The Collision Repair Process
Every collision repair is unique and there are a number of processes that are used depending upon the specific situation. The following provides a brief explanation of procedures that may be done while your vehicle is in our shop. Your specific issues and collision repair process will always be explained to you and you may contact us at any time if you have any questions.
Is everything in order? It’s bad enough that you’ve been in an accident, and now you have to take time out of your day to get your car repaired? We know how much of a headache that can be, and we want to make the process as painless as possible for you. So to get things started, we have a few questions:
Does Your Car Need to Be Towed?
Never drive a car that is not safe or legal to drive. Your safety is of the utmost importance, but it is also important to remember that driving a damaged vehicle could inflict additional damage. That’s why Collision Craft offers concierge transportation for you if your vehicle is not safely drivable.
Towing should be executed by qualified and well equipped individuals. Unfortunately, some towing companies do not use the best equipment to tow vehicles, risking your car’s safety in the process. Collision Craft maintains a relationship with Blake’s Towing, an extremely reputable and qualified company offering around-the-clock service.
We guarantee with Blake’s Towing:
- Your car will be relocated (level and secure) on a flatbed, never pulled.
- If necessary, your car will be safely stored overnight.
- We will reimburse them at that time and include the charges in the repair bill.
We cannot insure this with any other company. We prefer to make the arrangements for you when possible, but if in the event of an emergency or after hours, here’s what to do:
Do You Need a Rental?
We have that covered.
Collision Craft offers concierge rental car arrangement through Enterprise Rent-A-Car. We have a relationship with the local branch and prefer to contact them for your convenience and to ensure that you receive the best customer service.
- We make the call to them and schedule everything.
- An Enterprise Representative will meet you at our location and will familiarize you with the vehicle.
- Drop off the rental at Collision Craft when you pick up your car, we will take care of the return.
Note: Enterprise requires that any direct insurance payment arrangements are secured in advance.
If you would prefer to contact Enterprise directly, the number is 410.488.0633.
Are You Going Through an Insurance Company?
If there is anything that you need to do with your insurance company prior to any collision repair (such as notifying them of the loss) please make sure this is done … it will minimize complications down the road. Be sure to provide us with their claim information when you arrive at Collision Craft. Their initial appraisal can be done at your location, our location, or theirs. We will work cooperatively with them to help settle your claim.
Have You Made an Appointment or Had an Estimate?
First of all, if you already have a damage estimate from your insurance company, it’s usually not necessary for us to do another one. We’ll work with their estimate, and work with your insurer to resolve any discrepancies.
Please let us know ahead of time that you’re dropping off your vehicle, however. We will do our very best to schedule things in the way that’s most convenient for you.
For more contact information, check out our Contact Page.
Do We Have Your Authorization to Begin?
To begin the repair process, we’ll need your authorization to do work. This is not a signature that gives us carte blanche with your car, it is a way to ensure that you get what you are entitled to. You are in control and will be kept informed each step of the way.
- When the car first arrives you may need to approve any damage mitigation.
- We will obtain your approval before performing an inspection requiring dismantling.
- Once damages have been assessed, we will require your approval before commencing with any work.
- If along the way we find additional issues, we will also need approval before undertaking these repairs.
The Intake Authorization Form is available for download.
Follow up approvals may take place less formally; over the phone or through e-mail if requested, or may be included with your initial written work authorization.
There are a few things that often need to be done before we can begin the repair process. Here are the most common:
Sometimes an accident will render your vehicle and personal property vulnerable to additional damage. We make it a top priority to minimize this risk, by doing things like:
- Removing broken glass.
- Providing weather protection.
- Providing clearance between moving parts.
- Mobilizing non-drivable vehicles.
With minor incidents visual inspections can sometimes be done during a brief consultation, but with some accidents, we need to perform some minor cleaning and dismantling in order to access any concealed damage. We will make sure this is as non-invasive as possible.
After the thorough evaluation of the damage, a detailed scope of work is established. The estimate will be based on specific details from the inspection and will be a direct reflection on the work that is needed to be done. We will do our best to address your core needs and concerns during the evaluation consultation, but keep in mind that we refrain from engaging in competitive bidding.
If an insurance claim has been made and an estimate has already been prepared, a supplemental document will often be created to amend any differences. This can then be used for insurance re-inspection purposes. Usually, payment approval is made. Unfortunately, sometimes insurance companies do not approve the additional work that is needed. In instances such as these, we will not proceed without your approval.
We will provide counsel to you regarding your options within any situation that arises, with your best interests in mind.
Every collision is unique and there are a number of processes that are used depending upon the specific repair. The following provides a brief explanation of a few procedures that may be done while in our shop. Your specific issues and process will always be explained to you and you can always contact us if you have any questions.
The first step to fixing the problem is often dismantling a portion of the vehicle. This allows for a full assessment of the situation and proper access to any affected areas.
A proper structural alignment is the foundation for all additional repair work. This is because it ensures:
- The proper alignment of bolted parts (both body and mechanical).
- That additional damage does not occur during the repair process.
- The long term structural integrity of the repairs.
Some of the critical tools used by Collision Craft are:
Whether they’ve been damaged or removed to allow access to the collision work to be done, there is sometimes a need to replace or re-install mechanical components of the car; such as:
- Engine and drive train components
- Instrument panel
- Electrical wiring and components
Sheet Metal Repairs
Sheet metal repair work can range from minor damage to more involved body work. Minor repairs are often projects such as bolted or hinged parts, dent repairs, or any basic repairs to outer panels. Major sheet metal work involves parts that have been welded to the unibody (frame) of the car. When compression spot welding is needed to create a corrosion resistant, structurally sound, cosmetically appealing seam, Collision Craft utilizes various welding technologies to get the job done professionally. For example:
- The Pro Spot 2000
This variety gives Collision Craft the versatility needed to meet the specifications of certain cars; you can be assured that the right tool is being used for the job every time.
In some cases special adhesives are recommended by the vehicle manufacturer instead of, or in addition to, welding. We defer to the manufacturer’s recommendations in these cases.
Many vehicle manufacturers today have resorted to the use of highly sophisticated construction materials such as composites and lightweight, high strength metal alloys. Surprisingly, there is nothing new about using aluminum to construct an automobile. In fact, many classic and legacy models in museums are constructed using aluminum skins wrapped over wooden framework! Wheels and some trim items have long been manufactured using various non-ferrous alloys. Today, outer panels and now even structural components are made from aluminum on certain vehicles (including BMW and many European and certain Asian models) which pose new and greater repair challenges. Each manufacturer provides its own guidelines for repair of their models. It is extremely important that the repairs are performed by certified craftsmen, with manufacturer-approved equipment, and within stringent environmental control.
Repairs performed outside of these parameters may void the vehicle warranty and cause loss of resale value. Collision Craft has BMW’s certified aluminum structural training and the accompanying approved equipment so you know the work will be done properly.
Wondering if your vehicle contains aluminum components? Click here for a partial list.
In most cases we recommend and specify new, genuine OEM parts and materials. Unfortunately, your insurance policy may not cover the use of these parts. If an insurance company is insistent on the use of used or imitation parts, that decision will be left up to you. Keep in mind that the use of non-genuine parts voids our warranty and could diminish the value, function and appearance of your vehicle.
While it might sound simple, the painting process is extremely sophisticated and vitally important. It involves:
- Prepping the vehicle
- Color matching & paint mixing
- Paint application
- Paint finishing
We use paints and undercoatings by GLASURIT® (a world leader in coatings technology). They are applied in accordance with BASF recommendations and are backed by the company for as long as you own your car. To achieve the best end result, the painting process is given a great deal of attention. Take a look at the steps below:
The car is prepped for painting by :
- Removing any ornamentations to ensure that the car can be properly cleaned and sanded prior to painting (for proper adhesion and coverage).
- Cleaning the car, especially the repaired area, to ensure thorough and seamless paint application.
- Sanding the repaired area to further ensure that any work that has been done is invisible to the naked eye.
Paint Mixing & Color Matching
A color match is first done to determine the correct formula (by comparing standards to the existing paint finish and by utilizing a photo spectrometer). In some cases color samples are sent to BASF’s color laboratory for further scientific evaluation and formula development.
The mixing process is done by utilizing computer software which monitors and distributes precise amounts of tinting based on a formula. This software also contains a color database from vehicles produced over the last 50 years for reference and comparison.
Paint application is done in a downdraft Binks spray booth with specially treated air (to avoid contamination of unwanted particulates or moisture in the air and to avoid environmental contamination from the paint).
Once the primer has been applied, a pigment base coat is applied.
Afterwards, 2 – 3 coats of clear coat are applied with (flash) dry time in between.
Once the desired outcome has been met, the paint is baked (cured) and then cooled.
The final step in the paint process is finishing and polishing. This ensures uniformity in the texture of the paint and removes any minor imperfections.
Once the repairs are done, Collision Craft goes through a few final steps to ensure that the process is completed correctly and that the vehicle exceeds your expectations.
Once the repair and paint processes are complete, the vehicle is carefully reassembled, checking for proper fit and finish at every step.
Depending on the work that has been done, a test drive might be required to ensure that the car is operating perfectly.
Cleaning & Detailing
We finish off the process by cleaning the car to remove any traces of the repair work and to provide the best possible finished product.
Final Inspection & Delivery
Jeff Shaw personally inspects every car before the process is considered completed and before we contact you to retrieve your vehicle. If it does not meet Jeff’s expectations, any details will be addressed to make sure you’re completely satisfied.