Whether it’s for routine car maintenance or replacing your fender after an accident, finding an honest mechanic or auto body shop can be a daunting task. These guidelines can help you choose a reputable business.
What’s the Difference Between Auto Repair Shops and Auto Body Shops?
People often think that anything car-related can be handled by a mechanic, but that isn’t always the case. The job of a normal auto repair shop is to fix the engine components and all other internal parts, while an auto body shop is concerned with fixing the body of the car, including fender, bumper, doors, paint and frame. Put simply, auto body techs work on the cosmetic parts of the car, and mechanics repair the parts that keep the car moving.
Common auto repair shop jobs include:
- Replacing brakes, fans and filters
- Oil changes
- Engine component repairs
Common auto body shop jobs include:
- Vehicle restoration after a collision
- Dent repair in sheet metal
- Paint restoration
- Replacement of damaged body panels, bumpers and any other component that does not directly work with the engine
- Glass repair or replacement
How to Find a Good Mechanic or Auto Body Tech
In order to avoid shoddy work and long delays, you want to find a reliable mechanic or tech that’ll get the job done right without costing you a fortune. It’s an important choice because for most of us our car is our second biggest investment after our home. Here’s what to look for when choosing a repair or body shop.
Friends, family and word of mouth can be a great referral source, but don’t just take their word for it — ask for specifics of what made their experience good or bad and consider whether the type of car they drive is similar to your own.
Always look for an auto body repair shop that hires technicians with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collison Repair (I-CAR) certifications. These are industry organizations that train and certify collision repair technicians and auto mechanics to adhere to a strict set of industry standards.
Always take the time to look at the shop’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and whether they’re recommended by AAA. These ratings give you an indication of how satisfied other customers have been with the shop.
A Respectable Warranty
If an auto body shop doesn’t offer a clearly stated warranty of its work, beware. A trustworthy shop will stand by its work, and some might even offer a lifetime workmanship warranty.
Make- and Repair-Specific Experience
Be sure to consider a mechanic’s experience with your specific make and model, especially if you drive a high-end or imported vehicle. Dealership service departments will have specialized mechanics, but you’ll likely pay more for this experience than you would at a local garage.
For car repairs, check that the shop or mechanic has experience with that sort of work. For example, if you are having work done on your alternator, ask questions about the mechanic’s experience with that sort of repair.
Insurance Preferred Auto Repair Shop Programs
Find out if your insurance company has an approved list of shops it has worked with in the past. This is one easy way to narrow your choices down. At Farm Bureau Financial Services, we offer a Preferred Auto Repair Shop program. Each of the repair shops in our Preferred Auto Shop Program has been screened and pre-approved and can provide high-quality maintenance and repair services. These repairs are even guaranteed for as long as you own your vehicle. In fact, we make it so simple that we’ve simplified the car insurance claims process, too. When you participate in the Preferred Auto Repair Shop Program, you’ll only need to obtain one estimate, your service will be expedited, and simplified billing means we’ll pay the repair shop directly.
Coverage Unlike the Others
Finding an auto body shop can be tricky, but making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage is easy when you meet with your local Farm Bureau agent. Your agent will help you customize your coverage to fit your specific needs, and when accidents happen, they’ll be there to get you back on the road.