Collision repair quality "generalities"

Submitted by ksomers on Mon, 10/29/2007 - 22:39

Many many vehicles get repaired each and every day at body shops across the U.S. Much discussion/investigations have been done on extremely poor quality shops over the years.

Most people aren't "car experts" and do not always know what to look for when looking at a used car let alone a car fresh from the repair shop.

Well today I had the distinct experience of arriving at the local GM bodyshop to pick up my 2006 Chevrolet Traillblazer. This vehicle was involved in an accident and had $12-13K worth of repairs performed. Most all of the damage was sustained to the front end, to the point the entire boxed in frame had to be replaced because it was bent beyond straightening. What things did I look for? How do I know if my vehicle is safely repaired. Well I am not an expert either. But the few things I did check revealed soo many BOLD defects even I spotted these.

Starting from the front and working my way back this is what I found.

1. Hood isn't fitting correctly, wife's finger fits in the gap on one side but not the other.
2. Front fenders do not fit correctly against the drivers and passengers side door(uneven gaps all over).
3. The drivers side door had impacted the left front fender in the accident and they hadn't even painted the inside edge of the fender or door. (when door is open bare metal was exposed along inner edge of fender and you could tell they didnt even touch it).
4. The steering wheel sits slightly cocked to the left when your driving straight down the road (the front end alignment isn't quite RIGHT)
5. Vehicle pulls to the left slightly as well.
6. Slight steering input (moving 1/2 to 1 inch) at 70MPH was causing EXTREME body roll. The vehicle almost veers itself off the road if you do this at highway speeds. The vehicle has never done this before the accident.
7. The frame under my 2006 Trailblazer has a VIN engraved on it in several places. This VIN does not match the VIN of the vehicle's title/registration/windshield. I was told repeatedly by the body shop estimator that the frame wouldn't have different numbers, he actually claimed they didn't have numbers which I knew was false.
8. At the end of my test drive my wife took over driving, as we turned the last corner returning to the dealership something rattled inside her steering wheel and her horn sounded for 5-10 seconds with noone or nothing pushing on the steering wheel.

Did I drive my vehicle off and sign off release of liability??? Heck no i didn't.

These are a few things to check when your vehicle is being repaired. There are many experienced auto folks that peruse these boards. What are some other things to "look for" when an insurance company is repairing your vehicle.

Hope that gives someone at least a little bit of information of things to look for in general.

Posted: 30 Oct 2007 01:13 Post Subject:

Before I started working as an adjuster I worked at a Ford Dealership. I was involved in an accident and had by Escort repaired at the place I worked. When I was given the vehicle back I showed it to some of my co-workers as things did not seem right. Most of the welds were piss poor, things were not done that should have been done and there was over-spray on the whole vehicle _inside and out_ (inside!). I took it back and they correct these things. I looked at it again and really nothing had been done (I think they washed it). Finally I took it to the manager of the body shop and complained. He was nice but I remember say to me, "what do you want me to do, fire the person who worked on your car? I just thought to myself... I don't run your shop... what would you do if it was your car (of course I was young and it actually took me a few days to think of that reply). I finally got it back with the paint compounded till it was just a thin layer. Took them about 3 weeks to fix everything they did and they paid for a rental for that time frame.

While there are no guarantees, vehicle owners need to make sure they pick good shops! Best way I feel is word of mouth. If you still don't know, perhaps ask the appraiser, off the record, where they would take their vehicle for repairs (hypothetical). People think if they take their vehicle to a dealership that the work will be done right. This is not always true. Body people who start their owner shops usually _start_ out at dealerships. This is not saying dealerships are not a good choice, though.

OP, I'm hoping the document was not actually a liability waiver. I've never seen or heard of that before. Usually the document just states that the work was done and your taking possession of the vehicle. You'd be under no obligation to sign any waiver in order to get your vehicle back. Even if they did this, it would not be valid as it would have been signed under duress.

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