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The odds of being in a car accident increase as the Austin area grows. If you’ve found yourself in this position, you aren’t alone. With all the options available for a local auto body shop, how do you know which one to choose? The situation gets more complicated if you have a teen driver.

The differences go beyond cost. Services and quality set shops apart. Consider local auto body shops that can provide special benefits. Local shops compete for business. Check online reviews to see what other customers are saying. Good reviews give you confidence that your vehicle will be in good hands. Additionally, consider reputation when it comes to repairing your car. Make sure you choose a local auto body shop with a history of doing quality work. Your vehicle is a big investment, and one that you rely on daily to keep you safe. Cheaper isn’t always better if it means the shop is cutting corners and not doing the job right.

Austin has lots of traffic. How do you find the best local auto body shop when you have a wreck?

Choosing a local shop means you support a business that may give back to your community. That also means what you spend on repairs goes further. Think about what matters most as you research for an Austin auto body shop.

Establishing a Relationship with a Local Auto Body Shop

The highest quality auto body shop Austin offers earns trust through remarkable customer service. Collision centers frequently earn new business through recommendations. If a customer sees quality work and has a positive experience, that establishes trust.

Body shops in Austin depend on reviews and recommendations.This service is not like maintenance where customers may return frequently. If a customer shares a positive experience, others may bring their vehicles in for repair.

Shops with More Than One Location

You may find an Austin auto body shop has more than one location. Shops with multiple locations can bring additional benefits to the customer. Multiple locations indicate success for an auto body shop.

With additional locations, the auto body shops have more resources. Shops can share tools and parts. Also, it helps technicians share expertise.

Ask a body shop in Austin with multiple locations if it honors warranty at any location. If you have an issue with the repairs and you are not near the original shop, it helps to go to the nearest collision center to have warranty work completed.

Insurance Company Referrals to Local Auto Body Shop Providers

Your insurance agent may recommend a few Austin body shops. These shops are on the insurance company’s list as direct repair shops. You can use a recommended shop or choose one on your own. However, there are benefits to using a direct repair shop.

Insurance companies set criteria for shops to meet and maintain. Choosing a direct repair shop can save time because many provide a more streamlined process for repairs and payment. Some shops are considered a “one-stop shop” for giving an estimate, repairing the vehicle, and providing a rental car to pick up. Additionally, some insurance companies give preference to shops that provide reasonable time frames and costs. Most direct shops offer a lifetime warranty versus one with a time limit.

Remember that you have the choice of any collision center you want to take your car.

Certified Collision Repair

Once you find a local body shop, find out how often technicians train. Certainly, ask if that shop has the proper tools to fix your vehicle.

Above all, ask about the shop’s certified collision repair. Not only are the technicians trained by manufacturers, but the vehicle makers typically require the shops to have proper equipment.

Also, if you have an aluminum-made vehicle, this is a separate certification technicians must obtain. Shops must have proper equipment, and some manufacturers require a separate area for repairs.

If a local auto body shop has all of this, it is a sign it invests in its employees and the shop to earn your business. Consequently, local auto body shops can spend thousands each year for training and new equipment.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, an Austin body shop, has served customers in the Austin area for more than 60 years. Our certified technicians can perform paintless dent repair and collision repair on a variety of vehicle models. This includes luxury models such as Porsche, Land Rover, and Audi. We are also aluminum certified. Even more, we believe in giving back to the communities where we work and live. Whether it’s repairing and donating a car or participating in a local event, we are proud to be in the Austin area. Contact our team to schedule a free estimate or use our Smartphone Estimating Tool for a fast estimate that you can do at any time. Our goal is to make collision repair hassle free.

If you have lived in Central Texas for some time, you know the types of hailstorms this area receives. They can take a toll on vehicles, leaving behind significant damage or in some cases, totaling them. Williamson and Travis counties are both in the top 25 for the most hail insurance claims in the past 10 years, according to a recent study.
Watching weather updates during prime severe weather months can help prevent damage if you have a place to park it in a garage or under an awning. Without shelter for your vehicle, you may be forced to have hail damage repair made to your vehicle.

Survey the Damage

After the storm is over, take a good look at your car. Walk around all sides and take note of any pings, dents, or broken glass. Also check the roof of the vehicle. If you have a sunroof, make sure it is working properly. Large hail damage will be more obvious, but smaller damage will need to be looked at in daylight.

With smaller dents, look closely at them to see if the paint is cracked or chipped. This will make a difference what type of repair can be performed on your car.

Photograph the Damage

Make sure your car is parked in good light and take up close and wider photos of the damage. These images will be useful for your insurance company and an Austin auto body shop.

Know Your Insurance Policy

Knowing what your insurance policy covers will help you prepare for any expense you have to pay out of pocket. Look at your policy closely or call your agent to find out how you are covered for hail damage.

Some policies will cover hail damage under collision repair and the policy may also cover paintless dent repair (PDR). PDR is often cheaper that the cost of auto body repair, which is why some policies will cover the full cost of PDR. If you have a broken windshield, find out about coverage for auto glass repair.

Paintless Dent Repair or Collision Repair

When looking for Austin body shops that can repair your car, find collision centers that provide certified collision repair to ensure the work is to the manufacturer’s specifications, and if the technicians are certified to perform PDR repairs. Ask if they offer a free estimate.

Most hail damage can be fixed with PDR. This method has been proven to be effective, which is why you may see temporary PDR facilities set up by insurance companies after a storm. In most cases, PDR requires less time than auto body repair. Less time also translates to a lower cost since it is not as labor intensive.

PDR has further benefits by maintaining the original factory car paint on your vehicle. While it is not the same as collision repair, it still requires proper training and certification for a technician. Find an Austin paintless dent repair location with certified technicians. To perform PDR, the back panel from where the damage is located is rubbed and a shrinking method is performed using special tools.

Paint work is not part of PDR, so if the hail chipped or cracked your paint you will need auto body repair. If any dents are near the edge of a panel, they cannot be removed using PDR. Search for a body shop in Austin that offers certified collision repair to ensure the repairs are performed to the manufacturer’s specifications and that the paint will match the original factory color.

Repairing a Used Vehicle with Hail Damage

If you are in the market for an inexpensive used vehicle, you may find one with hail damage that is minor and being sold at a lower price.

Before purchasing a hail damaged car, have a technician inspect the car. Some damage may have been repaired and you will want to make sure there are not any issues. Check with your lender to be sure you can finance a damaged car and ask your insurance agent if it will qualify for comprehensive insurance. It is your choice if you want to drive the car with the damage or have it repaired after purchasing.

Research Body Shops in Austin

When hail falls in Central Texas, that is the prime time to know which body shop Austin, Texas residents prefer for repair. It only takes a few minutes for a brief, but strong hailstorm to hit and cause extensive damage. Take some time to find a body shop that will provide high quality repair.

Search for a place that has technicians who are certified in PDR and also certified by the manufacturer of your car. A shop that meets these criteria will have the right equipment for repairing your vehicle and the technicians will know how to return the car back to its factory condition. If your vehicle is new, find out if the technicians were recently certified so they know about any new techniques needed to make the repairs.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, an Austin body shop, we have repaired thousands of hail damaged vehicles during our more than 60 years in Austin. Our technicians are routinely certified to perform PDR and auto body repair. Try our Smartphone Estimating Tool for a fast estimate that is free and makes collision repair efficient. Our goal is to make your experience hassle-free.

Having a car accident can be stressful. If no one had injuries in the accident, you can focus on auto body repair. Remember, selecting a nearby Austin collision center may not be the best choice. Research ahead of time to find the body shops in Austin that meet your needs.

How do you know which Austin auto body shop does the best job? As you look for a collision center, focus on high quality repairs and exceptional customer service.

Quality Reviews and Recommendations

Ask those you know for recommendations to narrow down the list of Austin body shops. Learn about their experiences. Look at how that shop makes repairs to cars.

Then, search reviews online to see what others have to say. Remember online reviews do not have both sides of the experience. However, if you see mostly negative reviews look at other body shops Austin, Texas offers.

Insurance Recommendations

Insurance agents recommend from a list of direct repair shops, or DRPs. The insurance companies establish their own criteria for a collision repair shop to be on the list. Additionally, insurance companies routinely inspect the shops. This guarantees the shops maintain the standards.

There are benefits to using a DRP. These collision centers can write an estimate and order parts without waiting on an insurance adjuster. This makes the repair process more efficient.

Most noteworthy, you can use the shop your agent recommends or another of your choice.

When you’ve had an accident that resulted in serious damage to your car, there are other questions to ask. Your insurance agent can tell you if the vehicle is worth repairing or whether it will be considered totaled.

Trained and Certified Technicians

Auto body technicians must train regularly to hold certifications. The shops must take certain steps to qualify. Two types of certifications are good indicators for quality. They are certified collision repair and the I-CAR Gold Class recognition.

As manufacturers change vehicles, technicians must know the proper techniques to repair new features. Certified collision repair means manufacturers train the technicians to make repairs to their specifications.

There is also the I-CAR Gold Class recognition. It is the highest level of role-relevant training achievement in the auto body repair industry. It signifies the shop works for the best standards of professionalism. This shop must maintain relevant training for all repair roles.

When a shop earns these recognitions, it demonstrates commitment to quality auto body repair.

Multiple Collision Center Locations

Some Austin collision centers have more than one location. Find out if those shops have owners in the area so you can have better contact with the management. Certainly, using a body shop with more than one location can have benefits. Collision centers with multiple locations reach a point of success to open new locations.

Collision centers with multiple locations have multiple resources. The shops can share technology and parts. This helps if a technician encounters a challenging repair. As a result, that technician can call another shop for expertise.

If you travel, multiple locations can help if you need warranty work performed. Another location should have access to your records and honor the warranty.

The Right Technology

Manufacturers require certified collision repair shops to have the latest tools and technology. If you visit an auto body shop, look at the technology. See if the shops repair new cars.

Manufacturer Parts or Aftermarket?

First of all, find out what type of parts a collision center will use. There are original equipment manufacturer parts, or OEM, and there are aftermarket parts.

Manufacturers make OEM parts. OEM parts fit and function better on your car, but cost more. Likewise, it also helps with the value of your car later.

If keeping the repair cost low is important, choose aftermarket parts. A variety of companies make these. Aftermarket parts may fit and function best for your car. If you want a quality collision center, that shop provides you with the option to use OEM parts.

Warranty

The best collision centers will offer a warranty for any work completed on your car. Furthermore, inquire about the types of warranty available and how long the warranty will last. Also, some body shops provide a lifetime warranty for as long as you own the car.

For more than 60 years, an Austin body shop, Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, repairs vehicles. Our technicians hold a variety of certifications. Also, they perform paintless dent repair. Ellis & Salazar backs collision repair with a National Limited Lifetime Warranty. Our shop covers paint work with the Axalta Nationwide Guarantee. Contact us to schedule a free estimate so we can show you how collision repair can be hassle free.

If you need a physician, you more than likely get recommendations from people you know and do some research. As a car owner, you should also research the body shops Austin has to offer. Normally, this is not a priority for people, so it often doesn’t happen until an accident happens. Choosing body shop locations before a wreck makes it easier when you do have a collision. As a car owner, you have the right to select the body shop that makes the repairs to your car. Your insurance agent recommends a direct repair shop on its list, but the decision is yours to make.

High quality collision repair doesn’t always mean it will come at a high price. Body shops in Austin have to compete for your business and in doing this, it means having skilled and certified technicians who know how to repair your model of vehicle.

Research the Shops

Do some research and ask people you know for recommendations. Then look online to see what others have to say, but keep in mind every review is only one side. If a shop has a majority of good reviews, that can be a good sign.

Contact the Better Business Bureau in Austin to see if the location has any negative reports. If you find out there are several positive recommendations, reviews, and reports for an Austin auto body shop, then it’s time to continue more quick research to determine if that location is where you want to take your vehicle.

Look at Location

If you have your choices narrowed down for which Austin body shops you prefer, go to the locations and see what the location is like. Higher rent locations for a body shop in Austin can affect the labor costs.

However, the nicer auto body shop location may offer specialized features that other shops do not. That location may have invested in the latest technology to repair vehicles and want a nicer location to attract customers.

Certified Collision Repair

Collision centers may hold several different certifications, all of which have different purposes. To keep the research simple, focus on finding out about two types of certifications, certified collision repair and the I-CAR Gold Class recognition.

Certified collision repair means manufacturers train technicians. Find out if the technicians train to repair your brand of vehicle. Also ask how often technicians train and earn certifications.

The I-CAR Gold Class recognition is the highest role-relevant training achievement in the collision industry. A body shop must show commitment to the best standards of professionalism and stay current on training for all repair roles.

Original Parts Versus Aftermarket

Luxury car owners will want to find collision centers that use original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, parts. These are made by the maker of your vehicle and have a greater chance of fitting and operating on your car, but they may cost more than aftermarket parts. OEM parts are also important for maintaining the value of a luxury vehicle.

If you prefer to reduce the overall cost of repairs, aftermarket parts are the best option. Because they are made by a variety of companies, they have a range in price.

Guaranteeing the Work

The best collision repair Austin has to offer will guarantee the work performed on your vehicle with a warranty. Inquire about the type of warranty, what it covers, and if it is a lifetime warranty or how long it will last. If you have had work on the car paint, ask about a paint warranty. If a shop does not offer warranty, keep in mind that

The warranty will be helpful later should anything go wrong with the work performed, the parts, or the paint. The body shop will be out the cost to fix any issues.

Estimate Cost

You will need an estimate before repairs begin. This also helps the insurance company determine if the car should be totaled, if the cost of repair is more than the value of the car. A collision center may offer a free estimate. Other body shops may provide a way to get an estimate quickly, such as a Smartphone Estimating Tool. A car owner can easily take a photo with a smartphone and send it for an initial estimate. Remember that the estimate could increase when a technician takes a closer look at the vehicle.

After you receive an estimate, inquire about each of the charges and find out why that shop believes those repairs should be made. Make sure you understand what is involved before the repairs begin.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, and Austin body shop, has served customers in the Austin area for more than 60 years. Our team will help you through the entire repair process. We offer a National Limited Lifetime Warranty to any collision repair we do on your car. If you have paint services performed, that work is backed by the Axalta Nationwide Guarantee. Plus, our technicians regularly train and certify with a variety of manufacturers, including luxury brands such as Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Give us a call or try our Estimating Tool to get a free estimate and start the easy and efficient collision repair process.

car accident

If you have never had a car accident before or if it has been awhile, it’s easy to forget steps to take during the unexpected stressful moments following the wreck. That is why it is helpful to have a checklist in your car or reviewing the steps often so you don’t overlook an important task.

Determine Injuries

The most important and first step to take immediately following an accident is to take a moment to determine if you or anyone in your car suffered injuries. If you are not seriously injured and able to check on the driver of the other vehicle, do so and then call 911. If you need an ambulance, tell the operator.

Safety After the Accident

Depending on where any vehicles involved ended up after the accident, you should consider safety after the collision. Wrecked vehicles that block traffic can lead to additional accidents. If the drivers are not seriously injured and the vehicles will still drive, the cars should be moved to a safe location off of the road. If it is not possible to move cars, set out any hazards, flares, or cones available.

Get the Other Driver’s Information

You will need to get the other driver’s information such as insurance, name of insured if it is different from the driver, and names and addresses for passengers in the car. Write down vehicle information such as make, model, and license plate.

Create a Record of the Collision

Take photos with your phone or a camera of any damage and of the accident scene. Write down what happened prior to the accident as you remember it and include details such as location, time of day, weather conditions, and traffic conditions.

Understand Your Insurance

When you sign up for your insurance policy, know what it covers and review the policy frequently so you have a clear understanding of what is and is not covered.

File an Accident Report

File a report with local law enforcement to have an official record that the accident happened. This typically happens when an officer arrives to the accident scene. The report can help insurance companies expedite a claim.

Find a Local Auto Body Shop

After the accident, you will need a local auto body shop that can repair your car. At Ellis & Salazar Automotive & Collision, we have locations in North Austin, South Austin, Buda, Hutto, and San Marcos with certified technicians trained to repair your model of vehicle. Contact us to schedule a free estimate so you can be confident that your car is repaired to manufacturer’s standards.

 

 

auto body repair regulation in Texas

There are a number of laws in the Lone Star State that regulate how businesses operate. It may surprise some that there is not a specific law in Texas that governs auto body repair shops. That doesn’t mean that body shops do not have regulations to follow.

As you are choosing body shop locations in the Austin area, keep in mind that all auto body repair shops must meet or pass environmental regulations and inspections. There are agencies that enforce criteria that every body shop in Austin must follow. 

Deceptive Repairs

Every customer should review an estimate before the repairs begin to know exactly what will be done to the car and how much it will cost. Customers should also review the cost when paying. It may be difficult to know if the repairs as charged were made, but this can fall under Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act.

If an Austin body shop made unnecessary repairs, charged for new parts but installed used parts, or if parts were not replaced, the customer should file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s office.

Requirements for Body Shops

No law governing collision repair doesn’t mean there are not regulations. All collision shops must meet a variety of requirements to stay in business, including the best body shop Austin has to offer. These regulations include those established by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The TCEQ has a checklist of requirements that involve waste, water, and air and shops must be in compliance every day. The state agency mandates these stipulations and a collision repair shop is required to fix anything not meeting these requirements.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision has served customers in the Austin area for more than 60 years. We want all of our customers to know the management at each location is here to answer any questions you may have and address any concerns. Contact us for a free estimate to see how we will exceed your expectations for auto body repair.

collision repair in Texas

 After you have repairs made to your car at a body shop in Austin, you naturally hope the repairs will last. But there could be a time when a repair does not last as it should. That’s when you hope the body shop that repaired your vehicle offers a lifetime warranty.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a body shop. Along with certified collision repair, you want an auto body shop that offers a lifetime warranty. This means the body shop is confident the work they do should last and if it doesn’t, that shop will make good on the repairs so they are correct and there are no issues.

Ask About All Warranties Offered

When you are getting an estimate for the repairs to your car, that is a good time to ask the body shop if it offers any warranties. If the shop does offer warranty, find out if there is more than one warranty program, specifically what the warranty covers, and how long the warranty is offered.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, an Austin body shop, backs up its commitment for quality collision repair with a Nationwide Limited Lifetime Warranty for any body work we perform on your vehicle. Any paint services are backed by the Axalta Nationwide Guarantee.

What Does a Lifetime Warranty Mean?

If a body shop offers a lifetime warranty that means any collision repair work on your vehicle is guaranteed for as long as you own the vehicle. If months or years after the body repairs are made to your car and something goes wrong with those repairs, you should take it back to the collision repair shop and it will be fixed at no additional cost to you.

The cost of any warranty repair work offered by the body shop is that shop’s responsibility. Anytime there is an out-of-pocket cost for a body shop that shop learns from the repair that didn’t last and should see how to make the repair differently or potentially use other parts.

If you are looking for body shops in Austin, consider Ellis & Salazar. We have served the Austin area for more than 60 years for a reason. Our team stands behind our promise to provide the best quality collision repair. Give us a call to schedule a free estimate and we’ll make sure to exceed your expectations.

distracted driving car accident

A standard feature on many new cars are the screens on the dash between the driver and passenger. These are commonly referred to as vehicle infotainment systems and they are now high on the list for contributing to distractions while driving, causing local body shops to see a rise in these kind of collision repairs.

The intent of the technology is to create a better experience for the driver and add efficiencies. However, a new study from the AAA Foundation discovered that this feature is causing dangerous distractions.

Texas Law

As of September 1, it is against the law in Texas to text, read, or write email on a phone while driving. This law is for the use of wireless communication devices. Many cities, including Austin, Buda, and San Marcos, have ordinances that require drivers to be hands-free while driving.

It is not entirely clear yet how the laws and ordinances will enforce restrictions against drivers using the in-car systems. However, the recent study shows using these while driving could lead to a serious accident and for that reason, AAA is recommending for drivers to only use them when the car is not in motion.

Why Body Shops in Austin May See More Wrecked Cars

AAA’s study tested 30 different systems in vehicles, including systems that allow drivers to surf the web or check social media. The new study shows when drivers use the in-car systems, it causes more than 40 seconds of visual and mental distraction that could lead to a collision and visiting a body shop in Austin. Compare that to their research that shows if a driver removes his or her eyes for just two seconds, the odds of having a collision are doubled.

Consider not only the length of distraction but also almost half of all drivers nationwide, or 40 percent, are using the systems while driving. Navigation was discovered to consume the longest period of distraction.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision has been part of the Austin area for more than 60 years. We care about the community where we work and live. Accidents happen and we have been here to provide the highest quality collision repair to the vehicles of more than one generation in families. If an accident is caused by someone using an in-car system, it was preventable. We hope that drivers in our area will not only follow the laws, but drive sensibly and know that anything that takes your concentration off of the road is not safe.

towing to an auto body shopWhen you are involved in a collision, it probably feels like so much is happening at the same time. You are trying to assess injuries and damage, get information from the other driver, talk to law enforcement, and possibly reaching out to your insurance company. If your vehicle is not drivable, you also need to have your car towed to an auto body shop.

When choosing body shop places, you also have a choice on towing companies. If a tow truck shows up to the wreck without being requested or if it was at the request of an officer on the scene, you do not have to use that towing company.

Know What You Should Pay

There are a variety of fees associated with towing that include the actual towing fee, storage fees, and potentially other charges. If you decide to use a towing company that arrives to the scene of an accident, ask about all fees involved, where it will be towed, and if that location charges a storage fee.

Never allow a tow truck driver to take your car without knowing where it is going and the total amount you need to pay. Ask for a printed receipt for verification of charges and to give to your insurance company, if your policy includes roadside assistance.

Remember Insurance Policy Coverage

When you sign up for insurance with an agency, know exactly what is included in your coverage. Review your policy each time it renews. If roadside assistance and towing is included in your policy, use it when needed. Keep in mind that many policies only cover towing for a limited number of miles.

If your policy does not include towing, think about any other benefits you have, such as a credit card or AAA, that may save you from paying for that tow.

If you have an accident and your vehicle is not drivable, contact our team at Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, an auto body shop in Austin. We can schedule a tow for you with a reliable company and work with your insurance company on the claim. We believe in providing efficient, high quality repairs so you can get back on the road.

Follow safe driving tips to avoid a holiday visit to the body shop.Santa Claus has his sleigh that flies high over body shops in Austin, Hutto, Buda, and San Marcos. However, the rest of us have our cars that will pack the highways once again this holiday season. More cars mean more of a risk of a collision and needing the best auto body repair Austin has to offer.

With any road trip, it is helpful to give yourself extra time and remember to have patience. Consider these helpful tips before you leave and while you are on the road.

Be Well-Rested

That may sound difficult to accomplish during what can be a busy time for many people. It is important, especially if you are driving late at night, to have a good night of sleep before driving a vehicle for a road trip. If you feel exhausted, consider postponing travel.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes more than 72,000 car accidents each year.

Monitor Weather and Road Conditions

Plan ahead before you leave and check the weather and road conditions along the route you will drive. If there are hazardous weather conditions, consider what precautions you need to take, and think about if you need to postpone your trip. Be sure to monitor the conditions for the trip home.

Winter can bring snow at any time. If you do not have experience or you are not comfortable driving on snow, consider an alternate route, different method of travel, or avoiding travel altogether to avoid an accident.

Be Alert

Accidents can happen anywhere, not just on crowded highways. At any time, day or night, stay alert to your surroundings while you drive. If you travel down a road in a dark, wooded area, watch for deer or any other animals that could dart in front of your car.

During the day, if you drive in a residential area watch out for kids who may ride new bikes or play with new toys.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, an Austin body shop, has served the Austin area for more than 60 years. We live here and care about our community. It is our hope that everyone has a safe holiday season. If an accident does happen, give our team a call for a free estimate and we’ll take care of the rest so you can get back on the road again.

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