Using the Right Equipment is a Must for Auto Body Repair

When you’re selecting the auto body shop where your car will be repaired, there’s nothing more important than making sure your technicians have both the right equipment and the right training. Too often, auto repair shops skip over certain equipment and use less functional versions, resulting in subpar work that can end up causing more harm than good.

If you’re curious about how a shop does things, you can always visit to ask questions and have them explain their process. You’re going to want to choose a shop where the staff is certified and hopefully uses OEM parts when possible so that you know you’re getting quality parts that meet the standards your car did when you first drove it off the lot. Once you have a good idea of how they run their shop, try speaking to a few customers if they’re willing, or checking reviews online to see what people have to say about the quality of the work. Remember, for your safety and peace of mind, it’s better to look for quality over low cost.

As far as equipment goes, it’s really important that they have the appropriate tools for the job and that they know how to use them. There are a lot of businesses that use the wrong equipment, and it results in shoddy work at best and dangerous situations at worst. For example, many shops don’t invest in proper aluminum repair equipment. Aluminum is a popular metal to use in the construction of most cars, but you’ll find that several companies will use panel bonding instead of rivets, which is a mistake that can result in bad consequences in the event of an accident.

Instead of panel bonding, the proper tool to use is a rivet gun. We use one made by ProSpot that is approved by Ford for use on their vehicles. It allows us to both remove and install rivets. Without this tool, you flat-out can’t install self-piercing rivets. There’s no other way to do it. It’s a pretty sizeable investment, so some auto body shops will skip it altogether and use alternate methods, which results in suboptimal work.

It takes extra investments in both money and time to make sure the shop has a tool like this, but in our opinion, it’s absolutely necessary to get the job done right. Beyond spending the money on the tool itself, everyone who uses it should be properly trained, or else it’s just as bad as not having the tool at all. Take a peek onto the floor of an auto body shop if you can and note what sort of tools are being used. Do you see a rivet gun anywhere? If you’re not sure, ask.

We are always happy to talk you through our methods and discuss our recommendations for your repairs. If you have any questions at all, please ask. We encourage all our clients to know exactly what’s going on with their cars!

Windshield Installation: Why Less Is Not More

When it comes to auto body repair, one repair that you really do not ever want to skimp on is windshield repair. The price tag for certain repairs can be cringe-worthy and can make you want to immediately look for the cheapest possible option, but it’s incredibly dangerous to cut corners where your windshield is concerned.

Your windshield is a major piece in the structural integrity of your car, protecting you from flying projectiles and in the event of a collision, as well as helping to maintain the overall shape of the body of your car in an accident. If it’s improperly installed, it could pop out or shift, causing irreparable damage to your vehicle and, by extension, you and your loved ones. A bad seal could also cause serious damage if your airbags are deployed, even resulting in a blowout and a dangerous amount of glass shrapnel.

windshield installation

It’s just not worth the potential damage, so if your windshield is cracked or broken and in need of repair, don’t try to find the cheapest possible replacement. Instead, go with an auto repair shop that has a history of professional installation and quality work. You can find such a shop through business recommendations and customer reviews.

To help you understand why a replacement may cost a pretty penny, we’ll go over the process with you. It’s a relatively quick repair, usually taking about one hour to complete and two hours to allow it to seal properly. In our shop, we follow OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) guidelines, which means we typically use factory-quality glass and professional installation to ensure a good seal. While some of our windshield installations may vary depending on the customer’s insurance company and policy, the bulk of our windshield replacements use OEM glass. At this time, we don’t perform repairs on small cracks or chips.

Windshields should be installed while wearing gloves to prevent the transfer of any skin oils to the glass, which can mess with the adhesive and prevent a proper seal. There’s a method to setting the glass, requiring primer and other bonding agents before it’s properly sealed. If the job is performed incorrectly or in a slapdash way, it can cause major issues with rust and leaking along the seal, as well as major safety concerns. Please don’t forget that your windshield is you top safety restraint — even moreso than your seatbelt. If your windshield’s seal is weak, you could be thrown from your vehicle when you otherwise wouldn’t be, resulting in terrible injuries or even death. Don’t take the risk!

If you have any other questions or would like a consultation for windshield replacement, please let us know. We’re here to help!

Why Don’t Insurance Companies Require OEM Certification?

Do you know what OEM stands for? It stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer.” When an auto body shop talks about repairing your car with OEM parts, they’re talking about parts that are the same as those that were installed when the vehicle was first built. On the flip side, you may hear the term “aftermarket” parts, which refers to parts that may be similar but are of a different brand or type than those that were originally used in the making of the car.

You may be wondering what the difference is. In truth, many aftermarket parts are perfectly fine and usable in a variety of cars. However, a good auto repair shop will always opt for the OEM Manufacturer Recommendation, whatever that recommendation happens to be. That’s because OEM parts are frankly higher quality, as well as the fact that they’re the parts that were originally intended to be a part of the vehicle. When a vehicle is designed with certain parts in mind, replacing those parts with different versions can have an effect on the car’s performance.

OEM parts require a very stringent certification process, which is part of what makes their cost higher than cheaper aftermarket parts. That certification process includes requiring that technicians be certified in welding steel and aluminum, ensures they have proper equipment, and that they must use software to access the OEM repair guidelines. Furthermore, an OEM shop must use a CSI platform to track customer reviews and maintain a clean shop with adequate space. This helps to make sure that OEM parts are installed and repaired correctly.

As you can see, operating as an OEM shop is a much more involved process, but in the end it means that a car will be repaired to its original factory specs — it’ll be “good as new.”

Insurance companies don’t require shops in their “preferred” network to be OEM certified, and in fact often recommend against it. Their ultimate goal is getting cars in and out with the cheapest, fastest repairs in order to keep their costs as low as possible. We don’t believe that’s the way to do things, and we refuse to do it that way. Your car deserves better than a fast and loose repair job, and so do you.

If you’re concerned about the higher price tag that comes with using OEM parts in repairs, please feel free to ask us questions and have us explain the benefits. This isn’t a decision we came to lightly, but it’s one we truly believe is in the best interest of our customers.

Insurance “Preferred” Shops vs Independent Auto Body Repair

You’ve had an accident and you’re in need of some auto body repair. Lots of us have been there, and we know the stress that comes along with figuring out all the details of insurance claims and “preferred” body shops. We want to make this as easy as possible on you because you’ve already been through enough, so we’re writing up a quick primer to help you understand what’s in your best interests.

First things first: what is a “preferred” body shop? These are shops that work through an insurance company’s DRP, or Direct Repair Program. It’s a relationship with an auto repair shop that allows the insurance company to have a great deal of say in how a car is repaired, down to approving specific parts and labor. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the hands of the insured, since the insurance company simply hands over a list of their “preferred” shops and lets you choose, but it comes at a cost. That cost is that the auto shop is beholden to the insurance company, not you, the customer. The insurance company gets to call the shots and decide what they’re willing to allow, which may not be what’s best for you or your car.

Why do auto body shops enter a relationship like this? Because it’s guaranteed income, usually. The insurance company provides them business in exchange for more control over the outcome. You can certainly have perfectly adequate work done at one of these “preferred” shops, but ultimately it’s better for you to go with an auto body shop that’s working for you, not your insurance company.

Here’s why: any auto body shop that works with you directly is going to be focused on making you happy, not making a corporation happy. Insurance companies are interested in keeping their costs down, and if that means making sure your car is repaired with cheaper parts and a lower labor rate, then that’s what they’re going to do. Generally, insurance companies don’t require “preferred” shops to use OEM parts, which means a lot of discount aftermarket parts are used instead. As with most things in life, you’re always going to want to go with quality over the cheapest possible solution.

It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try to put you off from using a “non-preferred” shop, which is hardly surprising. If they have less control, that means more paperwork and cost on their end, but ultimately that’s what they’re there for. You pay insurance premiums so that you can receive quality care if something goes wrong. An insurance company cannot stop you from having your car repaired at the auto body shop of your choice, but they will probably try to convince you to go to one of “their” shops by making claims that outside-network shops “charge more” or “take longer.”

The true long and short of it is that if you’re insured, then your insurer must allow you to repair your car wherever you like, and once you hit your out-of-pocket premium, their coverage should kick in. We’ll do everything in our power to help you through any stall tactics so we can get your car repaired and back to you as soon as possible. We’re happy to help you with the paperwork to get your claim settled!