Choosing a collision repair shop following an accident isn’t always as simple as taking your vehicle to your regular auto maintenance provider. While your regular repair shop might have a thorough understanding of how to maintain your vehicle, it’s unlikely that they spend much time dealing with cosmetic issues, or with seriously damaged vehicles.

When you’re trying to find a collision repair shop, there are a few key things that you should look for.

Auto Body Shop vs Mechanic

A mechanic is typically the first stop for drivers looking for a repair. Mechanics generally have the skills and the tools to repair or replace the inner parts of a vehicle. If a dashboard warning light is on, if a headlight is broken, or if the car is making a funny noise, a mechanic is a great place to go.

However, if there are any issues involving the vehicle’s appearance, an auto body shop is generally needed. A body shop also has the tools and experience to repair or replace the inner workings of a vehicle. In addition, they evaluate the appearance of the vehicle and make it look like new.

Ask Around

Before you go to any shop, ask around for recommendations. Anyone in town, from friends and family to a friendly grocer or a neighbor can have tips, especially if you know they’ve been involved in an accident. The internet is also a great resource, and it’s full of reviews from people who have worked with various collision repair shops in your area.

Visit the Shop

Visit the shop before you commit, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can get a feel for how the shop is run and how they treat their customers from a quick visit.

● Is the staff professional? A great collision repair shop should treat you with respect, be organized, and be willing and able to answer questions that you have. They may also have awards, memberships, and other certificates hanging in the lobby.

● Can you see the vehicles that are currently being repaired? Look at their age, make, and model. Are they similar to yours? Ask the customer service staff if the shop has experience working on vehicles like yours.

● Ask about any work or parts guarantees, warranties, or standards. Check that they accept your method of payment, and ask if they have availability.

● Before a shop can commit, they’ll likely have to see your vehicle.