THE REPAIR PROCESS
If your vehicle has been damaged in a collision, you probably heard this common misconception: your vehicle will never be the same. Chances are, it wasn’t your insurance company representative or an employee of a collision repair business who made the comment That’s because collision-industry professionals return collision-damaged vehicles to their previous condition - both structurally and cosmetically. The I-Class Gold Professionals at Cushman Paint and Body Shop are uniquely qualified to repair your car the way you want it repaired.
So what does it take to repair your vehicle properly after an accident? Because of today’s complex vehicles and high-quality paint finishes, technicians need to be properly trained in the entire repair process to achieve complete and safe repairs.
The repair process begins when a detailed estimate is prepared, indicating all of the repairs needed to restore your vehicle to proper function and appearance. In some cases, this damage assessment requires removing damaged body panels or other parts. This results in the most accurate initial estimate possible.
Whenever appropriate, original parts are repaired. Severely damaged parts need to be replaced. A properly trained technician can repair sheet metal and plastic so that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find any indication of damage.
Once we have the estimate, the next step is ordering parts, so if you car is drivable, don't plan to leave it with us. Your assigned service writer will give you his best estimate of when parts will arrive and work will start, but we can't actually start work until parts are in hand.
PARTS ARE ORDERED
The parts listed on the estimate are then ordered. Your Cushman Paint and Body customer service specialist will explain whether the replacement parts are new parts ordered from the manufacturer of your vehicle, used parts ordered through an automotive recycler, or new parts manufactured by a company other than the manufacturer of your vehicle. We can also explain the pros and cons of using each of these types of parts.
Some parts may be available the next day, but other parts may be special ordered. Once all your parts have arrived we will call you and schedule a firm time for you to bring your vehicle in. We will also arrange a rental car for you if desired.
THE REPAIR BEGINS
When your parts arrive we will ask you to drop off your vehicle and sign the forms we need to authorize the repair. We will then start the tear-down process to get a closer look at the damage. At this time any additional parts will be ordered and the estimate will be adjusted to reflect any addition cost.
If your vehicle was hit hard in the collision, we will use a measuring system that checks specific points of your vehicle structure against dimensions provided by the vehicle or equipment manufacturer. We will measure your vehicle several times during the repair process to make sure it is within the recommended tolerances. In most cases, this tolerance is a strict as three millimeters – the thickness of three dimes. Some vehicles today require a tolerance no greater than one millimeter.
Whenever appropriate, original parts are repaired. Severely damaged parts need to be replaced. Our skilled technicians can repair sheet metal and plastic so that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find any indication of damage. In some cases, parts not included on the estimate may need to be ordered during the repair process if "hidden" damage is found.
We will repair structural damage and repair any mechanical parts in the first phase of the repair process. Once that step is completed, we will move to body repair. We will repair or replace any sheet metal that has been damaged and get your vehicle ready for the paint process.
After repairs are complete, your vehicle is ready to be painted. The areas to be painted are first prepared. Repaired areas are finely sanded, primer and corrosion protection products are applied and areas that won’t be painted are “masked off” and protected. The painter then uses a paint mixing system to mix the paint that will match your vehicle’s finish. A paint code on your vehicle provides the starting point, but generally requires a trained eye to match the paint to your vehicle. Often, paint will require "blending," a technique used to facilitate matching the color of your car. The paint is sprayed inside a spray booth designed to keep dust and other contaminants off the new finish.
Once the painting is complete, the vehicle is reassembled with all trim pieces, decals, and stripes. If any new glass is needed, it is usually installed at this point. The wheel alignment will also be checked if the collision damage was severe, if the vehicle spun, or if a tire, wheel, or suspension parts were damaged in the collision. This helps to catch any potential problems with the steering and suspension parts.
Finally, your vehicle is taken to the detailing area for a thorough interior and exterior cleaning. Any minor imperfections in the new paint surface will be removed by polishing and buffing. A final inspection checks that all work meets the repair facility's standards and the final paperwork is prepared for the vehicle owner and involved insurer.
Throughout this process, the Cushman Paint and Body Shop staff will be in contact with the insurance company handling the claim. The insurer may want to review the estimate and inspect the vehicle before or during the repair process. In some cases, we may need to obtain insurer and vehicle owner approval before completing additional necessary repairs not included on the initial estimate.
When your vehicle is detailed, we then go over it with a fine tooth comb to be sure we have done our work correctly. We look for issues you would never see, and we demand excellence. If something is not right, we identify the problem during the final inspection and send it back to the shop until it is done correctly. We demand excellence.
Once your vehicle has cleared inspection, your service writer will contact you to let you know your vehicle is ready. During the delivery process, we will go show you your repaired car, explain what we did and present you with a final bill. If your repair is an insurance claim, you will be asked only for the deductible. If you are paying for the repair out of pocket we will need to collect the entire balance at that point. Please note, we do not accept personal checks. We do accept cash, debit cards and all major credit cards.