Despite rudimentary knowledge of their vehicle, many drivers don’t understand every nut, bolt, and belt under the hood, which means they must place a significant amount of trust in their auto body technicians. You might hear your car making a strange sound when you turn a corner, or it might have trouble starting in the morning, even when it’s not cold outside. What do these issues mean, and what steps will your auto body shop take to fix them?
Even though you might not know exactly what’s going on with your vehicle, there are some questions you can ask us when you bring your car in for service that can help you feel confident that you’ve chosen the right auto body shop. As the customer, you get to choose which auto body shop will earn your business, and the following recommendations can help you select the best auto body techs for the job.
Ask for Details About the Problem
If you’re unsure what’s wrong with your car and need a technician to diagnose the problem, you might need to leave the car at the auto body shop for a few hours. Don’t hesitate to ask for details when the auto body shop calls you to explain the problem.
If the technician tells you that the problem is in the engine but doesn’t expand on the exact problem, don’t hesitate to ask for further information. You might find it helpful to ask for details about why the problem happened, especially if it didn’t result from an accident. The body shop might recommend that you get more frequent oil changes or that certain parts have a high likelihood of failure after a certain number of miles.
Get Specifics About the Repair
After the technician diagnoses the problem, they’ll work on fixing it. If you’re not sure what that repair process will entail, ask them for details. Trustworthy shops will always explain the steps they’ll take to fix the problem.
If the technician is evasive or can’t tell you exactly why they might need your vehicle for a week and need to charge for 20 hours of labor, that’s a red flag. For example, consider the following questions if you need an auto body shop to replace a bumper on your car because you had a collision with another vehicle.
- What are the steps you’ll take to fix the problem?
- What parts will you order or use to conduct the repair?
- What function do these parts perform?
- Why is it necessary to replace these parts?
Tip: You can modify these questions for almost any repair to get the details you need about the job.
Get an Itemized List of Parts and Repairs
Before beginning work on your vehicle, your auto body shop or mechanic should give you an estimate of the parts and costs associated with the repair. If you have a dented bumper from a collision, you might have damage that isn’t visible from a casual surface inspection.
The repair might require more than a sanding machine and some paint. Your body shop may also need to replace a support structure under the bumper. Your itemized list of repairs should include all the parts the shop estimates it will use to complete the repair, as well as the expected total cost.
Unforeseen issues may increase the cost of the repair or the length of time the shop must keep your vehicle. Always ask for a full explanation of why the shop needs the car so you’re not left guessing about the cost or timeline.
If You Don’t Understand, Ask for Clarification
Some repairs aren’t challenging to understand, but if you’re at all confused about the function of a particular part or the reason for a repair, do ask your auto body shop for information. Your auto body shop or mechanic can expand on why your car needs a specific repair, as well as the reason for the cost.
You don’t need to act like an expert on auto body repair when speaking with your auto body technician or the shop owner. It’s far more critical to get the clarification you need rather than pretend you know everything about your vehicle.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Second Opinion
You’re under no obligation to have your car fixed by the first auto body mechanic who diagnoses your vehicle. If you’re unsure about the repairs, don’t hesitate to ask another shop for a diagnosis. Just as you might get a second opinion from a doctor about a health issue, you can also do the same regarding your vehicle.