6 Steps to take before you hire a body shop

Looking for an honest body shop to get your automobile back to its original condition after an accident?  Here are a few tips to help you on your path to hiring an honest body shop.

1. Don’t automatically settle for your insurer’s ‘preferred’ shops or Direct Repair Program.

These might be perfectly good shops. But it’s best to assume that they aren’t until you check up on them. After all, if they work for the insurance company (not you), who do you think they’ll try to keep happy?

2. Make sure the shop is OEM certified for your type of vehicle.

For example, several major truck manufacturers (Ford, and others) now make one or more trucks with all-aluminum bodies. Some repair shops are not OEM certified to work on aluminum. Ask the shop if they have the OEM certification to work on your make and model of vehicle, especially if it is fairly new.

3. Ask if the shop has an ongoing re-certification and training program.

The car industry is changing all the time, and only an ongoing program of training and re-certification can keep a team of technicians on the cutting edge. I-CAR certification (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Repair) is a good indication of keeping up with ever-changing standards. ACRA and ASE certifications are good to see, too.

4. Make sure they have the right tools and equipment.

A shop without the best equipment can still repair a car or truck – but they often can’t repair it perfectly. If they don’t have a squeeze resistance spot welder, for instance, any welds could fall prey to rust contamination. If they don’t have 3-D frame measuring equipment and the latest frame straightening rig, you could have trouble down the line with your alignment, suspension, and shocks.

5. Check up on the shop’s reputation

These days, that is easier than ever. There are all the old standbys like calling the better business bureau or the Consumer Affairs Office in your county, or the Consumer Protection Office in your state. All of these can give you actual numbers on how many complaints have been made against the shop, as well as details on what the complaints were about and how they were resolved.
And then, of course, there is the internet. There are hundreds of different review and customer feedback websites you can check. Just be careful there. Most of those are essentially unregulated, and many of the reviews – 5 stars and 1 star – could be at least partially fake.

6. Lastly, ask around your friends and family.

Who do they use? Would they go back to that shop? How was the customer service? How does the car look/work now?
Of course, you could skip all that, and come straight to the Rhinelander Collision Center. But it’s better that you do your homework first. You’ll still probably end up with us, but you’ll feel better about it!

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