Body Work Isn’t Done in a Day

by James Florence

Some car owners think body work can be completed in one day, but the reality is, it often takes several days (and sometimes weeks) to bring a vehicle back to its pre-accident condition. One of the most typical causes of body work delays is parts. If a mechanic has to wait for ordered parts to arrive, discovers the parts don’t fit properly or accidentally has the wrong parts shipped, it can tack another day or two onto the repair.


From parts to insurance, there are several factors that can prolong your vehicle’s stay at a body repair shop. Photo: Automobile Collision Center (2013)

Another frequent instance of delay is with painting. The nature of paint makes it one of the most difficult and time-consuming areas of body work—even if it looks perfect upon application, it’s impossible to tell whether it’s successful until after it has dried, as both color and texture can change during this process. Additionally, any dirt or residual paint that gets into the filter can result in defects such as raised surfaces or “fish eye” depressions in the coat. In such instances, the affected area needs to be wet-sanded and repainted, which can add an extra day to the job.

While parts and paint are typical factors, the lengthiest delays in body work are caused by insurance. With an insurance claim, all aspects of the repair have to be approved by the insurance company, including any changes to the original estimate. In common instances where hidden damage is discovered or the price of parts increases, a revised estimate must be submitted to the insurance company for approval before the work can continue. In some cases, the company will send a field representative to do a re-inspection, which can cause even further delays.

One way to streamline the process is to use a direct repair shop recommended by your insurance provider, as the open line of communication between the two parties will enable things to move along efficiently. Even then, however, don’t expect the job to be done in less than a few days. By having realistic expectations about the length of time needed for repair, you can avoid unnecessary stress and effectively plan for alternate means of transportation.

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