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Photo shows the inside of a GM factory, with black cars lined up and their hoods open.
Your car will be just like it came off the factory line after getting collision repairs with a GM certified shop.

After a car wreck, you want your vehicle back to its factory condition. The best way to guarantee this is to find a collision repair shop that offers certified collision repair. Find out if the body shop has technicians who are certified by the manufacturer of your car.

If you own a GM vehicle, finding a body shop in Austin that has technicians certified by GM will soon be easier as the result of a new program the manufacturer is launching. This new program places tougher criteria on collision centers to ensure high quality repairs.

How to find a GM certified collision repair shop

The extensive collision certification program GM is launching will hold body shops to higher standards. The manufacturer also says it will make finding the best body shops easier.

GM will use a shop’s performance criteria to create a list of the best collision centers. GM uses its OnStar platform to refer the best performing shops in an area directly to car owners. Owners of a GM car will know the recommended shops met the criteria.

The criteria for certification

GM raises the bar with its new program. The manufacturer is adding more detail to make the program more extensive than standard manufacturer certifications. Each item will have a score and GM will use metrics to determine which body shops are the best for referrals.

Included in the new program are checks, such as pre-repair and post-repair scans, to ensure any damage is fixed after the repairs are made. There are also benchmarks for performing re-calibrations and specific methods to use for making a weld.

At Ellis & Salazar Automotive & Collision, an Austin body shop, we have performed collision repair on thousands of vehicles in Central Texas. Our technicians routinely certify with manufacturers, including GM, to stay current on the latest procedures. And we make sure all of our Austin collision center locations have the right equipment to fix your car back to its factory condition.

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An angry-looking man talks on his cell phone, with his wrecked car visible in the background.
Everyone who has experienced a wreck has questions about their car repair process. We’re here to help.

After a car wreck, most drivers have questions. The process can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first time experiencing a wreck with car damage.

You are not alone with body shop questions. The more you know about collision repair, the easier and more efficient your experience will be.

How do I find a reliable body shop?

Most people go to an auto body shop based on recommendations, which can be very helpful. Your insurance agent may also recommend a body shop. Take these recommendations into consideration along with your own research.

Should I use my insurance’s recommendation?

Insurance companies have a list of direct repair shops (DRP). The insurance companies regularly monitor these body shops to make sure they still meet their set criteria. If you choose to have your car repaired by the recommended DRP, the shop can begin the repairs without waiting for the insurance adjuster. This makes your car repair process more efficient.

Is the shop certified?

Close up of a man writing on a clipboard in a garage, with a car with an open hood in the background.
If your auto body shop is certified, it is more likely to have more qualified technicians working on your vehicle.

Before taking your car to a body shop, find out if the shop offers certified collision repair. This means manufacturers train the technicians to repair that specific model of vehicle.

If your car is new, find out how often technicians train. This gives you an idea of their experience on the newest vehicles.

How much will repairs cost?

The biggest question you may have is how much the repairs will cost. Most shops will not provide an estimate over the phone. Technicians need to see damage for a general idea of the repairs needed.

However, at Ellis & Salazar Collision, an Austin body shop, a Smartphone Estimating Tool is available to find out a quick approximate cost of repairs. Drivers snap a photo, send some information, and get an estimate.

This estimate is not a final cost and the amount can change once a technician thoroughly looks at the car for any damage that isn’t immediately visible. It can, however, give you an idea of your cost.

Ellis & Salazar has been providing body shop repair in Central Texas for more than 60 years. We are ready for any questions you may have about the repairs and process. Use our estimating tool for a free estimate or give us a call to schedule your repair.

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technology at austin collision center

When you have an accident, you might worry your car will never be the same. To get repairs that work right and long-term, it’s important to find an Austin collision center with technicians trained in the latest technology to repair your vehicle.

Collision repair on new vehicles goes beyond fixing dents in the car’s body. A majority of a newer car’s operating functions are computerized, and technicians need to have current training to have the skills required to make the repairs. Some body shops in Austin can make the repairs, but some may not be able to fully repair the newest models.

The right repair equipment

It takes new equipment to provide collision repair on the latest vehicles. Find out if you can visit a body shop before taking your car there. If you see technology that looks older, that shop may not have the ability to make the repairs properly.

Maintaining the latest technology to repair new vehicles is a costly expense for any body shop, so many go years between getting new equipment.

Certified repair

As you talk to someone about their technology at a collision center, ask about the training for technicians and if they are certified. Inquire about specific certifications by your vehicle manufacturer. Manufacturers train technicians to repair their vehicle to their specifications. Also, if your vehicle is hybrid, ask if anyone has received training specifically for hybrid vehicles.

A few years ago, manufacturers introduced more than 140 redesigned cars to the market. This means techs must learn about new features on the vehicles and how to make the repairs.

Training should be frequent and recent. A tech may not be well trained to work on your new vehicle if they were last trained a few years ago.

The team of technicians at Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, an Austin body shop, completes ongoing training from manufacturers and other sources so the repairs to your car are exactly as the manufacturer requires. We also routinely invest in the latest technology. Our team can repair your vehicle no matter how old or how new. Give us a call for a free estimate.

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Teen driver sits behind the wheel with her mom in the passenger seat.
Teen drivers are susceptible to accidents. Getting them a reliable vehicle can both reduce their risk of a crash, and risk of injury if they do get in a crash. (Photo courtesy State Farm)

Getting a driver’s license for the first time is an exciting milestone in a teen’s life. It signifies many things, including responsibility. Parents and driving instructors emphasize safe driving, because a teen has less experience behind the wheel. This makes choosing safe vehicle for your teen driver even more important.

Parents can rest easier knowing their teens are driving a car that will keep them safe during a collision. The majority of teens drive used cars for their first vehicles. Regardless of year, make, or model, there are other safety factors to consider.

Research vehicles before choosing

Woman sits at a laptop with her hand on her cheek, looking thoughtful.
Doing your research before buying a teen a car can help you make a confident decision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) releases safety ratings on vehicles that can be helpful to find the right model of vehicle for a new driver. When considering vehicles, look up their safety ratings and reliability.

A teen may have an idea of what they would like to drive. The reality is that teens have probably not yet considered safety. For instance, a first-time driver may feel more comfortable driving a smaller car, but vehicles that are heavier can take a hit better than smaller vehicles in an accident.

Parents should also consider vehicles with less horsepower if they think their driver may be tempted with speed. Electronic stability control will help the new driver have greater control if they lose control of a car.

When you think you have found a car for your teen driver, check to see if any recalls have been issued. If so, find out if the recall repairs have been made.

Finding a local auto body shop

Once the search for a safe and reliable car is over, it’s a good time to research body shops, and look for ones that offer certified collision repair. Most people do not get in accidents regularly and have probably not thought about finding a local collision repair shop in case an accident should happen. Having a plan can help you and your teen be prepared.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, has helped parents and teens with collision repairs for more than 60 years. Our goal is to make the process hassle-free. Now it’s easier than ever to get the free estimate using the Smartphone Estimating Tool.

Woman in polka-dot dress leans in close to a blue vehicle and smiles as she runs her hand along the outside.
Getting certified auto body repair not only better ensures safety, but also better maintains your car’s value.

After a car accident, you need to find a body shop you can trust to make quality repairs. One way to know if collision centers are qualified is to find out if they offer certified collision repair.

Learning About certified collision repair

When body shops provide certified collision repair, it means their technicians are trained by the manufacturers. An auto body shop commits to quality repair through certification. It costs a shop to train employees and purchase the right equipment to do the job precisely.

As vehicles change it is necessary for shops to learn new changes from the manufacturer. Research several shops to find out if those body shops offer certified collision repair and how frequently their technicians have trained on your car make.

The difference in certified

With better training and equipment, there are better odds that the work performed on your car will be higher quality. A body shop with certified collision repair wants your satisfaction and recommendation to others.

Today’s vehicles are more detailed than ever. There’s more than just repairing the body: The function and safety of a car relies heavily on technology. Each of these details are different from manufacturer to manufacturer, and repairing something incorrectly can affect how the car operates.

For example, if the automatic emergency braking system needs repair after an accident, the repairs must meet manufacturer specifications so your car is safe to drive. Repairing this incorrectly could be dangerous.

Owners of luxury vehicles should also have certified repair performed on your car to maintain its value. A certified body shop typically uses manufacturer parts. There is a better guarantee these parts will fit and function better than an aftermarket part. Additionally, for luxury vehicles it will make a difference in the value if there are manufacturer parts.

Different manufacturers, different certifications

Tech wearing overalls and a grey sweatshirt holds out car keys to the camera.
Manufacturers often set high standards for their certified techs, making sure you get the best quality care for your vehicle.

Every vehicle is different and that is why each manufacturer’s certification requirements differ.

GM requires certified technicians to perform a pre-scan and post-scan to find damage and check that the repairs are correct. This requires special equipment to find trouble codes and diagnose problems in the vehicle’s safety and powertrain systems. Along with the scanning requirements, GM allows technicians to only perform repairs for which they have been trained and certified.

GM is not the only manufacturer to enforce specific regulations for its certifications. Honda ProFirst also has the scanning mandate and it has specific requirements for repairing aluminum vehicles. Audi routinely audits collision centers with technicians it certifies and found some body shops are not reviewing instructions before repairs. Auto makers want to guarantee that their certifications have purpose and value to customers.

Certified repairs for aluminum cars

New cars use aluminum to reduce the weight of the vehicle. Repairing aluminum is not the same as repairing steel and requires different training and equipment. Manufacturers can certify technicians to repair their aluminum vehicles.

Manufacturers regulate any collision center with aluminum certified technicians. Honda certified auto body shops are required to have separate spaces for repairing aluminum and steel.

Before having your car repaired at a body shop, ask if technicians are certified to repair your brand of vehicle. Shops may list being Ford Aluminum Certified, but it takes an extra training course to also be certified to make aluminum repair on a Lincoln Navigator.

At Ellis & Salazar Automotive & Collision, an Austin body shop, we have been repairing cars in the Austin area for 65 years. Along with locations in Austin, we now have locations in Hutto, Buda, and San Marcos.

We believe in continuous training to become highly skilled in the latest techniques for repair. Our team holds 14 OEM certifications from various manufacturers including Porsche, Jaguar, Audi, Land Rover, Honda, GM, and more. Our technicians are also trained by the manufacturers for aluminum certification. Give us a call with questions and to schedule a free estimate to see how we make collision repair hassle-free.

A woman holds her hands up in the air, outraged, behind the wheel of her car. She appears to be yelling in rage.
Keep calm. We have tips for a better Austin commute.

It may come as no surprise to Austin drivers that major collisions are a problem in the capitol city. Accidents in Texas caused over 3,700 deaths on the roads in 2017, and over 17,000 people sustaining a serious injury in crashes.

With more than 675,000 miles of highways in Texas, there is a lot of ground for drivers to cover, and many drivers unfamiliar with the roads. Drivers should know where the most accident-prone highways are near them so they can use caution.

Most dangerous highways in Austin

If you live in Austin and hear the traffic reports, you may not be surprised at the highways that made a list of most dangerous highways in a recent study. There are five highways that were ranked among the deadliest.

Those highways are U.S. 290, State Highway 71, U.S 183, Interstate 35, and FM 734. During the period of the study from 2013 to 2015, there are 127 fatalities along these roads.

Driving on dangerous highways

Avoiding congested highways in the Austin area may be impossible if you commute daily to work. Here are some tips to drive cautiously and safely in commuter traffic:

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision, an Austin body shop, has been part of the Austin community for more than 60 years. Our body shop team has watched the city grow and the roads expand. We have repaired thousands of cars involved in accidents over the years, and we take pride in providing the highest quality auto body repair. If you are in a collision, our certified technicians will take care of your vehicle. Use our Smart Estimating Tool to schedule a free estimate so you can get back on the road.

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.

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