What are the top 5 things that affect auto collision repair costs?

We see five key areas that increase auto collision repair costs:

  • Hidden damage
  • Prior damage
  • Airbags and safety systems
  • Replacement parts
  • Paint condition and color

#1 – Hidden Damage increases collision repair cost

Photo of a silver BMW 3 series sedan on a jack with the hood up and parts being removed to check for hidden damage in the Automotive Collision Specialists body repair shop

Photo of a silver BMW 3 series sedan on a jack with the hood up and parts being removed to check for hidden damage in the Automotive Collision Specialists body repair shop

Almost every car, truck, van, or SUV involved in an accident has damage you can’t see right away. For example, a small collision to the front fender of a car can bend structural supports for the bumper and even the frame.

Our technicians often have to begin taking a car apart in order to find hidden damage. The disassembly doesn’t increase collision repair costs. However, when a shop finds additional damage during the process, the actual repair costs can increase.

It is important to find a trusted auto body repair shop like ours that has a proven process for handling hidden damage in the estimating process.

#2 – Prior damage

Auto body repair shops often find un-repaired damage. There are lots of reasons a car or truck might have un-repaired damage. For example, this damage can happen when something on the road bounces up and hits the bottom of the car. If you’ve ever had a small bump that didn’t look bad from the outside, there might have been damage to things like bumper struts or the car’s structural supports.

We have also seen a few cases when a repair wasn’t done right. For example, if a weld was not done properly, it can fail in an accident that would otherwise not have affected that part. The use of non-standard parts can also lead to failures that increase collision repair costs.

#3 – Airbags and safety systems increase collision repair cost

Photo of a red Ford Mustang in the Automotive Collision Specialists auto body repair shop with deployed airbags in the steering wheel and driver's seat.

Photo of a red Ford Mustang in the Automotive Collision Specialists auto body repair shop with deployed airbags in the steering wheel and driver’s seat.

When an airbag deploys, there are often other related parts that a shop will need to replace. Many modern vehicles have integrated air bags hidden behind panels that are designed to be completely hidden from view. When the airbags come out, they destroy the panels. In some cases, the auto repair shop may need to completely replace a steering wheel, seat, dashboard, or trim parts as well as sensors and wiring connections. If your car, truck, van, or SUV has hidden airbags, replacing many of the components can affect the collision repair costs.

Modern vehicles also have many other safety systems. These include features like lane departure and parking assistance. These systems use sensors, cameras, and other parts that become damaged in a collision. An auto body repair shop will need to replace the parts and, in some cases, recalibrate the systems. Parts and labor costs can quickly increase depending on the complexity of your car’s safety systems.

#4 – Replacement parts

You have many options for replacement parts. These options include Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), aftermarket, or used parts. OEM parts are usually the most expensive. If you choose to have us use OEM parts, the collision repair cost may be higher. If your insurance company is a part of the process, they may require you to use aftermarket parts or used parts that are in good working order.

#5 – Paint condition and color

When an auto body repair shop fixes or replaces painted parts, they have to match the existing paint. The process of blending new paint with existing paint can take additional time and materials. This is often necessary to make sure the replacement parts do not look like they have been painted incorrectly.

The color of a vehicle can also increase collision repair cost. Some colors are more complicated to work with than others. For example, the vehicle manufacturer’s paint matching process may require the shop to perform additional stages during the paint process.

About Automotive Collision Specialists in Fuquay Varina, NC

With over twenty-five years of experience in the industry, Automotive Collision Specialists is ASE certified and fully equipped with advanced diagnostic technology and repair tools needed to perform collision repair, paint service, and complete restoration for all vehicle makes and models.

We’d be happy to talk about your collision repair if you’ll call us today at (919) 522-0333!

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