In the last River City Auto Body article, we gave you the first three of six tips that’ll make your collision repair an easier even that heading to the DMV or the dentist. (Sorry again, dentists) Here's the rest of our list of things to look for in a reputable facility to return your car to you with the fewest headaches. Both articles are combined in a downloadable flyer from our website at this link.
4) Get more than one estimate. You're not required to get several, but it is recommended, and here's why. Some shops will write a lower estimate just to get you in the door. Sometimes, it isn't even intentional: They might not have viewed all the damage. River City Auto Body encountered that last week. Another shop had written a repair to buff the headlight…. when the vehicle came here for an estimate, we noticed that the headlight actually was cracked and needed to be replaced, not buffed. When you get quotes…
5) ...Share the estimates. Feel free to show one shop's estimate to other shops. We're competitors, but at the end of the repair day, it's your car's appearance and safe operating condition that matter most. One shop might miss something… like that headlight, or replacing an airbag.
Be wary of a shop that discourages you from sharing their math. There are unscrupulous shops that will write the estimate for all new OEM parts, then get the job in the door and use aftermarket or used parts on the repair to pad their profit… or pay your deductible for you. Certification comes into play here as well: Shops that are committed to the cost for the I-CAR and OEM certifications have to use the parts recommended by the manufacturer or they lose their certifications!.
6) Trust your gut. When you visit the shop, is the staff rude? Is the shop dirty or disorganized? Do you get a bad vibe? If so, walk.
River City Auto Body is fortunate to be asked to estimate a lot of collision repairs. And we earn the business of a great many of those customers. Attention to detail and customer care are the intangibles that make a difference between a satisfied customer and a happy customer. When you're treated like family, it makes collision repair a lot better than the DMV or the dentist.
Photo by Erwin Wodicka, used with permission.