Best Auto Body Shop in New Jersey

If you’re looking for an auto body shop in New Jersey make sure you give Peotters Tire & Auto a call as the New Jersey areas premier tire and brake shop. 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 in New Jersey to be aware of the different materials and techniques used for repairing them.

Auto body shops like Peotter’s Tire and Auto and collision repair services refer to manuals for instructions repairing bumpers. The different material types require various finish materials, removal and installation procedures.

Bumper Repairs

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 in New Jersey 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.

Tire balancing and wheel alignment are some of the most common auto repair services offered by technicians. When you buy new car tires, you may consider performing a wheel alignment. Having an alignment done can save you a lot of costs in the long run.The Importance of Wheel AlignmentHaving a wheel alignment done will help to significantly increase the life of your new tires. During the wheel alignment, the steering and suspension of your vehicle is going to be adjusted in order to ensure that the tires don't wear out overtime. Alignment is also important because it ensures the car handles corners smoothly.Wheel alignment is needed overtime because as you drive, your car's steering and suspension systems are pushed causing the ball & socket joints, bushings and other mechanical links to wear out. This makes the alignment deflect from the factory specifications. If nothing is done to improve the alignment, your car will have poor cornering and handling which also makes the tires wear out.Tire imbalance can occur when the rubber that is used in making it wears off overtime. That is why it is important to check your tires for imbalance every 6 months and ensure they are rebalanced. Tire imbalance can cause severe accidents especially when the car is driven at fast speeds.Tire balancing and wheel alignment can be done together. These services will help you to avoid budgeting for new tires soon. Even though they can be pretty expensive, they'll prevent serious accidents and increase the service life of your car. Just ensure you visit a well known auto repair shop and find a technician who is skilled and equipped to offer these services.Copyright (c) 2014 Crawfordville Auto and Tire

The cost of repairing small abrasions, cracks and holes in plastic bumpers is often much cheaper than replacing the part.

Where To Buy Tires

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.

Adhesive Repairs

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.

Flexibility

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.

Who Really IS the Best Auto Body Shop in New Jersey ?

Car Brake Repair

- Hey this is Donnie Smith.

This lesson, we're gonnatalk about dent repair.

Now before we just jumpon this car and start repairing this dent, it'simportant for any repair job to wash it good withsoap and water to remove all the contaminants,the waxes and greases.

We've already done that,we used a power washer to clean the car and now we're using a wax and grease remover.

And this is just toassure that all the waxes and greases, silicones,things like Armor Alls that may have been sprayedaround the vehicle are removed, 'cause this will eliminatemany of the paint problems that arise during a repair process.

This will also save onsandpaper cause it won't be loading the sandpaperwith these contaminants.

Now we have the repair areaclean and we can begin repairs.

But before we do, we wanna take a look at the damage and seewhat's wrong with it, see where the indirectdamage is and direct damage, and determine what repairmethods we're gonna use to repair this damage.

Now when thinking aboutdamage, it's a good idea to think about water.

Because you know if somethinghits water it goes down, and when it goes down italso pushes a wave up.

So you've got the low areaand you've got the high area.

Think of damage the sameway, because any time there's a dent there's gonna be a low and there's gonna be a high.

So whenever you look at thisdamage, you can see that the center part of the dent isof course the direct damage, but then if you look up here on the top, you can see the crown, oreyebrow some people call it.

And you can see that that is pushed up.

That whole top of the fenderis actually pushed up.

So if you tried justto pull out on the low, or push down on the highthat's not gonna work.

You've got to roll themetal, you've gotta push down on that high while you'repushing out on the low.

Now, when you go todetermining what repair method you're gonna use, you mayhave some different types of tools, you may havesome high dollar tools, a stud welder gun, otherdent repair systems.

Where really what you wanna think of is what is the easiest method? If it's a hammer and dolly,you have access to both sides, then use a hammer and dolly.

Just because you've got thehighest piece of equipment does not mean you haveto use it every time.

Now on this particularrepair, if you drop the liner, you are able to get to the back side.

So if you can get to the back side, this would definitely be acandidate for hammer and dolly.

Feeling back there to see ifthere's room to get a dolly, which I determined that there is.

Another thing to remember isthat whenever you're repairing a dent to reverse what happened.

You wanna work from the outside in.

First in, last out.

So whatever happened first in an accident, that's the last thing you wanna repair.

Also remember whenworking with thin metal, it's thin, and you may be able to move some of this with yourhand some of the times.

Doesn't work every time, butI'm gonna reach back there and keeping that in mind that I'm gonna push down on that high,out on the low area, use my hands to rough this out.

Now this ain't gonna be perfect, it's just to rough out the damage, to get the majority of the damage out.

I can see that there arestill some highs and lows, I can feel 'em.

I know it's hard to see on the video, and even if you're doingthis yourself it may be hard to see this sometimes, butI've got a trick that'll help you locate the lows.

If you get a block withsome 80 grit on it, you can cross sand the damaged area, and what this'll do is that the highs will immediately go to metal, of course, 'cause they're high,but the lows, you'll see it doesn't sand it at all, andthis will identify the lows.

Now you can see the twolow areas very easy.

Now using the dolly, I'mgoing to reach behind this panel with the dollyand I'm gonna push out on those low areas.

Also, while I'm pushing outI'm gonna have to remember where those high areas areso I can tap in on those.

Remember, we always wannawork in multiple directions.

Whatever tool you're using, just remember to push out on the lowsand in on the highs.

Also, when using adolly, there's different dollies, different shapes.

You want the shape of thedolly to fit the contour of the part you're working on.

If this dolly was completelyflat it wouldn't work well with this repair.

Okay, now I am working on getting my dolly located on the back of themetal where I want it to go.

It may take a little bitof time to get it exactly where you want it, but I wantit right on those low areas, so that I can raise the low areas out.

Also while I'm raising lowareas out, while I'm pushing on them with the dolly, I wannatap down on the high areas.

This will allow the lowareas to come out while the high areas are tapped in.

This is called the Hammeroff Dolly technique, because I'm not actuallyhammering on the dolly.

The dolly is pushing out on the low, the hammer's pushing in on the highs.

There is also a Hammer on Dolly, and that's where youare hitting the dolly.

Any time you hammer on dollythat stretches the metal.

You wanna save that for your final stages, until you get the metalcloser to where you want it.

Then you can do some hammer on dolly for your final straightening.

So I'm gonna do a little bitmore metal straightening, and then I'm gonna use the block sander with some 80 grit on it tocontinue blocking that out to identify my highs and lows and see how the progress is coming.

Now whenever you're blocksanding with 80 grit to identify highs andlows, it's always important to cross sand.

By sanding in just onedirection, you're not gonna find all the highs and lows.

And this goes for if you're doing this to identify highs and lows,or block sanding body filler.

Cross sanding always levels much better.

Now we're using this sander,and this basically takes the place of what we usedto use with thicker metals, which is a body file.

However a body file will actually shave the top layer of the metalwhich would help level it.

We don't wanna do thatwith thinner metals.

We wanna use methods thatdoes not remove any metal.

So any method that you canuse that does not remove metal is always gonna be a better choice with these thinner metals.

Now I'm feeling out thedamage with my hand, just seeing what all highsand lows that I feel.

A little tip for feeling damage, because you'll have to do that often, is to use the flat of your hand.

Often I see fingertipsused, but that is not gonna catch the highs and lows,you're gonna miss 'em.

So always use the flatof your hand to be able to feel the damage.

Another trick that sometechnicians use is to use a rag, they claim that they can feel it better, it kinda eliminatesthe different textures.

You put a rag over yourhand and go over the damage and see if you can feelthe highs and lows better.

Try both ways, whichever works best is the method for you to use.

Now I feel a little bit ofhigh, so here I identified a high, so I'm just gonna tap that down with the pick side of the hammer.

I'm just basicallylowering that high area.

Now I'm going to re-blockit, re-sand it with this 80 grit to make sure thatit did remove the high area.

I feel of it, and I feelthat that feels good.

It's not perfect, butwith these thin metals, if you try to get 'em just perfect, try to metal finish 'emlike they did older metals, you're gonna weaken and thin the metal.

You wanna get it within 1/4 of an inch.

Anywhere between 1/8 and 1/4 is what most body fillersuppliers recommend.

However, you don't wannaexceed 1/4 of an inch, that's maximum after sanded.

You don't wanna exceed that amount.

This dent is well underthat, it's probably within 1/8 of an inch.

I'm noticing there's stilla little bit of a crease down here so I need to work that out.

I'm gonna get a hammer and dolly in there, I'm gonna raise in on the low area and I'm gonna tap this crease area in so that we can roll this metal back to where it's supposed to be.

As I'm pushing out with the dolly, I'm tapping in on that high area.

Now I'm being real careful herenot to hit the bumper cover.

It'd've been a better idea if I went ahead and dropped the bumper cover.

I'll probably be blending into that.

Another trick you can do is put a couple layers of masking tape.

I should've did that, Ishould've put masking tape or went ahead and dropped the bumper.

Because the last thingyou wanna do is sand into an adjacent panel,especially if it's not one that you're blending and cause damage that you have to repair.

I'm still having problemswith the low area right here, so I'm working on that.

Now the problem with this area, it's a little harder to get to'cause there's a brace there.

I'm following the same techniques, I'm gonna push out on that low area and I'm tapping around the high areas.

When I hammer on dollyyou can hear that ping, it makes a different sound.

You can hammer on dolly someto help remove that damage, but again remember thatthat stretches the metal and try to reduce theamount that you do that.

Little bit of a high, I knocked that down.

Okay, I'm gonna use my block with 80 grit to sand the damaged area some more to see if I got thedamage worked out enough to apply the body filler.

And I sand it and I feelof it, and there's still too much of a low there.

So I'm going to need to goback in there one more time and use the dolly and hammer.

I'm going to use the pickbecause there's a high here.

I'm pushing out on thatlow and I'm going to hammer on dolly a little bit,and sand it one more time to see if that has it.

And that's what it takes, itjust takes doing a little bit, feeling of it, checking your progress until you have thedamage where you want it.

We got the metal straightenedwithin 1/4 of an inch, really within 1/8, but 1/4 after sanded is the maximum amount of filler that most body filler manufacturers recommend.

No more than 1/4 of an inch.

That's the maximum amount.

I know 3M, Evercoat, they all have that on their technical data sheets.

So anything more than 1/4 of an inch you really need tostraighten it more than that.

You need to get it straighter.

Again, with these thinnermetals you don't wanna try to work it and work it,because you're gonna work-harden the metal.

It'll become work-hardened, thin, brittle, it may even crack on you.

It's almost impossible toget these thinner metals to do the metal finishingtechniques like they used to do where they'd work the metaland file it down and get it just perfect, prime it.

Now there is one exceptionto that, and that's PDR.

Paintless Dent Repair.

That's a total different set of techniques than we went over in this video.

This video is straightening metal like a body shop would perform.

Again, remember dependingon the extent of damage, like a fender, that wouldreally go into consideration, do we wanna repair that or replace it? Now on 1/4 panel, thosepanels usually cost more.

And also, it's a weld onpanel, so it's gonna take a lot of labor to replace it.

So you can have a lotmore damage in 1/4 panel than you would a fender,and still repair it.

Many times in body shops and dealerships, if there's even a couple ofhours of damage on fenders, they just go ahead and replace them, which is R and R, Remove and Replace.

Anyway, I hope you learnedsomething this lesson.

Thanks for watching, we'llsee you in the next lesson.

Caster, Camber, Tow-In - Wheel Alignment

Auto Scratch Repair

A car is a very complex piece of machinery. Each individual part is vigorously tested before it ever goes into production models and, like a chain, relies upon every other part in order for the vehicle to function. One poorly built aspect can cause serious malfunctions leading to costly repairs, or worse, an accident.

Even something as simple as the glues used to hold a tire tread to the rest of the tire is an integral part of a car or truck. Just ask Firestone. That exact issue resulted in a costly recall of thousands of tires, legal recourse, as well as over 500 injuries and 148 deaths. All of which could have been prevented with only a little bit of testing. Be wary of new designs rushed into mass production.

Often a seemingly superficial part to a vehicle actually provides a significant amount of safety. Everyone knows a windshield protects the driver and passenger from wind and debris. Most also know that they are also designed with a thin film that prevents them shattering upon impact. What most people don't know is that the windshield provides over half of the structural support for the car during an impact. The windshield combined with the frame of the car makes it structurally safer than a car without one. Cracks in a windshield can greatly reduce their protective power, as well as obstruct the driver's view which is even more dangerous.

Replacing or repairing cracks and chips in a windshield should be done by trained professional at a certified and insured auto glass or body shop. Avoid independent installers and people who operate only out of their truck. The adhesive used dries in about an hour, so if any body shops quote you a turn around time less than that, they are either lying or don't know what they are doing.

Also, it is a good idea to know a little bit about the glass windshields they will be installing. There are three aftermarket windshields that exceed OEM and DOT specs, they are P.P.G., L.O.F. and Plinkington.

Other suitable windshields are made by the car factory. Ford's factory glass is called Carlite, and Chrysler's is Safeguard. Expect to pay more money for factory glass. A good auto glass installer will sand all the rust around the windshield after it is removed, and then prime and paint it before installing the new windshield. It is best to go with body shops that have been around for at least five years as they are more likely to be around to guarantee warranties and make repairs in the future. Many shops will also work with your insurance carrier to get you the best price on a windshield, sometimes completely paid for by the insurance company.

Body repair is another story and can become very expensive. Newer cars with plastic and fiberglass bodies are almost impossible to repair, the body panels are often much easier to just replace, and that can be accomplished by almost anyone with a wrench and screw driver. Repairing dents and rust on metal bodies can be time consuming as well as expensive. It also requires a matching paint job which is similarly expensive. If the dented or rusted panels can be removed it makes it much easier. Dents can be pounded back into shape. In addition to this, it is often just easier to work on and paint a detached piece. Some work can be done by the average Joe, but extensive body work should be done at an established body shop.


Brake Check in New Jersey

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 New Jersey. 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 New Jersey. 

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.

Wheel Alignment

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 New Jersey 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.

How to Pick the Right Auto Body Repair Shops

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 New Jersey are sent directly from the car manufacturers and are designed with the same specs as the vehicle came with.

Auto Electric Repair

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 New Jersey 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.

Auto Body Shops and Custom Work

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.

>> I'm Chad.

I'm a second-year student here at DCTC.

I've been an apprentice at ABRA inBloomington for just about a year, now.

Doing some frame damage,here, repair on a 2005 Ford.

>> Focus.

>> Focus.

Three door, got hit here,and this here was the main impact.

We've already cut the reinforcementand impact bar off.

Now, we're going to be pulling onthis frame here, to get it straight, using the three-dimensionalmeasurement system to make sure that everything else is inline where it should be.

>> I'm Gerry Rainford.

I'm a second-year instructor here,at Dakota County Technical College.

Chad's a typical second-year student, wherewe get into different levels of repair needs, from just simple door repair to, well, you cansee here, is a full unibody reconstruction.

Mechanical aspects, as well.

Getting into the air conditioning andother mechanical systems on the vehicle.

Suspension, driveline.

This is kind of the way that once we havethe vehicle anchored on our frame rack.

We come through and we can actually do pull out.

We're going to be doing a light pull,this morning on the unibody structure.

We're going to see if we can't repair the rails.

Typically, when they're kinked to thispoint, we would do a replacement procedure.

But we're going to see ifwe can't repair them, today.

So, we'll just kind of talk as we go through it.

And we'll see if we can getthe rails to come out.

So, Chad, please take over from here.

>> All right.

I'm going to be using these towers, here, thatare capable of pulling 10,000 pounds apiece.

Try to get this mash come outon this left frame rail, here.

>> So, once again.

Keep pulling.

We're going to be pulling at a constantlevel that's going to be straight out, to try to replace the height, thelength, and width of the rail.

So, we're going to keep the directionstraight and at a straight pulling distance.

>> And all I'm doing here, now, is justwatching as I'm pulling, going slowly to find out how the metal's going to react.

Everything reacts different,not any accident is the same.

Everything needs to be takenon with a different viewpoint.

What I'm going to do now, isjust hit this metal, here, to try to relieve some of this stress.

[ Hammering Sound ] And always while you're pulling,what you're going to want to do is check your anchoring points, again, tomake sure that the car is not going anywhere.

Make sure all your chainsand clamps are still tight.

As you'll notice, I'm staying above,not standing behind these chains, just in case anything would happen to let go.

[ Hammering Sound ] >> Let's work the backside of the railthrough here a little bit, as well.

[ Hammering Sound ] [inaudible] target.

One of the things we don't want to do, is we don't want to do additionaldamage as we're pulling.

Looks like we're pulling morefrom the bottom of the rail.

>> Yeah.

>> Than we are from the top.

So, at this point in time, I think we shouldstop, rehook, and grab a hold of the top of the clamp support and pullmore on the top of this rail.

>> All right.

Both these dozers here are run by the same pump.

So, as I pull it's going to pull them equally.

>> Okay.

Let's get some pressure on there.

[ Inaudible Comments ] [ Hammering Sound ] >> Just trying to relieve this stress.

Move the metal where I want it.

>> So, let's get a couple ofhits with this on the backside.

[ Hammering Sound ] Right now, we're concernedwith overpulling on it.

And so, I think we're going to stop.

And we're going to regrab ontothe rail at a different location.

Once you've overpulled and it distortsthe rail, then we've got an issue.

>> We're going to cut this outsideof this rail, here off, this cap.

Just a piece of the sheet seal,here, out of high strength steel.

We're going to pull this out here, sothat way we can get inside here, too, and make proper welds and getthis metal straight, again.

I'm just going to be countered along,drill out these spot welds, here.

And then, cut it here at the seam.

I'll run a line, section it out.

>> Why don't you show them how we know how farwe need to pull by using the measuring system? Then, to explain the measuringsystem, real quick? >> All right.

As we pull out on this stuff here, toget this rail out to where it should be, these targets here measure with this beamunderneath the vehicle, measures the vehicle at all kinds of different points.

Four in the middle of the vehicle, twoat the rear of the vehicle, and then, these here in the front closest to the damage.

This vehicle, this chart here for thevehicle is specific for this vehicle.

What this does here, is it hangs targets fromthe vehicle at specific manufacturing locations.

It measures the vehicle throughout there.

You can tell that our centersection here, is good.

And the back of the vehicle is good.

But up here, we're dealing with offmeasurements on the front end from the impact.

>> We're going to take and when we getthe rails pulled back into a location by the manufacturer's specifications, we'lltake, we'll hammer and dolly all this straight.

And we'll take, we've got new components.

We've got a new reinforcement barthat we'll be welding into place, to replace the structure of the vehicle.

But we'll come through, replace the.

You want to come around over here.

You can see that the radiator condenserhas been damaged in this accident.

And it's completely, we've lost all the Freon.

So, we'll be doing an R and Rprocedure on the condenser assembly.

Then, we're going to evac andrecharge the air conditioning system.

And then, move forward with the restof the mechanical repairs at this time.

In some situations, when you getcomposite intake manifolds, like this, components can come back and dodamage to the intake manifolds, starters, alternators, AC compressors.

We have additional damage deeper in the vehicle.

And this one, we've simplygot a condenser to replace.

What's so, how long will ittake you to do this repair? >> This repair here, will take me probablyabout two weeks to finish, to complete.

Done quite a bit already.

Already had all my parts ordered.

Those have already been checkedin and identified, and made sure that they are the rightparts, so I'm not scrambling at the end of the project to find the correct parts.

I'd say about two weeks; two to three weekswould be a good timeline for this vehicle.

>> Well, thank you, Chad.

I appreciate it, taking your time withthe students and this is what we do here at Dakota County Technical College.

It's a two-year program.

We try to get you ready with the latesttechnology and the latest equipment to make sure that they're ready for the industry.

And so, they can be productive and profitablein today's unibody reconstruction world.

Thanks, very much.

Auto Glass and Body Shops

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 New Jersey Should Help You With What Car Needs Exactly?

Exhaust Repair

>>> WELL, IF YOUR CAR IS EVER DAMAGED IN AN ACCIDENT OR REPAIRED THROUGH MAJOR INSURANCE COMPANY IN THIS COUNTRY, THERE ARE STATE AND FEDERAL LAWSUITS IN THIS COUNTRY YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT.

AUTO BODY SHOPS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, MORE THAN 500 OF THEM CLAIM SOME BIG INSURANCE COMPANIES LONG DELIBERATELY SKIMPED WHEN IT COMES TO REPAIR DAMAGED VEHICLES.

ALSO, THE INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN HAVE THEIR PROFITS.

THE LAWSUITS ALLEGE IT'S A SCHEME THAT CANNOT ONLY LEAD TO RUSHED AND MINIMAL REPAIRS BUT RECYCLED, REMANUFACTURED AND ONE LAWYER PUTS IT JUNKED PARTS TO FIX YOUR CAR.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BELIEVES THE ALLEGED SCHEME YOU COULD BE DRIVING A DANGEROUS CAR.

CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT DREW GRIFFIN REPORTS.

>> Reporter: TO SEE WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON, YOU'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING YOU PROBABLY CAN'T DO AT HOME.

LIFT WHAT YOU THINK IS YOUR REPAIR CAR, GET OUT SOMETHING CALLED A BORROW SCOPE AND CHECK THE FRAME TO SEE IF THE AUTO BODY SHOP FIXED IT, WHAT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY LIKELY RECOMMENDED.

>> THERE'S THE RIFF IN THE RAIL.

>> Reporter: BILL BURN, A NATIONAL AUTO REPAIR EXPERT TESTIFIES ABOUT BAD REPAIRS AND THIS, HE SAID, IS ONE OF THEM.

THE RESULT OF A SYSTEM DESIGNED TO SAVE MONEY FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES.

>> WHAT THEY DID WAS REPLACED THE NEW END CAP ON THERE AND THE END CAP COVERS THAT, SO THE CONSUMER WOULD NEVER SEE THIS.

IT IS UNSAFE.

>> AND YET THEY PUT IT BACK.

>> CORRECT.

>> Reporter: BURN IS NOW PART OF THE MAJOR LAWSUIT INVOLVING MORE THAN 500 AUTO BODY SHOPS IN 36 STATES.

ALL SUING DOZENS OF INSURANCE COMPANIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

THE SHOPS BELIEVE THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY IS INVOLVED IN A DELIBERATE SYSTEM TO SEND YOU AND YOUR CAR TO SHOPS THAT ARE PRESELECTED BY INSURERS TO DO THE ABSOLUTE BARE MINIMUM TO FIX IT.

EVEN TELLING BODY SHOPS TO USE USED OR RECYCLED PARTS BECAUSE THEY'RE CHEAPER.

MATT PARKER IS AN AUTO SHOP OWNER IN MONROE, LOUISIANA, WHO SAID HE SEES THE SAME PROBLEM.

HE SAID STATE FARM TOLD HIM TO USE A REMANUFACTURED HEADLIGHT IN A TOYOTA TACOMA.

THIS IS WHAT HE GOT.

>> IT'S GOT A HOLE IN IT HERE AND THEN YOU CAN SEE WHERE THEY SCREWED THIS BRACKET BACK ON THE VEHICLE.

NOW, YOU CAN SEE HERE WHERE ALL THESE PARTS WERE KNOCKED OFF AND GLUED BACK TOGETHER.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE HERE WHERE THE TOP CORNER AND THE LENS IS BUSTED AND THIS PART OF THE HEADLIGHT IS BROKEN.

THIS CAME OUT OF A BOX WRAPPED LIKE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE -- ABSOLUTELY, LIKE A NEW PART.

THE INSURANCE COMPANY WANTS US TO PUT THIS STUFF ON THE CAR.

IF WE REFUSE TO PUT IT ON THE CAR, THEN THEY LABEL US AS A SHOP NOT WILLING TO GO ALONG WITH THEIR PROGRAM AND THEN TRY TO STEER OUR BUSINESS AWAY FROM US.

>> Reporter: THIS IS WHY HE AND THE OTHER SHOPS RETAINED JOHN ARTHUR EVES TO SUE.

>> EVERY STATE IN THE UNION IS EXPERIENCING THE SAME SORT OF STRUGGLE HERE BETWEEN THE BODY SHOPS TRYING TO DO AND INSURANCE COMPANY TRYING TO USE UNSAFE PARTS AND METHODS ON THEIR CARS.

>> Reporter: BUDDY CALDWELL OF LOUISIANA BELIEVE IT TOO.

PREPARING A LAWSUIT.

LOUISIANA FILED CLAIMING STATE FARM'S PRACTICE IS PUTTING DRIVERS IN DANGER.

AND WHAT IS THE PRACTICE? WHAT'S BEING PUT IN THEIR CARS? >> AFTERMARKET PARTS, JUNK YARD PARTS AND ALL OF THIS WITHOUT ANY COMMUNICATION WITH THE CONSUMER AND THAT'S THE MAIN ISSUE, THE SAFETY ISSUES AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEIR PRODUCT IS BEING DEVALUED BY THE PRACTICES OF THE INSURANCE COMPANY.

I MEAN, BUDDY HAS FOUND NUMEROUS CASES HERE IN LOUISIANA.

WE FOUND IN MISSISSIPPI, THE BODY SHOPS, PUT JUNK PARTS AND WELD THE PATCH.

>> Reporter: WHEN AUTO SHOPS DON'T GO ALONG, MISSISSIPPI'S ATTORNEY GENERAL SAID THOSE AUTO SHOPS BUSINESS GETS CUT.

IT'S CALLED STEERING.

INSURANCE COMPANIES STEERING BUSINESS ELSEWHERE.

>> THEY'RE GOING TO SAY, WE'LL BLACKBALL YOU.

WE WON'T PUT YOU ON OUR SELECT SERVICE LIST AND WE'RE GOING TO MAKE YOU SEND ESTIMATESTOUS TO FIVE TIMES.

>> Reporter: U.

S.

SENATOR RICHARD BLOOMEN THAT WILL WHO USED TO BE CONNECTICUT'S ATTORNEY GENERAL NOT ONLY THE POTENTIAL FOR SMALL BUSINESS TO BE HURT BUT BELIEVE CARS REPAIRED THROUGH THE PREFERRED SERVICE CENTERS PROPOSE A SAFETY RISK AND ASKED THE U.

S.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO INVESTIGATE.

>> SALVAGE PARTS INFERIOR OR EVEN COUNTERFEIT PARTS RAISE SAFETY CONCERNS AND OFTEN, THOSE KIND OF PARTS INVOLVED IN THE PRACTICE OF STEERING AND THAT'S WHY I HAVE BEEN CONCERNED FOR YEARS ABOUT IT.

AND WHY I THINK THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SHOULD BE INVESTIGATING.

>> Reporter: LOUISIANA'S ATTORNEY GENERAL CHOSE STATE FARM BECAUSE THEY'RE THE BIGGEST INSURER IN HIS STATE AND LEGAL FILINGS, THE COMPANY DENIES ALL THE ALLEGATIONS INCLUDING THE ALLEGATION THAT STATE FARM MANDATES USING AFTERMARKET PARTS.

STATE FARM WOULD NOT GRANT INTERVIEW BUT SENT A STATEMENT INSTEAD.

IT SAID OUR CUSTOMERS CHOOSE WHERE THEIR VEHICLES ARE GOING TO BE REPAIRED.

WE PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR SELECT SERVICE PROGRAM WHILE AT THE SAME TIME MAKING IT CLEAR THEY CAN SELECT WHICH SHOP WILL DO THE WORK.

STATE FARM TOLD US TO BRING OUR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS TO NEIL OLRIDGE WITH THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANIES.

>> IT'S NOT JUST IN THE ECONOMIC INTEREST OF THE INSURER TO HAVE A CAR GO IN AND OUT OF AN AUTO BODY SHOP FOUR OR FIVE TIMES TO GET IT RIGHT.

>> Reporter: WHY WOULD THEY RECOMMEND USED PARTS, FIXED PARTS OFF MARKET? >> SURE.

MOST COMPANIES DON'T REQUIRE THIS.

MOST COMPANIES OFFER A CHOICE TO CONSUMERS.

MOST OF THE ANY SORT OF AFTERMARKET PART YOU MIGHT HEAR ABOUT ARE USUALLY COSMETIC PARTS.

NOTHING RELATED TO THE SAFETY, THE MECHANICAL PARTS OF THE OPERATION OF THE VEHICLE.

THERE ARE LAWS IN ALMOST EVERY STATE THAT REQUIRE CONSUMERS TO BE TOLD THAT IF AFTERMARKET PARKTS ARE USED AND WHAT THEY ARE.

>> Reporter: WE FOUND THIS NOTICE ON PAGE FOUR OF THE ESTIMATE ON PAGE SIX OF THIS ONE.

>> IN MANY CASES, THESE PARTS ARE NO DIFFERENT.

THEY'RE MADE ON THE SAME FACTORIES.

ONE JUST COMES OUT WITH AN AUTO MANUFAC MANUFACTURER'S NAME ON IT AND OTHERS DON'T.

>> THAT'S NOT TRUE.

>> IT IS TRUE.

>> Reporter: IT CERTAINLY ISN'T TRUE IN THE CASE OF THIS REPLACEMENT HOOD FOR A HONDA MADE IN TAIWAN AND ALREADY COMING APART.

THIS AFTERMARKET BUMPER STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BOX NOT ONLY DOESN'T FIT BUT THE FASTENERS HAVE BEEN GLUED BACK TOGETHER AND THEN THERE'S THE QUESTION ABOUT THAT BROKEN AND REPAIRED TOYOTA TACOMA HEAD LAMP.

>> IT'S OBVIOUSLY A REPURPOSED PART FROM A JUNK YARD AND IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, YOU'LL SEE HOW IT WAS GLUED TOGETHER, SNAPPED TOGETHER AND IN SOME CASES, EVEN WELDED AND SCREWED TOGETHER AND THIS IS WHAT THE INSURER TOLD THE PREFERRED BODY SHOP TO PUT ON THE CAR.

LOOK AT THIS.

YOU WOULDN'T WANT THAT IN YOUR CAR, I WOULDN'T WANT THAT IN MY CAR.

>> I DON'T KNOW THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE PICTURE, SO I REALLY CAN'T COMMENT ON IT.

>> Reporter: SO ARE THE ATTORNEY GENERALS WRONG IN SAYING THAT THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE, STATE FARM IN PARTICULAR, IS STEERING THEIR CUSTOMERS TO PREFERRED BODY SHOPS, PREFERRED BECAUSE THEY SAVE THE INSURANCE COMPANY MONEY, NOT THE CONSUMER? >> THE INSURANCE COMPANY MAY PROVIDE A LIST OF AUTO BODY SHOPS.

AND THE CUSTOMER CAN SAY NO, I WANT TO GO TO JOE'S BODY SHOP AROUND THE CORNER AND THAT'S THE CHOICE.

>> Reporter: THAT'S WHAT PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE TOLD US HAPPENED FOR THIS CAR.

REMEMBER, IT'S THE CAR WE TOLD YOU ABOUT EARLIER WITH THE RIP TAIL FRAME THAT YOU COULD ONLY SPOT WITH THE BOROSCOPE.

ONLY HIT FROM BEHIND.

A PREFERRED BODY SHOP AND SENT BACK ON THE ROAD WITH A RIPPED AND HIDDEN TAIL FRAME.

TURNS OUT IT WASN'T OLD, NOT REPAIRED.

THREE OF FOUR TIRE RIMS ARE DAMAGED AND THE UNDERCARRIAGE OF THE CAR IS PUSHED IN ACCORDING TO AUTO EXPERT BILL BURN AND OUTSIDE, THE PAINT JOB IS FILLED WITH POCKMARKS.

PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE SAY THEY DIDN'T CHOOSE THE BODY SHOP, THE OWNER DID.

WELL, THIS IS THE OWNER.

EUG EUGENEA RANDALL WHO NEEDS THE CAR TO CARRY HER 2-YEAR-OLD SON ROMAN AND REMEMBERS THE CONVERSATION WITH PROGRESSIVE MUCH DIFFERENTLY.

>> THEY DIDN'T GIVE ME A CHOICE AS TO WHERE I WANTED TO TAKE IT.

THEY JUST TOLD ME TO TAKE IT TO THEIR PREFERRED SHOP.

>> Reporter: RANDLE SAID BECAUSE IT WAS A PREFERRED SHOP, IT WOULD BE REPAIRED TO A HIGHER STANDARD BUT WHEN SHE PICKED IT UP, SHE IMMEDIATELY KNEW SOMETHING WASN'T RIGHT.

>> COSMETICALLY TO ME IT LOOKED FINE BUT ONCE I GOT IN AND GOT DOWN THE STREET, IT JUST STARTED DRIVING REALLY CRAZY AND I IMMEDIATELY TOOK IT BACK.

>> Reporter: SO HOW CRAZY WAS RANDLE'S CAR DRIVING? I DECIDED TO FIND OUT FOR MYSELF BY GETTING BEHIND THE WHEEL.

>> ANYTHING OVER 50 MILES PER HOUR, THIS THING JUST SHAKES.

THIS THING IS REALLY SHAKING NOW.

>> Reporter: NOT ONLY THE TAIL SECTION RIPPED AN UNREPAIRED, THREE OF FOUR TIRE RIMS DAMAGED AND AS I DROVE, THE STEERING WHEEL SHAKING SO VIOLENTLY, I HAD TO GRIP DOWN FROM VEERING TO THE RIGHT.

THE FRONT LEFT TIRE WAS JUST WOBBLING.

I CAREFULLY DROVE THIS SHAKING CAR RIGHT BACK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY'S PREFERRED AUTO BODY SHOP.

WHERE THE GENERAL MANAGER PROMPTLY TOLD US TO LEAVE.

>> DON'T TURN THAT ON WITHOUT THE SERVICE PERMISSION IF YOU DON'T MIND.

>> Reporter: AS FOR THE SHAKING CAR, THE INSURANCE COMPANY EVENTUALLY DECLARED IT A TOTAL LOSS GIVING HER FULL REPLACEMENT VALUE.

BUT ONLY AFTER SHE HIRED AN ATTORNEY AND CNN BEGAN INVESTIGATING THIS STORY.

>> THE VEHICLE SPUN OUT.

>> UNBELIEVABLE.

DREW GRIFFIN JOINING US NOW.

I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT THIS WHOLE PLAN THEY HAVE.

DID THE REPAIR COMPANY THAT SUPPOSEDLY FIXED THE SHAKING CAR EVER GIVE AN EXPLANATION? >> Reporter: THE COMPANY SERVICE KING SAID THEY DID WHAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY APPROVED AND SAID ALL THEIR REPAIRS COME WITH A WRITTEN LIFETIME WARRANTY.

SERVICE KING'S CORPORATE OFFICE SAID IT WAS UNAWARE THERE WERE PROBLEMS OR COMPLAINTS AND.

Mountain Bike Travel: Things You Should Never Forget


Best Auto Body Shop in New Jersey