What Should You Expect from a Good Auto Body Shop

Auto body repair and refinishing is an art. Finding an artist to work on your car is not always easy. A good body shop is one that is well equipped with a staff that wants to put out quality work and is willing to go the extra mile to do so. Always convey to the shop owner what your level of expectation is before you authorize the repair. This way he will know in advance that your expectations are high.

The following is what you should be concerned about when getting your car’s body repaired and what you should look for when you pick it up from the body shop:

  • Body parts should all line up with one another. In other words, the body lines and moldings of the fenders should line up perfectly with the door panels and so forth.
  • All of the seams (spaces) between the doors, fenders, hood, and trunk should be equal in space.
  • The hood, trunk, and doors should open and shut smoothly. Check that the windows go up and down smoothly.
  • Always have your body shop undercoat any exposed metal during the repair process. This will prevent rust from taking hold on bare metal.
  • The parts of your car that were freshly painted should match not only in color but also in surface texture. Look closely at the paint finish of your car. You might find that the finish is not like glass but instead has an “orange peel” or rippled surface. Compare this to the panels of the vehicle that were just painted. They should match.
  • The color of the paint should match, and should be viewed both in the shade and in direct sunlight for uniformity. If your paint has metal flakes in it, be sure the flakes match in size and density.
  • Keep in mind that a car’s finish that has been exposed to the elements over a period of time will fade. So if you paint one panel, such as a door, it will look different than the fender next to it. For this reason you should consider painting entire areas that are viewed together. If only isolated panels are painted, your body shop should “blend” the paint into the adjacent panels to avoid a sharp contrast in the color. Polishing the older faded surfaces with polishing compound will help restore the original finish and reduce or eliminate any shade discrepancies. Remember, using the exact color paint does not always guarantee that the finished product will match. Other factors such as the air pressure at the spray gun, the distance the gun is held from the painted surface, and the reducers or thinners used in the paint will all have an effect on the paint color.
  • Neatness counts. Look for overspray. Overspray is paint that adheres to surfaces not intended for painting, such as other body panels, moldings, weatherstripping, lenses, glass, and paint that ends up in your trunk or under your hood. When a vehicle is returned to the customer it should be clean inside and out. Dust should be vacuumed and blown out, including the dust that will blow in your face the first time you turn on your heater or air conditioner. Also, a clean car on the outside is important for reviewing and inspecting the finished product. Neatness is a clear indicator that a body shop takes pride in its work.
  • Insist that moldings, trim, or emblems be removed (as opposed to being taped) before painting. Removal of these parts will ensure proper paint coverage and make for a nicer, cleaner job. Make sure these parts are securely attached when you pick up your vehicle.

  • Any parts of the body that were not replaced but were repaired with body filler should be closely inspected. First of all, the panel should not be wavy. Large areas of repair are difficult to bring back to factory condition, so allow for minor imperfections. Also, the area should not show any pits or sanding marks.
  • Replacement parts. Remember that there are options when it comes to parts. The best replacement parts are those that are new and are manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) – the car’s manufacturer. Then there are after-market parts like fenders that are manufactured by companies other than the car manufacturer. These are nice because they are brand-new and less expensive than OEM parts, but they are not made as well and sometimes do not line up perfectly. Other aftermarket parts that are available at discounted prices are tail lenses, mirrors, grilles, fog lights, marker lights, hoods, and more. Your last option would be used parts. These, which are taken off wrecked vehicles, may be in perfect or near-perfect condition. Usually your body shop will be your advocate here in choosing or rejecting parts from a wrecking yard. Your body shop is not going to accept a hood from a wrecker if the hood needs two or three hours of preparation or repair before it can be painted.


Related posts:

  1. Pros and Cons of Auto Repair Shop Types
  2. Potential Auto Mechanic Scams to Watch Out For
  3. Choosing Car Paint Colors
  4. Corvette ZR1’s Exposed Carbon Fiber Parts Get Special Coating
  5. The Most Common Conflicts between Auto Mechanics and Customers

Filed Under: Car TuningGeneral


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