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Category: Auto Body Repair

A close-up of an illuminated speedometer and check engine light.
A check-engine light can mean a number of things.

If you have ever had the “check engine” light come on in your car, chances are you probably thought, “What is wrong with my car?” If you have ever asked that question, you have one thing correct, there is something wrong with your vehicle. A recent study shows about 10 percent of cars on the road currently have their check engine light on. The light has a variety of meanings and there could be a number of issues wrong with the vehicle.

Onboard diagnostics

A check engine light is one of the many lights on your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics. When the car’s computer system detects a problem, the light comes on, and the computer stores a code. This code can be read with a diagnostic computer at a repair shop to tell them what’s wrong.

What does the check engine light mean?

There are several reasons why a check engine light comes on in a car. In general, the light is an indication there is a problem with your vehicle’s emissions system. More specifically, it could mean there is a loose gas cap or the engine is misfiring. Other reasons include needing to replace the O2 sensor, catalytic converter, mass airflow sensor, or spark plugs.

What to do

If your check engine light illuminates, the vehicle should be checked by an automotive repair technician to determine the problem. If the light is blinking, there could be a serious problem with the vehicle, such as a misfiring engine, and the car should be stopped as soon as possible.

A steady light could be one of the less urgent issues, but the car should still be taken to an automotive repair shop for a diagnostics check. There may be a problem that could further damage your engine or consume excess fuel if not addressed. Either can cause more costs in the long run.

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A variety of car parts and tools sit on a black surface.
Not all car parts are created equal.

In collision repair, old parts that are damaged must be replaced with new ones. Customers generally prefer OEM parts, but don’t always know their options ahead of time.

There are three different kind of parts that can replace the damaged one.  Each one being used can really affect the quality of the repair. The three types are: 1. OEM 2. Aftermarket 3. LKQ.

OEM:

The first kind is Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM parts are created specifically for your vehicle by the original manufacturer of your vehicle. So, if you drive a Ford then the OEM part would come from Ford. Using OEM means that the part should function exactly as the part you are replacing, and provides a quality fit and function.

Aftermarket:

Aftermarket parts are made by anyone other than the car’s maker. They could be a direct replacement or something to change how the car performs or looks. There are a wide range of manufacturers for these parts, and therefore a wide range of quality. Non-profit organization CAPA (Certified Automotive Parts Association) tests and monitors aftermarket products. Aftermarket parts are the least expensive because they do not have to invest in research and development.

LKQ:

LKQ stands for Like, Kind, and Quality. These are recycled parts, and they vary greatly in quality and price. They are technically OEM, but can provide a lot of challenges due to previous damage or problems with paint matching.

Gloved hands work on a bare, lightly worn wheel hub.
Used parts can work just as well as parts from the car manufacturer, but some have problems with fit and functionality from one brand to another.

When choosing a part, technicians are concerned with the 3 F’s:

Fit: This concerns with how well the part will latch onto the car. Many parts must either click into place or be screwed in.

Function: The new part must do the same quality of work that the old part had before being damaged. A plus side is a new part can go above the quality of a new part if upgrading. The negative side of choosing a cheaper part might risk the quality of function.

Finish: This is to make sure that the part looks like it is a part of the car and not an added-on part that sticks out that sore thumb.

Most auto body professions prefer to work with OEM parts because they have met Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and, frankly, they fit better. But if price is an issue, your auto body professional will know trusted aftermarket manufacturers to help keep repairs in budget.

Your insurance company, on the other hand, may mandate that they will only pay for a certain kind of part. You may still have the option to pay the difference for OEM parts if they will only pay for aftermarket parts.

As a consumer, always be aware of your options, and ask questions.

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A man in a t-shirt and glasses looks at his phone, while leaning on a brick wall.
You don’t have to choose the collision company your insurance recommends. Do some research before taking your vehicle to a shop.

When you are involved in a car wreck, you may not have the time to research where you want your car fixed. Your insurance company may recommend a collision repair center, and it may seem like an easy solution to go with that shop. However, you have the right to choose where you want your vehicle repaired.

Look for a certified collision repair shop, which means technicians at that location have completed training by the manufacturer to repair that vehicle model.

An insurance company may or may not recommend a local body shop offers certified repair.

Using the Insurance Recommendation

The majority of insurance companies have a list of auto body shops with which they have established relationships and that meet their criteria. These shops may include cheaper prices and fast repairs.

If you decide to use the recommended shop, be sure to ask questions. Find out if that collision center uses cheaper parts to offset low insurance payments. Ask around for recommendations about that location, and do a quick search online for reviews.

Perks of a Recommended Body Shop

Using a body shop recommended by your insurance company can have benefits. Ask if your insurance provider will guarantee the repairs for as long as you own it. If the repairs do not hold up while you own the car, your insurance company will take care of further repairs.

AMM Collision works with any insurance company. Because we believe in providing you the highest quality repairs, we always use OEM (or original equipment manufacturer) parts to ensure they fit, will function properly, and that your car maintains its value.

When you need collision repair, get a free estimate for collision repair straight from your smartphone.

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auto body repairs regulation

Have you ever wondered who requires collision repair shops to be in compliance with regulations? The real answer is that there is not a comprehensive law in Texas that governs collision repair. However, there are still inspections and regulations shops must meet.

Any time you have an issue with auto body repairs made to your car, you should always speak with the management first. If this doesn’t resolve your situation, depending on the issue, there are state agencies and organizations that can assist.

Not What You Paid For

It’s always good practice to review your bill before paying and take a close look at the work that was completed. Contact the Texas Attorney General’s office if you believe you were over-charged or given repairs that weren’t needed,. They can determine if your circumstance falls under the Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act.

The body shop’s business practices need to be reviewed because it’s possible this may have happened to more than one customer.

Requirements for Body Shops

A body shop also has to follow environmental rules established by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

These rules focus on air quality, proper waste disposal, water, and other regulations having to do with the effect on the environment. The agency ensures businesses, including collision shops, follow these rules.

AMM Collision is here for any of our customers should they have a concern over their repairs or our procedures. We welcome feedback so we can continuously improve and provide customers the best quality collision repair.

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collision repair warranty

Anytime a car owner has work performed on his or her vehicle, it’s typically expected that the collision repair will last. Obviously, there’s not a 100 percent guarantee of that. This is why it is important to have the auto body repairs made at a local auto body shop that offers a lifetime warranty.

If a body shop offers lifetime warranty, this means the shop guarantees their work will be the best quality, and should anything go wrong with the repairs, the shop backs that promise.

The Benefits of Lifetime Warranty

A warranty is similar to the idea of insurance. It’s there should you need it. Typically, a lifetime warranty is good for as long as you own the vehicle. If a problem occurs with the repairs made months or years after, you can take it back to that body shop and the issue will be fixed with no cost to you.

We Get Better at What We Do

Man with protection goggles leans under the hood of a car, reaching into the car with one hand.
Our lifetime warranty pushes us to do our best work, and lets you feel confident in the quality of your repair.

The repair shop will pay out of pocket for warranty repair work. When shops lose money on repairs, they will likely review what went wrong  and learn how to correct it so the repairs will last in the future. That means that we not only want to produce our best work on your initial visit, but when a customer returns with insufficient repairs, we learn and adapt, better serving our customers every time.

Multiple Warranties

The best time to inquire about a lifetime warranty is when you get the estimate. Ask if there are different types offered. Some collision repair centers will offer more than one warranty, one for body work and a separate one for paint services. 

At AMM Collision, we stand behind the work we do on your car by offering a lifetime guarantee for body and paint work.

Give us a call for a free estimate and our friendly team will answer any questions you may have about the warranties we offer. Our goal is to provide the highest quality repairs that last.

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A green clipboard with a repair checklist, a hammer and measuring tape sit on a table next to a damaged white car.
Seemingly minor damage may be hiding more serious damage beneath the hood.

When a car has been damaged in a wreck, some of the damage will be obvious, such as a broken taillight or a dented door. What is not immediately noticeable, and may be invisible unless you are a trained auto body expert, is any damage that may be behind the body of the vehicle.

Technicians are trained inspect for damage in the operating parts and the computer system within a car. They know if there is further damage beyond the cosmetics of the vehicle. This is why it is important to get an expert to estimate your damage and recommend a repair plan.

A dent may not be just a dent

Never assume that if a collision is minor the damage is simply cosmetic. For example, if someone backs into your car and puts a dent in your door, there could be further damage inside the door, such as the power windows not operating properly.

If the dents are much larger and more caved in to the vehicle, a technician should inspect the car for safety reasons.

Review the estimate

When you bring your vehicle in to a body shop, the location should give you a repair estimate. Most repair shops provide free inspection estimates for customers. This estimate explains the cost for parts and the labor to repair the vehicle. Be sure to review the estimate and ask questions before the work begins so that you have a good understanding of what needs to be fixed and where the costs are going.

AMM Collision has a simple way to get the estimate process started. Visit our new Smartphone Estimating Tool and you will get a repair estimate within 24 hours of submitting photos. This estimate is preliminary to give you an initial idea of the cost because it is based on damage that is visible in the photos. Once a technician takes a close look at the vehicle, they can determine if there is further damage underneath the body of the car.

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A person in a suit uses their smart phone on a white surface.
Do your research before going with the collision repair your insurance recommends.

After an accident, your insurance company may recommend an auto body repair shop for your repairs. Some may feel obligated to use the recommended shop, but the choice is always yours on which collision center you want to use. Here are some pointers on how to decide where you want to go.

Choose Certified

As you choose a body shop, remember that you want certified collision repair. This means the technicians at that repair shop have been trained by the manufacturers to make repairs to your specific model of vehicle.

Insurance guarantee

Choosing your insurance’s repair shop recommendation could have benefits. Some insurance companies will guarantee the repairs for as long as you own the vehicle. If there is an issue with the repairs, they will be fixed at no cost to you. This could be beneficial in the long run and shows your insurance company has confidence in their chosen repair shop.

Deciding on the recommendation

Most insurance providers have a list of preferred repair shops. Remember, your agent can’t make you use a shop on their list. You have the right to choose where you want your vehicle repaired.

Preferred repair shops normally meet criteria set up by the insurance provider, such as meeting their quick deadlines for repair and providing the services at a low cost. Efficient repairs should still maintain quality, and faster does not always mean the work is performed correctly.

If you choose to use the insurance recommendation, ask if that shop uses less expensive parts or parts from the manufacturer. Manufacturer parts (or OEM parts) often fit and work better than aftermarket parts, and therefore have a better chance of having your repair last. Some shops may cut costs by using cheaper parts because of low payments from insurance companies.

AMM Collision is a preferred body shop with most insurance companies, but we work with any insurance provider. At all of our auto body repair shops, we use manufacturer recommended parts for the highest quality repairs. Contact our team for a free estimate or download our estimating tool on your smartphone for a quick and easy process that will get you back on the road.

 

A technician looks under a lifted vehicle.
Have a professional auto body tech look at the used car you want before you buy. They can spot lingering flood damage.

The Texas Hill Country has seen more than its share of “100-year” floods in the past 5 years. Some cars were severely damaged from the flooding. When it comes time to replace their vehicles, car owners need to do their homework. You want to be sure the car wasn’t damaged by a flood, then repaired just enough to pass inspection so it could be sold.

If this happens to a vehicle, there is no guarantee the quick repairs were made correctly by a certified auto technician who is highly trained by auto makers to repair that specific model of vehicle. Most newer vehicles are entirely computerized in function and if a car was immersed in water for a period of time, it can do far more extensive damage than what is immediately noticeable.

Know the history of the vehicle

The car’s history may possibly tell you if the car was flooded. Vehicles that are totaled after a flood are issued flood or salvage titles. If the car was repaired to pass inspection and sell, it may have a rebuilt title. But the title may not give you the complete details you need to be confident of a used car purchase.

It is a good idea to have a used car inspected by a certified auto technician to determine the complete extent of vehicle damage.

Get a pre-owned car inspected

Unlike most collision damage, flood damage is not always visible. Mechanical components and the electrical system should be looked at by a highly skilled technician. Just because parts turn on or appear to operate, they may actually have damage. The undercarriage and engine need to be inspected as well to guarantee that it is properly working.

a man and woman look at a clipboard in a parking lot, next to a car.
There are a few questions you should ask when looking for an auto body repair shop.

As a driver in the busy Central Texas area, it can be overwhelming to find a quality collision repair shop that you can trust. Getting the best value for what you pay is also important since collision repair shops charge different prices.

It takes some research and plenty of questions to narrow down the right body shop that will meet your needs. As you search, keep a few steps in mind that will help you determine which is a quality auto body shop.

1. Location

Everyone wants to find a repair shop that is convenient to them: one of the biggest factors here is the location. It may be more convenient to go to the closest repair shop, but prices in that area may also affect the price of your repair. If it is in an area where property is more expensive, they may charge more per hour for labor to cover the overhead costs.

2. Ask about certifications

When inquiring about auto body shops, find out if the shop is certified by the maker of your car. The certification verifies that the shop has the equipment needed to repair your vehicle and the technicians are trained properly. Manufacturers will train techs themselves to make sure their repairs meet manufacturer standards.

3. Get recommendations

Talk to people you know to find out where they take their cars for auto body repair. One of the best ways to find a good shop is to go where someone you trust has also had a great experience.

A woman in a floral button-up shirt leans back and scrolls on her phone in the backseat.
Do a search for body shop reviews on Google and Yelp. Keep in mind not all reviews will be reliable, but it will give you an idea of the experiences other customers have had.

There are also plenty of reviews online via Google and Yelp, and possibly the auto body shop’s site. Also, the Better Business Bureau can let you know if a body shop has multiple complaints. If there are several good recommendations for the same shop from sources you trust, it’s likely that shop performs quality work.

4. Warranty

A reliable collision shop stands behind the work it does to a vehicle. Inquire about the warranty to body repairs and to paint on your car. Find out specifically how long the warranty lasts and what it covers.

5. Ask about estimates

When inquiring about estimates, find out if the repair shop offers free estimates, and ask if they use the insurance company’s estimate or their own.

You’ll want a repair shop that provides their own estimate based on the technician’s interpretation of repairs, rather than the insurance company’s estimate of what work needs to be done. The insurance company has an interest in keeping their cost as low as possible, sometimes causing them to skimp on what is needed.

For more information related to car repair, follow AMM on Twitter at @ammcollisionctr.

Close-up of a car charger plugged into a grey car.
Hybrid and electric vehicles will save you money on fuel, but may be more pricey when it comes to repair.

When it comes to collision repair, it may seem as though repairs to most cars would be the same, but not all cars are created equal. That is why many auto technicians go through regular training and earn certifications on the latest industry standards, including electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles and hybrids have tremendous benefits including fuel efficiency. But with that cost savings comes a trade-off to potential higher costs in other areas, including collision repair.

The cost of electric vehicle repair

One of the few drawbacks to owning an electric vehicle is that collision repair could cost more. This is partly because of the expensive battery packs that can be damaged in an accident.

Some parts of hybrid vehicles are also harder to find, making repair more costly. Plus, the complex hybrid drive components cost more to not only manufacture, but also to assemble.

If the battery packs were not damaged but panels near the packs were damaged and need paint, the battery packs have to be removed for safety which leads to additional labor.

Auto technicians should also go through specialized training to repair an electric vehicle. Their technology and build are different than those of regular vehicles, and therefore require new skills. There is also an increased risk of electrocution because of the extremely high voltage in EVs that technicians must know how to avoid.

Finding electronic vehicle repair

A car is parallel parked along a curb and plugged into an electric vehicle charger.
Electric vehicle technology is always changing – it’s important to find a repair shop that’s up-to-date on its certifications.

If you own an electric vehicle, you should get several recommendations for a quality auto body shop. It is important to ask about any training the technicians have completed specifically related to EV and hybrid vehicles. Since EV and hybrid technology is constantly changing, it’s important to find a repair shop that regularly undergoes training to work on these vehicles.

AMM Collision undergoes yearly I-CAR training to keep our techs up-to-date on the latest technology and industry trends. Call us for a free estimate on your EV or hybrid vehicle.

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