It’s always a surprise when you are involved in an accident. (That’s why we call them “accidents”). But if you’re not careful, the accident could end up being just the first of many surprises… and sometimes, the surprises come at the hands of the very places you expect to be looking out for your best interests. We start this series, called Bodyshop Surprises, to hopefully educate you on the many areas of potential surprise – after an accident.

Take the case of the owner of a new model Honda. After the accident that damaged his family vehicle’s front end, he took it to the body shop that his insurance agency “recommended”. It should also be mentioned that the owner of this vehicle is also the owner of his own agency for the same insurance company. He never gave it a second thought when choosing to take his car to the shop that  is preferred by his company. After all… he represents the brand and supports their recommendations. And that was the beginning of this family’s nightmare bodyshop surprises.

How do you know if your vehicle has really been repaired?

One of the most important things we do for our guests here at Nylund’s is educate them. We explain the process of their repair before, during and after. That wasn’t the case for the man in this story.

The owner of this brand new Honda took his vehicle to the shop that his insurance company “recommended”. (That was his first mistake.) They did what many DRP* body shops do: they cut corners, didn’t read or disregarded OEM procedures, and used inferior aftermarket parts – all in the name of saving their insurance partner money.

When he got his car back, it “LOOKED” as if it had been repaired.  It looked like it was new.  It looked right.  It wasn’t.

Just moments after he picked up his car and jumped on the highway heading home, the owner noticed a very loud rattle coming from the second row seating INSIDE THE CABIN. Below is a video that was recorded the same day the vehicle was delivered. You can clearly see and hear the rattle of the second row seat, and even more disturbing is what that seat is actually holding.  Can you imagine if his child were in that seat? The image of that haunts us to this day.

The rattle came from the fact that even though the body shop declared that it had completely repaired the vehicle, so many of the proper procedures were completely ignored or overlooked.  On top of that, the technicians involved actively attempted to hide the fact that they disregarded proper repairs by using bonding solution to imitate welds, and then painting over it to hide the facts. The level of disregard for the owner’s safety surprised even us, and we see a lot of this kind of thing.

Had the body shop in question cared even a little for what a proper repair should look like, they would have measured the frame rails at the very beginning, and realized that the frame was bent (causing the shaking and rattling when being driven).  They would have used OEM parts that fit properly instead of aftermarket parts that don’t line up. Instead, it appears that they cut every corner – intentionally – to align with their insurance partner’s view of how inexpensive the repair could be done.  The loser in this whole situation: the vehicle owner.

We encourage our readers to watch the entire video above, and educate themselves on just one of the bodyshop surprises we’ve shared with our guests. Know what to look for, and the proper questions to ask any bodyshop you allow to repair your vehicle. And of course, like always, if you have any questions at all about a repair that you have had done, or are considering… please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to offer any suggestions or referrals necessary.

*DRP = Direct Repair Partnership. This is a program offered by insurers to incentivize body shops to join and save the insurance companies money. The basic arrangement in this partnership is this: the insurer promises to send the body shop more business, provided the shop doesn’t fight the insurer about the repair plan using substandard aftermarket, used or salvaged parts. As long as the body shop continues to perform repairs the way the insurer wants, they are allowed to remain on the program, and get more referrals from the insurer.  When an insurer offers their claimants a list of “recommended” shops – these are ALWAYS their DRP partners.  IMPORTANT NOTE: NOT ALL BODY SHOPS are in a DRP relationship with insurers. Our best advice is to find a shop that has NO PARTNERSHIPS with insurers.

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