Unfortunately, not all repair shops are equally good. While many of them are run by highly competent and well-trained people, there are always a few exceptions here and there. In many cases, substandard mechanics will rely on the customer to accept the work without asking too many questions. This, of course, is a mistake, and it often leads to shoddy repair work going unnoticed and uncorrected. Here are 7 of the plainest signs that you might see if you have received a bad auto body repair.
1. The Steering Doesn’t Feel Normal
When a vehicle impact occurs, it will frequently affect some aspect of your steering. This might be something obvious (like wheel damage), but an expert repair technician should be able to catch the subtle issues, too. If your steering feels choppy or “gravelly” after being repaired, they probably missed something. If there is clicking or excessive resistance when you turn the wheel, there is definitely something wrong. You might even experience a handling delay while turning, which could be dangerous.
2. The Alignment Of The Wheels Is Off-Center
Whenever major collision repairs are done, the wheels should be balanced and aligned. The purpose of this is to make sure that everything is pointed in the right direction (i.e., straight ahead). Some mechanics will try to skimp on this step, but it’s easy to tell if your alignment is not right. Simply find a long straight stretch of road without much traffic. Country roads are the safest bet. While traveling completely straight, take your hands off the wheel for just a second or two and see if the car starts drifting to one side. Obviously, you need to grab the wheel again quickly so that you don’t go too far. If the car wants to drift, that means your alignment has not been fixed.
3. Irregular Braking
If you find yourself experiencing brake behavior that doesn’t match with the pre-collision performance, it’s also a sign that your repair shop may have done a poor job. When you hit the brakes, it should stop as easily and quickly as you would expect. If there is a lot of noise coming from them, something is probably wrong. If the vehicle tries to drift left or right when you hit the brakes, something is definitely wrong.
4. Gaps And Misalignment
Collision repair often involves the replacement of external parts, such as bumpers and panels. However, a less-savvy type of mechanic might have a hard time getting everything to line up properly. If someone doesn’t know what they are doing, it is very easy to end up with gaps between panels, misaligned parts, and other such issues. These gaps can cause serious problems over time by allowing rainwater into places that would normally be protected. You can check for gaps and misalignment by opening and closing doors, the hood, the trunk, and/or the tailgate (if you have a truck). If these have trouble closing or staying closed, it’s a dead giveaway that something isn’t lined up properly.
5. Electrical System Issues
Modern vehicles have a lot of electronic components, and that means many things that can go wrong during a collision repair. When you get your vehicle back from the shop, do a quick check of all the electrical components and make sure they still work correctly. This would include the radio, air conditioner/heat, power locks, power windows, dashboard lights, turn signals, brake lights, etc. If you find something wrong, it’s time to head back to the shop.
6. Your Car Is Returned Dirty
If your vehicle is in the hands of a competent professional, it should not be returned to you in a dirty state. Auto repair is often a messy business, but it is the responsibility of any good mechanic to return your car in the best possible state. If they don’t take the time to clean the thing, it makes you wonder what else they may have neglected or forgotten to do. This one isn’t a huge problem in itself, but it is an indicator of unprofessional service.
7. The Paint Job Is Splotchy
Technically, anyone can repaint a vehicle. However, it takes a little bit of expertise to do it right. The real art lies in matching colors, which allows paint repairs to blend into the existing paint job. If they do not match your original color well enough, you will be able to tell when you look at that spot. In some cases, the “splotch” might only be visible in bright daylight, but that is still unacceptable. A professional and well-trained collision repair shop should not send your vehicle home with an ugly finish.
There are many other signs that can indicate substandard repair work, but this article could never hope to cover them all. However, you definitely need to think about the nature of the work that has been done, and this will tell you what problems are likely to occur. For instance, if they were working on your brakes, that is obviously the first thing you should test. That kind of thinking will help you to find any additional problems.
If you find yourself asking: “where is the best auto body shop near me?”, we have your answer. Elmer’s Auto Body is the most respected auto shop in South Jersey, and we’ve been in the business of collision repair for over 70 years. To find out more, you can call us at (856) 218-0202.