For the majority of drivers, going to an auto body shop in Summit NJ is a mysterious experience, a scary encounter with the unknown.
Once you hand over your key, you instantly feel uneasy; will your car be returned as good as new, or will the repair specialists do a shoddy job?
How will you know? How will you be able to figure out if you hard-earned money is just being tossed down the drain?
The best way to know if you are receiving excellent service and professional care is to find a reputable Summit NJ Auto Body shop and then build a relationship with that shop.
However, most people who take their vehicles in to the Auto Body Shop are doing so for the first time. So, how do you know whether or not you can trust an auto body shop?
First of all, it is important to know that most auto body shops are reputable businesses. The majority of Summit Auto Body owners are just struggling to make a living like most small business owners – they want to do a great job on your car so you will return or refer others to their shop.
However, there are a few bad apples that spoil the whole bunch, and you need to be diligent when selecting a shop.
The first thing to do is get a referral or locate a shop online using reviews and testimonials.
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).
Create a list and call each shop to see how well you are treated on the phone.
Select three or four shops that sound good and are in close proximity to your location, and you are ready to take your vehicle in for an estimate.
You should get at least three estimates from three different shops.
The estimate may vary because Auto Body Shops may use different estimating software, but they should all be in the same ballpark. If an estimate differs by a great deal, you should ask why.
The body shop expert should be able to explain all prices on the estimate, including all price quotes and labor charges.
When you get the estimate, you should also be evaluating the Auto Body customer service:
How quickly were you acknowledged?
How efficiently were you helped?
Were all members of the staff polite and friendly?
Did the staff seem knowledgeable?
Be observant during the estimate and you will have a good idea of how you will be treated during the entire repair process.
If the customer service seems lacking, move on to the next place even if the estimate seems reasonable.
If you decide to leave your car, and the shop contacts you later to tell you about additional charges, this may be a sign that it is not a reputable and honest repair facility.
Though additional charges can happen occasionally, it is not a common practice for a reputable shop.
If you do your homework, have some patience, and get a few estimate, the odds are good that you will find a reputable auto body shop.
Once you have found one, it helps to direct all your business to them, and refer them to others.
If you do this, you will have established a good relationship, and you will no longer need to worry about finding an honest auto body shop.
The Results Are In – Who Do You Think is the Best Summit NJ Auto Body in the Area?
Some of the biggest questions people run into deal with the repairing their vehicles. Many times people are confused and don't know how to go about picking the right auto body shop. What process should I run through in picking the right vehicle repair shop? What questions should I consider?
What value am I getting for my Auto Body Repair?
The most important question in determining what auto body repair shops is: What value am I getting in repairing my vehicle here? Many body shops out there are looking for unsuspecting customers and ways to pad their bottom dollar. A lot of times body shops will offer the lowest price because they know this will attract customers. Unfortunately, from a customer standpoint choosing the lowest price is not always the way to go.
Daniel T., Vice President of National Auto Parts, in Dallas, Texas, concurs that doing this will only create more car issues in the future. "Repairing your vehicle is always about what you get in return. These days, body shops continue to push the limits of their customers to see how much more they can get away with. At this point the body shop knows exactly what they're doing. Is the customer to know the better?"
What can I do to protect myself?
A solution that's been picking up a lot of traction recently is hiring a third party to assist you in this area. There are a few good car crash consultants out there that will help you figure out what's being put on your vehicle and how the vehicle's being repaired. When looking for a good car crash consultant selecting one that gives you a lot of insight on the repair and product being used is imperative. Using these specialists provides visibility in an area with many questions.
Another way is looking for a detailed report of the work being put into the vehicle and reviewing the warranty the shops offers. When you get into an accident, every insurance gives you an assessment of the damages, take a look at the sheets and read over to see what product they've listed for use. Auto Body Shops sporadically will attempt to use cheaper parts to make more money. Requesting the use of what's listed on your insurance assessment is not unusual and will help protect against this. In regards to warranties, most legitimate body shops will have an extensive warranty and stand by their work.
Where should I look for the body shop?
Driving to the nice plush auto body repair shops off the highway might be convenient, but doing this often drives up the price of the job. "All businesses have costs and are in it to make money. With this assumption, you have to believe any cost a business incurs will be passed onto their consumer," Daniel says. Hanging off the highway, and looking more in-city gives any prospective client a better chance to keep labor costs low. Prices per hour for labor can vary wildly from $30-$100 for the same type of work. Don't misunderstand the shop may not look the best, but you can be guaranteed going this route will provide good value.
Auto Body Repair: Pull on a 2005 Ford Focus
A car is a very complex piece of machinery. Each individual part is vigorously tested before it ever goes into production models and, like a chain, relies upon every other part in order for the vehicle to function. One poorly built aspect can cause serious malfunctions leading to costly repairs, or worse, an accident.
Even something as simple as the glues used to hold a tire tread to the rest of the tire is an integral part of a car or truck. Just ask Firestone. That exact issue resulted in a costly recall of thousands of tires, legal recourse, as well as over 500 injuries and 148 deaths. All of which could have been prevented with only a little bit of testing. Be wary of new designs rushed into mass production.
Often a seemingly superficial part to a vehicle actually provides a significant amount of safety. Everyone knows a windshield protects the driver and passenger from wind and debris. Most also know that they are also designed with a thin film that prevents them shattering upon impact. What most people don't know is that the windshield provides over half of the structural support for the car during an impact. The windshield combined with the frame of the car makes it structurally safer than a car without one. Cracks in a windshield can greatly reduce their protective power, as well as obstruct the driver's view which is even more dangerous.
Replacing or repairing cracks and chips in a windshield should be done by trained professional at a certified and insured auto glass or body shop. Avoid independent installers and people who operate only out of their truck. The adhesive used dries in about an hour, so if any body shops quote you a turn around time less than that, they are either lying or don't know what they are doing.
Also, it is a good idea to know a little bit about the glass windshields they will be installing. There are three aftermarket windshields that exceed OEM and DOT specs, they are P.P.G., L.O.F. and Plinkington.
Other suitable windshields are made by the car factory. Ford's factory glass is called Carlite, and Chrysler's is Safeguard. Expect to pay more money for factory glass. A good auto glass installer will sand all the rust around the windshield after it is removed, and then prime and paint it before installing the new windshield. It is best to go with body shops that have been around for at least five years as they are more likely to be around to guarantee warranties and make repairs in the future. Many shops will also work with your insurance carrier to get you the best price on a windshield, sometimes completely paid for by the insurance company.
Body repair is another story and can become very expensive. Newer cars with plastic and fiberglass bodies are almost impossible to repair, the body panels are often much easier to just replace, and that can be accomplished by almost anyone with a wrench and screw driver. Repairing dents and rust on metal bodies can be time consuming as well as expensive. It also requires a matching paint job which is similarly expensive. If the dented or rusted panels can be removed it makes it much easier. Dents can be pounded back into shape. In addition to this, it is often just easier to work on and paint a detached piece. Some work can be done by the average Joe, but extensive body work should be done at an established body shop.