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Knowing a few things about auto body repair will help e... Knowing a few things about auto body repair will help ensure that your car is back on the road in tip-top shape (Getty Images).
Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. With millions of drivers on the road every day, many of them distracted by phone calls, messy burritos, bad weather or lack of sleep, crashes are inevitable. Luckily, most of these accidents are relatively minor and nobody gets injured.

But a minor accident can seriously damage the outside your car. Areas like the fenders and doors are especially susceptible to damage.

While it's generally the insurance company's job to get your car patched up and back on the road when this happens, there are a few things you should know in order to ensure that your car is properly fixed.

1. You can choose the body shop

Insurance companies can refer you to shops that they work with, but ultimately you can choose who does the work. Most insurance-recommended body shops are reputable and perform high-quality repairs, but there are a few bad eggs out there that cut corners to get the job done faster and cheaper. These shops will entice insurance adjusters with lower repair costs, but that could result in a shoddy repair. Before agreeing to get your car fixed at an insurance-recommended shop, do some research online by searching Yelp or other sites with small business reviews.

2. Avoid aftermarket parts

When you take your car in for repair, you should inquire about the replacement parts that are being used by the body shop. Body shops may use new original parts, used parts or aftermarket parts. While used parts were made by your vehicle manufacturer and perform as well as new original parts, aftermarket parts are often cheap imitations with inferior quality. These parts can corrode, rattle and ultimately diminish your car's value.

3. Carefully examine paint match

All too often, you see cars on the road with body panels that don't match in color. Matching a newly painted body panel to the rest of your car is a difficult challenge, and sometimes there can be a big, obvious difference in shade. When you pick up your car from the body shop, ask which panels are original and which ones were painted. Step back ten feet from the car and see if there's a difference in color. If there is, there may be additional paint work necessary to get a better match.

4. Check warning lights

After an accident, there are a number of warning lights that may turn on in your dashboard. These can include the airbag light, the low coolant light, the check engine light and others. When you pick up your finished car, make sure all of the problems have been corrected and none of the lights are illuminated. Illuminated lights can indicate that your car's on-board computer may need to be reprogrammed, or that certain electrical components need replacement.

Stan Markuze is the founder of PartMyRide, an online marketplace for original used auto parts.


How to Make Sure Insurance Pays For Car Repairs


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      Sergio Freddson
      • 5 Months Ago
      I didn't realize that you could use after-market parts for body work. That seems like it could be quite problematic. Is there any time where it would be appropriate to opt for an after market part though? Say, when your car is already at an extremely low market value and only has a few years of life left in it for example? These were great tips, I'll have to keep these in mind as I get ready to repair my old Ford Focus. Thanks for sharing! http://www.highwoodautobody.com
        Marcus Fillion
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Sergio Freddson

        If your car is on its last legs, then I don't think there's any harm in using cheaper parts. There's no reason to spend additional money when you're not going to extend the life of the car. When I've gotten into accidents with junker cars, I've usually ended up taking them to the junkyard rather than paying for a repair. www.birchmountcollision.com

        Marcus Fillion
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Sergio Freddson

        If your car is on its last legs, then I don't think there's any harm in using cheaper parts. There's no reason to spend additional money when you're not going to extend the life of the car. When I've gotten into accidents with junker cars, I've usually ended up taking them to the junkyard rather than paying for a repair. www.birchmountcollision.com

      jable
      • 1 Year Ago
      JT auto service is now in rockville Md. close to the metro at twinbrook. 35 years experience . Experts at matching and blending your paint. Award winning show paint jobs and collision repair. Friendly too Thanks for explaining about the insurance "steering" shops. Unfortunately people think they have to go there. Not so.
      Kent Clark
      • 6 Months Ago

      I like that you made the point that we can choose the shop. That being said, what should I look for when hiring somebody? There are so many car repair shops out there. I don't want to make the wrong decision. <a href='http://www.southsideautorepairlex.com/services.html' > http://www.southsideautorepairlex.com/services.html</a>

      Gaston Parizeau
      • 5 Months Ago

      I do always have to wonder how some cars I see ended up with a mismatched paint job. I guess you need to pay close attention that the shop uses exactly the same paint color. Ideally the shop would be careful to do this, but that's obviously always the case and the responsibility become the car owner's.

      Gaston Parizeau | http://www.highwoodautobody.com  

      Ashley Reed
      • 2 Months Ago

      I always just went to whatever auto shop my insurance told me to go to. This time I'm going to do some research for it and go to a shop that I want. Someone messed up the paint on my car and dented the back of it. I'm hoping to get it all fixed up in the next few weeks, I have family coming into town and I want the car looking nice.  http://autobodyomaha.com

        Marcus Fillion
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Ashley Reed

        I agree, I always go to the first auto shop on the list. That hasn't always gotten me the best deal, though. I really need to start researching the options beforehand. It might take more time, but it's worth the effort if you save money. www.bluevalleygarage.com

      Marcus Fillion
      • 2 Months Ago

      Messy burritos can be very distracting, I agree.  Whatever the reason, though, the outcome is the same. If your car is damaged, there are body repairs that can really only be completed by a shop. For repairs like that, it's important to check all the local shops and choose the one with the best reviews. www.collisionsplus.com

      sergeduval
      • 1 Month Ago

      Paint match really is important. I've seen a lot of cars with a paint color that didn't quite match up. As mentioned, it's also important to assess all the warning lights. Nobody likes to be in an accident, even if it's minor. These are great things to consider when dealing with the process. Thanks for sharing!

      www.colormeltautobody.com

      Zel
      • 1 Year Ago
      I prefer used OEM parts over many aftermarket parts. Some good shops will demand OEM parts from your insurance company to repair the car correctly. At the very least, they should give you the option to pay the difference. Insurance companies like to bully you into using their "preferred" shops by telling you they cant guarantee the shops work, not approving the rental car for the time the shop says it needs, and by not approving supplements fast, leading to delays and more rental car costs. Do not let them scare you. Your car is your investment, have it repaired correctly.
      Caroline Danvers
      • 6 Months Ago

      This is a really good article with some good tips. Getting a car repaired is sometimes a headache, but a good repair shop can make a world of difference; especially one that is patient and works well with insurance companies. With a good repair shop you honestly cannot tell that a car was even in an accident.  

      <a href='http://www.aokautobodyandglass.com' >

      http://www.aokautobodyandglass.com</a>

      Marcus Fillion
      • 5 Months Ago

      The paint match tip seems like a no-brainer, but people don't take advantage of it. Always make sure you know exactly what you're getting when you go in for auto repair. Even if someone else's insurance is paying for the damage, you can still choose where you go. www.bobsrepairsabbotsford.com

      Phillius Thomas
      • 3 Months Ago

      Crashes are never fun. Getting the car fixed afterwords can be difficult, but something that needs to be done. Or you could get a new one if it's to badly damaged.

      bgautobodycollisionrepair.com

      Jim Sanders
      • 2 Months Ago
      I've never had a good experience with aftermarket parts. In my experience, sticking to what's meant for your car is the best way to go, especially if you're a Volkswagen guy like I am. Some cars will do better with it, but overall it's probably best to avoid them.

      Jim  | http://alloutcustomsandcollision.com/auto-body-repair/
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