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.
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 Auto Body in the Area?
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.
Body shops say insurance companies are skimping on repairs
What exactly is an auto body shop? That is actually a good question. An auto body shop is a business that specializes in repairing autos that have been damaged in an accident.
This type of shop is different from a car repair shop. The latter shop just repairs mechanical problems. When the damage to your auto has been caused by an accident, a natural disaster, or some other catastrophic event, you will need to visit a shop that will be able to do these repairs without question.
Although the major reason for seeking out the services of an auto body shop is due to a car accident, a car or truck may also need these type of services if it has been neglected for a long time. For example, if a car has sat for a long time without running, there may be damage to the body of the car. In some cases, wildlife may have damaged wires or even parts of the auto body.
It is also possible that parts of the car will have begun to rust and show wear and tear. These issues must be fixed in order for the car to be safe to drive. In other cases, your car may have been dinged, dented, or scratched in a parking lot. If the damage is significant, you may need to take your car to body shop.The services offered by each shop will vary depending upon a variety of factors.
Some shops specialize in repairing a specific make of vehicle, while others will repair any vehicle that has been brought to them. Some shops only work with certain types of insurance companies while others may only take certain warranty programs. Because of this, it is best to call around before you take your vehicle to a particular shop.
In addition, the cost of the work may vary significantly. If you have been in an accident and need to have your car repaired, you may not want to shop around and compare prices. However, you may be able to save thousands of dollars by taking the time to do just that.
A good auto body shop will be able to replace any broken or cracked glass, mend the dents and broken pieces of the car body, and also fix any mechanical damage. Finally, the shop should be able to repaint the car or paint the part that has been mended to match the rest of the vehicle.
An reputable shop should also have staff which are able to submit insurance claims in order to cover the damage. The staff should also understand insurance deductibles and have a working relationship with local insurance agents. If you do not have insurance, or if your insurance does not cover collisions, a good shop should be able to help you with this situation as well.
The important thing to do is to get an itemized quote which details the cost of the repair. Carefully read over this quote before agreeing to any repairs. Remember, you can always go to another shop to get your car fixed.In some cases, a body shop may even have a loaner car. This means that you will still be able to get to work and run errands while your vehicle is being repaired.