Buying a new vehicle can be a great experience. Many people feel pride and success with that purchase. This accomplishment is something they may cherish, and owners frequently do what they can to keep that vehicle looking new for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, car accidents happen every day. When that vehicle is damaged, even if that damage is minor, it can cause frustration and even heartbreak for those who were so proud of their new car. Fortunately, there are methods for restoring a vehicle to like-new condition.
The Insurance Company
After an accident, before repairs can begin, a claim must be started with the insurance company. Often, the insurance company will be the entity that pays for the damages caused during the accident. Once a claim is started, the vehicle can be taken to an auto body repair shop for an estimate.
Most auto body shops can provide estimates free of charge. With many insurance companies utilizing photo estimates for repairs, some collision centers can provide those photo estimates, as well. The team can even send all photos and information directly to the insurance company.
During an estimate, the vehicle will be thoroughly examined for any and all damage that may have occurred during the accident. Estimates of the costs of parts and labor to repair the car will be determined. This value will then be sent to the insurance company for approval.
The insurance adjuster will often make the final determination as to how much money will be approved for the repairs. This determination is often influenced by the type of insurance a person holds, who was at fault in the accident, and if there are any deductibles or coverage limits.
There are many repair shops that can work directly with the insurance company to help ensure the claim is processed quickly and efficiently. This can save the vehicle owner a lot of time and confusion when dealing with an insurance company and their complicated claims process.
When an accident occurs, there can be all sorts of damage to a vehicle, depending on the accident. Some of this damage may be mechanical. For example, what may appear to be a small rear-end collision could prove to have serious damage to the exhaust and other mechanical components of the vehicle.
All this damage will be determined by the auto repair shop. They will then get to work finding the right parts to repair the vehicle to ensure it is back to safe and proper functionality. The team will work professionally to provide the best repairs possible using only certified parts for the vehicle.
During this process, if any damage not seen before is found, the repair experts will contact the vehicle owner to let them know what the problem is before beginning any repairs or ordering parts. This allows the owner the opportunity to approve the repairs. In addition, they can provide assistance with contacting the insurance company to have a claim adjusted, if necessary.
Frame and Unibody Repair
Many car accidents can damage the frame or unibody of a vehicle. Sometimes, even minor accidents can create serious issues with this part of the vehicle. The frame or unibody provides the main structure of a vehicle. It also contains crumple zones that help to distribute stress from an accident to protect the occupants from those forces.
Minor damage to these areas can often be repaired. However, serious damage may be far beyond the capabilities of the repair shop. If left unrepaired, it could leave the vehicle vulnerable to various issues and be unable to protect the passengers from serious harm in severe accidents.
The frame and unibody provide the main structural support for the entire vehicle. When there is damage, it can take a lot of work for the shop to repair the frame to the proper specifications of the manufacturer. Fortunately, there are repair shops that can provide computerized systems to ensure that the frame is with the specifications to ensure proper driving and safety.
Once the mechanical aspects of the vehicle are repaired and the frame is restored to its proper specifications, auto body repairs can begin. The body of a vehicle is often comprised of various metal parts that create the visual aspects of the car.
When available, the auto shop will find new or even used parts to replace the pieces of the body that have been damaged. They will only use parts that are specific to that vehicle to ensure a proper fit and will ensure the vehicle can be restored to its original appearance.
In some instances, sheet metal may be used to replace certain areas of damage. When this occurs, the team will use precise tools to ensure the piece matches the area seamlessly. Trained and professional welders will ensure each piece is properly secured to the vehicle.
In some accidents, there are small dents or scuffs that need to be repaired on the vehicle. The repair team will use the best methods to ensure each dent is completely removed, leaving the vehicle looking like the damage never happened.
In some cases, minor dents can be removed without the need for paint. Paintless dent repair is a process using special tools to carefully work out the minor dents without causing damage to the paint on the vehicle. This process can save a vehicle owner hundreds of dollars in repainting costs.
The experienced technician will carefully massage or knock out the dent from the opposite side of the body panel. This helps to smooth out the metal without risking damage to the paint. In areas where there is no access to the back of the panel, special glue methods may be used to gently pull the dent out.
Unfortunately, not every dent or scuff can be removed using this method. For those that have already caused damage to the paint of the vehicle, regular repair options can be used to remove the dent and repair any damage to the metal.
Paint and Finish
One of the major points of beauty and protection for a vehicle is its paint and finish. Even slight damages in the finish of the vehicle can leave it vulnerable to rust and other issues caused by the weather. This makes it important to ensure that the paint is always clean and the finish is complete on the vehicle.
From minor scuffs to major accidents, repainting a vehicle is often a necessary part of restoring its like-new appearance. Unfortunately, going to a shop that is not equipped with the right equipment and paint options can cause the vehicle to not look as good as it did when it was purchased.
Needing just a fender on a vehicle painted may seem like a lucky break for some car owners after an accident. However, if that paint is not an exact match for that particular vehicle, the fender can stick out like a sore thumb. This can be frustrating and embarrassing for the vehicle owner.
This is why many auto repair facilities utilize computerize paint mixing systems to perfectly match the specific vehicle’s color. Whether it is just a fender or the entire vehicle, car owners can be ensured that they are receiving the exact color paint that was put on the car at the factory.
Even if the paint is matched perfectly, if the paint and finish are not applied properly and in a clean environment, the final results can be less than ideal. Dust and debris can get in the finish and create a poor look. It can also leave the finish prone to damage and wear quicker than normal.
The right auto body shop will provide a clean environment for painting the vehicle. Specialty booths can help to ensure no dust or debris settles on the vehicle before the painting is complete. Once the paint is applied, it should also be baked in to ensure a clean and smooth look to the paint.
After the paint is applied, many vehicles also receive a clear coat. This clear coat finish is a protective cover over the paint. This helps to protect the paint from damage and wear. It can even help to reduce fading to the paint. The right auto body shop will apply this protective coating to ensure the vehicle is protected like the day it was purchased.
With the proper care and application, the paint should look smooth and clean when it is dry. Professional and experienced technicians that provide individual attention to each vehicle can ensure that once they are complete, the vehicle will look as good as it did when it rolled off the factory floor.
An accident can be a very traumatic situation. Even if there were no injuries, when the vehicle the owner worked so hard to have is damaged, it can be very upsetting. Fortunately, with a little time and the right team of professionals, the vehicle can be restored to its new condition. Once complete, vehicle owners can easily forget the accident ever occurred.