- by Kristin Shaw
- June 30th, 2016
How To Choose A Collision Repair Shop
Finding a reputable repair shop is not difficult; it just requires a little detective work. First of all, it’s important to find a shop you trust before you need one. That way, you can make an informed decision without feeling pressured by the insurance company to accept their recommendation.
A great place to start is to ask friends and co-workers; people you trust will tell you honestly who they rely on for great service. It’s especially helpful to ask those who have a car similar to yours. Check out Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, the Better Business Bureau and your local chamber of commerce for clues on which shops have the best reviews. On social media, it’s easy to discern the culture of the staff by the way they respond to complaints, questions, and praise.
Proximity isn’t always the most important aspect, either. Just as you might be willing to travel a reasonable distance to go to your favorite restaurant or a healthcare provider you believe in, you may choose to go the distance for a repair shop that values your car as much as you do. Inquire about hours, the models they specialize in servicing, and towing services. Convenient service hours are a plus.
Take note when you visit: is the facility clean and well organized? Consider if their standards match yours. Look around and notice if there are any industry certifications or awards on display. If a shop has them, they will surely be clearly visible in the customer area.
A high-quality collision repair facility will use only OEM (Original Manufacturer) parts for repairs. Using OEM parts ensures that after the vehicle repairs are completed, the vehicle will perform to the exact specifications established by the manufacturer. If you own a luxury vehicle, the use of OEM replacement parts will have even more relevance for you to keep your performance vehicle running to specifications. Ask the shop does it provide a written warranty? If yes, then for how long? What does the warranty cover?
Modern luxury vehicles are increasingly using aluminum in their body parts construction. This is a critical issue for owners of many luxury vehicles since aluminum repairs and welding must be conducted in a separate environment from steel work. Therefore, if your vehicle has any aluminum body parts, you will want to look for a collision repair facility that is certified for aluminum repair and has a dedicated space for these specialized repairs.
Transportation and car rental are important customer services you may not have considered. Immediately after an accident, you will be preoccupied with other details, including insurance and any injuries, and it makes a big difference to find a shop that will provide shuttle service and assist with rental car arrangements.
When you visit any shop, from the first person you meet to the last, each one should be professional, helpful, and friendly, and treat you with respect, no matter who you are. If you expect a luxury experience, seek a shop with amenities to match. If you expect competent, fair, and quick service and don’t care about the extras, then your search criteria will be different.
Basically, you’re looking for a good doctor – for your car. Find a “doctor” you can trust, and scheduling a repair won’t be a headache.