The collision repair business has been around since the invention of the automobile. Auto body repair cost was very low in relation to the economy back then. Back in the early days of auto repair it was said that most anyone who was mechanically inclined could repair your vehicle which brought about the term, “shade tree mechanic”. The auto body repair process was not quite as easy, having to have a bit more patience and the ability to shape and mold things. It was definitely a skill not everyone could do. Painting was done on a more simplistic basis, especially with only a few colors to choose from. As cars evolved into more complex machines, so did the repair industry. Now it has become a greater skill to be able to fix a car the right way where it would be safe and also look nice too. Colors are offered in a huge range with pearls and metallic that make for a difficult time to even match the existing paint on a repair. You could stand in one direction and it would look a certain tone while moving over a couple feet would yield another tone. On top of all that was the mismatches from what ever factory it came out of or maybe a different batch of color was not the same as the week before. There are many variables involved in paint matching but that will be a whole other topic.
Obviously this is only the cosmetic side but how about all the airbag components? When an airbag goes off it can deploy a charge in the seat belts making them lock up as well for safety. Everything is computer controlled in most systems in the cars nowadays, so there is a lot more to go wrong. This means the shops have to be very educated in the repair process to ensure a safe car goes out the door. The line between a collision repair and mechanical repair is often blurred in today’s collision repairs.
While most shops do not handle all aspects of these systems it is important to partner up with a good mechanical shop. So when you are looking to find a good shop after a wreck, keep these processes in mind and don’t take it to any old back yard facility.
Having said this, it brings up another key point about auto body repair cost. Many cars are deemed a total loss that really are not damaged that bad. On top of the increased parts prices, there are more parts involved as well. Many items that were made of metal years ago are now all plastic. So when an accident occurs, they break very easily. Some of this is due to safety where the car is designed to absorb impact and save lives. However, safety does come at a cost.
Components such as headlights are very high dollar, the days of going to the auto parts store to replace your headlight are over. The better lights now can be up to $1500 or more. Even a simple headlight can be a few hundred dollars, mostly plastic, btw. So when your thinking your collision repair estimate is on the high side, it most likely is accurate. Be careful when looking at repair estimates, your auto body repair cost can vary quite a bit.