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?

A BMW after collision repairs at a Santa Cruz County collision center. Each of the shops listed above has been rated Highest in Quality and earned Diamond Certified, so you'll feel confident choosing one. For more information on how to select and hire a collision shop in Santa Cruz County, read the following articles. Photo: Phil's Auto Body (2011)

SANTA CRUZ — 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.

Learn more about how automotive companies qualify for Diamond Certified

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  • 3M

  • Axalta

  • Spies Hecker

  • PPG Paint

  • Sikkens

  • Pro Spot

  • Standox

  • PPG Envirobase


  • DuPont

Mazda MAZDA 3
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Nissan Altima
Nissan Murano
Subaru Outback
Toyota Camry
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius
Toyota RAV4
Toyota Sienna
Toyota Tacoma
Volkswagen Jetta
Acura MDX
BMW 3 Series
Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet Impala
Ford F-150
Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
Ford Mustang
GMC Sierra
Honda Accord
Honda Civic
Honda CR-V
Honda Odyssey
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Sorento

custom auto body work
paint chip repair
automotive painting
windshield repair
fender-bender repairs
car spoiler repairs
vehicle trunk repair
headlight cover replacement
van running board repairs
auto totaled repair
vehicle hood replacement
car wreck repairs
bumper replacement
fender flare replacement
truck tonneau cover repairs
auto glass repair
hubcap replacement
door ding cover-ups
car crash repairs
truck tailgate repair
vehicle frame straightening
automotive side panel repair
auto collision repair
bumper repair
car door repair
auto paint repair
dent repairs
auto frame repair
truck grill repair & replacement

Aptos Hills
Ben Lomond
Beulah Park
Bonny Doon
Boulder Creek
Camp Evers
Day Valley
Forest Park
Forest Springs
Glen Arbor


The following industry associations and consumer agencies have additional information about local auto body repair shops within Santa Cruz County.

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
Determine What You Expect from Santa Cruz County Auto Body Shops

Before you call or visit any local collision centers, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you need. Some vehicle owners have found it helpful to write down their goals, questions and expectations so that they can present a clear case to the car body repair shops they interview. Ask yourself:

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. What are my goals when getting my car, truck or minivan repaired (major collision damage repairs, fender repair, new auto paint, auto body ding repairs)?
  3. What is my total budget?
  4. Will my auto insurance cover any or all of the work?
  5. What characteristics do I want in an auto body shop? (This can include communication skills, quick turn-around time for car body repairs, warranties, follow-up service and long-term appearance and drivability results.)
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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask Shops When You Bring in Your Car for Body Repairs

The following are sample questions to ask the body repair experts when you bring your vehicle into the shop for repairs:

  • How long will the car collision repairs take?
  • Do you coordinate with other Santa Cruz County auto body shops if you can’t complete all of the collision repairs yourself? Will that affect my 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?
  • What can I do to make this repair process faster and easier?
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  • What To Ask References
    Gain Insight from Former Auto Body Shop Customers

    All Diamond Certified auto body collision shops have undergone a ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a body auto repair shop in Santa Cruz County and the greater Bay Area, 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, you’ll need to conduct some research of your own. If you do, the shops should be willing to give you a list of recent customers you can call. Keep in mind, though, that references provided by the 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 not randomly selected from all customers but hand-selected, so shops are likely just giving you a few satisfied customers to call.

    If you do call on references, ask for a list of their most recent customers, and call those references. Asking for recent clients may help avoid them giving you only the names of customers they know were satisfied. When interviewing the references, ask general questions about their experience with the garage personnel as well as specific questions. Sample questions you may want to ask are:

    • What type of car body repairs or auto paint repairs did the shop do for you?
    • Were you satisfied with the performance of _(company name)_?
    • Were you pleased with the turn-around time?
    • If you live in a smaller town such as Larkin Valley, La Selva Beach, Glenwood, Day Valley, Pasatiempo or in the Santa Cruz Mountains, was your auto body shop willing to tow your car or truck to their collision repair garage?
    • Did this Santa Cruz County auto body shop work with you to get the repairs done exactly as you wanted them?
    • Were you happy with the communication?
    • Did the car body shop help you deal with your insurance company?
    • Do you feel the price was fair for the auto collision repairs?
    • Did the shop 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
    Find and Hire a Qualified Car Collision Center

    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), this isn’t a decision to take lightly.

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

    • Is the auto body shop as devoted to getting your car back to pre-accident condition as you are?
    • Is the shop you are selecting willing to work with your insurance company while still providing the best outcome?
    • Can a Santa Cruz County auto body shop satisfy your requirements for scheduling, body repairs and part preferences?
    • Does the service writer at the auto body shop communicate clearly and effectively?

    If you answer yes to the questions above, you can confidently move forward in setting up an appointment.

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  • How To Work With
    Get Collision Repair Estimates You Trust

    Congratulations on finding the Santa Cruz County auto body shop that meets your needs! Here are a few things you can do to get accurate estimates and the high quality service you expect.

    Meet with the service writer and discuss your repairs. Remember, 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.

    When your collision repair facility, your car insurance company and you agree on what repairs are needed, the shop should provide you with a written estimate outlining before the work begins. By law, estimates must include the total expected cost for all needed car body parts and labor, an itemized list of required parts, and whether the parts are new or used. Confirm any warranties at this time, as some body shops only guarantee certain auto paints or replacement parts.

    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 the 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 a Good Auto 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 shop representative. Let them know what outcome you’re expecting from the vehicle collision repairs and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Before you drop off your car, truck or van at an auto body shop in Santa Cruz County, restate your expectations, and reiterate your understanding of the agreement to the technicians. Most problems occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Be sure your service writer has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while your car or truck is in for body repairs. The process will move along more smoothly if your service writer can reach you for any necessary updates or authorizations.
    • 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 shop contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the work on schedule.
    • Pay for the repairs promptly.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!

    Why would you want to be a good body repair shop customer? Collision shops appreciate clients who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your “good customer” behavior helps set the tone and creates an environment that’s conducive to a positive relationship. Your repairs may go more smoothly and any problems might be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Check the Auto Body Painting and Repairs Against Your Written Invoice

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:

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

It’s always smart to compare the invoice to the completed work. Ask your body repair specialist to show you the repairs, and check them against the invoice. Ask about any special instructions for maintaining your collision repairs and new auto body paint. If you have questions about the work, this is the time to ask.

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Written Warranties
Request Written Warranties

Before leaving the autobody shop, confirm guarantees and warranties. Not all auto body repair shops in back up their work. But if the shop you’ve chosen does, they should give you a written warranty that includes the following:

  • The center’s name and physical address.
  • Terms of and limitations on the car body repair warranties.
  • Whether the shop will replace or repair the parts or give you a refund if there is a warranty claim.
  • Your responsibility if you need to redeem your warranty for vehicle body repairs (i.e., if you have to pay for labor, agree to used parts or pay a prorated amount).
  • If warranty coverage is transferable to the new owner if you sell your vehicle.
  • All exclusions and special conditions must be included.


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Top 10 Requests
Top Requests of Santa Cruz Car Body Repair Shops

The most popular requests for auto body repair listed below are available within the following Santa Cruz 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. Auto body repair 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 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. You may even be able to find automotive paintless dent repair shops in Santa Cruz County.

Automotive Painting
Automotive painting covers collision damage repairs and restores cars, trucks, vans and minivans to pre-accident appearances. Auto body paint shops can improve the exterior of your vehicle by repainting your vehicle a new color or covering damaged areas to hide dents, scratches, chips and auto paint dings.

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 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.

Bumper Repair / Bumper Replacement
A common request for auto 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.

Custom Auto Body Work
Auto customization is available for newer vehicles (usually with installation of custom body kits). Vintage cars and classic vehicles also benefit from custom auto body work, usually referred to as auto body restoration. Custom auto body work and vehicle restoration may include 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 Repair
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 in Santa Cruz County are knowledgeable about different battings and materials that change the comfort and appearance of your vehicle’s interior.

Auto Frame Repair / Vehicle Frame Straightening
More serious than dents, scrapes or sideswipe damage, vehicle frames bent in collisions require straightening in order for the car to drive correctly. Without proper repairs, bent car frames and twisted truck frames can cause uneven wear and make vehicles more vulnerable in accidents and collisions.

Mobile Auto Body Repair
Mobile auto body and paint repair companies bring the body shop to you. These shops are at times more convenient than traditional auto collision centers. Mobile car body repair services 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.

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Glossary Of Terms
Auto Body Glossary of Terms

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 autobody 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) parts. Some aftermarket 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 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

basecoat / clear auto paint
Automotive paint process in which the basecoat is highly colored and shows through the durable and glossy clear coat. Popular manufacturers of automotive basecoat and clear auto paint include 3-M Automotive, Diamont Auto Paint, Duramix, EZ Mix Cups, GCI Alkyd Enamels and Matrix Auto Paint.

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. 3M Automotive Chip Guard, SEM Chip Guard and StonGard are three of the most popular types available.

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

chipping (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, 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

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 (DG)
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.

direct repair program (DRP)
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

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 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 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 (LKQ)
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 parts rarely come with warranties and are often much less expensive than new body 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, 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 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 (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
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

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 (R&I)
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 (R&R)
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

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
Santa Cruz Auto Body FAQ

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 Santa Cruz 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 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 repair center you prefer and contact your insurance company to let them know where your vehicle is.

Q: Do I have any say in what parts are used to repair my vehicle after an accident?
A: Auto body shops have a variety of materials and parts they can use to repair vehicles damaged in collisions. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are the most expensive 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 shop to install used, remanufactured or salvage parts. However, you may have the option to pay the difference for OEM parts instead. Talk to your 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 repair center and request that your insurance company inspect it there.

Q: Can my chosen auto body shop help me negotiate with my insurance company?
A: Most car body shops 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 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 shops do offer to bury the deductible or hide it in the cost of the repairs. However, those that do this are committing insurance fraud, which is against the law. 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, collision shops that agree to bury the deductible will take shortcuts in 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? Can another auto body repair shop in Santa Cruz County 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 important to note that insurance won’t pay for the same repairs twice, so even if you can find a repair shop willing and able to undo the shoddy auto body repairs, all costs will most likely come out of your pocket.

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