Auto Body Shop FAQs

  • Introduction

    Auto body shops, sometimes called auto body repair shops or collision centers, focus on repairing the body of a vehicle. Auto body repair specialists restore dented panels, such as bumpers, fenders, and doors in addition to repainting exterior surfaces.

    While much of an auto body shop's work concerns a vehicle's appearance, specialists may also repair frame damage and replace windshields and other windows. Interior fixes include headliner, weatherstrip, and seat removal and replacement.

    Although frequently confused with one another, auto body shops and auto repair shops each focus on separate aspects of a vehicle. As discussed above, auto body shops concentrate on the structural elements. Mechanics in auto repair shops fix the mechanical and electrical components that allow the vehicle to work properly.
  • Where can I repair my car after an accident?

    If the vehicle's hood, roof, trunk, bumper, or any other exterior panel is dented, an auto body shop repairs the damage and repaints the car's exterior surface. Mechanical and electrical repairs, such as brakes, power steering, and broken tail lights, are handled through an auto repair shop.

  • What do auto body shops do?

    Auto body shops handle the balance and aesthetics of a vehicle. Technicians repair the sheet metal dents. They replace the car's damaged body parts, including doors, fenders, bumpers, and glass. Auto body shops also refinish the vehicle's exterior surface, matching paint to factory colors. Some shops can also repair a vehicle's frame.

  • What is collision repair?

    After a collision, your vehicle may require both mechanical and body repair. A body shop can fix dents, replace parts like fenders and doors, and repaint a vehicle. A collision repair center, however, offers more extensive services, often repairing the mechanical and body damage caused as the result of an accident.

  • How much does collision repair cost?

    Depending on the extent of damage, collision repair costs can range from as low as $50 to well into the thousands, according to Touching up minor scratches with paint may register on the low end of the cost spectrum, while repairing a bumper might incur a charge of $700, and repainting the entire vehicle could cost $7,000.

  • How do I estimate how much auto body work would cost?

    If you've been involved in an accident, you might first want to begin by contacting your insurance company. It will arrange for an adjuster to evaluate the damage, and its representatives can often provide their insured with a list of approved body shops. Armed with the adjuster's findings, it's recommended you get several quotes before choosing a shop.

  • Do auto body shops do payment plans?

    Each shop determines its own payment policies. Some auto body shops accept payment plans through their partnerships with specific lending agencies. You also have the option of using a credit card with most establishments. Another alternative is to take out a personal loan with a lending institution. Paying cash, however, may afford you some leverage for negotiating a discount.

  • Can I repair my own car after an accident?

    Depending on your skill set and setup, you may very well be able to repair your own vehicle after an accident. You can use your insurance company adjuster's estimate or evaluate the damage yourself. If you are determining the required parts, it's important to include replacement estimates for what's visible as well as any ancillary parts, such as new wiring.

  • Can you sue an auto body shop?

    If you document all communication and get a signed contract, it is possible to successfully sue an auto body shop for failing to complete competent work in the agreed time frame. However, recovering damages may prove more challenging. It might be in your best interest to try to reach a resolution with the business owner before threatening to sue.

  • Can an auto repair shop hold a car hostage for payment?

    The shop has the legal right to put a garageman's lien on the vehicle until the bill is paid in full. If repairs are covered by insurance, the usual practice is for the shop to require the insured to pay the deductible before beginning necessary work.

  • Are dealership body shops better?

    There are pros and cons to using a dealership or private auto body repair shop. While dealerships specialize in repairing specific vehicles, their technicians are required to meet strict deadlines that could jeopardize the quality of the final product. Private shops can be more cost-effective and detail-oriented than dealerships; however, it pays to research their trustworthiness and quality.

  • Do you tip an auto body shop?

    Since body shops build labor costs into their invoices, there's no need to include a tip. It is a nice gesture to add a little more if the shop did an exceptional job, or it provided a good deal.

  • What does an auto body technician do?

    An auto body technician's job description includes reviewing damage reports and preparing cost estimates. They inspect vehicles for structural damage and remove, repair, or replace body parts, including fenders, bumpers, doors, and hoods. Technicians prepare the repaired surface and apply the new finish.

  • What do you need to work at an auto body shop?

    A high school diploma or GED is required to become an auto body repair technician. Although technicians can find employment in several shops with a vocational school certificate, other auto body repair jobs require an associate's degree.

  • How do I become a certified auto body repair technician?

    Auto body repair technicians can obtain certification through The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence by passing an exam in each of the five certification areas. They also need to complete either two years of formal training and one year of work experience or two years of work experience.

  • How long is auto body school?

    A certificate program through a vocational or trade school can be completed in approximately eight months. Community colleges and trade schools also offer an Auto Body Technology Associate Degree that consists of completing 63 to 70 credit hours of study and requires a two-year commitment.

  • How much do auto body and collision repair technicians make?

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for an auto body or collision repair technician in 2020 was $44,190 a year, or $21.24 per hour. The BLS estimates the lower 10% of those employed in the industry make approximately $13.51 an hour or $28,090 annually, while the upper 90% earn $37.12 hourly or $77,210 a year.

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