The Importance of Vehicle Safety Inspections After a Collision

Navigating the auto collision repair process can be bewildering and frustrating, especially for car owners who don’t know much about automotive repair. Not only do insurance claims need to be filed and negotiated, but the vehicle’s repairs and overall safety need to be addressed. There are many issues which may influence a car’s safety after it’s been in a collision, and it’s important that these issues not be overlooked during the repair process. To ensure your car’s collision repairs are comprehensive and thorough, it’s a good idea to have a post-repair vehicle safety inspection performed by a professional vehicle safety specialist.

Hidden Collision Damages

When a car is in a collision, the worst damage is often the unseen damage which happens to the car’s frame and internal components. These components are often more difficult – and costly – to fix, and if the insurance company’s repair appraisal is too low, some of these problems may get overlooked. Internal car damage may not be visible, but it can compromise a vehicle’s safety significantly.

Vehicle frame damage is one of the most commonly overlooked collision repair issues, especially when the vehicle was in a moderate to severe accident. A crumpled, bent or fractured frame compromises the strength of the whole vehicle, diminishing the car’s ability to safely withstand a second accident. Similarly, internal components such as frame rails are often damaged during a collision, but may be overlooked during fast, low estimate repairs. To restore the vehicle to its pre-collision safety, these internal damages need to be fixed.

Not All Collision Repair Shops Are Equal

Most collision repair shops offer the same set of services, but the quality and thoroughness of these services can vary widely from shop to shop. Some auto body shops work to complete repairs as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible. While this tends to make car owners and insurance companies happy initially, quick, shoddy repairs can lead to more severe problems down the road – compromised vehicle safety not the least.

Auto body shops which perform thorough, high quality collision repair are more likely to dig below the surface to address damages which might have gone unnoticed. These types of shops can often be distinguished from other, lower quality collision shops by their accreditations. NAPA AutoCare Collision Center, A.A.A. Approved Collision Center and Accredited Better Business Bureau certifications are good indicators that an auto body shop will keep your and your family’s personal safety as their highest priority.

Post-Collision Safety Inspection Checklist

Before taking your car home from the collision repair shop, it’s important to make sure all your vehicle’s key safety features are working properly. Ask your collision repair shop to perform a 15 point vehicle safety inspection which covers the following:

– Fluid levels – need to be topped off and checked for leaks.

– Tire pressure – needs to be equal and at appropriate levels.

– Tire wear condition – excessively or unevenly worn tires are unsafe during inclement weather.

– Suspension – needs to be structurally sound, without any bent, fractured or missing parts.

– Belts – check to make sure these are all still flexible, properly placed and working.

– Engine coolant hoses – need to be secure and leak-free.

– Car battery – check for dirty connection or old battery in need of replacement.

– Windshield wipers – make sure these are not cracked or worn, to ensure good visibility during nighttime and inclement weather.

Finding the Ideal Repair Facility for Your Vehicle

No matter what kind of car you drive, chances are, you will eventually need to have it repaired. Some cars are a little more difficult to repair, due to the complexity and the equipment needed to properly service them. Unfortunately, not all repair shops are created equal. It used to be, most garages could perform most repairs, on most cars. Now that electronics are found on almost every square inch of the car, only the shops that specialize in particular brands can truly offer the same level of expertise as the dealer.

Finding the right shop for you and your car is important, not only for your regular service intervals, but also to have a trusted place to go, should an actual problem arise. Having an established relationship with a shop can help facilitate the repair process and put your mind at ease. Returning to the same shop for repair, that also services your vehicle, means the techs are familiar with your car and usually know your wants and expectations.

So where do you find such a shop, that’s local to you? There are many locator services on the internet, that can help you find those “specialty” shops you seek. Here are a few that I know of:

1) Extremewrench.com You can search for shops in general in a given zip code or you can narrow it down by vehicle brand, such as BMW or Mercedes. This site gives ratings, lets you see what conveniences they offer was well as any affiliations (like BIMRS, a trusted BMW community).

2)Saabshops.com A listing of Saab specialty shops by state.

3)Bimmershops.com A listing of BMW shops by state.

4)FourRingsRepair.com This is a listing of independent Audi repair shops by state.

5)Lexusshops.com This is a listing of independent Lexus repair shops.

These are just a few, you can typically GOOGLE keywords like “Mercedes shop locator” and similar sites will show up.

Once you find a shop near you, make sure you look at pictures. See what the shop looks like, what other kinds of cars they have there, read any reviews or comments and definitely, if they have a website, check it out! Here is an example of a BMW shop’s website: BMW Repair There are a few key things you will want to look for. First, looking through the pictures, are there other BMW’s in the shop? Just because somebody says they work on them, doesn’t mean they really do. Its good to see other cars like yours in the shop. Also, see if there is any mention of what kind of tools they use. For a BMW, either a GT1, ISTA or Autologic is a must. If the shop doesn’t use one of these three, they are not fixing BMWs. Shops that don’t have the proper tooling usually do the “easy” and “money making” repairs and then refer you to the dealer for everything else. A properly equipped shop can handle all aspects of your repair, preventing you from having to make a trip to the dealer, which can cost you more money and eat up more of your time.

Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Repair Services for Your Vehicle

If you are concerned about the poor show of your car lately, it is time to get it serviced at a dependable auto repair services shop. Automotive repair is a habitual maintenance practice procedure which is necessary for longer lifespan of any automobile. It is also a huge expense and with the increasing age of the automobile, the repairs requirements also increase. There are different options for auto repair in every place but selecting one depends on the category of vehicle owned as well as the closeness of the repair shop to your place.

Car repair is also reliant on seasons. For example, during the summer season, the engine has to be taken care of, specially if you are making plans to go for a road trip. Going in for a full service auto repair is a good decision to undertake in such a state to avert any problems during the trip. All car owners should also be conscious of certain small problems connected to their vehicle which can be effortlessly fixed by themselves whenever required.

It is sensible to start finding an auto repair shop when you buy a car as one never can say when the need might be there. Here are some tips to find steadfast auto repair services:

• One of the finest and most trustworthy options of getting an auto repair services is by asking friends and colleagues for such places. If they have the knowledge of getting first-class service frequently, it can be a great selection to choose.

• The auto repair shop must have qualified experts to undertake the repair and maintenance with no difficulty. A testimony of high quality is the relationship of the repair shop with AA, NAPA Autocare, ASP or Parts Plus. This organization makes sure that the repair shop has been subjected to high scrutiny of service and also has many satisfied clients.

• The ambiance of a repair shop is also vital. One can also take response from customers at the shop about the service given by the professionals and how content they are.

• Check out if the shop has professionals with certification like ASP, Delco or certification from manufacturers like Toyota, Ford, and GM. This shows how good they are in their job and service provided. This also indicated that they are acquainted with the new technology which is actually a sign of brilliance.

• Also, it is not essential that a bigger repair shop will be superior than a smaller one. Always search for prices in every shop you find out about because prices are usually close in any area.

• Look for newest equipments in the repair shop. Without a well equipped shop, complete repair cannot be given. This is even more essential if you own the most recent model of car.

Maintenance and auto repair services are very vital for any car. Although they may be tricky to pay at times, they are priceless when it comes to keeping the good health of your vehicle.