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Tag: car repair

A person with a red and blue flannel shirt drives with both hands on the steering wheel.
Do I have to go with my insurance-recommended auto body shop? Do I have a choice?

Being in a wreck is stressful. Among those stresses is having to choose a repair shop. Most insurance companies will recommend repair shops for you to choose from, but you have a choice of where you want your car repaired – recommended or not.

Certifications

You might see that some shops have certifications. That means their technicians have been trained by the manufacturer to know how to properly repair that specific model of vehicle. If your recommended shop is not certified in your vehicle make, you might want to take a look to see if there are any shops nearby who are.

What a recommendation means

When your insurance recommends an insurance company, that means they have an established relationship with that shop. These relationships help make the repair process easier for the customer and allows insurances to recommend shops they trust.

The recommended shops also typically meet the insurance company’s deadline to repair the car quickly and keep costs low. However, faster is not always better.

A recommendation does not mean this is the only shop your insurance will work with, but it’s important to ask about how

Does ‘recommended’ mean ‘guaranteed’?

In many cases, the insurance company will guarantee the repairs made to your vehicle as long as you own it. Should the repairs not hold up after a certain period, the repairs can be fixed at no additional cost to you.


Still looking for answers? See our FAQs here.

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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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.

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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