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Choosing A Shop


When Looking for a Facility...


Know it is not in your best interests to seek or consider an estimate or 
damage report from a repair facility you believe will not meet your 
expectations.  As a consumer, you have a financial interest to protect.  The 
ultimate choice is yours.


Price Isn't Everything or "cheap can be expensive"

Sometimes consumers make the mistake of believing one collision repair 
facility is like any other.  They believe price should be the prime  
consideration.  However, nothing could be further from the truth,  and if you 
select the estimate that was cheapest, it can often turn out to be a mistake.


The Damage Report

The written damage report is a signal a collision repair facility holds 
itself to high standards.  All facilities do not write damage reports- many 
of them write estimates- and there is an important difference between the 

Estimates do not contain the detail of a damage report, which is completed 
during careful examination of your vehicle. This examination may require 
putting your vehicle on a lift or partial disassembly.  In any case, an 
itemized, carefully rendered damage report - the blueprint  for repairing 
your vehicle-can only be created with an investment  of time and effort.  


First Impressions

Your first impression of a facility is a significant one.  Make sure the 
facility you consider makes an initial impact that is positive. The staff 
should be courteous, knowledgeable and take a real interest in your vehicle.  
As the service representative prepares your damage report, he or she should  
take the time to explain what needs to be done and why.  

The front office should be orderly and reflect the atmosphere of a 
professional business. An honest effort toward cleanliness should be 

Choosing a  collision repair facility is an important decision.  If one seems 
not to meet your basic standards, don't  feel obligated to have your vehicle 
repaired there.  

Or you may...

Request a Shop Tour

Unibody vehicles require  sophisticated measuring equipment, metal inert gas 
(MIG) welders, and a dust -free environment for spraying  factory-type paint 
finishes.  See that  the repair facility of your choice is similarly 
equipped.  Ask  to take a tour of the facility, and while doing so, observe a 
repair  similar to the one needed on your vehicle.  You may also request to 
see a factory specification chart for  your  vehicle make and model. 

Painting Is Important

At the factory most vehicles  are painted with a two-or three-stage paint  
system that includes a clear coat.  These are  premium systems that require 
skilled technicians and proper  equipment for application.  They also ensure 
your vehicle will be returned  to factory  texture  and gloss  for a maximum 
number of years. Inquire about the  type of paint system used by the 
facility you select.  


Ask About Parts- Imitation or Original Equipment?

What  parts  should be used to repair your vehicle?  Only those equal to  the 
original equipment  manufacturers' or those originally on your vehicle.  The 
use of imitation  parts could void a portion of your warranty or devalue your 
vehicle.  Inquire what parts policy a facility  uses during repairs.  


Training and Industry Involvement

When you enter a collision repair facility look for certificates declaring  
participation in professional and fraternal organizations.  Equally important 
 are certificates from technical training courses.  This is evidence the 
business is active in the industry, involved in the community and up-to-date 
on repair techniques.  


Insurance Companies

Each insurance company had its own claims handling procedure.  Collision 
repair facilities deal with different insurance companies.  When you choose a 
collision repair  facility to repair your vehicle, give them all the claims 
information they request and let them help you deal with your insurance 
company. In New York State a Designated Representative form should be filled 
out to allow your repair shop to negotiate the claim on your behalf.



The best collision repair facilities provide written warranties on collision 
repair and refinishing.  Find out what your facility offers.




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