Your car is damaged so of course you’re taking it to a repair shop. But how will you know if they did a good job? Rather than wait for some car problem to occur, you need to be prepared and know what to expect before going to an auto repair shop.
Make Sure Everything’s Clear
Tell the shop what you want done with your car, and put everything in writing. Second, get information about the warranty. Make sure you have a copy of your agreement or ask for the documents when you come back so you can check if they did the repairs you asked.
This might seem like a lot of work, but a reputable auto body shop will be more than willing to accommodate your request, and the best ones walk the car owner through every step of the repair process, so don’t settle for anything less.
Your Car Should Be Cleaned
This might seem like a no-brainer, but not all body shops include this service so make it clear to them that you expect the car to be cleaned, washed and vacuumed when you pick it up. A body shop should do more than just repair the car: part of the service must include removing any dust, dirt and any old components in the trunk. There are even some body shops that clean the engine compartment and take precautions like using masking tape to shield different parts.
There are two types of inspection: general and up close. Do the general inspection first, and if the car looks good, examine closely the areas you asked to be repaired. Start by looking at the body panel gaps, and if the gaps are uneven, then the parts were poorly put together. Next, open the doors and make certain they open and shut properly and are aligned correctly.
Inspecting Front End Damage
Heavy front end damage can be tough to fix, but there are ways to find out. One of the things you can do is measure the distance between the fender and the tire: if it’s narrow on side and wide on the other, something wasn’t done right. Another test you can do is to turn the headlights on and check if the light beams are properly aligned.
If your car sustained a hit up front there’s a good possibility the frame got bent and must be straightened. In such cases the shop might use something called the rack to straighten it up, and if that happens don’t forget to check under the vehicle and look for marks or scars indicative of poor work.
Aside from the visual inspection you should also ask for the automated printout of the frame specs. The printout is used by the shop to measure the damaged area before and after repairs, and the dimensions need to be the same. This is one of the most effective methods of determining if the repair job was done right so always ask for it.