The Collision Repair Process

Stage 1 – Drop off & Initial Inspection

Our initial inspection with the customer is one of the most important steps in the repair process. This is when the customer can point out the damages that are related to the accident. After all, you know your vehicle history better than we do. During this stage, we will walk around your vehicle with you and discuss any necessary repairs that are visible at that time. In case an insurance company has already provided you with an estimate we will review the estimate with you. If we see any parts or procedures in question we will discuss those with you. During this stage, most repair facilities will normally give an estimated date of completion to the customer. We believe this is where most repair facilities go wrong, and it causes a domino effect leading to a poor customer experience and ultimately impacting the quality of repairs. Hidden damages and the time it takes insurance to approve additional parts and/or repairs will affect how soon we can complete your vehicle. Once we have determined the extent of the damages in the next stage and we have received approval from the insurance company we will be able to give you a more accurate date for completion. Providing a customer, a date of completion during the initial inspection is just a guess because there are just too many unknown variables.

Stage 2 – The Repair Blueprint Plan- Disassembly Process

Your vehicle will now be assigned to a highly trained technician who will start removing the damaged parts from your vehicle, so that we can clearly see the extent of the damages. Every damaged part will be documented down to each fastener clip and screw. Due to the complexity of today’s modern vehicle, it is necessary to look up the manufacturer recommended repair procedures. Many repair facilities fail to follow this step and simply rely on their technician’s experience alone. The problem with this is each vehicle is designed differently and not all vehicles can be repaired the same way. Once the manufacturer repair procedures are reviewed and the vehicle damages are assessed a complete blueprint plan will be written up and submitted to the responsible insurance company or party. This is normally referred to as a “Supplement.” A supplement is a written itemized document for additional parts, labor, and/or materials needed to repair your vehicle. Once the estimator completes the supplement, a copy will be sent to the responsible insurance company or party and to you.

Stage 3 – Supplement Approval

Once the supplement is sent to the insurance company or party responsible we will contact you to inform you of what we have discovered. While we wait for approval from the insurance company or party involved we will move forward on ordering many of the additional parts needed. This allows us to reduce the repair time needed to complete your vehicle. Since we deal with insurance companies on a day-to-day basis we can order the parts we know they will not have an issue with prior to approval. Parts such as headlamps, bumpers, bolt-on sheet metal, and cooling system parts we will typically hold off ordering until we have approval from the responsible insurance company or party. These are the parts that an insurance company will typically try to use a source other than OEM (Original Manufacturer Equipment) or factory parts to reduce their costs.

The supplement approval process takes place when an insurance adjuster arrives at our facility. The assigned estimator will then go over each supplement with the insurance adjuster or responsible party. Once we have reviewed the damages and needed repairs with the insurance adjuster or responsible party we must wait for them to give us written approval paperwork. Whenever possible we will try and get a verbal approval to move forward with ordering the remaining OEM parts needed to help reduce delays. Once we receive the proper approval we move to the next stage of the repairs.

Stage 4 – Customer Notification & Due Date Assigned

Now that the supplement is approved, and we have reviewed what the insurance company is willing to cover we will contact the customer. At this time any items or charges that the responsible insurance company or party has refused to cover will be discussed with the customer. Although we try a handle the repair process without having to involve the customer it is not uncommon that we may need a customer’s assistance to get the proper repairs approved. Usually, it may be minor but there may be a procedure or parts in question that a simple phone call by the customer can resolve. We try our very best to minimize the customer’s need to get involved. During the customer notification phone call, we will give an estimated due date based on the repairs and the circumstances involved to make the proper repairs. Any out of pocket charges that a customer may be responsible for will be discussed upfront, prior to the start of repairs.

Stage 5 – Body Repairs and Mechanical Repairs

By now we should have many of the parts that we need to repair your vehicle. Any misc. parts that we were waiting for the supplement approval should be showing up in a day or two. During this time any structural or mechanical repairs will be started. Once the remaining parts show up the technician now has everything they will need to repair your vehicle and send it to paint. Whenever possible, prior to sending your vehicle to paint, if an alignment is needed it will be completed to assure a smooth completion of repairs. If during the alignment additional items are found to be needed the vehicle can still move to the next process without hesitation. This allows us to again reduce the repair time simply through the process in which we repair your vehicle.

Stage 6 – Prep & Paint

All panels requiring paintwork will be cleaned, prepped, and primed for a quality paint finish. Your vehicle will undergo strenuous observation and attention to be able to provide a fine auto finish. The smallest of details will be magnified during the painting process and must be recognized prior to applying the final paintwork. Once prepped your vehicle will undergo a final cleaning prior to painting. All panels requiring paintwork will be thoroughly scrubbed. Then your vehicle will be masked to protect from over-spray which also allows for a cleaner paint finish. This is also an area that many repair facilities fall short. Your vehicle will then be staged in front of a designated paint booth and a certified paint technician will apply a high-quality paint finish.

Stage 7 – Polish

This is a very important yet often overlooked stage in the repair process by most repair facilities including insurance companies. Polish times are often a topic of discussion during the supplement approval process. Most repair facilities overlook this process or put little emphasis on the fine-tuning of the paint finish. This is where the texture of the freshly painted panels is carefully matched to the original factory finish. During the painting process, it is common for small dust particles in the air to settle on the freshly applied clear coat. There are many factors that can constitute polish requirements. It is simply impossible for a single human painter to mimic a refinishing process that was performed by factory robots in multi-million-dollar paint booths. At most OE factories a team of robotic arms is simultaneously spraying portions of a completely bare body shell at one time. We pride ourselves in our paint finish along with every other stage of the repair. The paint finish is ultimately the portion of the repair that the customer notices when picking up his or her vehicle. A vehicle’s paint finish is the single most noticed sign a vehicle has been involved in a collision.

Stage 7 – Reassembly

Once polished your vehicle is returned to the assigned body technician that originally disassembled your vehicle. All removed parts and/or replacement trim parts will now be reinstalled. The proper function of all necessary components will be checked. Proper body line gaps and final adjustments will be made to ensure your vehicle looks as good if not better than when you first bought it. Everything from door handles to information decals will be reinstalled in their designated place.

Stage 8 – Quality Control, Detail, & Delivery

Now reassembled your vehicle will be thoroughly examined by a quality control individual who is responsible for the following items: Evaluate the repair order line by line verifying everything has been completed, test and operate all functioning items even if it didn’t appear on the repair order, water leak check, test drive for wind noise and drivability. Upon verification of the quality control process and receiving the quality control checklist your service consultant will contact you and schedule a convenient time for delivery. Once a delivery time is scheduled your vehicle will be detailed both inside and out. Special attention is taken on all freshly painted areas to ensure a quality finish is presented to you. proper tire inflation, wheel nuts torqued, and more. Our goal is not just to repair your vehicle, but to have your vehicle looking like it did when you first bought it. Attention to the tiny details is what separates us from our competition.