Many of our clients come to the shop with various degrees of vehicle damage that they would like to have repaired. The frequency increases with clients who are interested in selling their vehicle and would like top dollar for their used car in a private sale or trade in. There are times when a vehicle’s damage requires a body shop. They do top quality work that they guarantee for life, and you pay a premium for that guarantee. More often than not, though, the repairs could be done by a touch up specialist who can do the same job for less than your deductible. Let’s compare the options and see when it is best to use each type of technician.
Your damage is small or cosmetic only
When your damage is small, cosmetic, does not affect the drivability or safety of your vehicle, and is in a easily accessible area, it is usually best to use a touch up garage. If you have a scraped bumper, scraped rims, rock chips in your hood, faded exterior parts, or small dents without creases in your doors or hood, these are perfect candidates for a touch up shop. Places like Island Detail and Color will repair your bumper or rims, and repaint areas like rocker panels and trim pieces, for less than your deductible with comparable quality to a body shop. If you have a small dent without a strong crease in it, paintless dent removal shops like Dentex can be a good option. They use special tools to push a dent out from behind to save you the high fees for a body shop repair and repainting.
Your damage is large, structural, or safety related
If your vehicle has suffered damage that is larger than a $10 bill there is a very good chance you are going to need a body shop and not just a touch up. Jobs like this include large dents where the metal is deeply creased, rim damage including dents (wheel is no longer round), scrapes that extend over multiple body panels, and wheel/axel alignment that affects the structural integrity of the drivetrain. Any of these types of damage would cost so much at a touch up garage that you are better off paying your deductible and having the work guaranteed by a body shop. When it comes to issues of safety it is imperative that you take your vehicle to a body shop that offers a warranty and will accept your ICBC insurance.
Rule of Thumb
If the damage is small, is not safety or structurally relevant, and can be touched up for less than your deductible, go to a touch up shop. We like Island Detail & Color.
If the damage is large, caused structural damage, and/or includes misaligned wheels or rims bent out of shape, you need a body shop. Pay your deducible and get a lifetime warranty on the work. We like Craftsman Collision.
Still not sure what you need? Just point out any issues at your next maintenance and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.