4 Questions To Ask Before Servicing A Car With Collision Damage

The Mechanic Doctor – Resources for Amateur and Pro Auto Mechanics

Every damaged car that comes into an auto repair shop has a story—and as a mechanic, it’s important to know it. Getting details about the collision and the extent of the sustained damage can help draw up a plan for restoring a hunk of twisted metal once considered a beast to its former glory.

This guide will explain the various questions you can ask car owners before commencing with repairs. With these, you can save time and resources by being able to determine cars that can be saved and those beyond any hope of possible repair. In a way, they’ll also save the owner much trouble and headache early on in the process.

What Happened?

The first one should come as a no-brainer. Mechanics like you deserve to learn the events that led to a car’s twisted front or rear. While not in the business of determining fault or settling personal injury and damages lawsuits, they can get a rough idea of parts and areas that might’ve sustained damage. In fact, the owner might not be aware that their bumper may not be the only thing that’s damaged.

Take rear-end collisions, for example. No matter how trivial it may appear, they can result in more complicated concerns such as:

  • Added wear and tear on the suspension;
  • Malfunctioning Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS sensors;
  • Car steer leaning toward one direction;
  • Transmission damage, especially on RWD or rear-wheel drive vehicles; and,
  • Electrical wirings and components knocked out of position.

Never leave anything to chance, even if the damage appears superficial. It is said that it doesn’t take much force from a vehicle collision accident to render crucial inside components useless.

What’s Your Insurance Coverage?

Auto insurance is mandatory in all 50 states and D.C. for a good reason. It can help in preventing owners from forking over a considerable sum out of their pockets for causing a fender bender, if not worse. Even in repair shops that don’t explicitly require coverage, they may still compel owners to show some proof of financial responsibility.

Different car insurance providers offer different insurance packages and estimates to car owners and lessees nationwide. They may follow a variety of computations and checks to guarantee how much they’re going to throw in for the repair costs. An insurance holder’s policy coverage may also play a role. For example, if the estimated repair cost is at USD$ 2,000 and the deductible from the insurance only guarantees half, the owner has to shoulder the remainder.

Getting medical attention for their injuries also limits a car owner’s ability to pay for repairs. According to authorities, the average economic cost of checking for a possible injury can reach over USD$ 20,000 alone. They have to seek doctors specializing in car accident injuries, typically through different services like Injured Call Today and others available online.

In this case, it’s important to be aware of how the owner will be fulfilling their financial obligations for repairs, whether with insurance coverage or through their wallets. However, there’s one thing you can be sure about: don’t even bother fixing a completely totaled vehicle.

How Soon Do You Need It?

It’s believed that more Americans drive than take public transport to work or if they want to travel from one point to another. Therefore, not being able to use their car for a day or two due to extensive repairs can affect them greatly.

Before accepting a wrecked car for repair work, you should ask if they’re okay with looking into other alternative modes of transportation during the whole overhaul process. Ask if they can take the bus or train for a while, do carpooling, or lease a new car they can drive.

Repairing collision damage may take a long time. It’s said that usual repairs last between one or two days and well over a month. This duration is known in the industry as the cycle time, which has been getting longer over several years. As it stands, the national average is 12 days, and there are several reasons for this.

Parts Delivery

While a shop must have an adequate stock of parts, some parts will have to be made to order. This scenario becomes more apparent among older or phased-out cars. The waiting time for unavailable parts to arrive adds up to the repair’s cycle time.

Gravity Of Damage

Naturally, the worse the damage, the longer it takes to fix it. A minor dent or distortion will take less than a day to repair, but dealing with mangled steel is a whole different story.

Additional Repairs

As mentioned previously, a mechanic may find another problem caused by a vehicular collision and must consult the owner if they wish to have it repaired.

Mechanic’s Lien

A mechanic has the right not to release any fully-repaired car until the payment is complete, whether it’s the owner or insurance policy paying or the car owner themselves via full upfront payment or through an agreed payment plan.

Explain to the owner the reasons that their car’s damages may take a long time during consultation before accepting it for repairs. Compared to cutting corners to save time, a lengthy cycle time is the lesser evil and would lead to much more favorable results in the end.

Are You Fine With Non-OEM Parts?

If the car has just been released this year or is relatively new, you won’t have to worry much about finding OEM or original equipment manufacturer parts. As long as the model’s still for sale and there’s enough demand in the market, manufacturers are said to maintain a constant supply of crucial components.

As for older or discontinued lineups, you’ll have to look elsewhere. After identifying the make and model year, ask the owner if they’re fine with you using non-OEM or aftermarket parts to conduct repairs. While the market for such components is by no means less significant than for OEM ones, some owners might have reservations.

Both OEM and aftermarket parts are brand new, the only difference being the manufacturer. Some owners are more comfortable with components made specifically for their cars than for a broader range of makes and models. Furthermore, OEM parts come with a more comprehensive warranty than non-OEM ones.

It’s advised for mechanics to use OEM parts as much as possible, with aftermarket ones being the final resort. In the latter’s case, it’s your responsibility to ensure the quality of the non-OEM components you end up using. Do a background check of its manufacturer and supplier. Additionally, browse through different relevant user reviews online.

As a final note on this item, never accept to install parts provided by the owners. Should those fail after repairs, you’ll have to shoulder the cost of replacement, repair, and any legal issues that might arise.

Last Words

Mechanics always have a lot on their plates, so determining collision damage that can be restored to add on their already full workload is vital. Don’t hesitate to inquire about the nitty-gritty details, especially if the damage appears like it’s better being written off. But, of course, ask these questions without sounding too adversarial. They went to you for help—and help you should provide.

The post 4 Questions To Ask Before Servicing A Car With Collision Damage appeared first on The Mechanic Doctor.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top