Making Your Car Look New Again After An Accident

Posted on: 19 October 2015


Stop and go rush hour traffic is an easy place to be in a fender bender. The sound of breaking metal and glass on your car when someone rear-ends you is always sickening. Even a minor accident can cause a lot of damage to your car. When you take your car to one of the local auto body collision repair services, it goes through many steps to come out looking new again. Here is what your car experiences on its way through those steps.

The Estimator

The person you see when you first take your car to an auto body shop estimates what will need to be done to repair your car. It seems amazing that they can walk around your car briefly and come up with a good estimate. But they have access to information about many such repairs and what it takes to fix them. The estimate won't be far off from the actual repairs needed, because they don't want to call you to say they underestimated the costs substantially.

Detailed Inspection

Once you drop your car off for repair, a detailed inspection is done to get all of the parts needed to do the work. Major pieces, such as body panels, will have already been ordered before you brought your car in. Parts such as rubber seals and trim pieces will be ordered as the work begins. 

Structural Damage Repair

All of the damaged parts are removed, and your car's frame is inspected for any problems. The frame must be straightened out before new parts are put on, so they fit together properly.

Body Panel Repairs

If your car has metal body panels, dents and scratches can be repaired. The metal panel is smoothed out and sanded to get ready for the paint booth. Composite body panels can't be repaired and must be replaced.

Outside Repairs

The body shop may not do all of the work on your car. Some repairs are contracted out to other companies, perhaps right next door to the auto shop. An auto glass company may send a mobile installer to the body shop to put in a new windshield before your car is painted. The body shop may send your car to a sunroof installer to do that replacement.

Painting the Car

A chemical wash is used to remove any oil and grease from the body panels so the paint will adhere. Parts of the car are masked to help with the cleanup later. Your car is rolled into a paint booth and the panels are sanded lightly to also help the paint stick. The paint is sprayed on in layers, often being sanded between layers to get a glossy finish.

When the last coat of paint has dried, the masking is removed and any over-spray cleaned off of the car. Any touch-ups are done, such as on the edge of the doors.

Final Steps

The trim pieces are cleaned and attached to the car. The car is then washed and waxed and the shop manager does a final inspection. If the job was done right, you'll get a call to pick up your car. If not, your car is sent back into the shop for rework.