These days auto makers are putting more and more technology into cars to avoid accidents. There are optional cameras that keep you in your lane, blind spot detectors, and even technology that automatically applies the brakes to avoid a collision! All these new advances are great, when they work to actually stop a potential accident – which is not always the case. We have had more than a few wrecked cars that have the technology that is supposed to avoid exactly the type of collisions that have happened!!
However, one of the major unintended problems with this new technology is the HUGE replacement costs! It actually started with airbag systems, which can easily cause a car to be totaled in some relatively minor accidents. And now we have very expensive cameras and sensors that can be damage in smaller collisions and cause the repair bill to SOAR! Here are a few examples from some recent jobs we have completed. A 2013 Infinity that has a pre accident camera system in the front bumper was rear ended and the force of the collision caused the car to hit the vehicle in front of it as well. The repair bill was about 2,500.00 BEFORE we realized that the special camera was damaged – this caused the repair bill to more than double. In addition, the only place in the area that has the equipment to repair these cameras is in Chantilly VA – meaning the customer was without her vehicle for an additional 7 days. This week we had a 2010 Lexus with a pre-crash camera system in a minor collision, once again the cost of the camera and sensors increased the repair bill by over $$3,500.00 and also had to go to a far away deal for calibration.
The reality is that these new technologies do help cut down on accidents, but still can not avoid them all together. And when they do get hit, the cost of replacing these fragile and expensive sensors can get very costly! Something to think about before you decide to purchase a newer car with the latest and accident avoidance technology.
Here at Frederick Auto Body, we value the members of the Military who serve this country! We appreciate they sacrifices our military members make to protect The United States of America, and know that they are the first line of defense for the freedoms we hold dear. As a small thank you, Frederick Auto Body is very happy and proud to offer a 10% Military Discount for all active military members and their immediate families. This money can be used to help offset your deductible, for extra body work you want us to perform, or as cold hard cash in your pocket! So if you are in the military and have been in an accident, or just want to fix up your vehicle, come to Frederick Auto Body at 310 East 4th Street, or call us at (301) 698-0008. We will make sure your car is fixed like new, with a lifetime warranty on all paint and body work. No coupon necessary, just come in with your military ID and we will happily offer you the savings. And thanks again for your service to the USA!
Military Discount to all branches of active Duty Military.
CNN recently did a very good report on a MAJOR issue we have in the body shop business. It explorers the sometimes strange relationship between insurance companies and body shops. It shows how important it is to choose your repair shop wisely! Here is the link:
You see, most large insurance companies have contracts with certain body shops that put them on their “Preferred” Network, these are commonly referred as DRP shops (Direct Repair Network). The repair shops know by being on these programs the insurance companies will strongly suggest (some would say steer) their customers go to these “Preferred” shops, this means more business for the shop. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the insurance company the bigger the shop concessions will have to be. So what is in it for the insurance company? Control of the repair and concessions from the shop. Some of these DRP agreements are totally unfair to the shop and force them to perform unsafe or low quality repairs. Sometimes they are force to use lower quality parts from unreliable vendors just to save the insurance company a few bucks. In addition, most of the DRP contracts already squeeze the shop by making them work at reduced rates and offering other discounts. The other major problem is the cycle time they demand – if you are a day late on a repair it is a black mark on your record with them and the shop may have to pay the customer car rental fees. So if a repair shop has an unavoidable delay, they are forced to make a shoddy quick repair in order to keep the insurance company happy. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather get my car a day late and have it repaired properly!
How do you avoid this major issue? In the state of Maryland, only the vehicle owner has the power to choose their repair shop. Make sure you choose a high quality shop that is NOT on your big insurance companies list. Why? Because the shop will then be responsible to YOU, not the big insurance company and they will negotiate on your behalf to see that the vehicle is repaired CORRECLY and SAFELY. I can’t tell you how many times here at Frederick Auto Body we have customers come in with a terrible and incomplete estimate written by the insurance company adjustor. We usually rewrite the estimate to make sure the repair is performed correctly, and usually have to battle the insurance company to make that happen. If we had signed a DRP agreement with them, we would then be contractually obligated to use their original estimate and would have little leverage to make changes. So when the big insurance company tries to steer you to one of their shops, make sure you tell them that you feel more comfortable picking the shop yourself, and close your repair shop wisely..
At Frederick Auto Body, we only have DRP agreements with insurance companies that are reasonable and let us manage the repair for them. They are only concerned about having a high quality shop take care of their customers vehicles and want to make sure their claims are handled professionally. We would never sign a DRP agreement that would ask us to put the insurance companies interest above our customers. We always put our customers first, and making a high quality safe repair is our highest priority!
If you have been in an accident, please call us at (301) 698-0008 or send us an email at Frederickautobody@gmail.com. We are more than happy to discuss the repair and insurance process with you, and can help you make the most informed repair decisions possible.
It is that time of year again – The time of year when deer start running into the street and getting hit by cars! In the Fall and Winter, we see many cars that have been in collisions with deer. It is amazing how much damage these animals can do to a car! In our experience, about 75% of the damage is to the front of vehicles when they strike a deer – usually hitting the bumper, grille, headlights, hood, and front fenders. However, there are cases where the deer actually runs into the side of the vehicle or even gets hit trying to jump over it! Airbags are rarely deployed in most deer collisions, the complex sensors and computers in the safety restrain systems usually determine they are not necessary. The latest available data shows that there were over 1,600 deer collisions in the state of Maryland alone! I believe that this number is actually much higher.
So what can you do to avoid a deer accident? Unfortunately, not much. Deer usually dart across roads from open spaces and woods, and it is very difficult to choose where your road travels! We have found that deer whistles and other preventative devices really don’t do much either. My most important advice is this – HIT THE DEER, DO NOT SWERVE AND TRY TO AVOID IT! I know this is difficult to do as you only have a spit second to avoid the animal. Hitting a deer is not fun, but hitting another car or skidding off the road is MUCH worse. In addition, most insurance companies classify animal accidents under your Comprehensive coverage, NOT Collision. This means you will usually not be charged with an at fault accident, and in many cases your deductible is reduced.
As long as deer and cars are sharing the same spaces, we will continue to have accidents. If you are involved in a deer collision, or any other accident, Please make sure you take your car to a qualified auto body shop like Frederick Auto Body. Your car is a very expensive asset, and proper repairs are important to keep your car safe and to protect your value.
Here at Frederick Auto Body we see many damaged vehicles every day. Some have been in accidents, some have minor paint issues, and some just need a little TLC. But at least a few times per week we have customers bring their cars in to have and ask us to fix rust on their car. Most times the car is a good solid vehicle that the owner wants to continue to drive but can not stand looking at a rusty spot on the car body. However, as much as we would like to help them with the repair we usually have to turn them away.
The problem with most rust on cars is that they are rusting from the INSIDE of the panel. The usual spots are around the rear wheels and the bottom of the doors – but we also see it on the edges of hoods and sometimes even the roof! Sometimes it only looks like some bubbles under the paint, but when we dig a little deeper it can be a rust hole right through the metal! Once a panel starts to rust from the inside there is NO WAY to properly repair the metal. No matter what you do the rust will come back. We can grind the rust out, coat it with rust stopping agents, then fill and paint the panel – and it will look perfect. But within a few weeks or months the rust will start to bubble up again. The only way to repair rusty spots is to replace the entire panel – that is manageable on a hood or fender, but can be VERY expensive on a door, roof, or quarter panel.
At Frederick Auto Body, we guarantee all of our paint and body work for the life of the car – so we can not perform a repair that we can not stand behind. As much as we hate to tell customers that we can not help them with the repair, doing so would only be taking their money.
Rust hole on a 2004 Honda Odyssey quarter panel
Here at Frederick Auto Body we see LOTS of collision repair estimates! A major component of any vehicle repair is replacement parts. There are 3 basic options repair shops and insurance companies can choose from: OEM (original equipment manufacturer), LKQ (Like Kind Quality, or used), or aftermarket.
Of course the best quality parts are OEM as they are made by the same company that built the car in the first place. These parts are usually the highest quality, with perfect fit and finish. Using LKQ parts is always a bit of a gamble – sometimes they are perfect, other times they come in damaged or worn out from use. There is a wide spectrum of aftermarket parts from very good to extremely poor. At Frederick Auto Body, we only use CAPA Certified aftermarket parts. This means the parts have been independently certified to have the proper fit, finish, and quality of the OEM parts. There are cheaper options, but just like everything else you get what you pay for. These cheaper aftermarket parts usually do not fit well, or are such low quality that they will not last.
So how is it determined what parts are used? In many cases the insurance company decides what parts to use. If you check your policy, you will usually see how they determine what parts to use. Newer cars most often get OEM parts, once they are a few years old many insurance companies turn to used or aftermarket parts. At Frederick Auto Body, we discuss the different parts options with our customers to make sure they are comfortable with the replacement parts we use. Since we have a full lifetime warranty on all of our work, we only use the highest quality part option available no matter what.
If you have an insurance estimate, bring it by Frederick Auto Body at 310 E 4th St or call us at (301) 698-0008. we will be more than happy to explain the estimate to you and make sure the best possible parts are being used.