5 Ways To Tell If A Body Shop Did Their Job

Car accidents are frightening. Trusting a body shop to repair the damage after an accident can be even scarier. The best way to feel confident with your car repairs is to use a professional auto body mechanic that is honest and reliable. Those who don’t have a regular auto body mechanic can still be sure that their repair job is done right by following the simple tips below.

Tip #1: Understand the Estimate

Before giving a body shop the okay to get started, review the estimate carefully. Discuss the work to be completed with the mechanic and ask questions about the process if needed. Double check the cost breakdown and be aware of out-of-pocket expenses not covered by the insurance company. It is also a good idea to get a copy of the body shop’s warranty policy along with your written estimate. When the job is finished, look over the estimate again and confirm that the stated work has been finished.

Tip #2: Shop Around

Don’t decide on a body shop without a minimum of 2 estimates. Remember that in many states insurance companies are not allowed to limit the repair options to their own network of body shops. The stated prices and services of each repair shop aren’t the only things to consider. Compare the organization and cleanliness of the work areas, look around the shops for certifications or job photos, and make note of the equipment. Every professional auto body center should have a paint booth and a frame machine.

Tip #3: Look at the Parts

Mechanics are notorious for installing aftermarket replacement parts but charging the customer for more expensive OEM parts. Less reputable auto repair centers may charge for parts that are never even replaced. When your repairs are finished, ask to see the damaged parts. Take a look at the newly installed components as well. It’s also a good idea to read over the estimate again. Most body shop quotes will tell if a part is supposed to be refurbished, rebuilt, new OEM, or a generic replacement.

Tip #4: Inspect the Repairs

When a vehicle leaves a professional auto body shop, it should look like a brand new car. The car should be clean inside and out, and there should be no signs of body damage. Inspect the area that was repaired to see if there are noticeable gaps or misaligned pieces. Make sure the doors open and close freely, as well as the trunk. Try to look at the car’s underside. If there’s visible evidence that the frame was straightened, it could be a sign of a bad repair job. Another useful test is to check the headlight alignment.

Tip #5: Examine the Paint

A poor paint job is the most common complaint people have when they pick up their cars. Check the color consistency and make sure the fresh paint blends with the old. Also look for drips or overspray that may have accumulated along the edges of the car. You shouldn’t see any fingerprints and the surface should be smooth. The most obvious signs of a bad paint job are rough spots or bumps in the finish. These blemishes are caused by dust and other debris that wasn’t removed before painting.

If there is a problem, address it with the body shop manager immediately. A professional auto body repair center that stands by their work will gladly fix any mistakes. Don’t be afraid to drop in while your car is being repaired either. Observing the job firsthand can be very reassuring.

6 Essential Questions to Ask Your Auto Body Shop

Besides a home, cars are our most valuable assets, but they sometimes get dinged or damaged. It is important to get your car repaired quickly and properly whenever there are any issues. This will ensure you get the maximum life out of your vehicle and enjoy a smooth ride for as long as possible.

If your car does need repairs, here are six important questions to ask any body shop you are considering.

  1. How long have you been in business? Though length of time in business does not guarantee that a shop is reputable and honest, it can give you a good idea about their professionalism and honesty. You can also look online for reviews and get a better picture of how long they have been around and what others think about them

  1. Do you specialize in a particular make? Most auto body shops work on all makes and models. However, some shops specialize in certain makes. You may want to take yours to a shop that specializes in your type of vehicle.

  1. Will you work with my insurance company? Though not only repairs will require that you file a claim, it is still good to know if an auto body shop is willing to work with your insurance company. Even if you are not claiming these repairs, it is useful information for future repairs.

  1. Do you offer a courtesy car or a ride? If your car is going to be in the shop for an extended period of time, you may want to ask about a loaner car. If you are not able to get one from your insurance policy, this might be a needed convenience. If you don’t need a courtesy car, you may need a ride home. Many shops focus on customer satisfaction and may offer this helpful service.

  1. Do you use factory quality parts? It is helpful to ask about the type of parts they use. This may be written on the estimate, but you should also inquire about it so there are no misunderstandings.

  1. Do you offer warranties on the parts and your work? This might be the most important question to ask. Reputable shops should offer guarantees on their work. You should always make sure to get this in writing.

If you can always remember these six questions when dealing with an auto body repair shop, you will be more likely to have a great experience and get your car returned to you in pre-accident condition.

Auto Body Repair at Home in Five Steps

Fixing damage to the body of your auto is a repair that can be done at home or in a professional body shop. Body Auto Repair shops fix thousand of dents every day, from the large ones that prevent the vehicle from being used properly, to small ones that take only a few minutes for a professional. First, let us look at doing the job yourself.

It is not hard to justify an expensive professional repair with severe body damage to your car. However, small dents in your car can be fixed at home if you have the right tools and knowledge. To do the repair, body filler, also known as Bondo, is the best and easiest choice. The key to any auto repair is to take your time – if you do that, the body of your vehicle will look like new again. To do the Body Auto Repair yourself, you will need wet/dry sandpaper, some Bondo, putty to glaze with, plastic spreaders, and primer.

(1) Start by sanding the paint down until you see bare metal. This is necessary for the Bondo to stick. Sand a little further out than the actual size of the dent.
(2) The Bondo should come with a hardening agent that you mix once the surface of the Body is sanded. This hardener will set quickly, so once it’s mixed, get to work laying it on the damaged area.
(3) When the Bondo has set, sand the area smooth and fill in any divots you might have missed. This can be done with glaze putty and a plastic spreader.
(4) Sand the puttied area smooth, and begin priming the area. Make sure to tape off a large area to avoid spilling over or repainting your car.
(5) Primer needs to be wet-sanded once it is dry. This can be done with a bottle of filtered water and the same fine sandpaper.

Body Auto Repair does not have to be hard, but the larger repairs are best left to a professional shop. As for that last step, the painting, getting it done by a pro will ensure your hard work does not go to waste.

Choosing a shop for your Repair is an important decision. A bad repair can leave your car looking damaged, causing its value to go down. The worst case scenario is that the repair will have to be redone. Have a list of shops before they are needed, and make sure they use the latest equipment, and warranty their work.

Shopping in South Africa

Johannesburg, Cape Town and many other cities in South Africa compare well with big world cities when it comes to shopping.

Shopping Malls are in abundance. In Cape Town, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Mall and Canal Walk are favourites. The Waterfront has from convenient food stores to brand name stores and boutiques. Craft stores, bookstores and chain clothing stores can make choices hard. Numerous restaurants and coffee shops will provide sustenance for tired shopping bodies.

In Johannesburg, there is a mall around every corner. At the entrance to Johannesburg, from the airport, there is the massive Eastgate Centre. You can spend a day here without being able to visit all the shops. For the best bread, cakes and pastries go tot the Bread Basket. For clothes, try African Queen that specializes in authentic African designs. There are also well-know designer shops like Levi Strauss, Guess, Hang Ten and many more.

Just outside Durban, in Umhlanga Rocks, is Gateway with approximately 370 different shops. Apart from the shops which include fashion, home ware, food stores, pharmacies and many specialty shops, there is the Barnyard theatre. Barnyard is a unique South African theatre concept made possible by two theatre industry people. Today there are 12 Barnyard theatres across South Africa. The inside is rustic and barn-like, but it is still a fully functional theatre with all the necessary technical equipment to ensure a quality production. Audience members can bring their own picnic baskets to have lunch or dinner during the performance. Drinks must be bought from the bar at the theatre. Most theatres have a take away area where you can buy food if you don’t feel like taking a picnic. Ticket prices are usually lower than that of the bigger theatres.

Shopping is, however, not only reserved for Malls. Flea markets are still going strong and street vendors are all over. On the way to the Kruger National Park you will find many stalls along the roads where you can buy anything from a basket to a wood carved product for a fraction of the shop price. Bruma Lake Flea market is huge and full of interesting clothes and other handmade South African products. Greenmarket Square, in Cape Town’s inner city area, is open everyday except on a Sunday. Milnerton Flea market, on the West Coast road, has interesting collectibles and antiques. So has the Rooftop Market in Rosebank, Johannesburg. It is one of the oldest markets in South Africa, and if you are looking for a truly unique product this is the place to search. In Pretoria, Magnolia Dell Market caters for the serious crafters. Lovely pottery sets, clothes and jewelery can be bought here.

The Western Cape has a variety of factory outlets selling from designer shoes and clothes to linen and materials at rock bottom prices. China Mart in Johannesburg has a magnitude of shops specializing in clothes, bags, shoes and brick-a-brac. The prices are very low but be careful some of the products are cheap junk that won’t last very long.

Bring lots of money and extra bags for all you’re shopping in South Africa.