For the majority of drivers, going to an auto body shop in Summit 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 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.
MUSIC HUNDREDS OF COMPLAINTS IN A MATTER OF MONTHS.
PARKING AND NOISE VIOLATIONS.
EVEN THE SITE OF A DEADLY-OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING.
(REPORTER: "AND WHAT IS THE ISSUE IN YOUR OPINION?") DARREN WYDERMYER: "UH, NO FURTHER COMMENT.
" MORE THAN A DECADE AGO, WE FIRST INVESTIGATED THIS AUSTIN NIGHT CLUB, OWNED BY DARREN WYDERMYER -- A BUSINESSMAN.
THESE DAYS, HE'S SWITCHED CAREERS.
OPENING UP TWO GARAGES IN AUSTIN CALLED "D- TOWN BODY SHOP.
"AND THE COMPLAINTS HAVEN'T STOPPED.
ROBERT:THIS TIME, THEY'RE FROM CUSTOMERS WHO TELL US HE'S HOLDING THEIR CARS HOSTAGE - SOMETIMES FOR YEARS!CASHING THEIR INSURANCE CHECKS, BUT NEVER FIXING THEIR VEHICLES.
SYDNEY:TONIGHT, THOSE CUSTOMERS ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO RECLAIMING THEIR CARS.
AFTER KXAN INVESTIGATOR BRITTANY GLAS TRACKS WYDERMYER DOWN.
AND EXPOSES HIS OPERATION.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: CRYING, "I'VE GONE TO THE EDGE AND BACK, MAN.
" WHEN CAMILO MACIEL TOOK HIS BRAND NEW FORD FUSION TO D-TOWN BODY SHOP BACK IN 20-16.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "I HIT THE UNDERCARRIAGE OF MY CAR FROM A CURB.
SO, IT WAS JUST MINOR DAMAGE ON THE FENDER.
HE WAS HOPING FOR A QUICK FIX.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "GOTTA PUSH FORWARD AND JUST FIGURE IT OUT.
"LEFT WITHOUT A VEHICLE TO GET TO WORK.
AND SHUTTLE HIS KIDS AROUND.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "I TAKE YOUR JOB AWAY AND OK, NOW HOW YOU GONNA EAT NEXT WEEK? AND IT'S NOT ONLY YOU, YOU GOTTA THINK ABOUT YOUR GIRLS.
" MACIEL SAYS HE CHECKED IN WITH D-TOWN OWNER, DARREN WYDERMYER.
WHO HAD ALREADY COLLECTED HIS INSURANCE MONEY.
AND WOULD BEGIN CHARGING HIM A STORAGE FEE FOR KEEPING HIS CAR.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "I NEED MY CAR BACK.
WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE IN? AND HE KEPT SAYING NEXT WEEK, NEXT WEEK, NEXT WEEK.
" WEEKS WENT BY.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "MY CAR WAS THE SAME.
SAME WAY IT WAS THE DAY THAT THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED.
SO HE STOPPED BY AGAIN.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "THEN HE SAID YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU NEED TO GET OFF MY PROPERTY, CALLED THE COPS.
I SAID NO, NO, NO WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?""CALLING THE COPS" ON CUSTOMERS.
IS PRETTY COMMON AT D-TOWN.
HUNDREDS OF TIMES IN RECENT YEARS, ACCORDING TO POLICE RECORDS AND 9-1-1 AUDIO.
BRITTANY GLAS, REPORTING: "HI DARREN, MY NAME IS BRITTANY GLAS WITH KXAN NEWS.
I'VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU.
HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY OF MY MESSAGES?" BRITTANY GLAS: PHONE MAKES END CALL NOISE.
"ALRIGHT, SO HE HUNG UP.
"WHEN WE SHOWED UP TO HIS SHOP IN SOUTH AUSTIN, HE LOCKED US OUT.
DARREN WYDERMYER, OWNER, D-TOWN: "YOU'RE NOT WELCOME.
" BRITTANY GLAS, REPORTING: "WE JUST WANTED TO TALK TO YOU BECAUSE A NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS HAVE REACHED OUT TO US, SAYING YOU'RE HOLDING THEIR CARS HOSTAGE.
"JEAN PELISSERO, LANDLORD: "I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYBODY WORKING HERE.
"WE FOUND NEARLY TWO DOZEN OF THOSE CARS.
DUSTY AND STILL NEEDING REPAIRS.
ACROSS TOWN AT D-TOWN'S NORTH AUSTIN LOCATION.
JEAN PELISSERO, LANDLORD: "I SENT HIM A LETTER ASKING HIM TO TELL ME WHICH CAR BELONGED TO WHOM, BUT NEVER HEARD FROM HIM.
"THE BUILDING'S LANDLORD EVICTED D-TOWN LAST MONTH FOR FAILURE TO PAY RENT.
AND IS NOW WORKING TO GET OWNERS THEIR VEHICLES, INCLUDING MACIEL'S.
WE FOUND HIS - STILL UNTOUCHED.
MORE THAN TWO YEARS AFTER HE DROPPED IT OFF.
CAMILO MACIEL: "IT'S JUST UNBELIEVABLE THAT THAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE GONE THROUGH THAT AND THAT NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE.
THEY'RE STILL IN BUSINESS.
"CAMILO MACIEL: "IT DIDN'T JUST AFFECT ME.
IT AFFECTED MY FAMILY.
IT AFFECTED EVERYTHING.
"SO WHY CAN'T THE COPS DO ANYTHING HERE?WELL, IT'S A CIVIL CUSTOMERS HAVE THE OPTION TO SUE, BUT THAT CAN GET EXPENSIVE.
AND HERE'S THE THING -- THE STATE DOESN'T REGULATE BODY SHOPS.
BUT WE'VE BROUGHT THIS CONCERN TO A CENTRAL TEXAS STATE LAWMAKER, WHO WANTS TO LOOK INTO CHANGING THAT NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION.
TOMORROW NIGHT ON KXAN NEWS AT 10.
WE'LL SIT DOWN WITH HER TO FIND OUT WHAT RULES COULD CHANGE.
TO PROTECT YOU FROM PLACES LIKE THIS.
KXAN BRITTANY GLAS.
SYDNEY:THE CAR OWNER IN THIS INVESTIGATION TELLS US - HE DIDN'T DO MUCH RESEARCH BEFORE TAKING HIS CAR INTO D-TOWN.
A SIMPLE CHECK WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SHOWS THE BUSINESS HAS AN "F" RATING.
AND FAR MORE COMPLAINTS THAN OTHER BODY SHOPS IN THE AREA.
THIS INVESTIGATION ALL STARTED WHEN VIEWERS REACHED OUT TO US.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING YOU THINK WE SHOULD INVESTIGATE, EMAIL.
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 Auto Body in the Area?
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.
How to Heat an Auto Body Shop
>> I'm Chad.
I'm a second-year student here at DCTC.
I've been an apprentice at ABRA inBloomington for just about a year, now.
Doing some frame damage,here, repair on a 2005 Ford.
Three door, got hit here,and this here was the main impact.
We've already cut the reinforcementand impact bar off.
Now, we're going to be pulling onthis frame here, to get it straight, using the three-dimensionalmeasurement system to make sure that everything else is inline where it should be.
>> I'm Gerry Rainford.
I'm a second-year instructor here,at Dakota County Technical College.
Chad's a typical second-year student, wherewe get into different levels of repair needs, from just simple door repair to, well, you cansee here, is a full unibody reconstruction.
Mechanical aspects, as well.
Getting into the air conditioning andother mechanical systems on the vehicle.
This is kind of the way that once we havethe vehicle anchored on our frame rack.
We come through and we can actually do pull out.
We're going to be doing a light pull,this morning on the unibody structure.
We're going to see if we can't repair the rails.
Typically, when they're kinked to thispoint, we would do a replacement procedure.
But we're going to see ifwe can't repair them, today.
So, we'll just kind of talk as we go through it.
And we'll see if we can getthe rails to come out.
So, Chad, please take over from here.
>> All right.
I'm going to be using these towers, here, thatare capable of pulling 10,000 pounds apiece.
Try to get this mash come outon this left frame rail, here.
>> So, once again.
We're going to be pulling at a constantlevel that's going to be straight out, to try to replace the height, thelength, and width of the rail.
So, we're going to keep the directionstraight and at a straight pulling distance.
>> And all I'm doing here, now, is justwatching as I'm pulling, going slowly to find out how the metal's going to react.
Everything reacts different,not any accident is the same.
Everything needs to be takenon with a different viewpoint.
What I'm going to do now, isjust hit this metal, here, to try to relieve some of this stress.
[ Hammering Sound ] And always while you're pulling,what you're going to want to do is check your anchoring points, again, tomake sure that the car is not going anywhere.
Make sure all your chainsand clamps are still tight.
As you'll notice, I'm staying above,not standing behind these chains, just in case anything would happen to let go.
[ Hammering Sound ] >> Let's work the backside of the railthrough here a little bit, as well.
[ Hammering Sound ] [inaudible] target.
One of the things we don't want to do, is we don't want to do additionaldamage as we're pulling.
Looks like we're pulling morefrom the bottom of the rail.
>> Than we are from the top.
So, at this point in time, I think we shouldstop, rehook, and grab a hold of the top of the clamp support and pullmore on the top of this rail.
>> All right.
Both these dozers here are run by the same pump.
So, as I pull it's going to pull them equally.
Let's get some pressure on there.
[ Inaudible Comments ] [ Hammering Sound ] >> Just trying to relieve this stress.
Move the metal where I want it.
>> So, let's get a couple ofhits with this on the backside.
[ Hammering Sound ] Right now, we're concernedwith overpulling on it.
And so, I think we're going to stop.
And we're going to regrab ontothe rail at a different location.
Once you've overpulled and it distortsthe rail, then we've got an issue.
>> We're going to cut this outsideof this rail, here off, this cap.
Just a piece of the sheet seal,here, out of high strength steel.
We're going to pull this out here, sothat way we can get inside here, too, and make proper welds and getthis metal straight, again.
I'm just going to be countered along,drill out these spot welds, here.
And then, cut it here at the seam.
I'll run a line, section it out.
>> Why don't you show them how we know how farwe need to pull by using the measuring system? Then, to explain the measuringsystem, real quick? >> All right.
As we pull out on this stuff here, toget this rail out to where it should be, these targets here measure with this beamunderneath the vehicle, measures the vehicle at all kinds of different points.
Four in the middle of the vehicle, twoat the rear of the vehicle, and then, these here in the front closest to the damage.
This vehicle, this chart here for thevehicle is specific for this vehicle.
What this does here, is it hangs targets fromthe vehicle at specific manufacturing locations.
It measures the vehicle throughout there.
You can tell that our centersection here, is good.
And the back of the vehicle is good.
But up here, we're dealing with offmeasurements on the front end from the impact.
>> We're going to take and when we getthe rails pulled back into a location by the manufacturer's specifications, we'lltake, we'll hammer and dolly all this straight.
And we'll take, we've got new components.
We've got a new reinforcement barthat we'll be welding into place, to replace the structure of the vehicle.
But we'll come through, replace the.
You want to come around over here.
You can see that the radiator condenserhas been damaged in this accident.
And it's completely, we've lost all the Freon.
So, we'll be doing an R and Rprocedure on the condenser assembly.
Then, we're going to evac andrecharge the air conditioning system.
And then, move forward with the restof the mechanical repairs at this time.
In some situations, when you getcomposite intake manifolds, like this, components can come back and dodamage to the intake manifolds, starters, alternators, AC compressors.
We have additional damage deeper in the vehicle.
And this one, we've simplygot a condenser to replace.
What's so, how long will ittake you to do this repair? >> This repair here, will take me probablyabout two weeks to finish, to complete.
Done quite a bit already.
Already had all my parts ordered.
Those have already been checkedin and identified, and made sure that they are the rightparts, so I'm not scrambling at the end of the project to find the correct parts.
I'd say about two weeks; two to three weekswould be a good timeline for this vehicle.
>> Well, thank you, Chad.
I appreciate it, taking your time withthe students and this is what we do here at Dakota County Technical College.
It's a two-year program.
We try to get you ready with the latesttechnology and the latest equipment to make sure that they're ready for the industry.
And so, they can be productive and profitablein today's unibody reconstruction world.
Thanks, very much.