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It’s always a sickening moment when you hear the crunch of bumper against post, the scrape of paintwork on wall or the bang of impact with another vehicle. Naturally you want your car restored to pristine condition so when it comes to repairing bodywork you need to find a specialist. The car repair business has changed in recent years. These days the cost of buying a car is relatively low but, thanks to changing materials and technology, they’ve become more expensive to repair. That makes insurance companies more inclined to write off a vehicle for what may seem like relatively minor damage.

You’re going to spend a lot of money on repairs, even if it’s your insurance company that’s paying, so you need to make sure you get good value. As with any major job it’s worth getting several estimates for the work. Remember you’re not obliged to use the repairer recommended by your insurer; you’re free to get estimates for getting the job done elsewhere.

Find the Right Repairer

Start by researching the body shops in your area. It’s worth asking friends and colleagues for recommendations. Look for customer feedback online too and check independent consumer websites as well as the company’s own page. Check how long they’ve been in business, a long established company is likely to have a reputation to protect. Your research continues when you go to get your estimate. Have a look at the workshop, is it clean and tidy? Are there certificates from training courses and approved trade bodies on the walls? How much other work is going on? Don’t be put off by smaller premises, this may well be the sign of a business with lower overheads and therefore able to offer a better price.

When the job is assessed make sure you understand exactly what’s going to be done; don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure. Query any items that you suspect may not be strictly necessary and have been used to pad out the estimate. Be wary if you’re told there may be damage that they can’t see until they start to take things apart. An experienced body shop should be able to make a pretty good assessment of hidden damage based on the external condition.

Check what type of spares they’re going to use too. Unscrupulous garages will charge for manufacturer parts when in fact they’ll use cheaper third-party alternatives. Ask if there’s a warranty on repairs that have been carried out. Find out what is and isn’t covered and how long any guarantees last.

After the Job

After the repair when you go to pick up the car do so in daylight so that you can inspect it properly. Have them walk you round the vehicle and explain what’s been done. Check that the colour of any repainted panels matches the rest of the car and that the paint is free from specks and other imperfections. Also look closely at the panel gaps around doors; make sure they’re roughly equal on both sides of the car and the same goes for dimensions like the gap between the tyre and the wing. If you suspect the shell of the car may have been twisted or distorted ask to see the printouts from computerised alignment jigs to make sure it’s back to the manufacturer’s spec. Finally ask to see the parts that have been removed in the course of the repair.

If you spot any problems raise them straight away. Once you’ve accepted the car and taken it away it will be much harder to get them to rectify any problems. If your insurer is paying you should also inform them if you’re not happy with the repair.

Whether your car has a minor dent or major accident damage it pays to take time selecting the right company to do body repairs. You’ll make sure the job gets done properly and for a fair price.

car body repair is a specialist job and therefore it is worth taking your time to find somewhere that will do them properly.