It happens to all of us at one point in time. We get into an automobile collision and need the best auto body shop in Maplewood. Hopefully, it is not too bad and we are not seriously injured. But usually the car does not fare as well and comes away with significant damage.
What is the next step after your collision and you need an auto body shop?
Likely, after informing the insurance company you take your vehicle to one of their “approved” vendors.
Here is what happens next. You tell the insurance company what company you choose. By this time they have already taken phones of the car and know how extensive the damage is. If you need an expert to take a look, make sure you go to a repair shop in Maplewood.
They have a computer system that gives them a printed estimate stating what the replacement parts and labor will be based upon a set hourly rate.
This statement is given to the body shop. It comes with a break down of what the labor and parts “should” be and the company has to usually be able to totally fix the car for that price.
How to Find Auto Body Shops
Keep in mind that what is printed out represents the best case scenario and doesn’t allow for items on the car that was missed or problems that come up.
Now here are some things to watch out for. a local auto body shop in Maplewood is operating under very, very thin margins and the incentive to “cut corners” is huge. Getting an extra $300 off a job can really add up over the course of the month when you are talking about doing at least 3-5 vehicles every week.
Caster, Camber, Tow-In - Wheel Alignment
Replacement Parts in Auto Body Shops
Make sure the parts being used on your car are OEM parts. These are replacement auto body parts in Maplewood are sent directly from the car manufacturers and are designed with the same specs as the vehicle came with.
Aftermarket parts can be significantly cheaper yet are not the same quality and make not hold up the same in the event of another accident.
No Realignment? Talk to Your Auto Repair Team!
The frame is usually somewhat bent when a car goes through an accident of any kind. It needs to be properly realigned. You need a serious all hands on deck auto body shop to take care of you here.
Unfortunately, because the money made off one car can be very little the propensity to skip this step is very high. Later down the road this will cause your car to not drive straight but at a tilt and your tires will wear prematurely. So if you need to brush up on some tire repair, ask your mechanic straight away.
Using Bondo (Fillers) Instead of Replacing the Part
Filling any damage in with bondo is not bad in itself. If you know what the auto body shop in Maplewood is doing, they tell you, and this is what you are paying for then it is fine.
The problem comes in when you think you are getting a vehicle back that is 99.9% the same as before it was wrecked and it is not. Filling a damaged part in with filler rather than replacing the expensive part is a common tactic and you want to make sure it is not done on your vehicle.
Wheel Alignment And Balancing
All damaged parts should be replaced unless you are paying a lower price for the car to just be fixed (in the case you want the cheapest price and do not care about having a car exactly the same as before). Again, you should really speak to your best auto body shop nearest you!
Keep in mind that most auto body repair shops are honest and are surviving in a tough industry.
Today's vehicles are made with many different types of fuel-saving materials like lightweight alloys and plastics. It is important for an auto body shop to be aware of the different materials and techniques used for repairing them.
Auto body shops and collision repair services refer to manuals for instructions repairing bumpers. The different material types require various finish materials, removal and installation procedures.
When a plastic bumper is cracked or has a small hole it can be repaired to look as good as new. Replacing the bumper is wasteful and it creates unnecessary debris for our landfills. A good, eco-friendly auto body shop will only recommend replacing the bumper if the damage is severe enough that repair time would be considered unreasonable and quality of results would be unsatisfactory.
The cost of repairing small abrasions, cracks and holes in plastic bumpers is often much cheaper than replacing the part. Of course, many collision repair technicians would rather replace the part and charge a fee for their labor plus mark-up on the price of the part because they lack in cosmetic repair skills and it is easier to warranty the work.
Working with Plastics
The first step to repairing plastic bumpers is to identify the material in order to choose the method of repair. Auto body shops use ISO codes on the parts to identify the various families of plastics. They cross-reference the codes with charts from the suppliers or by accessing reference materials on the internet.
It is important that the collision repair technician determine the type of plastic they are working with so they know the proper welding procedure to use to avoid damage to the part.
Some plastics can be welded with an airless welder or hot-air welder; others require a hot glue type of procedure. Tests must be performed and welding procedures have to be done correctly to avoid adhesion failure. Some bumpers will melt with a slight color change and they will remain tacky in the area where they have melted.
The bumper repair technician must identify the type of plastic they are working with in order to be successful with adhesive repairs. Failure to properly identify the plastic results in adhesion-related problems.
Some repair materials are based on flexible and rigid plastics. Using the wrong material can cause cracking when the part is flexed or it may not provide the correct strength for the repair area.
Cleaning and Prep
Proper cleaning and prep is critical for proper adhesion and finish. Whether the technician is repairing or replacing the bumper, the part will need to be cleaned. The bumper being repaired is likely to be dirty from the road; the new replacement part can have contamination on it from the manufacturing process.
Auto body repair professionals should use a low-VOC surface cleaner or a special plastics parts cleaner to help prevent solvents from going too deep into the plastic. If solvents are too harsh, they go deep into the plastic and cause adhesion problems after repairs are done.
This is an overview of the process of working with plastics. Time is money in the auto body industry; therefore, many collision repair technicians choose to replace rather than repair plastic bumpers and other parts.
Technology allows us to repair many items that are often replaced. As resources become scarce and landfills become over-full, we really should consider repairing rather than replacing when possible.
Auto Body Shops - Bumper Repair Vs Bumper Replacement
The insurance companies nickel and dime them at every turn and they are made to give them at time ridiculous discounts to get any business. That’s why having an auto body shop in your corner can’t be stressed enough.
Nevertheless, all an auto body shop should be on is your side and corners should not be cut at your expense and being watchful is just a smart way to go.
Your Auto Body Shop In Maplewood Should Help You With What Car Needs Exactly?
Jeff what are the three questions should ask a body shop before they consider dropping their car off for repairs? Well what's important is that the repair shop actually be qualified to fix that particular vehicle.
Today modern cars require specialized training and equipment to be able to perform repairs to the manufacturer's standards.
For instance, this Mini Cooper and other BMWs require what's called rivet bonding.
So, glue joints and rivets.
They're actually repaired like aircraft today.
This is important because this maintains the structural integrity the manufacturer designed for a repair situation.
Like this fixture frame bench here that utilizes actual jigs to support the vehicle across its entire platform and place factory components precisely where the manufacturer has designated.
These systems are different than generic systems that simply are reverse engineered and don't have jig and holding capacity.
Shops that aren't trained and equipped to properly perform a repair utilizing generic equipment or generic procedures can't restore the vehicle to the manufacturer's standards and that doesn't necessarily maintain the safety ratingdesigned for the vehicle.
You potentially jeopardize the collision energy management system.
The vehicle might not perform the same in a future collision and you could possibly be more injured than you would if the car doesn't perform as the manufacturer intended.
The second question a consumer should ask is "Where does the body shop's loyalty lie?" Is it an independent repair center that relies on satisfied customers to drive business through their door and therefore fixes vehicles correctly? Or is the body shop on the insurance company's "preferred network?" Those body shops rely on the insurance referrals and when those body shops utilize cheap, imitation, and savage parts utilize the quickest possible repair times and keep costs as low as possible that generates the next referral.
But that's a recipe for shortcuts.
The third question, Paul, is "Can the repair shop make this process convenient for me?" Most consumers today want convenience and ease.
Repair shops that are high-quality repair shops are going to put their customers' interests first & do everything they can to have a satisfied customer.
That includes sheduling a rental car, scheduling a tow engaging in conversations with the insurance company and making sure the vehicle is fixed right for the consumer.