Do you need to take your vehicle to an auto body shop for repairs?
Despite a challenging outlook for the auto body shop industry, its value remains the same. Car owners will still look to salvage their ride instead of spending on a brand new vehicle.
As you bring your car to the body shop, you may wonder if you’re overpaying for labor. The longer your vehicle is in the shop, the higher your expenses will be. Continue reading below for five things affecting the average labor time in an auto body shop.
- The Extent of the Damage
The primary factor affecting the average labor time at an auto body shop is the severity of the damage. Once you bring your car to the body shop, the technicians will inspect your vehicle to determine the repair work and estimated time frame of completion.
Minor collision repairs like fender benders and low-speed collisions need minimal repair work. On average, it takes about a week to complete minor collision repairs.
On the flip side, high-speed accidents can cause extensive damages. Such cases fall under severe collision repairs and may take several weeks to finish. In some cases, the longest labor time can mean several months.
It’s also common for the time and labor to increase in severe collision repairs. New problems appear during disassembly, requiring more time and parts.
- Your Vehicle Model
Your car’s make and model also affect the labor time. They also contribute to the repair rates. Car brands have different replacement parts.
Parts of a Ford truck are likely to be available compared to those of a high-end luxury car. If you don’t trust generic components, you may have to wait longer for factory original parts to arrive.
Sometimes, auto body shops outsource the parts from other countries. Shipping delays can happen at any time. In most cases, these are out of the repair shop’s control.
Deciding on the kind of parts is tricky. Though they may arrive later, original parts mean getting top-notch quality and performance. It also ensures the components fit perfectly into their intended spots.
Meanwhile, generic replacement parts may arrive faster, but it risks incompatibility. When components aren’t compatible, technicians will have to tweak them.
In turn, the adjustments may cause some delays. They can also compromise the repairs’ quality and your car’s appearance.
- Deeper Inspections Add to Average Labor Time
The disassembly and deeper inspection of your vehicle can also extend the time at the auto body shop. It’s not enough for technicians to work on a specific problem. As the shop disassembles your vehicle, they’ll go deeper to search for underlying issues.
When new issues pop up, the technicians will inform you of the development. They’ll also make a new plan of action to cover the new problems.
Trusted technicians will never work on any additional labor without your authorization. Constant communication is essential, as the issues extend the repair time.
- Insurance Paperwork
Aside from constantly communicating with you, the auto body shop will also coordinate with your insurance provider. The insurance company will determine who pays for the repairs.
The auto body shop will work with your insurance agent to establish the scope of the damages. They will also agree on the costs of the replacement parts and labor.
Interestingly, the relationship between auto body shops and auto insurance companies sometimes becomes shaky. Some repair shops accused insurers of pushing them to use cheap parts and perform dangerous practices.
Repairs will only begin after the body shop runs full diagnostics of your vehicle, which the insurance company should approve.
- Geographic Location
Lastly, your geographic location can also extend your vehicle’s stay at the shop. Cities with dry climates can be punishing for your paint job. Bodywork may take longer in hot cities than in areas with cooler weather.
If the technicians tell you that repairs will take time, you may use a labor matrix or labor time guide. Unfortunately, some car owners unintentionally extend the repair time. Be clear with what you want on your car before the technicians start working on it.
Never waste an hour arguing about a line item. It’s your right to contest irregularities but work on resolving the issue quickly.
Tips for Choosing a Good Auto Body Shop
Reduce the time at the body shop by picking the best technicians available. Listen to what people are saying about the best auto body shops in your area. Ask for recommendations from friends who are happy with their auto body shops.
Connect with at least three auto body shops and compare their estimates. It’s one of the most effective ways to avoid overcharges. Compare the details of the services and see if they can match their competitors.
Never fall for the lowest quote all the time. Sometimes, repair shops with cheaper rates scrimp on their work. You’ll often find yourself coming back sooner for more additional repairs.
Learn to ask the right questions concerning your protection. How long have the shops been operating? Can they show you a copy of their business license?
Do the shops offer a written warranty? What does the warranty cover? How long will the coverage last?
Do they have fire and theft insurance? What kind of replacement parts do they offer?
Lastly, follow your instincts. When visiting the repair shops, inspect the vicinity. Do they have customers lining up, or is the place empty? If it’s the latter, it can reflect their shoddy work.
Check the general setup of the place and see if it’s cluttered. When you talk to the manager, see if he looks you in the eye when answering your questions. Does he provide honest responses, or does he beat around the bush?
Choose the Best Auto Shops Around
Understanding the factors affecting average labor time allows you to avoid overpaying the auto body shop. You can also prepare financially while getting the best value for your money.
Did this guide help? If so, check out our other articles for more tips.