Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Auto Body Shops Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Fulton Body Shop (2013)

NAPA — Only the best auto body shops in Napa County have earned the Diamond Certified award by scoring Highest in Quality in the most accurate and rigorous ratings process anywhere. 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. That’s why you’ll feel confident when you choose a Diamond Certified auto body shop listed below. Simply click on the name of a Diamond Certified company below to read ratings results, informational articles and verbatim customer survey responses. Thousands of 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 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.

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Joel Ramos Diaz is owner of American Canyon Collision Center, a Diamond Certified company since 2009. He can be reached at (707) 341-6953 or by email.

Joel Ramos Diaz

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Joel Ramos Diaz: Body Art

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

AMERICAN CANYON — Like his father before him, Joel Ramos Diaz decided to pursue a career in automotive work, but he found himself gravitating toward the more artistic side of the industry. “My dad was a mechanic, and growing up I always wanted to work in an auto shop,” he remembers. “My first job was as a detailer, and from there I jumped into body work, which is where I stayed. What I liked about body work was the visual nature of the finished product. As a mechanic, you can get a car’s engine running again, but when you do body work, you get to see the entire car transformed.”

After gaining further industry experience, Joel made the move to found his own body shop in 2005. Today, as owner of American Canyon Collision Center, he says his favorite part of his job is doing hands-on work. “As the owner, I have to spend a fair amount of time in the office, but I prefer to be in the garage, working on cars and getting my hands dirty.”

Originally from Mexico, Joel came to the United States in 1985 and resides today in American Canyon with his wife, Angelica, and their daughters. “I’ve lived here since I was 15 years old and enjoy being part of the local community,” he says. “I often see my customers when I’m out and about. One time, I had to go to the emergency room, and the doctor said, ‘Hey, I know you, you fixed my car.’ As his patient, I was relieved to hear he had a good experience!”

Outside of work, Joel likes to spend time with family and friends, as well as embark on the occasional road trip. “We have a 32-foot travel trailer that we like to take to the beach and go camping in,” he details. “We’ve taken it everywhere from Canada to Disneyland. I also go to Mexico every Christmas to visit friends and relatives.”

In regard to his professional career, Joel espouses the importance of customer satisfaction. “My main goal is to keep my customers happy,” he affirms. “Like I said, I often see my customers around town, so the last thing I want is to have someone come up and tell me we did a terrible job on their car. That’s why I make sure to provide high-quality work and service for everyone who comes into my shop.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Joel says he’d hitch up the trailer. “I would go on more road trips for longer periods of time—maybe a month or two. We’ve done a lot of traveling on the West Coast, so if we had more time, we’d go further east and see more of that part of the country.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A ’72 Chevrolet Nova.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Overhaulin’.”

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Cattlemens in Dixon.

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Maintaining Your Car’s Headlights


AMERICAN CANYON — As the winter brings shorter days, it’s important to make sure your car’s headlights are in good operating condition. Over time, headlights can become foggy, which obscures the shine of the bulbs and reduces visibility while driving at night.… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Maintaining Your Car’s Headlights

Complete Video Transcription:

AMERICAN CANYON — Host, Sarah Rutan: To ensure visibility while driving, you’ll need to maintain your vehicle’s headlights as needed. To learn more, we’re in American Canyon with… Read more




INDUSTRY INFORMATION - Napa County – Auto Body
  • 3M

  • Axalta

  • Spies Hecker

  • PPG Paint

  • Sikkens

  • Pro Spot

  • Standox

  • PPG Envirobase


  • DuPont

The following industry associations and consumer agencies have additional information about local body repair shops.

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)

Know What You Want
Get to Know Good Auto Body Shops

Before you drop off your vehicle at an auto body shop or have it towed in for repairs, talk directly with the shop owner or service manager. The questions you ask and the responses the auto collision mechanics give will help you make your choice on an auto body repair facility. You may want to write down the body shop representatives answers.

Questions to ask Auto Body Shop Owners on the Phone

Before you drop off your vehicle at an auto body shop or have it towed in for repairs, talk directly with the shop owner or service manager. The questions you ask and the responses the auto collision mechanics give will help you make your choice on an auto body repair facility. You may want to write down the body shop representatives answers.

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., Chevrolet, Ford, GM, Honda, Lexus, BMW, Toyota, etc.)?
  • Do you specialize in the type of auto body repair work my vehicle needs (i.e. bumper replacement, fender repair, paint color matching, car door repair)?
  • How do you price auto body repairs and auto painting services (i.e. a flat fee or hourly rate)?
  • Will you give me a written estimate?
  • What certifications do the technicians hold for vehicle collision repairs?
  • I live in ___ (Napa, American Canyon, Calistoga, Rutherford, Oakville, Deer Park, Pope Valley, St. Helena, etc.). Does your auto body shop have courtesy cars or rental vehicles I can use?
  • Will you cooperate with my car insurance company? If so, can the insurance appraiser come to your collision repair shop to file the claim?
  • Will you use new or used parts to repair my cars damage?
  • What auto paints brands do you recommend (BASF Waterborne, PPG auto paints, Dupli-Color, DuPont car paints, Valspar, Sherwin-Williams vehicle paint)? Why do you use those brands?
  • Are your mechanics covered by workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer on auto body repairs and new auto paint?
  • Will you do auto glass installation or put in new windshields?
  • Can you provide auto upholstery repair?
  • How long has your auto body shop been in business in Napa County?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Ask When You Bring in Your Car for Body Repairs
  • How long will my car collision repairs take?
  • Do you coordinate with other auto body shops if you can’t complete all of the collision repairs yourself? Will that affect any warranties?
  • Should I call you for updates about my car’s body repairs?
  • What contact information do you have for me? What else do you need in order to reach me if there are problems or questions?
  • What can I do to make this process faster and easier?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn from Past Napa County Auto Body Customers

    All Diamond Certified auto body collision shops have passed a ratings process that most other companies can’t. If you want quality auto body repairs in Napa County and the greater Bay Area, you’ll have confidence 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. That’s because all research is done by live telephone interviews of a large, random sample of real auto body customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified vehicle collision shop within reach, you’ll need to conduct some research of your own. Keep in mind, though, that customer references provided by most auto body repair shops are not as valuable as the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references are “cherry-picked,” meaning shops are likely just giving you a few satisfied customers to call, unlike the Diamond Certified ratings process which randomly selects among a large sample of customers.

    If your do call references given to you by the shops, specifically ask for a list of their 10 most recent customers to help avoid them giving you only customers they know were satisfied. Ask general questions about each reference’s experience with the shop’s personnel as well as specific questions about their car body repairs. Sample questions include:

    • Were you satisfied with the performance of _(body shop name)_ auto body shop?
    • What type of car body repairs or auto paint repairs did they do for you?
    • Were you pleased with the turn-around time?
    • If you live in a smaller Napa County town such as Angwin, Oakville, Spanish Flat, Pope Valley, Rutherford and Deer Park, was the auto body shop willing to tow in your car or truck for collision repairs?
    • Did the shop do the repairs exactly as you wanted them?
    • Were you happy with the communication from this auto shop?
    • Do you feel the price was fair for the auto collision repairs?
    • Did the Napa County 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 collision center again if your car, truck or van were in a crash?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find Qualified Auto Body Repair Shops in Napa County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your auto body repair shop determines the value and quality of your vehicle after the repairs are completed. And since vehicles are often one of our largest investments, it’s not a decision to take lightly.

    Review the notes you’ve taken from your interviews with the auto body shops and collision repair customers. One shop should stand out as a better match for you. Pay special attention to the following questions:

    • Can an auto body shop satisfy your requirements for scheduling, body repairs and part preferences?
    • Is the shop willing to work with your insurance company while still providing the best outcome for you and your vehicle?
    • Does the service writer communicate clearly and effectively?
    • Is the auto body shop as devoted to getting your car back to like-new condition as you are?

    If the answers are yes, confidently move forward and set up an appointment with the auto body shop of your choice.

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  • How To Work With
    How to Get Accurate Collision Repair Estimates

    If you’ve found the Napa County 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 is to fully repair collision damage. Your car should look and function like it did before the accident.

    The shop should provide you with a written estimate when you, your collision repair facility and your car insurance company agree on the needed repairs. By law, this estimate must include the total estimated cost for all car parts and labor, an itemized list of necessary parts, and whether the parts are new or used. Some auto body shops in only guarantee certain auto body parts or auto paint, so confirm any warrantees at this time.

    Your agreement with the shop is binding when you sign the work order. For your protection, never sign a blank work order or incomplete estimate. You must approve any changes to the work order or estimate, so be sure to give the auto body technicians a phone number where they can reach you at all times. You can help keep your repairs on schedule and ensure that you get your vehicle back in on time by returning their calls right away.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Auto Body Shop Customer?

    It’s the responsibility of the body shop technicians 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 your van, minivan, truck or car needs refinishing or accident damage repair.

    • 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, 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!
    • Be sure your service writer has the phone number where they can reach you 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.
    • 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.
    • When your collision repair shop contacts you, return their calls promptly to help keep repairs on schedule.
    • Pay for car body repairs promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Auto body repair shops value customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior helps set the tone and creates an environment that invites a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Review the Invoice and Check the Body Repairs and Auto Body Painting

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

  • A list of all repair work performed.
  • An itemized list of all replaced parts. This list must state whether the parts were new, used, salvaged, reconditioned, or rebuilt.
  • The name and physical address of the collision repair shop and their registration number.
  • 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.

Compare the work that was done to the written invoice. Ask your body repair specialist to show you each repair, and check each one against the invoice. Your shop should give you instructions for maintaining your collision repairs and new auto body paint. If you have questions about what was completed or how the work was done, now is the time to ask.

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Written Warranties
Ask the Napa County Auto Collision Repair Shops for Written Warranties

Not all auto body repair shops 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 the warranties cover. This may include whether the shop will replace or repair warranted parts or give you a refund if there is a warranty claim. Any exclusions must be in writing.
  • Your responsibility if you need to redeem your vehicle body repair warranty (i.e., if you have to pay for labor, agree to used parts or pay a prorated amount).
  • If auto body repair warranty coverage is covers the new owner if you sell your vehicle.
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Top 10 Requests
Most Common Vehicle Body Repair Services

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

Auto Body Repair
Auto body repair includes dent and scratch repair, bumper & fender repair, vehicle frame repairs and other restoration of the exterior of your vehicle. Car body damage can result from vehicle collisions, car accidents and acts of vandalism. Auto body repair shops throughout Napa County offer bumper repair and replacement, auto painting and scratch and dent repair for vehicles involved in collisions and auto crashes.

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.

Vehicle Dent Repairs
Whether from a fender-bender or a careless passerby, car dents can be a nuisance. Auto body repair shops can pull dents to make your car, truck, van or minivan look like new. Automobile dent repair may require vehicle repainting depending on the severity of the damage.

Auto Paint Repairs
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.

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.

Mobile Auto Body Repair
Mobile auto body and paint repair companies 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.

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

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

Vehicle Frame Straightening / Auto Frame Repair
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.

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.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Auto Body Repair Terminology

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

aftermarket auto body parts
Auto body repair parts not made by the original manufacturer. Aftermarket parts are made to fit and function the same as the original car parts, and they’re often less expensive than OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) auto body parts. Some aftermarket auto body parts have been redesigned to increase the performance of your car, truck, van or minivan. Some auto parts stores, like NAPA Auto Parts, sell wholesale auto body parts. These aftermarket auto body parts 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

basecoat / clear auto paint
Automotive paint process in which the basecoat is highly colored and shows through the durable and glossy clear coat.

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

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

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, auto paint chipping

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

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 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 glossing, top coats, glossy top coat, glossy auto paint

direct repair program
Direct repair insurance programs are 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

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.

Also known as: fender bender repairs, fender dent repairs, front bumper repair

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

Also known as: top coat, gloss coat, clear coat

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: salvaged auto parts, LKQ parts, used auto parts, refurbished auto parts, rebuilt auto parts, LKQ auto parts, car salvage, auto salvage parts

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, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, Trinity 1945, 3M, Krylon and SEM are some popular makers of metallic vehicle paints.

Original Equipment Manufacturer parts
Auto parts made by vehicle manufacturers including Ford, Chrysler, GM, Toyota, Honda and BMW are original equipment manufacturer parts. 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

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

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.

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.

Also known as: R&I, remove and install parts

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.

Also known as: R&R, remove and reface

salvage auto body parts
Exterior auto parts taken from recycled vehicles are called salvage auto parts. These are often inexpensive, 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

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

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. 3M, PPG, SEM, VHT, Krylon and Dupli-Color are popular makers of auto body paints used in three-coat auto body paint application on cars, trucks and mini-vans.

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

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
FAQ About Auto Collision Repairs

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 Napa County. Do I have to use their shops?

A: While your insurance company can suggest body shops, you have the final decision on where you take your vehicle for collision repairs. Take your car, truck, van or minivan to the body repair center you prefer. Your obligation is simply to 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: Do I have to take my car to my insurance company’s claims center for an appraisal?

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 Napa 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 Napa 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 be willing to cheat customers as well.

Q: What if my auto body shop performs the collision repairs incorrectly?

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 Napa 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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