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Why All Auto Body Shops Aren’t Created Equal


Aluminum Repair Shop Area. Image credit: Author Owned

Your vehicle has been in a collision and you need to get the damage fixed as soon as possible. Should you take the same approach as you would for fueling up or cleaning your car: in other words, just bring it to the nearest shop? After all, one collision repair shop is just as good as the next one, right? Wrong.

All collision repairs and repair facilities are not created equal. Materials, methods, and skill level can vary greatly among collision repair shops in any given area. And subjecting your vehicle to an inferior shop can have substantial consequences and widespread negative ramifications for your car.

Inferior Parts

One of the most common corners that some collision repair shops cut is the usage of substandard and/or previously-used parts. There’s no good reason why your car shouldn’t receive replacement parts that come directly from or are recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts pass all industry tests for quality, strength, and durability, so you can be assured that they will work as well as the original parts do. In contrast, used or substandard parts likely won’t fit your vehicle as accurately as they should, and they likely won’t perform as well.

Some shops try to reduce supply costs by buying used or substandard parts. Others are forced by insurance companies to use


Mark’s body shop in Baltimore Maryland. Image credit: Author owned.

these parts for repairs in order to minimize the payout amount for an insurance claim. Either way, make sure that your collision repair shop only utilizes OEM replacement parts.

Wrong Parts in the Wrong Places

In addition, some auto body shops will install replacement parts at the wrong places on your vehicle. We’re not talking about putting a rear bumper on the front of the car. Usually, this misplacement involves attaching a panel, rail, or other structural component at an incorrect spot.

In auto body repair, a few inches can make a big difference. That’s because an erroneous repair could serve to weaken a vulnerable area or strengthen a crumple zone on your car. In these instances, if your vehicle is involved in another collision, the transfer of energy won’t take place properly, which could leave you and your passengers susceptible to injury.

The video below shows a poor repair, and discusses the implications for the safety of the vehicle…

Inferior Installation

It’s also not uncommon for second-rate collision repair shops to install replacement parts incorrectly or incompletely. For instance, welding a panel onto a vehicle near the wiring for an air bag sensor potentially exposes the car’s entire air bag system to failure in a collision. Plus, some repair shops won’t completely fix all dings, dents, or crumples. If this damage is located in certain areas of the car, the vehicle won’t be as structurally sound as it should be.

Finally, shoddy collision repair can facilitate corrosion and premature exterior deterioration of the vehicle. If a shop fails to paint


Body damage to a vehicle. Image Credit: Author Owned

and/or seal small spots or edges on a vehicle, it’s like leaving a door wide open for moisture to invade. Moisture can lead to corrosion, which can result in damage to the vehicle that wasn’t there before. And metal corrosion is a prime factor in reducing the lifespan of any vehicle.

Choose the Right Collision Repair Shop

Even though every car that emerges from a collision repair shop may look the same at first glance, the actual quality of the work can vary greatly. That’s why it’s vital to take your vehicle to a dependable, trustworthy shop.

Lee Emmons

Lee Emmons

Lee Emmons has produced numerous videos about the collision repair industry, including short documentaries for Mark's Body Shop's campaign to promote safety for consumers.

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