Even if it was only minor, it’s very difficult to tell exactly what’s been done to your car when you’ve had a collision repair. Yes, the part that was dented and scratched is no longer dented, the scratch is gone and the paint looks nice and shiny. But other than that, how do you know what, if any, other body work was done? Or, even if it was done, what was the quality of the work?
Not knowing what to look for after a collision repair, or if you’ve had a mechanical repair done to the car. Is one of the biggest reasons for the pervasiveness of the scams in the auto body repair and car mechanic businesses that we warned you about recently.
The more you learn about what to look for when you pick your car up after a collision repair. the less chance you’ll have of being the victim of a scam and the more chance you will have of having the repair last long time.
Here are a few key things to look for:
1. Is the Car Cleaner than When You Brought It In?
It’s easy to spot imperfections on a beautifully clean car. That’s why if anyone is trying to hide something, your car may not be completely cleaned. And we mean full-on, automotive detailing, engine and all, clean. Look for it. It’s your first sign that the work has been done as promised.
2. Check the Repaired Areas and the Areas Immediately Around Them
Using a front-end collision as an example, here are some of the things to look for.
- Check all the seams between body panels to make sure the gap is reasonable and even along its entire length
- Open and close the hood and both front doors. Listen for any unusual sounds and inspect the inside edges of the doors/hoods and the body areas they might contact to make sure there is no unwanted rubbing or grinding.
- The space in the wheel openings should be the same around both front wheels.
- Check your headlights and beam alignment.
- Check that the engine compartment looks good and that all hoses and wires are securely connected.
3. Look For Flaws in the Paint Finish
We listed this one third because it is usually the one and only thing drivers do to check a collision repair. While being smooth and shiny is important, the most difficult thing for a auto body repair shop to do is to match the paint colour of the car. Even if they have the factory paint codes, there’s no accounting from paint fade due to time.
Unless your car is near-new, body paint technicians will have to do at least some of the paint matching by eye. When you’re picking up your car after a collision repair. Try to do so in bright daylight and compare body panels that have been repainted to adjacent body panels that have the original paint.
Also closely check the surface of the repainted areas for trapped hairs, debris and paint overspray.
4. Ask Your Collision Repair Specialist
One of the final ways to check that your auto body repair was a good one is to simply ask the person you deal with to go over what was done to your car. Simply their reaction to your questions can tell you a lot about the need for you to do a thorough inspection yourself.
Of course, if you’re ever in doubt, you’re welcome to bring you care here to Leons. 40 years of auto body repair has taught us a lot about how to do it right.