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A warning about body shops and car repair

Yesterday, I was rear ended while I was at a stoplight. Upon examination, the bumper did not seem damaged, and I was initially quite relieved. No other part of the vehicle, such as the tires or wheels seemed affected either. However, later that same day, when I opened the trunk, I noticed that the lid would not shut. Apparently, while the bumper seemed unaffected, a part of the inside of the trunk was pushed it, making the latch on the lid misaligned slightly – enough for it to cause problems when I would try to close the trunk.

auto repair shopI took my car to a body shop nearby, and was stunned when the estimator said it would take 2000 dollars to fix. He wanted to get a entirely new bumper along with a lot of other parts. Parts alone ran over 1000 dollars. And of course, labor was another 1000. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted that a minor accident that didn’t even cause much noticeable damage would result in such an exorbitant repair bill.

I therefore took the car to another body shop nearby. While the bumper did have some scuff marks on it, the estimator there assured me I can continue using it, and a replacement was not necessary. Should I choose to fix the bumper, the cost would have been 500 dollars. But I was given another option, which was to just fix the inside part of the trunk so that the lid would close. This, on the other hand, involved only labor, and I was quoted 48 dollars. I chose this option, and an hour later, my lid closed fine on my vehicle, and I drove away a happy camper.

This example illustrates that even minor body work or car repairs should be treated like a health problem where you get a second opinion. It’s a good idea to get multiple quotes for anything like body repair. Although I’m not necessarily advocating that you always go with the cheapest option. But in these rough economic times, when the visible damage is minimal, I think most people would rather pay 48 dollars instead of 2000.

Incidentally, one way to save on repairs is by purchasing tires and other parts on the internet. You can then hire your own mechanic to do the work. If you do purchase auto parts online, always make sure you take advantage of coupons.

When it comes to automotive issues, knowledge is always your friend.