If your car breaks down or you’re involved in an auto collision, finding the right auto body repair shop can be a daunting experience. Which now adds to the stress of not having a properly functional car. We want to help ease the pain by providing questions to ask before making your decision on the business you will pay to repair your car. Fortunately, we live in the “age of technology,” so finding reviews, recommendations, and testimonials of auto shops is just a click away on a cellphone, tablet, or laptop. But what do you do after you’ve read the raving reviews online? Keep reading, we will tell you the questions to ask before leaving your vehicle at the garage door!

Question 1: Do you use the manufacturer’s parts and guidelines?

It’s important to know about the replacement parts that are being added to your vehicle when being repaired. You want the best parts for your car to repair it as close as possible to its original state before experiencing auto damage. If your car is involved in an auto accident, your vehicle may need extensive repairs internally.

It is important to ask the auto repair shop if the parts being used are by the same company that makes your car. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are parts made by the same company that makes the vehicle. If the shop does not use parts made by the same company as your vehicle then they will be using aftermarket parts. These are parts produced by a different company and are designed to be compatible with as many makes and/or models as possible. Because there are many design differences, aftermarket parts won’t always provide the same preferred fit of OEM parts but they will be cheaper in cost. Also, aftermath parts may need to be slightly manipulated to fit your car.

At Liberty Collision, we use manufacturer’s parts and guidelines when repairing your vehicle meaning your car is safer than repair shops that use aftermarket parts. With over 30 years of experience, we can get you back on the road by repairing it with the parts that are made for your car to perform properly and at top safety.

Question 2: Will you do a before and after diagnostic scan check?

When your vehicle has been in an auto accident, code errors in your car may appear, involving the parking sensors, active cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and airbags. Because most of your car’s safety systems are electrical, a diagnostic scan of your vehicle is necessary to make sure these systems are properly functioning after an auto accident. A diagnostic scan checks the electrical systems of your vehicle to see the extent of damage to the electrical circuits. If your vehicle requires electrical parts in your car to be disconnected to be repaired, it will need a post-repair scan to confirm the parts have been reconnected correctly. Also, vehicle damage that requires body part replacement will need a post-repair scan to ensure parts are properly functioning.

Question 3: Do you have the correct paint color to match?

If you are thinking about freshen-up your car color, or just looking to patch areas of rust or ugly scratches, you want to make sure the body shop has your exact car color. No one wants to drive around in a vehicle that has a 50-shades-of-grey paint job, am I right? Most cars have a paint code on the plate located either in a door jamb, under the hood, or in the trunk. Locate your paint code and ask if the body shop has the exact color of the manufacturer’s paint. There will be two types of paint codes listed — one is for the exterior paint, the other is for the cabin or interior color. You definitely want to make sure the auto body repair shop will be using the same exact color of paint and not a similar color.

Question 4: How certified is the body repair shop?

Would you send your precious one-year-old child to a private early childhood center where the childcare workers were not certified in CPR and first aid? No, you wouldn’t! So the same goes for your precious vehicle. You would not want to hand over your car to a shop that did not have mechanics who are properly certified. Before leaving your car with a body shop, check to see if their certifications are on display on the wall or window of the building. One important certification to look for is the seal from the National Institution for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Since 1972, ASE has been testing and certifying automotive professionals to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service. This certification also indicates that the technicians employed with the body repair shop meet the basic standards of knowledge and are proficient in specialized areas. While certifications do not guarantee the work will always be correct, it’s a good prerequisite to have in mind when choosing a respectable body repair shop for your vehicle.

Choosing the right body shop to leave your beloved vehicle with can be a process. However, where and how you spend your time and money is well worth the research to find the right place to do business. You want to know the auto body shop is capable of repairing your vehicle, have the parts needed to reassemble your car, and that the technicians are fully knowledgeable of putting your car back together. No one wants to leave their car with an auto shop for days and have the car returned in a condition worse than when it was dropped off, hundreds of dollars later!

Our advice, ask the right questions about time, cost, and skill level in advance before signing your name on the dotted line of service. Your car deserves the best quality of care and will live a longer auto life if it is repaired and/or maintained in a certified and trustworthy auto repair body shop.

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