From the Blog
7 Things You May Not Know About Collision Repair
So you’ve been in an accident and now need collision repair. What happens now? Most people don’t think much about this process until they are forced to deal with it, and as such there are many misconceptions about how repairs can be handled. These seven facts will demystify collision repair, from the inspection and assessment of your car’s damage to where you should take it to get fixed.
1. Collision Damage Affects More Than the Surface
When your car hits something, the resulting impact goes through the whole vehicle, breaking or bending body panels, wheels, frame components, interior pieces, and drivetrain parts. That’s why, for example, many collision repairs involve wheel alignments, as even the smallest of fender benders can affect the position of your suspension. Some cars require a full teardown for an accurate estimate, says Autobody News, which would render a simple photo estimate valid but incomplete.
2. Shop Estimates Vary Due to Skill of the Appraiser
A skilled appraiser can identify all damage caused by a collision, providing an estimate that should come pretty close to the final repair cost. If you choose someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or what must be fixed, the estimate will likely end up being lower but the appraisal won’t cover everything necessary to ensure the car is totally fixed.
Even with a trained eye, some repairs will not be evident until the work has actually begun. That’s where the skill level of the appraiser comes in. They must convince the insurance company there’s a reason the damage may have been missed the first time around, and that new repairs are necessary to make the car roadworthy.
3. “Totaling” a Car Depends on More Than Damage Severity
A vehicle is usually considered a “total loss” by the insurance company when the cost of repairs goes beyond the vehicle’s value. A new car must be nearly irreparable to meet this criteria, whereas an older vehicle will likely meet the threshold very quickly.
4. Metal Body Parts Don’t Have a “Memory”
You may have checked out As-Seen-On-TV devices claiming you can pop a body panel back into place with a simple tool. This is rarely the case, and you should be skeptical of such claims. The reality is, when a body panel has been bent, it will stay that way, whether that bend was made in the factory from a press or was the result of an impact.
To effectively remove a dent from a panel, technicians must use many tools and techniques to gently reshape and bend the metal back to its original appearance.
5. Lack of Body Filler Doesn’t Equal Lack of Repairs
Back in the old days, if you wanted to determine if a car had been in a collision, you could run a magnet over the body to see which parts were still made of metal and which parts were actually covered in body filler to conceal dents. That wasn’t an accurate method, though, as some vehicles would come off the factory floor with filler in them to hide small inconsistencies after the metal was shaped.
Advancements in body repair tools and techniques now allow metal to be reshaped so that just about any dent can be removed. This reduces the reliance on fillers when making a repair. Automotive paint flexes with body panels somewhat before it becomes separated. If the damage is small enough that the paint is still bonded, dents can be removed without the need to respray the panel. Surrounding metal may also be fixable without requiring new paint, which makes it making it impossible to identify the repair after it has been completed.
6. With Quality Repair, a Damaged Vehicle Can Be As Good As New
Manufacturers tend to work directly with body shops and associations like I-CAR to ensure technicians are trained to restore vehicles to their original specifications. When repairs are done properly, the vehicle will enjoy the same functionality, structural integrity and appearance as one that was not involved in a collision.
7. You Can Choose Your Body Shop
Your insurance provider will likely suggest a shop you can take your vehicle to, but they can’t force you to go there. It’s best if you do your own research and take your vehicle to a shop with the knowledge and tools to complete the repair correctly, not just the one that is saving the insurance company the most money.
Contact Hance’s Uptown Collision Center
If you want quality work when it comes to your collision repair, contact us to schedule an appointment in Dallas or Plano with technicians who are I-Car certified.