6 Steps to Take to Decide if your Vehicle Needs a Visit to the Body Shop

Collisions happen every day. Perhaps you were sitting at a red light and someone rear-ended you. Or maybe you were late to work and, in the rushed chaos of the morning, you sideswiped your mailbox. Should you take your vehicle to a body shop? The choice can be tricky and overwhelming, especially if this is your first incident.

Information is power. Protect your road safety (and the value of your automobile investment) by knowing if and when to have your car repaired by an auto body shop. Whether it’s a tiny dent or a major fender bender, knowing exactly how to navigate the decision-making process can help to ease your stress, save you money, and keep your car running smoothly and safely for years to come.

Does Your Car Need Repair? 6 Steps to Take to Decide if You Should Take Your Car to a Body Shop to Get Fixed

1. Don’t Put It Off

No matter how minor the damage seems today, it will grow into a major headache down the road if you ignore it. Even a very small scratch in your vehicle’s paint, which might seem like just a simple cosmetic problem, can lead to rust issues that compromise the safety of your vehicle. What appears minor today can become very expensive and dangerous later.

It’s always cheaper and better to deal with vehicle damage when it occurs instead of ignoring it.

2. Avoid the Temptation to Take a DIY Approach

Over the past decade, cars have become increasingly more complex. And we’re not just talking about in-dash touch screens or complex engine electronics.

Years ago, a body shop would simply pull out a dent, straighten out a crooked bumper, and patch up your vehicle’s paint job. Today, quality body shops are skilled to handle the specialized needs of high-tech manufacturing materials like carbon fiber, advanced high-strength steel, aluminum, and other materials used in modern vehicles.

Sure, you might be able to take a do-it-yourself approach for a simple problem. However, in nearly every scenario, you’ll want to get your car inspected by an experienced body shop professional. There’s often more than meets the eye.

3. Get Your Vehicle Inspected

Auto body repair is more than just skin deep. When your vehicle is hit, or if you hit something with your vehicle, the impact of the collision ripples through the entire car — body panels, drivetrain parts, wheels, and more.

That’s actually a safety feature designed to soften the blow to you and any other occupants in the vehicle, but that also means you can’t judge the issue simply by looking at the specific point of damage.

Even a seemingly small collision can affect your suspension or cause a problem in the drivetrain. Get your car inspected by a skilled appraiser — check with your auto insurance provider — for an accurate picture of the problem.

4. Review Your Inspection Report

This is where the rubber meets the proverbial road. When you’re deciding to take your vehicle to a body shop, your inspection report will give you full insight into the damage. This includes exact parts, whether it’s the vehicle’s paint job, or something internal.

Your inspection report will also provide the estimated costs of repair, broken down by parts. Before signing anything, read this report thoroughly. You may also want to get a second opinion, especially if you’re paying for the repairs out of pocket and not using your insurance.

In some cases, you might be able to do the repairs yourself. For example, replacing a broken headlight can be done at home if you have the skills, the tools, and the space, and such repairs may cost you anywhere from $200 to $500 depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

However, your best route is generally to have any and all repairs done by a professional. This ensures your vehicle’s warranty is maintained (if applicable) and that any additional damage is noticed and fixed during the repair process (sometimes, more damage is discovered during the repair process).

5. Choose the Best Body Shop

Your vehicle insurance company may strongly push you to go to a specific body shop. However, you have the right to choose where you actually take your car. When choosing a body shop, ask questions like:

  • What services do they provide for your convenience? (e.g. free towing, free car rental while your vehicle is being repaired, etc.).
  • What are the qualifications of the technicians?
  • What certifications does the body shop hold?
  • Does the body shop offer any guarantees or warranties on the repair?

6. Review Everything When You Get Your Vehicle Back

Two car service workers examining vehicle body for scratches and damages while taking a car for professional automotive detailing
Portrait of a mechanic at work in his garage.

After you get your vehicle back from the auto body shop, review your final bill. It should outline everything that was done to fix your car. This includes the parts used and the specific things that were repaired. Compare this report with your initial written estimate, and reach out to the body shop immediately if anything doesn’t line up.

Don’t forget to save any quotes, estimates, bills, and receipts. If anything goes awry down the road (literally and figuratively), you’ll need these documents to back up any claims for additional repairs and fixes.

Contact Tropical Collision if Your Vehicle Needs a Visit to the Body Shop

If you’ve been involved in a collision, bring it to Tropical Collision today. The friendly technicians at our Aventura body shop offer high-quality professional service to get you back on the road and have your damaged vehicle looking as good as new. Whether you’ve been in a major collision or simply have a small scratch, let Tropical Collision help. Contact us online or call us at (305) 908-5548 today!

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