Did you recently get your car repaired by an auto body shop, and something just doesn’t seem right? Or perhaps there have been issues with your repair shop throughout the entire repair experience, and you don’t feel good about the repairs.
Post repair inspections are a second opinion from a qualified repair shop that has no connection to the previous repair or the insurance company. Much like getting a second opinion from a doctor before a medical procedure, a post-repair inspection is similar to getting a second opinion after the procedure to make sure it was done right or not and help you determine if you have some malpractice on your hands.
First, let’s say that you are not alone if you are having doubts about the correctness of your collision repair. Visually speaking, good safe quality collision repair and unsafe repair is both shiny on the outside and often look exactly the same. But it is what lies underneath the paint that you can’t see that makes all the difference.
There are auto body repair customers everywhere who are driving around in cars with some really shoddy or downright dangerous auto body repair work. We see it all the time when we get asked to do a post-repair inspection.
At first, you might be asking yourself; my car was just repaired, why do I need to have another body shop look at it?
If you have had your car repaired at a high-volume national chain auto body repair, chances are some corners were cut that could affect your safety, your finances, and the overall operation of the vehicle.
If your car’s safety features aren’t working quite right or maybe it just doesn’t feel like it used to when driving, or the body panel gaps look a little funky, you should definitely consider a post-repair inspection.
But here’s the thing, it needs to come from a shop that does post-repair inspections and is not the one who did the repairs.
There are two kinds of post-repair inspections. There is a visual one, and there is the more detailed one that requires a more thorough tear down. We’ll break them both out for you.
Visual Post Repair Inspection
Most Body shops that offer post-repair inspections begin with a brief visual inspection of the vehicle. This also includes a review of all the documentation like the final estimate and any supplements for the original repair. We may even put the car on a lift and take a few measurements with our electronic measuring system.
What we are looking for are any signs that there may be a problem. We are looking for any apparent kinks in hidden panels like floorboards or trunk pans or frame rails. We also review the gaps as bad gaps are always a dead giveaway of sloppy work or structural issues.
We are also looking for things like visible signs of corrosion starting, sloppy seam sealer, or signs of welding where it shouldn’t have been welded.
We use the visual inspections to determine if it is worth moving on to the more extensive post-repair inspection and consult with you on what that will involve and what you will be able to do with it.
In-Depth Post Repair Inspection
If we decide the vehicle needs to go to phase two and get an in-depth Post repair inspection, this means we have found some issues, and we feel it is worth doing some partial disassembly. Depending on where the damage was, we may need to look behind the bumper cover, or we may need to remove some interior pieces to see what’s going on behind the paint. A surface can look straight and shiny on the outside but could be a buckled mess underneath inches of Bondo and paint. Removing a door panel, a headliner, or a rear interior quarter panel will allow us to see if there are any structural issues that are being intentionally covered up or starting to fail.
We also will spend some time researching the OEM repair specifications for that exact repair on your exact vehicle. Here at Autotech Collision, we have somebody who’s job is to pull together all the OEM repair procedures and document them. We will compare this documentation to the repair on your vehicle and look for incorrect or even omitted steps. We will document all of this physically on the vehicle, and with your permission, we may even videotape the post-repair inspection to use as a tool in getting a resolution to the situation.
What Can I Do With My Post Repair Inspection?
A post-repair inspection is a tool that serves two purposes. First, it lets you know if you have a problem and what those problems are. Second, it’s a tool that you can use to find a resolution to this problem.
Oftentimes post-repair inspection results in the vehicle becoming a total loss. But that’s a good thing. If the repair was already performed and has been proven to have been done poorly (butcher jobs as we like to call them), it doesn’t make financial sense for the insurer to pay to have the car fixed again, it doesn’t pay for the shop to re-do all the work on their dime (and you don’t want them touching your car again anyway), and the obvious solution is to take the vehicle and write a check for the fair market value and go buy yourself a new one. It’s not the fastest solution, it’s not the easiest solution, and it’s not the most painless solution, but when it comes to your safety and your finances, it is the best solution just to walk away from that vehicle and get yourself one that has not been hacked up like the one you may have now.
Other benefits to a Post Repair Inspection
If you are buying a used car, even if it is just a year old and even if it has a clean CarFax, you could be buying a deathtrap, and you have no way of knowing it, or any legal recourse, nobody to sue if you find out the used car you purchased has had bed auto bodywork performed in the past. So If you are considering purchasing a used vehicle and you are really unsure about its past, or something doesn’t look right, get yourself an inspection (some auto body shops call this a pre-purchase inspection). Visual inspections are fast and free here at Autotech Collision.