to explain everything to you in terms you can understand. Are they fixing the damage or replacing the whole part? It’s nice to have someone take the time to reassure you what is going on.
Have them explain the different pricing systems, as well. If they offer choices, ask which is better and decide if they are saying the more expensive one, or being honest.
Keep asking until you understand. It’s your car and your safety on the line, so ask everything you need to know. It can be intimidating for non-car people to have to visit a mechanic but it doesn’t need to be.
The Best Auto Body Shop may be DIY
If you know a thing or two about cars or know someone who does, perhaps you can just tinker in your own backyard. Often, if the repairs are small, you can find out how to repair the car on your own.
There are online guides for finding the best auto body shop. There are also great guides for how to fix it yourself. You can find the parts for a lot cheaper, new or used.
Check us out for all the help you need, we have manuals, a chat option to talk to a trained mechanic and all the information you could need. We can keep you up to date on all car news, help with motorbike repairs and answer any questions you might have.