When your vehicle gets damaged, one of your first orders of business is to find a collision repair shop that can help get your ride back to working order. Although you might be anxious to leave the vehicle at a shop and have the work get started as quickly as possible, it's worthwhile to visit a few shops in your city that come highly recommended by family members, friends, and online reviews. Each visit gives you an opportunity to talk to a shop representative to determine if you're comfortable having the shop handle your job. During this discussion, make a point of asking these three questions.
Do You Use Only OEM Parts?
OEM, which stands for "original equipment manufacturer," is a term given to parts made by the company that manufactures your vehicle. Some collision repair shops work only with OEM parts, while others use generic aftermarket products in order to save money. While there's not necessarily anything wrong with aftermarket products -- and they can help lower the cost of the repair bill -- it's useful to know the type of parts the shop is using before your commit to giving it your business. When in doubt, you can't go wrong with a shop that works only with OEM parts. After all, these are the parts specifically designed with your vehicle in mind.
Do Your Mechanics Have Training Provided By My Car's Manufacturer?
Collision shop mechanics are constantly updating their training, and many shops send their staff members to courses offered by various automotive manufacturers. Even if a shop's mechanics are properly certified, it's ideal to give your business to a shop that can demonstrate that its mechanics have learned directly from your vehicle's maker. Obtaining this confirmation verbally is important, but it's useful to look for any certification that solidifies this information. Typically, it should be hanging on the wall in the collision repair shop's office.
Do You Work With An Auto Rental Company?
While you can certainly arrange the rental of a replacement vehicle on your own while your car is in the shop, it's ideal to visit a shop that has a working relationship with a local auto rental company. This means that when you drop off your vehicle, there will be a rental vehicle waiting for you in the shop lot -- no need to have a family member pick you up and drive you to a rental center. Many car insurance policies cover a replacement vehicle rental, and having it available through the shop saves you some extra steps.