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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.

For more car how-to’s and information, visit Ellis & Salazar on Facebook.

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.

Brakes are one of the most important mechanical functions our vehicles perform.  They are used multiple times every time we get in the car.  We rely on them to be responsive when they’re needed.  All this wear and tear means that making sure our brakes are working properly is very important.

Due to the frequency of use, brakes are designed to alert the driver when they need to be replaced.  One of the most common symptoms of brakes that need to be replaced is a squeaking or grinding noise when stopping.  This is caused when the brake pads have been used so many times that they begin wearing out.

In the early stages, the sound means the brake pads are wearing low and should be replaced soon.  Continuing to drive your car can cause more extensive damage as the brakes start wearing on the rotors.

Ignoring the warning signs and damaging the rotors means much more costly brake repairs.  In addition, poorly functioning brakes can lead to car accidents.  Equipment failure, such as brakes going out, accounts for a large majority of the wrecks caused as a result of mechanical problems.

As brakes wear out, they become less responsive.  In heavy traffic, like we frequently see in Austin, car accidents can happen if you need to stop quickly but your brakes don’t have the ability to stop your car fast enough to avoid an accident.

If an accident occurs as a result of your inability to stop, it’s likely you will be liable for the wreck and therefore responsible for collision repair on not only your vehicle, but the other driver’s car too.  It’s much safer and cheaper to be aware of the warning signs that your brakes need repair and to address them quickly.  Proper car maintenance will keep your car running smoothly and will save you money in the long run.

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