After a grueling accident all you remember is the mangled mess your car was in. A couple of weeks from the day it was towed when you go to pick it up from the body shop, you get the chance to inspect your vehicle. But do you know what you need to be looking for? Most people don’t. They just make the payment and take back their vehicle, without knowing if under the exterior everything works fine.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of tricksters and unethical people out there looking to make quick money off of our misfortune. It is up to you to make smart decisions to avoid being cheated. Here are a couple of tips to help you know what to look for:
- Choose reliable Professionals
Do not pick a body shop based on the prices they advertise. Do some research, if possible, to find out which establishment provides top quality work. Check out their website, socials and reviews. At the same time, ask your friends and family about the services they use to fix their vehicles. This way you can count on them to do a golden job and complete everything. However, it is still up to you to inspect their work before leaving their premises.
- Cleanliness is vital
This is one situation where appearance is a vital sign. A professional body shop will make sure your repaired car is washed and vacuumed. There shouldn’t be a visible speck of dust or dirt. Note old parts will be dirty and faded. So be vigilant. It is difficult to get rid of all the dirt and grime given the fact that a body shop is not the cleanest place. But cleaning up a car after repairs is not an impossible task for a body shop.
- Be clear up front
The moment you drop your car off at the shop, make sure you know exactly what they are going to fix. Get everything in writing without fail. The warranty and guarantees on their work and the parts replaced must also be clearly specified. When you collect your car, review the paperwork and confirm that all the specified repairs are done properly. A reputable establishment will have their mechanic show and explain to you the work done on your vehicle.
- Do a closer inspection
If you approve the appearance of your vehicle, the next step is to inspect your vehicle even closer. Specially the areas that have been repaired.
- Look for gaps between the body panels. It means the panels haven’t been aligned properly.
- Open and close the doors, trunk and hood of our car.
- Roll the windows up and down as well to see if they work properly.
- Check the distance between the tire and the fender. If it appears narrow on one side and wide on the other, something is definitely wrong.
- Test the alignment of the headlights by switching them on.
- If your car was hit in the front, its frame will be bent and in need of straightening. You will find marks if the work was not done properly.
- Take a look at the automated printout. It will show specifications regarding the measurements of the damaged area before and after. The specs should match the pre-accident frame specs.
- Bring someone along with you who has good knowledge of cars for a second opinion on the work done.
- Consistent paint job
Matching the paint to the rest of the car is a difficult task. It takes a keen eye to see the difference and perfect skill to duplicate the factory paint and only the best of the best will be able to give you close results. But besides the appearance of the paint the texture and feel should also match the rest of the car. It’s a tricky task, so make sure you head over to the car body shop during the day time to assess all the minute details. Check for specks of dirt or hair trapped in the paint.
What happens if Things aren’t Right?
If you begin to notice the imperfections, like the misalignment of the tires a week or a month after you take the car home, bring the car back to the shop and show them the receipts and paperwork provided to you. If it is within the warranty, they will have to realign the tires immediately. If you notice one imperfection, there might be others. So do a little assessment and have them do the same.
You need to head over to the shop within the warranty period with your complaints, they will make sure it is done for free and quickly. Speak with the manager about the situation. Be sure to be courteous and not demanding and rude. In case it wasn’t their fault, you could burn some bridges.