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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.

Photo by Danox

The assertion that waterborne car paint is better for the environment is essentially beyond dispute.  Waterborne paint has less volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, than traditional paint options.  But why is this important?  Also why are car paint manufacturers moving towards low-VOC paint?  Let’s take a closer look at why waterborne car paint is a better choice for all involved and the planet!

VOCs are Serious Business and They’re Present in Some Car Paint

Environmentally aware homeowners and builders are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that VOCs come with serious hazards and dangers.  First, it is important to note that the term “VOC” is used to cover a wide array of harmful organic chemicals.

Most VOCs are not so toxic that exposure leads to immediate and obvious illness.  Instead, it is prolonged exposure that’s the problem.  This is why VOCs in the home and workplace are of such a great concern due to the fact that people spend so much time indoors.

VOC concentrations peak during the winter because doors and windows are typically closed.  In fact, during the winter, indoor VOC levels can reach four times their summertime levels!  Studies have shown a link between long term exposure and an increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia.

Car Paint Can be the Culprit

Paintings and coatings are a major source of VOC exposure.  Coatings and protective coatings are particularly problematic.  All of these factors are pressuring paint manufacturers to move towards waterborne paints, including car paint.

VOCs from any paint is seen as harmful to the environment.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started a partnership, the Design for Environment Automotive Refinishing Partnership, which is designed to help the automotive refinishing industry move towards cleaner practices and technologies.

Stricter regulations on car paints in California, Europe and Canada are spurring paint manufacturers to take steps towards waterborne paint.  The reason that regulations on paint are beginning to pick up speed is due to the substantial associated health risks.

A Long List of Health Concerns

Solvent based automotive paints contain not just problematic VOCs, but also other air pollutants that decrease air quality and may pose a risk to painters and workers.  Skin and eye irritation are only the beginning of the health problems that painters and workers could face when using solvent based automotive paints.

Other health risks include central nervous system effects.  The organic compounds found in VOCs can also damage internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys.  Alarmingly, organic compounds found in solvent based automotive paint have been linked to cancer and reproductive health issues.  By contrast, waterborne paints have lower levels of organic solvents are thus much less toxic.

Safer Conditions for Everyone

Many may hear this news and worry that these new regulations will mean a lot of new headaches.  However, very little new equipment is needed for the switch from solvent based automotive paint to low-VOC paint.  While there is a learning curve for those providing car paint services, many technicians really like working with the new paint.  Additionally, low-VOC car paint means safer working conditions for everyone involved.

The switch to waterborne paint is better for the environment.  Air quality benefits tremendously and a variety of harmful chemicals are kept out of not just the air, but out of our water as well.  Considering all the benefits, it is no great surprise that countries around the world are making the switch to waterborne car paint.

There are many good reasons to keep your car in a garage.  In cold climates, salt can damage your car.  In warm and sunny climates, the sun’s rays can damage your car’s paint.  Many people are surprised to learn just how damaging UV rays can be to their auto paint.  What will the sun’s rays do to even the best auto paint job?  With enough exposure, you can be certain that your car paint will fade, thanks to intense summertime sun.

 Sun is Your Car’s Enemy

 The best ways to keep your car paint job from fading is to limit its exposure to sunlight.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only come out at night!  Your car paint isn’t that fragile, but limiting the number of hours that your car logs in baking in the sunlight, especially very intense, direct summertime sunlight, is essential.  If you want to keep your car paint job looking great, following the steps outlined below will keep your auto paint looking great for years to come.

 Ways Around a Garage

If you have a garage, use it!  Many of us don’t have garages or have no choice but to leave our cars exposed to the elements while we’re at work.  There are a few options in this regard.  One option is to pay for covered parking.  If covered parking is cost prohibitive, or not available, there are other solutions.Another option is to look for consistently shaded areas and park your car in those places.  Sometimes following this course of action might mean a longer walk, but a little extra exercise isn’t a bad thing.  In the winter months and in colder climates  you won’t have to worry as much about the sun fading your car’s paint job.  But you want your auto paint job to look great for years, then it’s wise to invest in some preventive and protective measures.

A garage isn’t the only way to protect your car while at home.  If you are a homeowner without a garage, then you might want to consider either building a low cost garage or opting for a car port.  Car ports are an easy way for you to protect your car’s paint from UV rays and they are surprisingly affordable.

Wax On, Wax Off

Waxing is another way to protect your car’s paint job.  If you make waxing a regular part of your car maintenance you will decrease the risk of a faded paint job.

 Give Your Car a Little Protection

Finally, you may have seen people opting for protective car covering. This is usually an option followed by those who have expensive cars.  While car coverings do help, they can also come with problems.  In high density urban environments a car covering can be an invitation to people looking for trouble to mess with your car.  Be aware of the risks of using a car cover to protect your car paint job from the sun and be sure you don’t wind up doing more harm to your car than good!

A little planning can go a long way in preserving the look of your car’s paint job.  Prolonged exposure to UV rays will damage your paint, and getting a new top quality paint job can be both time consuming and expensive.  If you want to keep your car in optimal shape, preventive maintenance is your best choice.

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