Get to Know Your Local Auto Body Shops

by Matt Solis

Before you drop off your vehicle at a body repair shop or have it towed in for repairs, you should talk directly with the shop owner or service manager. The questions you ask and the responses you get will help you choose the best collision repair facility for your particular needs. You may want to write down the shop representative’s answers and take note of any strengths, weaknesses and impressions that could influence your decision.

Questions to ask auto body shop owners on the phone:

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

To find a Diamond Certified auto body repair shop in your area, click on one of the links below.

Alameda County:

Contra Costa County:

Marin County:

Napa County:

San Francisco:

San Mateo County:

Santa Clara County:

Santa Cruz County:

Solano County:

Sonoma County: