This FAQ has been brought to you by:
After my collision repairs are complete, how do I know my vehicle is back in pre-accident condition?
OK, Here are the answers to your questions:
- How do I know my frame or unibody has been straightened correctly?
- How do I know my panels are lined up properly?
- How do I know my car is mechanically sound?
- How do I know all four wheels are running true with the vehicle?
- How do I know the paint is done correctly?
- What if aftermarket body parts were used on my car?
1. How do I know my frame or unibody has been straightened correctly?
- With today’s technology frame machines have a computerized print out of before accident dimensions and after, showing that the frame or unibody has been put right back to factory specifications in the final printout. The shop should give you a copy of that print out.
Keep in mind the frame or unibody of your car is kind of like the foundation of a house. If that is not level, then everything you build upon it will not be square or level; in other words there will be issues; doors won’t fit, windows won’t close correctly, etc.
2. How do I know my panels are lined up properly?
- All the gaps in between each panel should be consistent in space throughout the vehicle.
Keep in mind that not all vehicles come from the factor with perfect body lines, but when a quality shop replaced panels on a vehicle they will line those panels up usually better than the factory in most cases, because these technicians are craftsman and not on an assembly line with limited amount of time to install the panel like at a factory.
3. How do I know my car is mechanically sound?
- You know your car better than anyone, if there is a noise or vibration that wasn’t there before, let the shop know.
When a vehicles has been in a collision, it’s possible that motor mounts, transmission mounts or other components could have been damaged and not discovered during the repair process. Even though there was a rear end collision , the impact could have damaged these components and this is how they could get missed in the repair.
Back to Top
4.How do I know all four wheels are running true with the vehicle?
- The shop should have computerized wheel alignment specs that show the vehicles alignment has been put back within factory specifications.
If the vehicles pulls to the right or left, it doesn’t mean the alignment is off as that could be a bad tire. If the vehicle has a shake or a vibration, this could be a tire out of balance, bent wheel or possibly an axle issue.
5.How do I know the paint is done correctly?
- Compare finish and color of newly painted area(s) to existing areas on the vehicle both in the sun and in the shade.
On the paint finish check for dust nibs, paint runs or other blemishes that the shop may be overlooked. Keep in mind, your original finish on the vehicle may have some “orange peel,” so the shop will try and duplicate that so the vehicle looks original or your vehicle may have a totally slick finish so the shop will match that to keep the vehicle looking original. Keep these tips in mind when looking over the new finish.
Check the inside edge of the panel(s) that were refinished to make sure there isn’t a sharp, apparent paint stop lines, it should be a smooth transition from the outside to the inside. Sometimes the inside of the panel, like a fender edge, is refinished with a different, duller paint from the factory.
If you like to wax your vehicle, you should wait a minimum of 30 days after it has been painted, so the paint has time to cure completely.
Back to Top
6.What if aftermarket body parts were used on my car?
- Aftermarket parts should fit the same as the factory original if they were represented to you that way.
Aftermarket parts are parts manufactured by companies other than the original manufacturer of the vehicle.
Aftermarket parts are intended to duplicate the factory (OEM) parts at a lower cost. Some insurance companies allow for the use of aftermarket parts as a way to lower the cost of repairs. The repair estimate will state whether the parts used in the repairs are aftermarket or not. It’s up to the shop to determine that the aftermarket part(s) look and fit the same as factory and if it doesn’t the insurance company is notified if they requested aftermarket parts to be used. At that point they will authorize the shop to use a factory part.
It is a good idea to pick the shop yourself because then the shop is working for you and doesn’t have any beholding to the insurance company to use the aftermarket part(s) on your vehicle if they don’t live up to the standard of an OEM part.
Keep in mind, aftermarket parts, if you are paying out of your own pocket, can help keep the cost down in repairing your car. In some cases using aftermarket parts may keep the car from being a total loss and that’s a good thing if you really like your car and want to keep it.
Copyright ©1997-, Mark Salem,
Salem Boys Auto, All Rights Reserved