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Auto Body Repair

Auto Body Repair Information

Every year, more than 6 million car accidents occur across the United States. These range from minor fender benders to major collisions. But one thing that the majority of accidents have in common is that one or more vehicles wind up in need of a visit to an auto body repair shop.

Auto body repair shops specialize not just in treating vehicles damaged in an accident. Regular wear and tear, weather, and a variety of other factors can also damage a vehicle's body and leave it in need of professional care.

But what’s the difference between an auto body repair shop and an auto repair shop? How do you choose the right one for the job? And who pays for those repairs following an accident? Keep reading to learn the answers to these and other questions about auto body repairs.

What’s the Difference Between Auto Body Shops and Auto Repair Shops?

The labels “auto body shop” and “auto repair shop” are often used interchangeably. But while both are similar in that they work on cars, they differ in a few key ways.

Understanding the difference between the two types of auto repair businesses can help ensure you choose the right one for the job when your vehicle is in need of repairs.

What Does an Auto Repair Shop Do?

Auto body shops specialize in repairing and maintaining the working parts of a vehicle. This includes anything under the hood, from servicing the engine to changing the fluids.

Some examples of the type of work that auto repair shops do include:

  • Change a vehicle’s oil
  • Replace vehicle breaks
  • Fix engine components that have worn out due to age or damage
  • Replace or repair a variety of vehicle parts that have worn out due to use or damage
  • Fix any moving vehicle parts

Anything that has to do with keeping your vehicle running properly or getting it back on the road after an accident starts at an auto repair shop.

What Does an Auto Body Repair Shop Do?

“Auto repair shop” and “auto body repair shop” may sound very similar. But that extra word — “body” — is what sets the two apart. Where auto repair shops focus on fixing the moving parts of a vehicle, auto body repair shops deal with the actual body of the vehicle.

Auto body repair shops specialize in repairing, restoring, and refinishing the bodies and frames of vehicles.

Some examples of the type of work that auto body repair shops do include:

  • Restoring the exterior body of vehicles following an accident
  • Repair dents in the vehicle’s exterior
  • Restore faded or damaged paint to match the vehicle’s original factory paint colors
  • Repair or replace bumpers, body panels, and other exterior or cosmetic parts of the vehicle
  • Repair, restore, or replace any glass, from windows to mirrors

While an auto body repair shop may not work on your vehicle’s moving parts, their services are still essential for keeping you on the road.

A cracked windshield, for instance, is not only a danger but in some cases may also be illegal. Similarly, damaged body panels, bumpers, or rearview mirrors pose a hazard both as a distraction to the driver and a danger to other drivers on the road if they suddenly become detached.

Do You Need an Auto Body Repair Shop or an Auto Repair Shop?

Whether or not you need to see an auto body repair shop or an auto repair shop depends on the type of damage you’re dealing with.

If your vehicle has been involved in an accident, odds are that it has suffered both internal and external damage. In this case, your vehicle will need to go to an auto repair shop first.

Here, mechanics will get your vehicle back in working order. Once that’s complete, your car will then need to go to an auto body repair shop. Here, mechanics will repair the exterior of your vehicle and any cosmetic elements. From replacing your windshield to repairing dents and repainting, this step is essential to getting your vehicle back to looking new. In some cases, an auto repair shop may also offer bodywork.

How to Find the Best Repair Shop

Whether you’ve been in an accident or your vehicle has suffered damage due to regular wear and tear, when your car’s body is in need of some help, you’ll want to do your research and find the best auto body repair shop.

Start by checking your local area for shops. Online reviews make it easier than ever before to learn about real experiences that previous customers have had. Many reviewers even post before and after pictures that let you see the shop’s skills at work.

Once you have narrowed down your local options, give each shop a call. Some may have long waitlists to get in for a repair. If you’re in a hurry to get your vehicle back in great shape or if it's undrivable with its current damage, you may not be willing to wait.

Who Pays for Auto Body Damages Following an Accident?

If you have been in an accident and your vehicle suffered damage, you might find yourself wondering who is responsible for the repairs. The answer depends on a variety of factors.

If you were at fault for the accident, the cost of repairs will fall on your own car insurance. In the case of accidents occurring in no-fault states, you may be liable for paying for your car repairs even if you were not at fault.

However, in states without no-fault laws, if someone else is to blame for the damage, their insurance will need to pay for your damages. Unfortunately, getting the responsible party to pay for the damages is not always that simple.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident?

If you have been the victim of a car accident and suffered injuries, or if the responsible party is trying to avoid paying for the damage, a personal injury lawyer can help.

An attorney will take over communications with all involved insurance companies. They will compile your medical records and estimates from auto repair shops and auto body repair shops for your vehicle’s damages. Then, they’ll fight to get your bills paid and get you the compensation that you deserve.

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