Summit Auto Body – Where to Get the Best Tires and Brakes Service?
Peotter’s Tire and Auto understands that, without knowing what to look for, choosing a quality auto body shop is difficult.
It’s important to select the right auto shop to ensure the vehicle is fixed correctly the first time.
It’s also the best way to make sure the shop is honest and reliable. There are many important features of a good shop, including an experienced staff and certifications.
It can also help to read customer reviews before making a selection.
A Certified Summit Auto Body Shop
A good body shop is certified by the largest auto organization. Facilities that gain the approval of the organization have proven their abilities as certification is often a lengthy process.
To become approved, an auto shop must demonstrate it has the latest equipment, qualified technicians and a proper facility.
It must also show it offers above average training to its employees. Larger associations always collect feedback from prior customers as well before issuing an approval.
Today's vehicles are made with many different types of fuel-saving materials like lightweight alloys and plastics. It is important for an auto body shop to be aware of the different materials and techniques used for repairing them.
Auto body shops and collision repair services refer to manuals for instructions repairing bumpers. The different material types require various finish materials, removal and installation procedures.
When a plastic bumper is cracked or has a small hole it can be repaired to look as good as new. Replacing the bumper is wasteful and it creates unnecessary debris for our landfills. A good, eco-friendly auto body shop will only recommend replacing the bumper if the damage is severe enough that repair time would be considered unreasonable and quality of results would be unsatisfactory.
The cost of repairing small abrasions, cracks and holes in plastic bumpers is often much cheaper than replacing the part. Of course, many collision repair technicians would rather replace the part and charge a fee for their labor plus mark-up on the price of the part because they lack in cosmetic repair skills and it is easier to warranty the work.
Working with Plastics
The first step to repairing plastic bumpers is to identify the material in order to choose the method of repair. Auto body shops use ISO codes on the parts to identify the various families of plastics. They cross-reference the codes with charts from the suppliers or by accessing reference materials on the internet.
It is important that the collision repair technician determine the type of plastic they are working with so they know the proper welding procedure to use to avoid damage to the part.
Some plastics can be welded with an airless welder or hot-air welder; others require a hot glue type of procedure. Tests must be performed and welding procedures have to be done correctly to avoid adhesion failure. Some bumpers will melt with a slight color change and they will remain tacky in the area where they have melted.
The bumper repair technician must identify the type of plastic they are working with in order to be successful with adhesive repairs. Failure to properly identify the plastic results in adhesion-related problems.
Some repair materials are based on flexible and rigid plastics. Using the wrong material can cause cracking when the part is flexed or it may not provide the correct strength for the repair area.
Cleaning and Prep
Proper cleaning and prep is critical for proper adhesion and finish. Whether the technician is repairing or replacing the bumper, the part will need to be cleaned. The bumper being repaired is likely to be dirty from the road; the new replacement part can have contamination on it from the manufacturing process.
Auto body repair professionals should use a low-VOC surface cleaner or a special plastics parts cleaner to help prevent solvents from going too deep into the plastic. If solvents are too harsh, they go deep into the plastic and cause adhesion problems after repairs are done.
This is an overview of the process of working with plastics. Time is money in the auto body industry; therefore, many collision repair technicians choose to replace rather than repair plastic bumpers and other parts.
Technology allows us to repair many items that are often replaced. As resources become scarce and landfills become over-full, we really should consider repairing rather than replacing when possible.
Auto shops can also receive certification from parts manufacturers and organizations like Auto Body Alliance, which requires the shop to meet certain qualifications.
Qualified and Experienced Staff in the Repair Shop
A good auto body shop has qualified staff with a number of certifications. Certification from ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) is especially important.
ASE is a non-profit organization that offers certifications to automobile technicians that show proficiency in their trade.
Technicians may also have certification from car manufacturers like GM, Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan, showing their knowledge and experience dealing with particular car brands.
Some auto technicians also receive aftermarket training from Bendix, Moog, or NAPA. Most training requires a great deal of knowledge and experience and demonstrates a technician is a professional in their field.
Positive Customer Auto Body Shop Reviews
When possible, former clients should be consulted about their experience with the shop. Some resources to find reviews are online, making it easy to decide if a body shop has good feedback from the public.
Reviews should mention that the vehicle was fixed properly the first time and work was completed in a timely fashion.
Positive reviews should also discuss whether a warranty was offered by the body shop and if the facility was clean and orderly.
A facility that has the approval of a large automobile association has shown a history of positive feedback from customers, although it’s always a good idea to check into a shop as much as possible.
Accepts All Insurance
Another important aspect of a good body shop is its acceptance of all forms on insurance.
Peotter’s Tire and Auto believes that an auto body shop that accepts all insurance providers demonstrates it has experience working with insurance companies to settle claims quickly.
A shop that is hesitant to accept major insurance providers is a red flag that something may be wrong.
This is also a matter of convenience and makes it easier for the vehicle owner to select a shop they feel comfortable with.
Selecting the right auto body shop requires a bit of patience and consideration.
For example, choosing the first shop available can be a disaster if the employees aren’t trained properly.
A good auto shop is clean and up-to-date with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. The shop should have positive reviews and a range of certifications for both the facility and technicians.
It should also accept all forms of insurance, making repairs easy and convenient.
What makes auto body shops so difficult to heat during the cold season? To shop owners, the answer is obvious. Auto body shops are characteristically dusty, breezy, high heat-loss environments. To make the indoor air more breathable and safe for workers, fresh air must be introduced through use of exhaust fans and/or raising overhead doors to help dissipate and eliminate contaminants. The problem is, as contaminants are pulled out, so is the heated air. Seemingly a "no win" scenario right?
So what's the most effective and efficient way to heat body shops?
Answer: Infrared radiant tube heaters.
To help answer that question, let's review what "infrared" is and how it works.
Infrared (IR) is electromagnetic wave energy that travels at the speed of light until it strikes an object. Upon striking an object, the IR energy converts to heat and is either reflected or absorbed. Dark and opaque objects (i.e. asphalt, concrete, etc.) readily absorb radiant IR heat energy, whereas highly reflective objects such as chrome and polished aluminum are poor absorbers and tend to reflect that energy away.
The most familiar IR emitter (heater) is our own sun. The sun radiates its IR energy through our atmosphere to the earth's surface, uninhibited by wind. As the earth's surface absorbs that energy, our air becomes warm.
During our North American winters the sun's rays are less dense due to the angle of the sun in the sky and our air temperatures are much cooler. But by summer solstice the sun's rays are at their peak angle and absorption is at its highest, resulting in warmer air temperatures.
Why use infrared tube heaters for your body shop?
1) Ceiling suspended infrared tube heaters mimic the warmth of the sun by warming up tools, machinery, floors and people directly, thereby warming the air indirectly.
2) Unlike forced air heaters, infrared tube heaters do not blow air throughout the space. That's a big plus in body shops where dust in painting areas is a problem.
3) Quicker heat recovery. As infrared energy absorbs into floors, tools, vehicles, etc., heat is recovered much more quickly when overhead doors are opened and closed again or when exhaust fans are cycled on and off periodically. That's because surfaces in the direct path of the infrared rays become a "heat sink". In other words, stored heat in objects re-radiates to warm the surrounding air.
4) Energy efficiency - an infrared tube heating system can save as much as 50% or more in fuel savings compared to conventional forced air. This is especially true in body shops where air exchanges are very high.
5) Infrared heaters can increase production. A carefully designed infrared tube heating system can be used to decrease drying times and enhance paint job quality. Placing vehicles in the path of infrared radiation warms cold metal surfaces. Paint applied to warm metal surfaces is less likely to run or drip than when applied to cold surfaces. And because infrared heaters don't move air around, there is less opportunity for dust particles to mix with newly applied paint.
We should note that gas infrared tube heaters are NOT to be used inside paint booths or paint mixing rooms. Tube heater emitters can reach 900 to 1100 Degrees F, well above the flash point of solvent-based primers and sprays. Spraying should be contained in a designated paint room with a filter bank and exhaust system to carry away potentially explosive fumes. Once spraying is done and the booth is ventilated with fresh air, vehicles and components can then be moved out of the spray booth to an isolated drying area where the infrared heaters are located.
Are some infrared tube heaters better than others for heating body shops?
That's where you need to do a bit of homework. A thorough review of the various infrared tube heater manufacturers can turn up some surprising differences between brands and product offerings. In your search, ask about burner design (are controls isolated from the air stream? They should be.), emitter tubing (heat-treated aluminized or cheaper hot-rolled steel?), reflector efficiency (50% efficient or 100%), and warranty (10 years is better than 5 years).