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.
One of the most puzzling things about shopping for relatively expensive services (more than $500) like home remodeling, cosmetic surgery, and auto body repair is the wide range of price quotes you receive for essentially the same service. When I ran an auto body shop, we would see quotes from big name shops of $2000 for a front bumper and grille replacement. Sometimes, we could do the job for $1000 and still make a fair profit.
So, was the big name shop's work better? Frankly, yes. Their painter could get a closer color match. Their body man could line up the bumper absolutely perfect...to within a millimeter of factory spec. But...was their work twice as good? Only a body man or painter could spot the difference. From a certain angle, in a certain light, he could see the slightest mismatch in paint color. And with a fine-grade ruler. He could check the gap between bumper and fender and find the slightest differences.
But could a customer perceive the difference between a $2000 and $1000 bumper job? No chance. If I could quantify the difference, it might be (an undetectable) 5%.
I'm not advocating that you choose the lowest bid every time (there are some bad shops out there), but as a former shop owner, I can tell you with confidence that it's seldom worthwhile to choose the highest bid.
You're going to want to choose the most affordable bid from a shop with a good reputation.
Here's how to find that "just right" shop:
1. Get at least 4 bids.
2. Toss the high bid.
3. Do some research on the remaining 3 bids.
4. Check online reviews: Google, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.
5. Check with the Better Business Bureau.
6. Inspect the shop...is it clean and orderly?
7. What about the customer service? Do they answer the phone? Are they polite? Do they answer your questions? Does the manager/estimator create a good, knowledgeable impression?
8. Do they guarantee their work? You will want at least a 3 year guarantee from defects like peeling and discoloration.
9. Usually, the shop will have completed cars waiting for pick up. Inspect the work. Would you pay for that work?
After you've done your investigating, circle the shops you felt comfortable with trusting your car. Trust your gut instinct! Then choose the one with the lowest bid. You'll get a repair that you will be very happy with yet spend hundreds if not thousands less.
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.
It happens to all of us at one point in time. We get into an automobile collision. Hopefully, it is not too bad and we are not seriously injured. But usually the car does not fare as well and comes away with significant damage.
What is the next step? Likely, after informing the insurance company you take your vehicle to one of their "approved" vendors.
Here is what happens next. You tell the insurance company what company you choose. By this time they have already taken phones of the car and know how extensive the damage is. They have a computer system that gives them a printed estimate stating what the replacement parts and labor will be based upon a set hourly rate.
This statement is given to the body shop. It comes with a break down of what the labor and parts "should" be and the company has to usually be able to totally fix the car for that price. Keep in mind that what is printed out represents the best case scenario and doesn't allow for items on the car that was missed or problems that come up.
Now here are some things to watch out for. Local body shops are operating under very, very thin margins and the incentive to "cut corners" is huge. Getting an extra $300 off a job can really add up over the course of the month when you are talking about doing at least 3-5 vehicles every week.
Make sure the parts being used on your car are OEM parts. These are replacement auto body parts are sent directly from the car manufacturers and are designed with the same specs as the vehicle came with. Aftermarket parts can be significantly cheaper yet are not the same quality and make not hold up the same in the event of another accident.
The frame is usually somewhat bent when a car goes through an accident of any kind. It needs to be properly realigned. Unfortunately, because the money made off one car can be very little the propensity to skip this step is very high. Later down the road this will cause your car to not drive straight but at a tilt and your tires will wear prematurely.
Using Bondo (Fillers) Instead of Replacing the Part
Filling any damage in with bondo is not bad in itself. If you know what they are doing, they tell you, and this is what you are paying for then it is fine. The problem comes in when you think you are getting a vehicle back that is 99.9% the same as before it was wrecked and it is not. Filling a damaged part in with filler rather than replacing the expensive part is a common tactic and you want to make sure it is not done on your vehicle. All damaged parts should be replaced unless you are paying a lower price for the car to just be fixed (in the case you want the cheapest price and do not care about having a car exactly the same as before).
Keep in mind that most auto body repair shops are honest and are surviving in a tough industry. The insurance companies nickel and dime them at every turn and they are made to give them at time ridiculous discounts to get any business. Nevertheless, corners should not be cut at your expense and being watchful is just a smart way to go.