Why Repairing Collision Damage is Expensive
If you've ever been involved in a car accident, you know repairing collision damage is expensive. In fact, we discussed before what you can expect to pay for some of the most common types of damage.
Today, we’re going to explore the factors that contribute to the cost of services at a collision repair shop.
Understanding the Collision Damage Repair Process
The first thing to understand is that auto body repair involves many steps, each of which requires specialized knowledge and equipment.
- Inspection and Estimate: The first step is to inspect the damage and provide a repair estimate. This requires knowledge of the different parts of the car, the labor involved in repairing them, and the cost of any replacement parts.
- Disassembly and Cleaning: Once the estimate is approved, the damaged parts of the car are removed, and the area is cleaned to prepare it for repair.
- Repair and Replacement: Depending on the extent of the damage, parts may need to be repaired or replaced. This can involve welding, straightening, or cutting and fitting new parts.
- Painting: Once the repairs are complete, the car is painted. This requires specialized equipment, such as a paint booth, and skilled technicians to match the color and texture of the existing paint.
- Reassembly and Detailing: Finally, the repaired parts are reassembled, and the car is detailed to ensure it looks as good as new.
It’s important to note that the more technology evolves, the more complicated vehicles become. Today’s cars have enhancements that were the stuff of science fiction just twenty, thirty years ago.
Modern cars are equipped with sensors, cameras, and a multitude of tiny electrical components. These are not just in one place but can be found throughout the entire vehicle, and they all rely on one another to work properly. Replacing a single sensor might not be too much, but a collision is likely to damage multiple sensors.
Even less flashy components like headlights can ramp up the bill. Depending on the type of headlight (select daytime LED running headlights or xenon headlights), a replacement can be up in the thousands.
The Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) also adds complications to repairs. This is the system that helps with things like parking, lane departures, auto braking, and collision warnings. You don’t need a luxury car to have this feature, either, as it’s becoming increasingly common in more basic models.
Because ADAS is so extensive, it requires a lot of time to repair, calibrate, and test.
Cost of Parts
One of the most significant factors contributing to the high cost of auto body repair is the cost of parts. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts, which are designed to fit and function exactly like the original parts, can be expensive.
Aftermarket parts, which are produced by third-party manufacturers, can be less expensive, but they may not fit or function as well as OEM parts.
Even with the added expense, OEM parts are always preferable to aftermarket. They are traceable and crash-tested, made specifically for your car’s make and model. Their performance is easier to predict, both in the part itself and how it interacts with other parts of your car. The result is an overall safer vehicle.
Cost of Paint
Another factor contributing to the cost of auto body repair is the cost of paint. Car manufacturers use special paint formulations to ensure the color and texture of the paint match perfectly. Replicating that color and texture requires specialized equipment and skilled technicians, both of which can be expensive.
Finally, it's important to understand that the high cost of auto body repair is partly due to safety considerations. When a car has collision damage, the structural integrity of the vehicle may be compromised. Repairing the damage and ensuring the car is safe to drive requires specialized knowledge and equipment.
For example, if the frame of the car is bent, it may need to be straightened using a frame machine. If the car's airbags were deployed, they will need to be replaced. Even seemingly minor damage, like a cracked windshield, can be a safety hazard if it impairs the driver's visibility.
In conclusion, the high cost of auto body repair is due to a combination of factors. The many steps involved in collision repair require specialized knowledge and equipment, and each step adds to the overall cost.
The cost of parts can be substantial, as can the cost of painting the car. Finally, safety considerations make it necessary to repair even seemingly minor damage, which can add to the overall cost of the repair.
If you have any questions about the collision repair process or need an estimate, reach out to Hammer's Autoworks. We are the area's premier locally owned auto body repair shop, OEM certified in all major brands. We will also work directly with your insurance to help ensure you get as much covered by your policy as possible.