The number one questions customers will ask us at our shop here in Southern New Jersey is, “why is this accident repair so expensive” after they view this estimate. For those who haven’t had their car repaired in a while, the cost may actually shock them. The reality is our shop’s labor rates have been held pretty low based on keeping Insurance company relationships for many years. We are not anywhere near the rates that your local mechanic charges, or anywhere in New Jersey for that matter. The elements that are driving repair costs these days are the parts, the repair procedures required of new cars, and the technology built into the front side and rear of today’s cars.
Probably the most significant impact on auto repair costs in the last couple of years has been the rise of ADAS systems in even the most basic models in just about every car manufacturer. ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance System. This includes advanced systems for your car such as forward collision warning, parking assist, auto brake technology, lane departure and more. All of these systems create charges to repair, replace, and re-calibrate that you didn’t see just a few years ago.
Additionally, more and more manufacturers are recommending very specific procedures for fixing cars that are specific to the year, make, model, and even the month of production of your vehicle. This requires technician training, special tools, and even vehicle specific materials such as sealants, body cavity wax, and foams. With OEM certifications like we have with over a dozen different vehicle brands, we are only allowed to use OEM parts as requirements for maintaining our OEM certifications. In fact, there has been discussion of limiting parts supply to only OEM certified shops like ours. An expensive repair for a new vehicle is simply the new norm in the auto repair industry. It is no longer uncommon for an average front end hit or a sideswipe to cost $15,000 or more to repair.
We have to run pre and post repair scans now of all of your vehicle’s sensors before we can release the car back to you. The tools that auto body repair shops use even to scan a car after a repair can run close to a few thousand dollars. However, even with the latest technology and equipment, it still takes an experienced and up-to-date technician who can accurately diagnose a repair, devise a proper repair plan and execute a safe repair on your vehicle. A full-service auto repair shop will have spent hundreds of thousands just on tools and equipment and training to be capable of performing any type of repair.
The same repairs from a few years ago now require a specific skill set. Without it, could cause more harm than good to the car. The cost of the additional training and education increases the value of the technician.
There may be instances where your shop will point out an insurance company is recommending the use of an aftermarket part or even a junkyard part. However, your repair shop insists that an OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer part is the only one that should be used (like a wheel, for example). In some cases, the body shop may recommend paying the difference between aftermarket, reconditioned, or OEM parts out of pocket, but this recommendation is usually in your best interest.
Finally, we have ADAS recalibrations. Depending on the type of procedure that needs to be performed, your car may need to be taken to the dealership in order to have a recalibration performed. The sensors reset and calibration process can be very involved, and labor intensive, and we will cover that in another blog. But the dealership sublet may be a charge in your repair bill and is another line item that wasn’t on estimates a decade ago.
You want to go to an auto repair shop that is knowledgeable on the latest trends in collision repair, follows OEM procedures, and puts your safety as the top priority. We at Autotech Collision Center aren’t looking to make more money that is unfair to you. We have been family owned and operated for over 30 years, right here in Southern New Jersey. We will work with your Insurance to make sure you are getting the safest and best repair for your vehicle. Feel free to contact us at any time by emailing us or giving us a call! We look forward to hearing from you!
Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org and our number is +(856) 232-1833