Unless you know a lot about cars, getting your car repaired at the shop is always a game of chance. You never know if your car was repaired to its full potential, or if you got scammed into a quick fix that will result in problems later on. The obvious suggestion is to make sure you research and select a reputable repair shop. However, it is still important to check their work, no matter how reliable the repair professional.
Before you even hand over the keys to a body shop, ask in-depth questions about the repair being done to your vehicle. Have them walk you through the steps they are going to take and the work that needs to be done to get your vehicle back to its original look. A reputable shop will be happy to explain the process with you in clear terms that you can understand. If the personnel act annoyed or don’t fully answer your questions, get out of their fast!
Schedule your pick-up during the day, when there is plenty of sunlight to see your repairs in detail. Have your mechanic walk around the car with you, pointing out what was fixed and how it was done. If they rush through it or act too busy to help you, chances are they were too busy to get the job done right.
The quickest way to spot a botched repair is the uneven alignment of panels and headlights. Make sure that panels are even. Open all doors near the repaired areas and ensure that they open smoothly. Inspect repaired areas near tires, making sure each tire is an equal distance from each side of the body. Turn on headlights and check to see if they distribute light evenly. If any of these things are off, confront your mechanic and ensure that your car doesn’t leave the shop until it is fixed correctly.
Protest Additional Costs
A common problem that arises with questionable shops is charges that are tacked on after your original estimate. These shops tend to claim that once they took your car apart, they found more damage than they had originally accounted for. While it is true that you can’t see damage until the car is fully apart, good mechanics can determine underlying damage just by inspecting the outside damage and referring to the type of accident that occurred. If a mechanic does claim there is more to be done, ask for in-depth details to be sure you aren’t just being nickel and dimed.
These may seem like simple things that every car owner should do, but many people are too trusting and in too big of a hurry to accurately inspect their car after being repaired. Even when using a trusted repair shop, make sure to inspect any work that is done. A vehicle is a large investment and no one should sacrifice below par repairs because of repair shop negligence.
Written by Marc LaFerriere at Dents Unlimited & Toalson Glass. Marc and his expert staff are one of the leading auto repair shops Columbia, MO has to offer.