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Start to Finish: What to Expect at a Collision Center

Start to Finish: What to Expect at a Collision Center

When you have never been in an auto accident before, knowing what to expect at an auto body shop in NJ  can be confusing and frustrating. You may not understand what is involved or what goes on at a collision center. There is definitely much to the repair process, particularly when it comes to returning your vehicle to its pre-collision condition. If you were recently involved in a car accident and need repairs, here is what to expect at a collision center.



The first step of the collision repair process is to take your vehicle to one of the reputable auto body shops in South Jersey, such as Elmer’s Auto Body. Speak with an auto repair technician about your car or bring it in for them to assess and provide a quote for the damages. The estimate is created after an auto technician has looked at the external damage to the vehicle. Keep in mind that sometimes internal damages cannot be found until the technician is already working on the vehicle. The estimate may change according to what they find.



Once the body shop has compiled an estimate of the visible damage and any potential hidden damages, they will send the numbers over to your insurance company. Once this step is completed, your repairs will begin in earnest.



Returning the condition of your car to what it used to be is going to take some time. The technicians in charge of your vehicle will map out their plan, since deconstructing a vehicle is systematic. As pieces are removed from the vehicle, the mechanic will inspect those pieces to decide whether the condition is OK or not.

Some insurance companies will ask the NJ body shop to first disassemble the vehicle so that hidden damages are uncovered and documented early on, reducing the number of adjustments to the estimate.

If the body shop needs to order replacement parts for your vehicle, this is the time when those orders take place.



Collisions, regardless of the speed you are moving, have a chance of distorting the metal frame of a vehicle. One of the first steps of collision repair is to assess the framework. The auto body shop technician will use tools like laser frame diagnostics to ensure the shape of the metal has not been warped. Some auto body shops in South Jersey also have frame machines to restore the pre-accident condition of your vehicle. Depending on the extent of damage, the metal repair could take weeks.

Suspension and wheel alignment repairs are also a point of focus for auto body shops. These repairs are often crucial after repairs because you want your vehicle to remain maneuverable while driving.


Paint Prep

Prior to putting the vehicle back together, the collision center will prepare to paint your car. The panels that need to be painted or repainted are readied. Prepping the paint assures that the colors of the paint stick. Priming and sealing happen next.



Once the frame and other repairs are completed, the vehicle is then ready to be painted. First comes the base coat, followed by a clear repellent coat. After the curing is finished, your car gets another, glossier coat of paint.

After the paint has dried, reassembly occurs. The collision center will reconstruct your car from the ground up and double-check that all essential pieces are where they belong. This is a painstaking process, as everything must be returned to the original location. Even a single misplaced screw can lead to havoc on the roadway.


Detailing and Cleaning

While your car is sitting in the auto body repair shop, the parts are going to get dusty and dirty. That is a fact of life within an NJ body shop. The technicians at the collision center will clean out any of the debris or dust that has settled in the vehicle. They will check everything to make sure no glitches were passed over.

The head technician will approve the condition of the car before it moves onward to the last phase of being in a collision center. Sometimes, to ensure the vehicle is ready to be driven home by the owner, a technician will take it for a short test drive around the facility.


Final Inspection

At long last, your car is nearly finished. Now, it just needs to be returned to you. During the pickup process, you will receive the final invoice for the repairs, including a total breakdown of every expense. Before shaking hands and leaving, be sure to double-check your car, both inside and outside. Do not take the keys from the desk until you are satisfied with what you see.


Looking for a Trustworthy NJ Body Shop?

Now that you know what to expect at a collision center, it is time to start looking for one. Elmer’s Auto Body has been repairing South Jersey vehicles for many years. Our collision repair process is well thought out, and we will work with you and your insurance company the entire time. Returning your car to working condition may take some time, but our skilled technicians will restore it to how you remember it. Give us a call today or fill out the contact form for more information.

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