How to Know If You Need a Post-Repair Inspection
Has your vehicle had significant repairs after a car accident? Do you notice issues with the performance or functions of your vehicle? You may have had an improper, even unsafe repair. It’s crucial that you get a post-repair inspection to make sure your car has been repaired correctly, and is still safe to drive.
If you’d like to know more about post-repair inspections, call PAC Diminished Value at (678) 240-0770 or click here to contact us online!
Do I Need A Post-Repair Inspection?
When an auto body shop repairs your vehicle, it’s their responsibility to restore that vehicle to pre-accident condition. That means that your vehicle’s safety systems, the fit and finish of structural parts, and the function of all computer and mechanical systems should be fully restored.
If you notice any signs that your car isn’t functioning the way it was before your accident, these are signs of an improper repair, and that you need a post-repair inspection.
Some of the common warning signs of an improper repair include:
- Worn Tires
- Mildew Smell in the Interior/Signs of Water Leaks
- Steering Wheel Pulls to the Left or Right
- Rattling or Noises
- Asymmetrical or Uneven Gaps in Your Vehicle’s Body Lines
- Difficulty Opening or Closing Doors
- Dashboard Warning Lights or Unresolved Mechanical Issues
If you notice any of these problems in the performance or function of your vehicle, it may indicate serious structural problems beneath the surface. For example, if you see differences in the gaps between parts on the left side of your vehicle vs. the right side of your vehicle, it could mean that your vehicle’s structure is significantly out of alignment. A vehicle that has been returned to you in this asymmetrical state probably has serious problems with its structural integrity.
California’s Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) found that 60% of the vehicles they inspected had remaining damage, with 42% of those involving significant safety concerns. Unfortunately, many body shops cut corners and do not follow manufacturer repair procedures, all in the interests of turning over a high volume of work. When manufacturer repair procedures aren’t followed, you end up with serious problems with quality and safety.
Why is it Important to Follow Manufacturer Repair Procedures?
Vehicle manufacturers invest millions of dollars every year engineering their vehicles for safety. New vehicles are safer than ever, thanks to the sophisticated crash management systems that manufacturers have developed through extensive crash testing and technological advancement.
Manufacturers use this knowledge to develop replacement parts and repair procedures that, when followed, allow a collision repair technician to fully restore your vehicle’s safety systems. When inferior imitation parts are used, or structural repairs are performed without following manufacturer procedures, those vehicle’s safety systems are altered, and your vehicle may no longer be crashworthy in the event of a subsequent accident.
When shops cut corners they will also often leave damage unaddressed. If they are unwilling to take the time to properly disassemble your vehicle to ensure all damage from the accident has been discovered, they miss things, and you end up with “remaining damage” as a result.
Why is Remaining Damage an Issue?
The issue of remaining damage brings us back to your vehicle’s crash management system. Each component in your vehicle’s structure has been designed to react in a specific way, in concert with the other parts of your car, in order to preserve a protective space around the occupants. Some parts are designed to remain rigid, and some are designed to crumple very easily.
When damage has been left unaddressed, the entire crash management system of your vehicle has been changed. If parts have crumpled and have not been replaced, or if parts that should have been replaced have been repaired, there’s no way to know how your safety systems will perform.
The same problem applies to the use of inferior imitation parts. Aftermarket parts have not undergone the same rigorous crash testing that genuine parts have undergone. There is often no way of knowing how an aftermarket part will change the performance of your vehicle’s crash management system, and many aftermarket parts are inferior in fit, finish, and performance in comparison to genuine OEM parts.
Watch this video from Honda in which they explain how even a seemingly cosmetic structural component (in this case, an aftermarket bumper) can significantly reduce a vehicle’s safety ratings:
Repairs that alter the performance of a vehicle’s crash management systems can also alter airbag timing. Watch this video from Airbag Aware demonstrating just how delicate airbag timing can be.
What Lies Beneath the Surface
Even a vehicle with serious structural issues can look fine, at first glance. Most consumers expect that when they pay a body shop to perform repairs, those repairs will be performed correctly. Most never suspect that shops would allow an unsafe vehicle to go back to a customer.
Unfortunately, as the California BAR has discovered, incomplete, improper, and even unsafe repairs are performed more than half of the time. In our experience, only a small percentage of body shops have the tools, training, and knowledge to properly repair significant damage to modern vehicles.
How to Avoid Substandard Repairs
Ideally, consumers can avoid finding themselves in this situation in the first place, and there are things that you can do to choose a high quality auto body shop. Look for shops that have multiple manufacturer certifications, as this indicates their technicians have factory training, use genuine parts, and have approved equipment for factory-correct repairs.
Be wary of shops that are members of insurance company “preferred” networks, or “Direct Repair Programs” (DRPs). If the shop you’re working with is sanctioned by multiple large insurance companies, there’s a considerable amount of pressure on that shop to turn over a fast repair at the lowest possible cost. This kind of repair process can lead to significant problems.
Also be wary of working with shops that display a lack of professionalism. If the shop returns a vehicle that has not been cleaned or detailed, if they are reluctant to discuss or explain the repairs, or if they don’t offer significant warranties on their work – you should have their work checked by an unbiased third party. Sometimes shops like this will offer to save your deductible. Before you work with that shop, keep in mind, that money will be made up somewhere else.
Contact PAC Diminished Value
PAC Diminished Value and our certified appraisers can assist you with a post-repair inspection to ensure that your car is still safe after repairs. If improper repairs are performed, you may be entitled to financial compensation for repair-related diminished value. To learn more about diminished value, click here.
To schedule a post-repair inspection, call PAC Diminished Value at (678) 240-0770 or click here to contact us online!