Marin – Auto Body

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31 Bay Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
861 Vallejo Avenue
Novato, CA 94945
5500 State Farm Drive
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
1024 N. Dutton Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(415) 523-6060
(415) 506-5748
(707) 927-1013
(707) 927-1017

Serving Marin and Sonoma Countie including San Anselmo, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Novato, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa

Services include collision repair, painting and detailing. Brands include BASF...
License 114547 | DCID4154596115
862 Vallejo Avenue
Novato, CA 94945
(415) 890-2175

Serving all of Marin County including San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito, Fairfax and Ross.

Services include collision repairs, complete car restoration, custom body and paint work and free estimates. Brands include PPG.
License 45337 | DCID4158970211
110 Hamilton Drive, Suite A
Novato, CA 94949
(415) 690-7975

Serving all of Marin County including San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Sausalito, Fairfax and Ross.

Services include collision repair & painting, unibody & frame repair, welding & metal fabrication, complete auto restoration, mobile or free computerized estimates, free pickup & delivery. Brands include Spies Hecker...
License 203949 | DCID4158832531
Map of these Diamond Certified companies
Cities: Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, Sausalito, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Tiburon
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Researched Articles
Why Trust Diamond Certified Auto Body Shops Rated Highest in Quality?
Cars in a Marin County collision center for auto accident repairs.

These vehicles are awaiting collision repairs at a top rated Diamond Certified auto body shop. You'll feel confident choosing among the car body shops listed above because each has earned Diamond Certified and has been rated Highest in Quality. For more information on choosing and working with vehicle body shops in Marin County, read the following articles. Photo: Active Auto Body (2011)

By DIAMOND CERTIFIED PROGRAM STAFF WRITERS
Topic: Finding High Quality Auto Body Shops in Marin County

SAN RAFAEL — You are the customer. If your goal is to choose an auto body shop that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified auto body repair shop. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated auto body collision center and is unparalleled in its

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose an auto body shop that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified auto body repair shop. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated auto body collision center and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you'll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you'll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

How to Choose
Get Back on the Road Fast With High Quality Auto Body Shops in Marin County

Car accidents are stressful enough without having to worry about finding an auto collision repair shop you trust. But if you have been involved in an accident, you need just that—a good auto body repair shop that will make your truck, mini-van or car look like new again and restore it to pre-accident condition.
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Car accidents are stressful enough without having to worry about finding an auto collision repair shop you trust. But if you have been involved in an accident, you need just that—a good auto body repair shop that will make your truck, mini-van or car look like new again and restore it to pre-accident condition.

There are many car collision shops to choose from, including auto body shops in Marin County that serve the major cities of San Rafael, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo and Larkspur, as well as all the smaller towns. But for most people, choosing an auto collision repair shop is a mystery. It’s obvious when the dents are gone and paint is new, but how do you find a good shop? One you can trust to straighten the frame, install a new windshield and apply new auto paint—and repair everything in between?

Information is the key. It will give you the confidence you need to make an informed decision.

Why Trust Diamond Certified Car Body Shops Rated Highest In Quality?
Only the best auto body shops in Marin County have earned the Diamond Certified award by scoring Highest in Quality in the most rigorous and accurate ratings process anywhere. So you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews, since all research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed. Most companies can’t pass this test.

Thousands of local auto collision center customers have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only auto body shops that scored Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction, a 90+ on a 100 scale, as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program cuts out mediocre and poorly performing companies. If you want quality, you’ll have confidence in choosing Diamond Certified companies. And you’re backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee.

Know Your Rights When Selecting a Local Auto Body Shop
Whether the car accident was your fault or not, you have the right to choose the auto body repair shop that repairs your vehicle after an auto crash. Sure, your insurance company may recommend repair shops. But the final decision is always yours. Most insurance companies have agreements, known as direct repair programs (DRP), with collision repair facilities in Marin County.

While this seems like a convenient alternative to researching and choosing a shop on your own, this is one area where information is key. Why? Insurance companies often enforce strict limits on the repairs done at DRP shops that cause them to cut corners, including in the quality of the replacement parts and the time the shop spends on the repairs. If you’re not careful, you can end up getting an inferior repair job.

Remember, it’s very important to choose a qualified automotive body repair shop for collision repairs. This avoids conflict and can preserve the value of your for your car, truck or mini-van. Incorrect body damage repairs are often not reversible, devaluing your vehicle and compromising your safety. If you hire the wrong auto body repair center and another shop can repair the damage they’ve done, you’ll probably have to pay for additional body repairs out-of-pocket since car insurance companies rarely pay for the same repairs twice.

Further Research on Local Auto Collision Centers
You’re probably in a hurry to have your collision damage repaired at one of the auto body shops in Marin County that serve major cities like San Rafael, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Mill Valley, and Novato—and all the smaller towns in the North Bay.

However, it’s in your best interest to slow down and research a few local auto body shops to find the one that will best serve your needs and repair your vehicle right the first time.

While it’s usually best to choose a Diamond Certified company because of their Highest in Quality rating, it may not always be possible. If you’re unable to choose a Diamond Certified company, you can improve your chances of finding a decent auto body shop by checking them out on the California Bureau of Auto Repair website. You'll find a list of auto body shops that are licensed and in good standing with the state. While not containing any customer satisfaction research, you will be able to see if complaints have been filed with the state or the auto body shop’s license has been revoked.

Certified auto collision repair technicians tend to have more training and up-to-date knowledge of the newest car body repair methods. There are even green auto body shops located throughout Marin. These shops have earned certifications and competed courses on environmentally responsible collision repair and auto painting services. If such credentials are important to you, ask the auto body shops for a list of their qualifications and industry recognition.

Many auto body shops will offer to handle insurance paperwork for you. This can be a valuable timesaver, so ask the auto body shops you’re interviewing if they have experience working with insurance companies.

Auto Body Parts and Auto Body Insurance Requirements
Another factor to consider when researching paint and body repair shops is the quality of replacement parts each shop uses. Just as it’s your right to choose which body repair shop to hire for collision repairs, you’re usually entitled to choose the parts that are used. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are manufactured to fix your car exactly and may last longer than aftermarket parts. Refurbished and salvaged parts often come with no warranties since their safety and lifespan cannot be guaranteed.

If you did not cause the accident, immediately tell the auto body shops that you want OEM parts installed. If the accident was your fault, ask the vehicle collision centers about your specific case. There may be wording in your insurance agreement mandating use of aftermarket parts, refurbished (repaired) auto parts or salvage parts. However, it may be worth paying the difference between aftermarket parts and OEM parts to get better quality auto body parts installed.

If you live in the smaller Marin County cities of Belvedere, Black Point, Nicasio, Point Reyes Station or Olema, your insurance company may want you to bring your wrecked car, truck or minivan into a local auto body collision shop for an auto body repair estimate. Luckily, because of their ability to tow in wrecked or totaled vehicles, car body shops in larger cities may be able to provide auto body repairs rather than leaving you stranded. For example, auto body repair shops in the San Rafael area can also serve the smaller cities of San Quentin, Lagunitas, Kentfield, Ignacio and Dillon Beach.

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Know What You Want
Get to Know Your Expectations for Body Damage Repairs
San Rafael auto body shops provide vehicle restoration and collision repairs.
A Porsche Boxter after restored body damage and new auto paint. Photo: Yeaman Auto Body (2011)

Before you make any phone calls, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Some carowners have found that it helps them to write down their goals and a list of questions and expectations so that they can present a clear case to the car body repair shops they interview. Ask yourself these questions to get started:...

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Before you make any phone calls, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Some carowners have found that it helps them to write down their goals and a list of questions and expectations so that they can present a clear case to the car body repair shops they interview. Ask yourself these questions to get started:

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  2. What is my overall goal in getting my car, truck or minivan repaired (collision damage, auto restoration, fender repair, new paint, paintless dent repair or auto vandalism repairs)?
  3. What is my budget for the repairs?
  4. Will my auto insurance cover the body work?
  5. What characteristics do I want in an Marin County auto body shop? (This can include communication skills, quick turn-around time for car body repairs, warranties and guarantees, follow-up service and long-term appearance and drivability results.)
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What to Ask on the Phone
Get to Know Your Local Auto Body Shops

Before you drop off your vehicle or have it towed to an auto body shop for repairs, you’ll want to talk directly with the shop owner or service manager. The questions you ask and the responses the auto body mechanics give will help you make the best choice in an auto collision repair facility. You may want to write down the body shop representative’s answers and take note of any strengths, weaknesses and impressions that may influence your decision.

Questions to ask Auto Body Shop Owners on the Phone...

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Before you drop off your vehicle or have it towed to an auto body shop for repairs, you’ll want to talk directly with the shop owner or service manager. The questions you ask and the responses the auto body mechanics give will help you make the best choice in an auto collision repair facility. You may want to write down the body shop representative’s answers and take note of any strengths, weaknesses and impressions that may influence your decision.

Questions to ask Auto Body Shop Owners on the Phone

  • Has your company earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  • Does your vehicle body repair shop work on my make and model (i.e. Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, Lexus, BMW, etc.)?
  • Do you specialize in the type of auto body repair work my vehicle needs (i.e. fender repair, I-Frame work, auto door repairs, paint matching and new car paint)?
  • Will you give me a written estimate?
  • How do you price auto body repairs and auto painting services (i.e. hourly charges or a flat fee?)
  • Will you use new or used parts to repair my car’s damage?
  • Do your technicians hold any certifications in vehicle collision repair?
  • Does your auto body shop have courtesy cars or rental vehicles available while my car is in your auto body shop?
  • Will you cooperate with my car insurance company? If so, can the insurance appraiser come to your collision repair shop to write the claim?
  • What auto paints do you recommend (BASF Waterborne, PPG, DuPont auto paints, Dupli-Color, Valspar, Sherwin-Williams)? Why do you use those car paints?
  • Can you provide auto upholstery repair?
  • Will you do auto glass installation?
  • Are your auto body mechanics covered by workers' compensation and liability insurance?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer on auto body repairs and new auto paint?
  • How long has your auto body shop been in business in this part of Marin County?

 

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What to Ask in Person
What to Ask When You Bring in Your Car for Body Repairs
High quality vehicle body painting at a Marin County collision center.
An auto body technician paints a car door to cover scratches and dings. Photo: Serramonte Ford Body Shop (2011)

Before leaving your vehicle at a shop, take a few minutes to discuss the repairs you need and your expectations with the shop representative. The following questions are good sample questions to use when you drop off your vehicle for repairs....

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Before leaving your vehicle at a shop, take a few minutes to discuss the repairs you need and your expectations with the shop representative. The following questions are good sample questions to use when you drop off your vehicle for repairs.

  • How long will the car collision repairs take?
  • Do you coordinate with other local shops if you can’t complete all of the collision repairs yourself? Does that affect any warranties?
  • What contact information do you have for me and what do you need in order to reach me with updates about my car’s body repairs?
  • Is there anything I can do to make this process faster and easier?
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What to Ask References
Get the Facts from Past Body Shop Customers

All Diamond Certified collision shops have undergone a ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you expect quality from a body auto repair shop, you’ll have confidence when choosing Diamond Certified companies. You can read Diamond Certified reports on all certified companies, including verbatim survey responses. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews because all research is performed by live telephone interviews of a large, random sample of real customers.
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All Diamond Certified collision shops have undergone a ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you expect quality from a body auto repair shop, you’ll have confidence when choosing Diamond Certified companies. You can read Diamond Certified reports on all certified companies, including verbatim survey responses. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews because all research is performed by live telephone interviews of a large, random sample of real customers.

If you can’t find a Diamond Certified vehicle collision shop within reach, conduct some research of your own. If you do, good shops should be willing to give you a list of recent customers you can call. Keep in mind, though, that references provided by the car body repair shops are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references are “cherry-picked,” not randomly selected from all customers, so shops are likely just giving you a few satisfied customers to call.

If your do call on references, specifically ask for a list of their 10 most recent customers (to help avoid them giving you only customers they know were satisfied) and call those references. Ask general questions about their experience with the shop’s personnel as well as specific questions about the car body repairs. Sample questions you may want to ask are:

  • Were you satisfied with the performance of _(shop name)_?
  • What type of car body repairs or auto paint repairs did they do for you?
  • Were you pleased with the auto body shop’s turn-around time?
  • If you live in a smaller town such as Mission Rafael, Sleepy Hollow, Stinson Beach, Woodacre or Terra Linda, was your auto body shop willing to tow your car or truck to their collision repair garage if needed?
  • Did they work with you to get the auto body repairs done exactly as you wanted them?
  • Were you happy with the communication from this auto body shop?
  • Do you feel the price was fair for the auto collision repairs?
  • Did the auto body shop help you deal with your insurance company?
  • Did they provide a loaner car or shuttle service while your car was being repaired?
  • Would you go back to this company again if your car, truck or van were in a crash?
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Review Your Options
Choose Qualified Auto Body Repair Shops in Marin County
The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

By now you’re probably aware that your choice of an auto body repair shop determines how smoothly the repair process will go and the value and quality of your vehicle after the repairs are completed. And since vehicles are often our second largest expense (after our homes), it’s not a decision to take lightly.

Review the notes you’ve taken during your interviews with auto body shops and collision repair customers to determine if one stands out. Pay special attention to the following items:...

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By now you’re probably aware that your choice of an auto body repair shop determines how smoothly the repair process will go and the value and quality of your vehicle after the repairs are completed. And since vehicles are often our second largest expense (after our homes), it’s not a decision to take lightly.

Review the notes you’ve taken during your interviews with auto body shops and collision repair customers to determine if one stands out. Pay special attention to the following items:

  • Can one of the auto body shop you’ve talked with satisfy your requirements for scheduling, body repairs and part preferences?
  • Is the shop you are selecting willing to work with your insurance company while still providing the best outcome?
  • Does the service writer at the auto body shop communicate clearly and effectively?
  • Is the auto body shop as devoted to getting your car back to pre-accident condition as you are?
  • If the answers are yes, confidently move forward and sett up an appointment with the auto body shop of your choice.
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How to Work With
How to Get Trustworthy Collision Repair Estimates

If you've found the auto body shop that meets your needs, that's great news! Here are a few things you can do to get accurate estimates and the quality service you expect.

Meet with the service writer and discuss the necessary repairs. Remember that the goal of every good auto body shop in Marin County is to fully repair collision damage. Your car should look and function like it did before the accident.
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If you've found the auto body shop that meets your needs, that's great news! Here are a few things you can do to get accurate estimates and the quality service you expect.

Meet with the service writer and discuss the necessary repairs. Remember that the goal of every good auto body shop in Marin County is to fully repair collision damage. Your car should look and function like it did before the accident.

When you, your collision repair facility and your car insurance company agree on the needed repairs, the shop should provide you with a written estimate outlining the necessary repairs before the work begins. By law, this estimate must include the total estimated cost for all needed car parts and labor, an itemized list of required parts, and whether the parts used are new or used. Ask about guarantees, as some shops only warranty certain parts or auto paints.

Your agreement with the shop is final when you sign the estimate or work order. Never sign a blank or incomplete estimate. The collision shop must get your approval before making any changes to the work orders and estimates, so be sure to give the auto body technicians a phone number where they can reach you at all times. Return their calls promptly to keep your repairs on schedule and ensure that you get your vehicle back in on time.

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Be a Good Customer
How Can You Be an Excellent Body Shop Customer?

It's the auto body shop's responsibility to perform a thorough and complete repair job on your car. But you play a big part in the success of your automobile's repair too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when you take your van, minivan, truck or car into an auto body shop.

Be clear and upfront with the auto body repair shop representative. Let them know what the problem is, what outcome you’re expecting from the vehicle collision repairs and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
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It's the auto body shop's responsibility to perform a thorough and complete repair job on your car. But you play a big part in the success of your automobile's repair too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when you take your van, minivan, truck or car into an auto body shop.

Be clear and upfront with the auto body repair shop representative. Let them know what the problem is, what outcome you’re expecting from the vehicle collision repairs and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.

Before you leave your car, truck or van at an auto body shop in Marin County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the auto body repair technicians your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with auto repair shops occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.

Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way in creating a positive atmosphere and good working relationship.

Ask your service writer if you should call to check on the progress of your vehicle body repairs or if he will call you with updates.

Be sure your service writer a phone number where they can reach you at all times while your car or truck is in for vehicle body repairs. Your repairs will move along more smoothly if your service writer can reach you for any necessary updates or authorizations for car body repair work.

When your shop contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the repairs on schedule.

Pay for the car body repairs promptly.

Why would you want to be a good auto body shop customer? Collision repair center staff appreciate customers who are straightforward, easy to work with and honest. Your “good customer” behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment that contributes to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check the Work
Review the Completed Body Repairs and Auto Body Painting
Honest auto body estimates for collision damage repair in Marin County.
A local body shop customer reviews his estimate with body shop personnel. Photo: Anchor Auto Body (2011)

When the work is done, all body shops are required by California law to give you a written invoice that details all the work done. This invoice must include:...

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When the work is done, all body shops are required by California law to give you a written invoice that details all the work done. This invoice must include:

  • The name and physical address of the collision repair shop and their registration number.
  • A list of all completed repair and refinishing work.
  • An itemized list of all replaced parts. This list must state whether the parts were new, used, salvaged, reconditioned, or rebuilt.
  • The total auto collision repair cost, including the amount due for labor.
  • Any applicable hazardous waste disposal fees and the body shop’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) number.

Remember, it’s smart to compare the written invoice to the work that was actually done. Ask your body repair specialist to show you the repairs, and check them against the invoice. Your shop should be willing to talk you through the process and give you any special instructions for maintaining the collision repairs and new auto body paint. If you have questions about what was completed or how the work was done, this is the time to ask.

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Written Warranties
Ask the Marin County Collision Repair Shop for Written Warranties

Before you leave the auto body shop, confirm any warranties. Not all auto body repair shops in back up their work with warranties. But if the shop you’ve chosen does guarantee their work, they should give you a written warranty, including:...

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Before you leave the auto body shop, confirm any warranties. Not all auto body repair shops in back up their work with warranties. But if the shop you’ve chosen does guarantee their work, they should give you a written warranty, including:

  • The shop’s name and physical address.
  • What is covered by the their warranties, including whether the shop will replace or repair the parts or give you a refund if there is a warranty claim. Exclusions must be in writing.
  • Your responsibility if you need to redeem your warranty for vehicle body repairs (if you have to pay for labor, agree to used parts or pay a prorated amount).
  • Terms of and limitations on the car body repair warranty.
  • Whether the auto body repair warranty coverage is transferable if you sell your car or truck.
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Top 10 Requests
Most Common Vehicle Body Repairs in Marin County

The top 10 requests for auto body repair listed below are available within the following Marin County cities. Read the paragraphs below for the definition of each type of car body repair.

Auto Collision Repair
This type of auto body repair restores vehicles after collisions and auto crashes. Usually, auto collision repairs include frame straightening, auto body work and automotive painting to cover dents, scratches, dings and crumpled auto body exteriors.

Auto Body Repair...

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The top 10 requests for auto body repair listed below are available within the following Marin County cities. Read the paragraphs below for the definition of each type of car body repair.

Auto Collision Repair
This type of auto body repair restores vehicles after collisions and auto crashes. Usually, auto collision repairs include frame straightening, auto body work and automotive painting to cover dents, scratches, dings and crumpled auto body exteriors.

Auto Body Repair
Auto body repair refers to any repairs to the exterior of vehicles, including dent repair, scratch repair, auto crash repair and fender bender repair. Car body damage can result from vehicle collisions, car accidents and acts of vandalism. Local body shops offer bumper repair and replacement, auto painting and scratch and dent repair for vehicles involved in collisions and auto crashes.

Vehicle Dent Repair
Whether from a fender-bender or a careless driver in a parking lot, car dents can make your car look bad. Auto body repair shops can pull dents to make your car, truck, van look like new. Automobile dent repair may require vehicle repainting depending on the severity of the damage. Automotive paintless dent repair shops in Marin County can even remove vehicle dents without the added cost or repainting.

Auto Paint Repair
Automotive painting facilities offer paint matching, auto paint chip and scratch repair, vehicle paint touch-ups and spot painting. Auto paint repair is best used to cover minor auto paint scratches, chips and flaking. Major auto body damage from an auto wreck or car accident is best repaired by hiring a shop to do automotive paint restoration to larger areas of your truck, van or car rather than simple auto paint repairs.

Mobile Auto Body Repair
Mobile auto body and paint repair companies in Marin County bring the auto body shop to you. These body shops are at times more convenient than traditional auto collision centers. Mobile auto body repair shops provide minor auto body repairs, dent removal and auto paint repair services at your home or place of work. Some mobile body repair shops offer same-day service for your car, minivan, truck or van and will cooperate with your insurance company.

Automotive Painting
Auto body shops provide automotive painting for collision damage repairs and to restore vehicles including cars, trucks, vans and minivans. A new coat of paint can change the look of your vehicle by allowing you to repaint your vehicle a new color or cover damaged areas that have obvious dents, scratches, chips and auto paint dings.

Bumper Repair & Bumper Replacement
A common request for auto body repair shops is bumper repairs that fix bumper dents, fender-bender damage, and bumper scrapes and tears. Bumper repair usually includes dent removal and bumper repainting. Bumper replacement includes removing and replacing an entire bumper that’s been too badly damaged in a car crash for bumper repairs.

Custom Auto Body Work
Customization is available for new vehicles (usually with custom body kits) and vintage or classic vehicles (also known as auto body restoration). Custom auto body work may take the form of chop jobs (modifying the original frame or body of your car, truck or van) or customized auto paint that takes your vehicle beyond stock auto paint colors.

Auto Upholstery Repairs
Auto upholstery repairs are a popular way to improve the comfort and appearance of cars, trucks and minivans, and enhance their trade-in and resale value. Car body repair shops that offer auto upholstery repairs are usually knowledgeable about different battings and materials that change the comfort and appearance of your vehicle’s interior.

Auto Frame Repair / Vehicle Frame Straightening
Much more serious than the average dent, scratch or sideswipe, vehicle frames bent in collisions and car accidents require straightening in order to drive correctly. Bent vehicle frames that are not straightened can cause uneven wear on the car or truck and make it more vulnerable in an accident. Only licensed auto body repair shops have the equipment and expertise to straighten vehicle frames after a collision or car accident.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee
Vehicle painting booth for new auto paint in San Rafael, CA.
A state-of-the-art auto painting booth at a Marin County collision repair shop. Photo: Active Auto Body (2011)

Diamond Certified collision repair shops are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the auto body shop is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Marin County Auto Body Repair Shop Customers Have Rights...

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Diamond Certified collision repair shops are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the auto body shop is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Marin County Auto Body Repair Shop Customers Have Rights
If questions and conflicts occur with your mechanic—whether you’ve encountered substandard work or communication problems—it’s important you know what to do if you ever have a disagreement with your local collision repair shop. When talking with the service manager or auto body shop owner, remember these tips:

  • Remain calm and polite with the car body shop representatives and employees.
  • Know your rights. California’s Automotive Repair Act entitles collision repair customers to written estimates for all auto body repairs and auto body painting, detailed invoices, and the return of replaced auto parts if you request them.
  • Explain the problem you’re having with the shop, and request a specific outcome that’s fair for you and the shop.
  • If feasible, let the auto body shop representative know you’re willing to compromise on a mutually-beneficial agreement.
  • Write down your complaints and photograph the work you're concerned about. You’ll want proof of your claims if you can't reach a satisfactory outcome by dealing directly with the auto body repair shop.
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Glossary of Terms
Common Auto Body Repair Terms

Below are terms and their descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your auto's repair from beginning to end.

aftermarket parts...

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Below are terms and their descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your auto's repair from beginning to end.

aftermarket parts
Auto body parts not made by the original manufacturer are considered aftermarket parts. They are made to fit and function the same as the original car parts, and they’re often less expensive than OEM parts. Some aftermarket auto body parts have been redesigned to increase vehicle performance. Some auto parts stores sell wholesale aftermarket parts. These include car antennas, new vehicle bumpers, car mirrors, new car doors, auto fenders and fender flares, automotive grills, new car and truck hoods, hubcaps, replacement and new running boards, truck tailgates and truck tonneau covers.

Also known as: aftermarket parts, aftermarket auto body parts, functionally-equivalent auto parts, off-brand auto parts, off-make auto parts, performance aftermarket parts, aftermarket body parts, aftermarket autobody parts

auto body repair shop
An automotive repair shop that specializes in repairing the body, or outside, of vehicles. Auto body repair shops restore vehicles damaged in automobile accidents and those that have sustained damage to their exteriors due to vandalism, weather and corrosion.

Also known as: autobody repair shop, auto collision repair shop, auto body paint repair shops, collision auto repair shops, auto body repair services, automotive body repair facilities, collision centers, autobody shops


auto paint chipping
Auto paint is said to chip when stones and other debris cause the colored paint finish to break off in small pieces. Auto body paint shops can buff out and refill chipped areas with matching paint to make the damage invisible.

Also known as: auto paint chips, chipping, body paint chipping

basecoat

Automotive paint process in which the basecoat is highly colored and shows through the clear top coat.

Also known as: basecoat clearcoat painting, base coat clear coat automotive paint, 2 part clear coat, urethane base coat, clear auto paint

bumper repair
Auto bumpers are among the most important safety features of your vehicle. Bumpers are located on the front and back of all cars, trucks and mini vans, and they are designed to absorb the shock of a collision or car accident. Some bumpers are designed with crumple zones that flex and bend during a collision to provide better car accident protection. Bumper repair and replacement are common because of the frequency of major and minor car accidents that cause damage to the front and rear bumpers.

Chip Guard

ChipGuard is a chip resistant, protective coating applied to cars, trucks, minivans and vans to avoid paint chipping. Chip Guard is normally applied to the lower panels at the front of vehicles and near the tires. This clear car paint protector keeps automotive defends against stones, bugs and road debris that can damage your automotive finish.

Also known as: auto paint protector, auto paint protector guard, bumper guard, auto paint protector, automotive paint protection film

clear coat
Clear coat is the top layer of auto paint applied to add shine and protect the colored basecoat. A clear coat does not have pigment added to it, so the color of the auto paint basecoat shows through. PROFIX automotive paints, DuPont auto paint, PPG, ICI, BASF vehicle paints and Sherwin-Williams car paints are the more popular clear coat auto paint suppliers.

Also known as: clear coat paint, clear coat spray, car clear coat, auto clear coat, automotive clear coat, urethane clear coat, acrylic clear coat, epoxy clear coat, clear coat painting, enamel clear coat, base coat clear coat paint, lacquer clear coat, acrylic urethane clear coat

coat
Single layers of auto paint are referred to as a coat of paint.

Also known as: paint coat, paint layer, layers of auto paint

corrosion
Corrosion happens to the bodies of metal vehicles when the metal is exposed to oxygen and water. Some corrosion appears as rust and causes visible degradation of metal surfaces. Auto paint helps curb corrosion and offers protection against water and oxygen.

Also known as: auto body rust, auto body deterioration, weathering, oxidation, car corrosion

dent repair
Auto body shops offer dent repair for trucks, vans, cars and minivans. Auto dent repair is a method of removing car dents by pushing or hammering them out from the underside of the vehicle. Vehicle dent repair is effective for large and small dents, and may or may not require the application of fresh auto paint depending on the severity of the dent and the condition of the paint surrounding it.

Also known as: paintless dent repair, auto dent repair, car dent repair, dent auto repair, mobile dent repair, bumper dent repair, automotive dent repair, door dent repair, hail dent repair, scratch and dent repair

direct gloss
Auto paint topcoats that contain pigment and gloss are referred to as direct gloss. Direct gloss auto paint doesn’t require an application of clearcoat, and it protects vehicle bodies from weathering and corrosion.

Also known as: DG

direct repair program
DRP insurance programs are usually an agreement between auto body shops and auto insurance companies. These DRP repair shops agree to repair collision damage using a standardized set of rules and procedures including repair techniques, parts and materials used, warranty coverage and billing practices in exchange for the insurance company directing customers to their cooperating direct repair program body shops.

Also known as: DRP, direct repair programs

drying
New auto paint must undergo drying, where it hardens and becomes a protective coating on the vehicle. Air drying takes place when paint is applied and exposed to air at normal temperatures. Force drying and low-bake are the terms for the process of drying auto paint at low and medium temperatures. High-bake auto paint drying occurs when the air is heated to accelerate drying.

edge-to-edge repair
Edge-to-edge repair is a complete autobody repair for trucks, cars, minivans and vans. This type of auto body repair requires the removal and replacement or restoration of an entire vehicle panel. This is the opposite of car body touch-up or spot repairs, which are possible for damaged auto body panels and auto paint when only a small area is damaged, chipping or removed.

enamel auto paint
A clear or colored topcoat automobile paint that has a shiny finish is called enamel vehicle paint. Enamel auto paints are available in gloss or semi-gloss finishes. Popular brands of enamel auto paint include those by PPG, DuPont, Maxx 2K and DupliColor.

Also known as: urethane enamel paint, auto body paint, auto paints, touch-up paint, lacquer auto paint, acrylic enamel auto paint

fender repair
Van, truck and car fenders are the auto body panels located on the sides of the vehicle in front of the doors. Vehicle fenders serve aesthetic and practical functions. Fender-benders are a common, yet minor auto accident that damages the fenders of vehicles as a result of a collision. Some modern cars and trucks are designed with fenders that are easily replaced because fender benders are so common.

finish coat
Finish coats are the last coats of auto paint layered onto vans, trucks and cars during auto body repairs.

gloss
Gloss is the term used to describe how shiny or reflective vehicle paint is. Matte, semi-gloss and glossy are the common levels of reflectivity found in auto body gloss paints.

Also known as: high gloss paint, semi gloss paint, gloss painting, enamel gloss paint, acrylic gloss paint, water-based gloss paint

like kind and quality
Salvaged auto body parts removed from one vehicle and installed on another are often denoted as LKQ on estimates and invoices for auto body repairs. These car body parts rarely come with warranties and are often much less expensive than new autobody parts. LKQ auto parts may be the best option for owners of rare or specialty vehicles that have a hard time finding new auto body parts for their van, car or truck.

Also known as: LKQ, salvaged auto parts, used auto parts, refurbished auto parts, rebuilt auto parts, LKQ auto parts, car salvage, auto salvage parts

masking
Temporarily covering areas of vehicles that are not to be painted with plastic or tape. Masking should be done carefully to avoid overspray and uneven edges. However, most auto body repair shops agree that masking is not a proper substitute for removing parts of the vehicle such as car mirrors and auto door handles that can create gaps in the paint application that cheapen and weaken a new auto paint job.

Also known as: auto taping, pre-paint taping, pre-paint masking, masking for painting, mask-out paint, auto paint mask, car paint mask, car paint masking

metallic auto paints
Metallic auto paint is standard colored vehicle paint that has fine metallic particles mixed in to add shine and sparkle. DuPont car paints, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, Trinity 1945, 3M, Krylon and SEM Paints are some popular makers of metallic vehicle paints.

OEM auto body parts
Auto parts made by vehicle manufacturers including Ford, Chrysler, GM, Toyota, Honda and BMW. While they may cost more than aftermarket auto parts, OEM parts usually fit better, last longer and are covered by more extensive warranties.

Also known as: Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, stock vehicle parts, stock parts

primer
The first layer of an auto paint application is called primer. Auto primer is applied to an unpainted surface to protect the body of the vehicle and help the layers of vehicle paint adhere to the surface.

Also known as: base coat, auto paint primer

primer-sealer
Primer-sealer is the auto paint undercoat applied to seal underlying layers of paint and adhere the topcoat to the base.

primer-filler
Auto body damage to minivans, trucks, cars and vans is often disguised by primer-filler. It’s a colored material that evenly fills scrapes and gashes and acts as a primer to attract and hold the topcoats of paint to the vehicle body. Primer-filler is most often used on bumpers, car doors and vehicle body panels that have been damaged in car accidents and fender-benders.

putty
Used to fill auto body damage such as gaps and holes, auto putty is a plastic material that can be sanded and painted over. Auto body repair putty is generally used to hide car crash and vehicle accident damage to bumpers, car doors, bumper trim and auto side panels.

remove & install
Auto body parts that are not damaged can be removed and installed back on the vehicle after the other collision repairs are completed. This is usually referred to on estimates and invoices as Remove & Install or R&I.

remove & reface
Auto body parts that are damaged beyond repair are itemized as Remove & Reface, or R&R. These car, truck, minivan and van parts are replaced with new body parts.

salvage auto body parts
Auto parts taken from recycled vehicles are called salvage auto parts. These are often inexpensive auto repair parts, but they usually don’t come with warranties because they haven’t been repaired or altered so their reliability can’t be guaranteed. Salvage auto parts for trucks, cars and minivans are often a last resort for vehicle owners looking for hard-to-find parts for rare or older vehicles. Commonly salvaged auto body parts include car and truck bumpers, vehicle doors, car body panels and car mirrors.

Also known as: salvage auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts

sanding
Surface coatings on vehicles are often sanded using an abrasive process to provide better adhesion to topcoats of auto paint.

Also known as: grit sanding, wet sanding, disc sanding, belt sanding, car sanding, paint sanding, automotive sanding, finish sanding, refinishing

sealer
The undercoat of auto body paint, which improves the adhesion of the topcoat and seals existing painted surfaces to prevent damage and corrosion.

Also known as: auto sealant, auto paint sealant, auto paint sealer, auto sealants, acrylic sealer, spray sealant, sealcoating

spot repair
Spot repair is possible for damaged auto body panels and auto paint when only a small area is damaged, chipping or removed. Minivan, car and truck spot repair is generally much less expensive than edge-to-edge auto body repair, which requires the removal and replacement or restoration of an entire vehicle panel.

Also known as: auto paint ding repair, scratch repair, auto paint chip repair

three coat auto body paint
This type of auto paint repair includes a basecoat, a colored middle coat and a clear topcoat. Popular manufactureres of auto body paints used in three-coat auto body paint application on cars, trucks and mini-vans include 3M, PPG, SEM, VHT, Krylon and Dupli-Color.

topcoat
The final layers of auto body paint. Topcoat often includes UV light absorbers that protect the auto body paint underneath from fading.

Also known as: clear coat, lacquer clear coat, acrylic topcoat auto paint

touch-up
A localized auto body paint repair that only covers a small area. Touch up paint jobs usually hide nicks, dings, chips and scratches that occur on car hoods, vehicle doors, bumpers and fenders.

Also known as: scratch repair, scratch removal, auto touch up paint

used auto body parts
Auto parts that have been used and rebuilt, refurbished or reinstalled in another vehicle. Some of the most common used auto body parts installed on trucks, cars and mini vans include used car doors, vehicle hoods, auto bumpers, used trunk lids and vehicle hubcaps.

Also known as: refurbished auto parts, rebuilt auto parts, used car parts

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Auto Body Questions

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Body Repair Shop?...

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Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Auto Body Repair Shop?
A: At a time when you most need assurance of a job well done, Diamond Certified helps you choose an auto body repair shop with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only auto collision repair shops rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with in-depth and ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified auto body shop for your vehicle repair.

Q: My insurance company gave me a list of auto body repair shops in Marin County. Do I have to use their shops or do I have a choice of where to get my car’s body repaired?
A: While your insurance company can suggest Marin County auto body shops, you have the final decision on where you want to take your vehicle for collision repairs. Your obligation is simply to take your car, truck, van or minivan to the body repair center you prefer and contact your insurance company to let them know where your vehicle is.

Q: I was in an accident. Do I have any say in what parts are used to repair my vehicle?
A: Auto body shops have a variety of different quality materials and parts they can use to repair vehicles damaged in collisions. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are the most expensive body parts for the shop to use, so many automatically install used parts, refurbished parts or even salvaged parts to cut down costs. But you do have a choice. If you caused the accident, wording in your insurance coverage may require the body shop to install used, remanufactured or salvage auto body parts in your vehicle. However, you may have the option to pay the difference for OEM parts instead.

Talk to your car body shop’s service writer and your insurance company about your specific situation. If the accident was not your fault, you can tell your chosen vehicle collision center what quality parts to install. Ask for OEM auto body parts that will restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition in terms of safety and value.

Q: My insurance company wants me to bring my car to their claims center for an appraisal. Do I have to do this?
A: Insurance companies can ask you to bring your vehicle in to their claims center before taking it to an auto body repair garage, but it is not a requirement. You may take it to them for an appraisal if you wish, but you are under no obligation and may leave your car, truck or minivan at your preferred auto body repair center and request that your insurance company inspect it at the shop.

Q: Can my chosen auto body shop help me negotiate with my insurance company?
A: Most car body shops in Marin County are happy to help you navigate confusing insurance claims paperwork. In fact, many will work directly with the insurance company to process your claims, limiting and even avoiding any work on your part. If this is important to you, ask the body shops you’re considering if they offer that service before you drop your vehicle off.

Q: What is an auto body repair deductible?
A: The deductible for auto body repair is a specified amount of money that you are obligated to pay before your insurance company will pay on your collision repair insurance claim. The deductible amount is determined by the terms of the policy that you and your agent decided on when you arranged to insure your car, van, minivan or truck.

Q: Can auto body repair shops save me from having to pay all or part of my deductible?
A: Honest auto body shops in Marin County will never offer to do this. That’s because all insurance holders have a contractual obligation to pay their deductible before the insurance company pays the rest of the bill on every claim. This cuts down on insurance fraud. Some auto body repair shops do offer to bury the deductible or hide it in the cost of the repairs. However, car body repair shops that do this are committing insurance fraud, which is against the law. And customers who ask their auto body repair shop to hide the deductible or go along with this can also be held liable for insurance fraud.

Even if your insurance company doesn’t catch you, asking your mechanic to bury the deductible in the cost of your auto body repairs is a mistake. Often times, auto body collision shops who agree to bury the deductible, will take shortcuts in your vehicle collision repairs, meaning your car or truck will lose value and may not be as safe in an accident. It also stands to reason that a collision center that cheats insurance companies may also be dishonest with their customers.

Q: If my body shop performs the collision repairs incorrectly, can another auto body repair shop fix the bad vehicle repairs?
A: You should be very careful about who you hire to repair your auto body damage. That’s because once body collision repairs are done, they’re often very hard or impossible to reverse. That means that a body shop that does a poor repair job can actually end up causing your vehicle to be unsafe. It’s also important to note that insurance won’t pay for the same repairs twice, so even if you can find a repair shop in Marin County willing and able to undo the shoddy auto body repairs, all costs will most likely come out of your pocket.

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Consumer Agencies
Consumer Agencies Dealing with Auto Body Repair

The following industry associations and consumer agencies have additional information about local body repair shops in Marin County and the North Bay....

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The following industry associations and consumer agencies have additional information about local body repair shops in Marin County and the North Bay.

American Automobile Association (AAA) (www.aaa.com)
Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) (www.carcrash.org)
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) (www.aftermarket.org)
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) (www.autoserviceproviders.com)
Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA) (www.autobpa.com)
Automotive Composites Alliance (ACA) (www.autocomposites.org)
Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) (www.aiag.org)
Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) (www.a-r-a.org)
Automotive Service Association (ASA) (www.asashop.org)
Automotive Service Council (ASC) (www.ascca.org)
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) (www.asecert.org)
California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) (www.autorepair.ca.gov)
California Autobody Association (CAA) (www.calautobody.com)
Independent Automotive Damage Appraisers (IADA ) (www.iada.org)
Independent Auto Body Association (IABA) (www.webspawner.com/users/complaints)
Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) (www.i-car.com)
Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) (www.mema.org)
National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) (www.natef.org)
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) (www.sae.org)
Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) (www.scrs.com)
Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) (www.sema.org)

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Industry Information
Marin County Auto Body Repair Information
Popular Vehicle Makes & ModelsTypes of Auto Body Repairs Available in Marin County Cities Served Zip Codes Served
Hyundai Sonatavehicle trunk repairAlmonte
Bel Marin Keys
Belvedere
Belvedere Tiburon
Black Point
Bolinas
Corte Madera
Dillon Beach
Dogtown
Fairfax
Forest Knolls
Greenbrae
Ignacio
Inverness
Kent Woodlands
Kentfield
Lagunitas
Larkspur
Lucas Valley
Marin City
Marinwood
Marshall
Mill Valley
Mission Rafael
Muir Beach
Muir Woods
Nicasio
Novato
Olema
Point Reyes Station
Ross
San Anselmo
San Geronimo
San Marin
San Quentin
San Rafael
Santa Venetia
Sausalito
Sleepy Hollow
Stinson Beach
Strawberry Point
Tamal
Tamalpais Valley
Terra Linda
Tiburon
Tomales and Woodacre
94901
94903
94904
94912
94913
94914
94915
94920
94924
94925
94929
94930
94933
94937
94938
94939
94940
94941
94942
94945
94946
94947
94948
94949
94950
94956
94957
94960
94963
94964
94965
94966
94970
94971
94973
94974
94976
94977
94978
94979
Kia Sorentopaint chip repair
Mazda MAZDA 3automotive painting
Chevrolet Equinoxwindshield repair
Chevrolet Impalafender-bender repairs
Ford F-150vehicle spoiler repair
Ford Fiestacar door repair
Ford Focusheadlight cover replacement
Ford Mustangcar wreck repairs
Acura MDXauto totaled repair
BMW 3 Seriesvehicle hood replacement
Chevrolet Camarorunning board repairs
Honda CR-Vbumper replacement
Honda Odysseyfender flare replacement
Hyundai Elantratruck tonneau cover repairs
Toyota Siennaauto paint repair
Toyota Tacomaauto collision repair
Volkswagen Jettaauto frame repair
GMC Sierratruck grill replacement
Honda Accordvehicle frame straightening
Honda Civiccar crash repairs
Subaru Outbackautomotive side panel repair
Nissan Murano Toyota Camryauto glass repair
 hubcap replacement
Toyota Priusdoor ding cover-ups
Toyota RAV4truck tailgate repair
Mercedes-Benz E-Classdent repair
Nissan Altimabumper repair
Toyota Corollacustom auto body work