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7 Things Auto-Body Shops Won’t Tell You

If you get into an accident, there are several things that are useful to know before you head to the body shop.

#1. A Fender Bender Can be Expensive to Repair

If you’ve gotten into a literal fender bender and it’s deemed that you’re the one at fault, you may be surprised at the cost of replacing a fender – even after the $500 deductible. The average fender replacement can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,600 after the costs of installation and painting. On vehicles with carbon fiber fenders, that cost can be as much as $5,000 to replace.

#2. Approved Shops are Often Obliged to Work on Behalf of Insurance Companies

Auto insurers contract with auto body shops to repair vehicles for a pre-negotiated rate; sometimes this includes practices like require low hourly labor rates, or making the shop pick up the cost of the rental car. Insurers often give customers so many discounts that it makes it impossible for shops to make much of a profit, causing some companies to feel tempted to cut corners.

#3. Not all Replacement Parts are Equal

OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are designed to match your make and model of vehicle exactly. Insurers generally prefer shops use generic, lower quality, or salvaged parts because they’re less expensive. If you’re at fault for an accident, you may be bound by your insurance policy to use these lower quality parts, however, if someone else is at fault be sure to tell your auto body shop to use OEM parts.

#4. The Due Date May Be Exaggerated

Mechanics often take on more work than they can handle but may blame it on things like parts being delayed. Before you choose a shop to do your body work, it’s always a good idea to check their online reviews to make sure that they deliver what they say they will.

#5. A Rental Car Can be Expensive

Renting a car is convenient if you’re going to be without your vehicle for an extended period of time, however, the costs can add up quickly. Renting a car for three weeks could cost $1,000 or more. Even if you have rental car insurance, your daily reimbursement may be limited to the cost of a compact car. Make sure your rental car insurance is comparable to the size of car you’re having repaired.

#6. Choose a Shop That Specializes in Your Type of Vehicle

Many European cars have precision parts and use types of metal that require specialized equipment to repair it. You should always take your car to a shop that’s certified by the manufacturer to work on your specific vehicle. Going to a manufacturer certified shop ensures the shop will understand your vehicle and have the right tools and parts to properly repair it back to manufacturer’s specifications. These shops do generally charge higher rates, so insurers won’t necessarily recommend them – but they should still be willing to pick up the tab.

#7. The Insurer’s Warranty Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Much

Insurers will sometimes exaggerate warranties on parts, for example, saying that they’ll be good for the life of the vehicle. This can be a tactic to urge consumers to go to a shop within their network. In reality, the body shop’s guarantee is the one that you should trust. Most shops guarantee their work, and most manufacturers guarantee their parts – those are the warranties that truly matter.

What Does MOPAR Stand For?

At Cline Auto Collision, we’re a MOPAR auto body shop, but what does that actually mean?

What is MOPAR?

MOPAR was named by combining the words “motor” and “parts.” MOPAR is the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FAC) Global Service and Parts division that’s responsible for manufacturing and distributing authentic replacement parts, components and accessories for Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles. Despite being a department within the Fiat Chrysler organization, many car owners refer to all vehicles produced by them as MOPAR.

What is a MOPAR Shop?

As a MOPAR auto body shop, this means we only use OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts for all FAC repairs. The label of MOPAR is the same as saying that we’re FAC certified and means FAC has acknowledged that we meet their strict standards for repairing all makes and models manufactured by them. We make sure not only to use OEM parts but also to follow factory approved procedures and recommended equipment for every FAC repair job.

Why Use MOPAR Parts?

It’s crucial to use MOPAR parts for your FAC vehicles because every part is engineered specifically for your car. While aftermarket or generic parts can cut costs significantly, they may be of poor quality, fit irregularly, or may even potentially alter the appearance or structural integrity of your vehicle. Using MOPAR parts will ensure you receive high-quality repairs that restore your vehicle to factory standards while keeping your vehicle safe and reliable. If you’re in need of repairs for your FAC vehicle, contact Cline Collision Center! We’re proud to be a MOPAR auto body shop offering superior repairs that will make your vehicle look and feel like new.

Do Insurance Companies Have to Use OEM Parts?

Insurance companies are a business, and like many businesses, they’re interested in maximizing profitability. This means that when insurers contract with auto body shops, there may be a tendency for them to urge auto shops to use generic parts in an effort to cut costs – particularly if you were the one at fault for the accident. In some instances, insurers may even offer auto repair shops kickbacks for using non-OEM parts. Don’t assume that your insurance coverage automatically covers OEM parts; most likely it doesn’t.

Can I still Use OEM Parts if They’re Not Covered?

If OEM parts are a deal-breaker for you, it’s recommended you find an insurer that covers them, however, even if yours does cover them, they may not be an automatic option on a standard policy. You’ll most likely need to request the coverage or even pay an additional fee. Then there’s the issue of older vehicles or discontinued models; there simply may no longer be OEM parts available. In this case, a body shop only has options to use aftermarket or used parts, regardless of the coverage you have.

If OEM parts aren’t covered by your insurance, you don’t necessarily have to go with aftermarket parts; you have the option of paying the difference between the cost of OEM and aftermarket. Your insurance will cover the price of aftermarket parts, and you can tell us that you want OEM parts for your repair instead. You’ll be fully responsible for covering the difference in cost, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the parts used in the repair are specific to your individual make and model. The cost difference can sometimes be significant, so be sure to budget accordingly for the work that you’re having done.

If you have any questions about the insurance process, requesting OEM parts, or about OEM parts in general, give us a call today! We’re always happy to address any questions you may have.

What is an OEM Authorization Certificate?

If you’re searching the net for auto body shops, you may have noticed that some of them say they’re OEM certified. There used to be two types of shops you could go to for repairs: auto dealerships and independent body shops. The main difference was that dealerships were typically pricier, but they offered higher quality repairs than body shops. There’s now a third choice: OEM certified or authorized body shops.

OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer; when a shop receives an OEM Authorization Certificate, it means that the auto body shop has been recognized by manufacturers as working within their repair parameters. This means the shop uses only factory-approved parts, follows factory-directed procedures for repairs, and has the proper equipment to complete the repairs within factory specifications.  It also means that all the technicians are fully trained in all aspects of OEM procedures.

Why does being OEM certified make a difference for your repairs? Our technicians are experts on each of the manufacturers, makes and models that we’re OEM certified to work on. They understand the different materials used by each manufacturer, the best tool for the job, and the best procedure to use to make a high-quality repair. For example, the Ford F-150 has an aluminum frame; aluminum requires different equipment to make repairs than a vehicle that uses a steel frame. Since we’re OEM certified by Ford, we have the proper equipment to perform an ideal repair, returning your vehicle back to factory standards. 

At Cline Collision Center, we’re OEM certified to work on a Ford, Fiat, Chrysler, Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, and Honda. This means each of these manufacturers has fully recognized that we meet or exceed all OEM repair standards set forth by them. Our technicians are highly trained on OEM procedures and are certified through the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (II-CAR), considered the gold standard of auto body certifications. 

If you have any questions about OEM authorization certification and how it may relate to repairs your vehicle needs, feel free to give us a call. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Does my windshield need to be replaced or repaired?

Ouch! A rock just hit your windshield, leaving a chip right in front of your face. Let’s hope it doesn’t spread. You’re probably wondering, does my windshield need to be replaced or repaired? Windshield repair or replacement depends on the size, location and severity of the damage. Most windshield repair shops can repair quarter-sized rock chips and cracks up to three inches long. There can be exceptions, so don’t assume the worst just yet if your rock chip is slightly bigger.

A windshield repair involves injecting a premier resin right into the chip or crack to fill the crack, so it does not progress. This injection also makes the chip or crack less noticeable as well. Make sure your vehicle is checked out by a certified repair and/or replacement facility. We find nowadays those that are not certified, often do not have the trained eye to steer you in the right direction. For example: you’ve seen those glass repair pop ups in parking lots from time to time, right? They only do windshield repair, not replacement. They’ll likely “repair” your windshield because they do not want to lose your business by recommending what you actually need. Which is a replacement. Make sure any repair or replacement facility is certified. We recommend doing your windshield repair or replacement as soon as possible. The longer you let your windshield sit (even if you’re not actually driving the car around town), the more likely you are to need a replacement.

Windshield repairs are much less expensive than replacements. There are unfortunate circumstances where you do everything right yet still need replacement. However, your auto insurance company may pay for either entirely. Many policies cover windshield damage 100% without even meeting the deductible. Broken or damaged windshields are the most common reason for pursuing an automotive insurance claim in the U.S. Many auto claims start with a baseball hitting the windshield, or destructive hail. Just remember, the most important thing to do after your vehicle’s windshield has been struck by a rock is to take it in to your local auto glass expert. Or, give them a call and ask if you can email them photos, so you’re not out driving around and making the damage worse.

Cline Collision Center is an auto body repair facility located in Santa Rosa, CA. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Give us a call at 707-591-9909 to learn more about what we have to offer you and your vehicle, today. Or, stop by for a free estimate!   

Is it better to repair or total a car?

This question all depends on your specific situation. For this post let’s assume your vehicle is borderline total loss. We’ll run through some scenarios to help you decide, below.

1.     I am upside down on my car loan

In this case it makes more sense to repair your vehicle. Nobody wants to pay for something they no longer own. The downfall here is when you try to sell the vehicle after it is paid off you will not be able to sell it with a clean title. However, you might make up for it with how great the vehicle looks after it has been transformed by a professional body shop.

2.     I just spent thousands at the automotive repair shop

Since you just put a lot of money into it mechanically, depending on the wreck it may still be a mechanically sound car. If you were rear ended this car would need some mechanical help, but not nearly as severe as if the whole front was smashed in. This is one you want to keep driving to get your money’s worth since you likely won’t make up for it selling it with a salvaged title. Plus, if you were to sell this one, you might end up with a used vehicle with thousands of dollars of problems. You should keep the one you know is running well in this scenario.

3.     I love my car

This is a reason you should keep your vehicle. Repairing your vehicle is cheaper than taking out a loan or paying monthly payments on a brand-new vehicle. It is often in the best interest of the insurance company to total a car, so you will need to look out for your own best interests.

4.     I do not love my car

This goes back to would you rather pay to fix it, or have monthly payments for a new car? Another option is to take the buyout of your old vehicle and put it towards another used vehicle. You might be thinking, well my buyout will be minimal. Always keep your receipts from repair shops. You can give this information to the adjuster and they will take it into consideration when determining the settlement you get for your total loss. If you do purchase a used vehicle, make sure you take it in to a trusted repair shop for a pre-purchase buyers’ inspection. The last thing you want after getting in an accident is to purchase a vehicle with thousands of dollars in problems. Cline Collision Center is a 5-star auto body repair facility located in Santa Rosa, CA. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Give us a call at 707-591-9909 to learn more about what we have to offer you and your vehicle, today. Or, stop by for a free estimate!    

How long does it take for an insurance company to fix your car?

What you should know about the repair process and dealing with insurance companies:

After a vehicle accident, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of: I have insurance, so how long will it take for them to fix my car? Here’s the thing, your insurance company has nothing to do with the actual repair of your vehicle. They do, however, have an employee known as an insurance adjuster come out to your chosen body shop to evaluate your vehicle, and approve repairs. This process typically takes 4-5 days.

Your insurance company will suggest you use a specific auto body shop. They might even come across with the attitude of you must have your vehicle repaired by the body shop of their choice. Here’s the thing, by law, it is YOUR choice who you pick to fix your vehicle. Insurance companies recommend certain body shops because it is beneficial to the insurance company. They have contracts in place that have negotiated lower parts and labor rates. Claims representatives have monthly goals in place that they should meet. Generally, these companies would like to see at least 40 percent of their auto claims go to their direct body shops. This is why if your decision is not one of their recommendations, they might try to sway you differently. Statements you might hear include “that shop isn’t in our preferred network” or “we can’t warranty the work performed at that shop” or “the charges at that shop are higher” or even “claims take longer to settle at that shop”. When you call your insurance company, know your right as a consumer is to choose the shop that works for you.

What to look for in an auto body shop:

1.     Choose a shop that is certified to repair your vehicle

Cline Collision Center is OEM certified by Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, MOPAR, SRT, Ford, Hyundai, Infiniti, Nissan, Honda, and Acura. Choosing a shop that is certified by your vehicle’s manufacturer means they certify that this shop are experts at what they do.

2.     Check out their Google and Yelp reviews

Most people only review when they have an extremely positive or extremely negative experience. However, it’ll still give you a general idea of what customers think about the body shop that is of interest to you.

3.     Professional and courteous staff

You being taken care of is just as important as your vehicle being taken care of. Choose a friendly shop, like Cline Collision Center.

4.     Will write a free written estimate

A written auto repair estimate is a contract between you and the repair shop that describes what will be done and how much it will cost. Getting this information in writing can help prevent problems down the road.

5.     Will detail your vehicle

It’s not the most important but every auto body shop should detail the vehicles they repair in order to deliver that new car look and feel. You’re spending big money, and the last thing you want to receive is a dirty vehicle. Cline Collision Center is an auto body repair facility located in Santa Rosa, CA. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Give us a call at 707-591-9909 to learn more about what we have to offer you and your vehicle, today. Or, stop by for a free estimate!    

Do Auto Body Shops Wash Your Car?

Yes, we do! Washing your vehicle before we paint it is a critical step in ensuring your new paint job comes out fantastic. We cannot effectively apply paint over a dirty vehicle. Even if paint is not involved, we still wash your vehicle to bring back that new car look when you get your vehicle back. In fact, many auto body shops detail your vehicle before you pick it up. Cline Collision Center takes it a step further and details the complete interior and exterior of your vehicle, for free!

Here’s some advice when it comes to washing your vehicle after it has had paint work completed:

1)     Don’t go for a wash immediately

If you’re like me, you can’t stand a dirty vehicle. Going through the car wash is such a convenience, but do not make this mistake for at least 3 months after your vehicle has been painted. In the first 30 days after your vehicle has been painted, take your car home and simply wash it down with cold water and a microfiber mitt in the shade. Be as careful as possible to avoid potential scratches. After 30 days you may apply soap. After 3 months you may go through the automatic car wash. If possible, opt for only touchless washes, and of course if possible, always hand wash yourself or take it to your favorite detailer that hand washes.

2)     Say no to joy rides (for now)

Say no to the drag race track, or joy rides blasting your favorite tunes. Only drive this vehicle when necessary for the first two months. If you have a second vehicle, let this vehicle be your garage queen for the next two months. This allows your paint to fully cure before being subjected to harsh weather conditions. Trust us, your patience will be so worth it!

3)     Did we mention, garage queen?

If you have garage space at home, leave your vehicle in the garage when you’re not using it. Tree sap, bird droppings, and acid rain are dangerous to your new clear coat. Even drastic changes in the temperature can affect the paint.

4)     We love waxing! Just not yet.

60 days after painting is the ideal time to wax your car again. Though no rush. We recommend you have a professional wax your vehicle once or twice per year with real carnauba wax to keep that shine year-round, and more importantly to protect the paint.

Cline Collision Center is a 5-star auto body repair facility located in Santa Rosa, CA. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Give us a call at 707-591-9909 to learn more about what we have to offer you and your vehicle, today. Or, stop by for a free estimate!

General Motors Will Stop Production at Five Plants in North America, Eliminate Some Car Models

General Motors has announced that it is “un-allocating” production at three vehicle assembly plants and two propulsion plants in North America.

Assembly plants that will be unallocated vehicles in 2019 include:

·       Oshawa Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

·       Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit.

·       Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio.

Propulsion plants that will be unallocated in 2019 include:

·       Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland.

·       Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan.

They will be laying off up to 14,000 workers, however some could be moved to truck and SUV plants. This move is due to declining car sales as consumers are more interested in crossovers, electric vehicles, and autonomous cars. GM is interested in hiring those that are experts in software and electric and autonomous vehicles, letting go those who are now working on conventional cars that are equipped with internal combustion engines.

Wondering which models are on their way out the door? We’ve compiled a list of what we know so far.

1.     Chevrolet Volt

This surprises us the most. Weren’t plug in cars supposed to be the future?

2.     Cadillac CT6

Sad to see it go. Did you know that its semi-autonomous super cruise system still hasn’t been surpassed by any other company’s technology, not even the Tesla’s autopilot? Exciting news though is that the last of these Cadillac’s to be sold will be twin-turbo V8 V-Series models. They’ve got to at least go out with a bang!

3.     Chevrolet Impala

This one is headed out the door due to consumers preferring a traverse or equinox these days.

4.     Chevrolet Cruze

If you were looking for a small and affordable American vehicle, it was either this or the focus. We wish they would have at least tried out a Cruze SS before pulling the plug on its production.

5.     Buick LaCrosse

This was a luxury car for a Buick but was pulled simply because there was nothing there that stood out to excite people to purchase it.

6.     Cadillac XTS

It was announced 3 years ago that Cadillac would not continue the XTS past 2019, so we’re not too shocked to hear this. There’re just too many similarly sized Cadillac sedans around for this one to stand out in a crowd (think ATS, CTS, XTS, and CT6).

Cline Collision Center is an OEM certified repair shop located in Santa Rosa, CA. We offer auto body collision repair, auto body refinishing, frame straightening, bumper repair, car painting, dent removal, dent repair, and are excited to offer a free detail with every repair. Choose Cline Collision Center to get back that new car look and feel!

OEM Collision Repair Parts and Procedures Bill Becomes Law in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Senate Bill 2679 (SB 2679), that expands the state’s existing requirement that consumers be given the right to choose and insurers pay for OEM parts on claims for 30 months after a vehicle is manufactured to all claims for a period of 48 months, is now law in Rhode Island. The bill that was approved by the Rhode Island legislature in June along with its companion House Bill 8013 took effect without Governor Raimondo’s signature on July 4. This means that insurance companies in Rhode Island no longer require use of aftermarket auto body parts, and more importantly do not install these after market parts onto a vehicle without the owner’s consent. So long as their vehicle is less than 48 months beyond the vehicle’s manufacture date. There are some ups and downs to this law going into place for consumers. The upside is that you have more control of what parts go onto your new car. Some of you might be thinking “this is amazing who would want after market parts on their vehicle”? While OEM parts will restore your vehicle back to factory specifications (which, most people would prefer because their vehicle is still very new), some people like replacing parts with aftermarket ones when they either mechanically fail or get damaged by accident. Think of Jeeps. Many Jeep owners swap out the entire look of the vehicle, for after market parts. However, insurers are not to thrilled about this because it costs more to put OEM parts on vehicle’s most of the time. For example, The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America initially wanted this bill to be thrown out as it could create pressure to raise auto insurance premiums and raise auto repair costs.

“We’re disappointed that the governor decided to let this bill become law,” said Frank O’Brien, vice president of state government relations for PCI, in a statement to Insurance Journal. “It is yet another in a series of auto body-related bills that the Rhode Island legislature has passed and have gone into effect which do nothing but increase rates for Rhode Island consumers so that the auto body industry in Rhode Island can continue to make the kind of money that it makes.”

O’Brien had previously spoken out in a PCI press release against the bill when it passed the General Assembly, adding that, “Rhode Island drivers, as a result, could end up paying the highest auto insurance premiums in the U.S.”

As a consumer, what do you think about this new law? Should California consider implementing this too? Cline Collision Center is an OEM certified collision repair facility. Give us a call today to schedule your free estimate.