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Choosing The Perfect Auto Body & Repair Shop

Being Involved In A Collision Is Stressful, But Choosing A Quality Collision Repair Facility Doesn't Have To Be

Your vehicle may be the second largest investment you make in your lifetime, so finding the perfect Auto Body & Repair Shop is essential. Asking the right questions and taking a tour of a collision repair business can help you decide if your investment will be in the best hands. If you feel comfortable after your visit, chances are you will be satisfied with the repair.

Choosing The Perfect Auto Body & Repair Shop

  • Start shopping for a collision repair facility before you need one.
  • Ask friends and associates for recommendations or consult local consumer organizations.
  • Look for a clean, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot that are at least equal in value to your own.
  • Look for a facility that has modern equipment, such as a three-dimensional measuring system, or a paint mixing system and spray booth, which will indicate that the business is up-to-date with technology.
  • Look for a facility that has a courteous staff that is willing to answer your questions.
  • Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.
  • Ask about the repair warranties offered at the facility. Most professional collision repair facilities offer warranty programs to protect you if something does not work properly after the repair is complete.
  • Look for evidence of properly trained and certified technicians.
  • Properly Trained And Certified Technicians Include:

    Properly Trained And Certified Technicians Include:

  • Gold Class Professionals® businesses
  • Platinum Individual™ technicians
  • ASE-certified technicians
  • Gold Class Professionals And Platinum Individuals

    Gold Class Professionals are collision repair businesses, auto insurance companies, glass businesses, recyclers, suppliers and distributors, and other collision industry businesses that have achieved a high level of collision repair training. A Platinum Individual is a collision industry professional that has achieved a high level of training. Awarded by the not-for-profit organization the Inter-Industry Conference On Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individuals have the knowledge and understanding to work with other industry professionals regarding the repair of your vehicle. Not only does this reduce the hassle involved in a collision, but a proper repair helps keep you and your family safe on the road.

    ASE-Certified Technicians And Blue Seal Businesses

    The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a non-profit organization, certifies the competence of individual technicians in all major technical areas, including collision repair. Before taking ASE certification tests, many technicians attend training classes, such as I-CAR training. By passing difficult, international tests, ASE-certified technicians prove their technical competence to themselves, to their employers and to their customers. Moreover, repair facility owners and managers who encourage their employees to become certified can be counted on to be concerned about the other aspects of their business. Additionally, ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition goes a step further by identifying those repair facilities that have a large percentage of certified professionals and a certified professional in each area of service offered. It's a commitment that earns only the best repair facilities the recognition to stand out from the crowd.

    More Information On Trained And Certified Technicians

    Locating properly trained and certified collision repair technicians will bring you one step closer to making sure that your vehicle is repaired correctly - the first time. To locate a Gold Class Professionals business near you, search the Gold Class Business Directory. To learn more about the ASE certification program and how it benefits you as a vehicle owner, visit the motorists’ section at


    Cell Phones On Wheels

    Michael Willians

    There’s no denying the rise of telematics in today’s vehicles. Too many interested parties have a stake in this growing segment for it to be ignored by automotive repairers (be they dealer techs or those working in independent service bays). If you’re unfamiliar with telematics, think insurance companies who want to monitor driving habits and set premiums based on risk. Think consumers, who want to protect their investments from theft and vehicle crashes. Think fleet operators, who want to use GPS systems to deliver products on time and with better fuel efficiency.

    “Telematics will be a revolution,” says Pietro Berardi, CEO of Magneti Marelli, Global Aftermarket. “Vehicle connectivity for the future is a very big issue.” Exhibiting at this year’s Autopromotec show in Bologna, Italy, Magneti Marelli has developed a wide array of telematics products (for the OEMs as well as the aftermarket) to address the growing needs.

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    Is It Advisable To Repair Airbag Covers?

    Mitch Becker

    An insurer has asked us to repair airbag covers on the dash, steering wheel and seat covers with side airbags. Is this an advisable repair? What are the liabilities? These repairs will require priming and refinishing.

    Asked by Bruce Forgrave, Forgrave Autobody, Heath, Ohio.

    There has been much debate recently about bumper reinforcements and airbag timing in crashes. If the steel is not of proper strength, the accelerometers may not deploy the airbags at the proper time in a crash. But there are more considerations than just timing.

    Recent tests on aftermarket airbags show that even with correct timing, the unfolding of the airbag itself is critical to injury prevention. The airbag must deploy with the correct shape. The shape of the bag prevents injuries during the crash, as the bag should be fully deployed and in position before the occupant comes in contact. This is done by the correct folding and release or unfolding of the airbag itself.

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    Bad Automotive Vibes

    John D. Kelly

    Don't get shaken up over vibration complaints.

    A customer brings their vehicle into your shop with a vibration complaint; you hesitate to take the job because you know that the success rate of diagnosing and repairing vibration concerns is not very high. You hate to turn away repair work, so you accept the job and hope you can find the problem. Many shops will begin by balancing the existing tires or by selling new tires to the customer; many times this will correct the vibration problem, but what if it doesn’t? Now what do you do?

    Parts Groups

    The real story is that there are many other parts on a vehicle that can cause a vibration, even if they are balanced. Anything on a vehicle that rotates can cause a vibration. I like to group the rotating parts into different groups that are related to their common rotational speeds. The groups are listed from most likely cause to least likely cause:

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    Small But Mighty

    Lindsey Robles

    The Honda pressure switch has a lot of say in what goes on in today's transmissions.

    The Honda automatic transmission pressure switch might be small in size, but it can pack a mighty punch, causing drivability symptoms if it falls out of its acceptable parameters. Here at H&A Transmissions, Honda and Acura transmissions are our lifeblood. As a wholesaler, we focus on nothing but Honda and Acura transmissions all day, every day. We have done extensive research on these mighty little switches working on vehicles in our shop and working with other shops in our local community. In addition, we perform daily diagnostic work over the phone through our technical assistance department. We have seen and heard of many pressure switch problems out there causing flares, slips, harsh upshifts, harsh down shifts, late shifts, early shifts, you name it. With all the problems these little pressure switches can cause, there is good news. There is very little labor involved in replacing them as they are an external part and are able to be replaced without having to R&R the transmission. That’s always good news, right?

    You will find these pressure switches on most Honda and Acura automatic transmission 4 cylinder and V6 applications, with the exception of a few models. Usually, you will find two pressure switches on one transmission. On most 4-speed applications, there will be one second clutch pressure switch and one third clutch pressure switch (see Figure 1). On most 5-speed applications, there will be one third clutch pressure switch and one fourth clutch pressure switch (see Figure 2). But on some of the later V6 models, you might find up to three pressure switches on one transmission. For example, the 2007 and newer Odysseys will have a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th clutch pressure switch. This is just more reason to have a good understanding on how these pressure switches work and the problems they can cause out there in the field.

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    How To Change Your Oil

    Dan Edmunds

    One of the cornerstones of do-it-yourself car maintenance jobs is the home oil change. It's a simple process that requires few tools, and it's a sure way to save some money while you avoid the hassle of sitting in a dull waiting room somewhere reading outdated magazines.

    More than anything, the basic oil change is a great way to connect with your vehicle and take some control over its maintenance. The time you spend under the hood and under the car affords you an excellent opportunity to look around and see if anything else needs attention.

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    Get Your Car Fixed Right Without Getting Ripped Off

    Philip Reed

    For most consumers, auto body shops are intimidating and mysterious. The good ones restore your beloved car to gleaming perfection. The bad ones hide problems and stick you with a big repair bill.

    We talked with three veterans of the auto body industry, two of whom (Brian and Neal) run their own collision repair businesses and the third expert (Andy) who is a well-connected industry observer. Our sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, shed light on this shadowy world and offer suggestions on how to manage costs, avoid rip-offs and ensure that sure your car is fixed right.

  • Know That Body Shops Run the Quality Gamut
  • Understand Your Estimate
  • Get an Estimate Breakdown
  • Turn Down the "Save the Deductible" Come-on
  • Ask About the Parts
  • Beware of Shops in Cahoots With Adjusters
  • Don't Get Pushed to "Preferred" Auto Body Shops
  • Be Your Own Advocate
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    5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

    Philip Reed

    It's not uncommon for estimates from different body shops to vary wildly. One shop might give you an estimate for $500 while another wants $2,000 for the work. What's the difference? And when is it OK to choose the cheaper shop?

    John Mallette, owner of Burke Auto Body & Paint, in Long Beach, California, knows better than most people how to choose a reliable shop. Mallette started working on cars when he was 12 years old and has been in the body shop business for 24 years. Here are some of his tips for choosing the right shop to work on your car — particularly when you're the one paying the bills.

    1) Pay Attention to Word-of-Mouth

    2) Consider the Operation's Location and Overhead

    3) Get Several Estimates

    4) Ask the Right Questions

    5) Follow Your Intuition

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    How To Maintain Your Car's Fluid Levels

    Scott Memmer

    Just like a human being, your car needs fluids to survive. If they were taken away, your vehicle would quickly find its way to the shoulder and beg for a drink.

    Maintaining proper fluid levels is an essential and easy maintenance task. Even armchair mechanics can perform this one. It's fun, quick, and can add thousands of miles to the life of your car. This procedure is particularly important if you're planning on a long road trip and want to travel safely and efficiently.

    The systems that need checking include the following:

  • engine
  • transmission
  • radiator/cooling system
  • brakes
  • battery
  • window washer
  • air conditioner
  • Let's break them down.

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