Advancements in Technology and the Future of Auto Body Repair

Technology touches nearly every aspect of our lives, from how we communicate to the way we drive. Each year, auto manufacturers introduce new models equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and other cutting-edge technologies. While these continuous advancements are exciting, they also present challenges for the auto body industry as a whole. 

Here’s a look at how technology has shaped the current collision repair landscape and three innovative industry trends to watch for in the future.  

3 Ways Technology Has Affected Collision Repair

The auto body industry has witnessed some remarkable changes in recent years, thanks to a variety of technological advancements. 

One of the cornerstones of this transformation is in how collision repair shops operate. Efficiency is key to delivering high-quality service, so many shops, including European Collision Center, have adopted advanced software that enables accurate repair timeline estimates, streamlined part and supply orders, and seamless management of every aspect of the repair process.

Modern vehicles are equipped with sophisticated technology that makes them far more complex than their older counterparts. ADAS features like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring rely on sensitive sensors and cameras to enhance driving safety. 

The downside is that these components are more expensive to replace than typical auto parts and they must be recalibrated after a collision—two factors that have caused the cost of repairs to surge. Statistics have shown that auto body repair costs are rising steadily, with an average increase of 2-3% year-over-year. 

While ADAS features have contributed to the increase in repair costs, there is a silver lining: ADAS has played a significant role in reducing the frequency of accidents. In fact, it’s estimated that these technologies will contribute to a 20% decrease in accidents by 2030 and an overall reduced demand for auto body repairs. 

Upcoming Industry Trends 

So, what’s next in the collision repair industry? Here are three trends to keep an eye on: 

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI has long been integrated into the automotive industry, with features like lane-keep assist and automatic braking systems, but as it evolves, it’s poised to have another role: technician support. AI can be used to enhance technicians’ capabilities by streamlining damage assessments and repair recommendations. Additionally, AI provides tools and information (such as AI-powered diagnostics or repair information databases) that can help technicians identify and repair issues with greater accuracy. 
  • Electric Vehicles (EVs): As the automotive industry rapidly shifts towards electric vehicles (EVs), it’s anticipated that every automaker in the U.S. will have EVs as part of their vehicle lineup by 2025. This monumental means there will be significantly more electric vehicles on the road—and auto body shops need to be ready. EVs differ significantly from traditional internal combustion engines, so shops must be willing to invest in training and equipment in order to effectively address the distinct repair challenges they bring. 
  • Virtual Reality (VR) Training: As with many trade industries, collision repair has difficulty recruiting younger technicians. Virtual training programs have the potential to be a very cost-effective way to offer training that attracts the next generation—and it can be done remotely.

As automotive technology advances at an unprecedented pace, European Collision Center stands firm in our commitment to remaining at the forefront of the collision repair industry. We invest in the latest tools and equipment, as well as specialized training. 

Our skilled technicians are well-equipped to handle ADAS calibration, as well as OEM-certified repairs for EV giants Tesla and Rivian.  Our dedication to embracing industry advancements, adapting to emerging trends, and nurturing our team’s expertise guarantees that we will continue to provide top-tier collision repair services in an ever-evolving automotive landscape. 

For auto body repair services, contact ECC today at (415) 551-9700 or request an appointment online. With two locations to serve you, we cater to all makes and models and provide comprehensive insurance coordination for stress-free repairs.

Why Are Auto Collision Repairs So Expensive Now?

New vehicles are more advanced than ever, featuring cutting-edge technology and sensors that are designed to enhance driver and passenger safety. However, these sophisticated features come at a price—namely, higher repair costs after accidents, which also have a direct impact on insurance premiums. 

Rising Repair Costs, Increased Complexity

According to Mitchell, a leading provider of data and software for insurance companies and auto body repair shops, the average cost to repair collision damage has increased by 36% since 2018. This staggering increase, which is expected to exceed $5,000 by the end of the year, is largely responsible for the 17% rise in insurance premiums seen over the past 12 months. 

New SUVs, pickup trucks, and electric vehicles, in particular, are becoming increasingly complex. While many of the latest models include luxurious features that greatly enhance the driving experience, this advanced technology means that even the simplest repairs can result in surprisingly high costs. 

In the case of materials that are designed to crumple to absorb impact and protect passengers, repairs can be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. Many components, including bumpers with embedded safety sensors, often require replacement instead of repair. In addition, systems that didn’t suffer any damage must also be inspected or recalibrated to ensure they’re functioning properly. 

The Challenges of Electric Vehicle Repair

Repairing electric vehicles also presents a unique set of challenges due to their engineering and the parts they use—as well as a shortage of mechanics who are properly trained in their repairs. However, despite news reports of astronomical repair bills, analysis of repair data and insurance claims has shown that EV repairs aren’t significantly higher than those of a conventional gas-powered vehicle of the same age and price range. 

One case that’s made its way through the news cycle is that of Chris Apfelstadt and his Rivian R1T pickup truck. After a rear-end collision, Apfelstadt was shocked to discover that the seemingly minor damage to his bumper would cost $42,000 to fix—approximately half the truck’s sell price. Repairing and repainting a panel that extended from the truck’s rear to the front roof pillars resulted in a series of expensive repairs, including removing the interior ceiling material and the front windshield. To further complicate matters for both drivers and insurers, there are a limited number of certified repair shops for newer manufacturers like Rivian. 

Understanding Electric Vehicle Repair Costs

Although electric vehicles are associated with higher costs, it’s important to consider that most electric vehicles in today’s market are luxury models—which will always contribute to higher repair costs. However, repairing EVs from top brands like Hyundai or Nissan will cost approximately $800 more than repairing their gasoline counterparts. 

When it comes to the higher-end market, the repair costs for electric and gasoline vehicles are relatively similar. One main difference to be aware of is that battery-powered cars may need more expensive parts and specialized mechanics, which can contribute to higher overall costs. 

The good news is that automakers are aware of the rising cost of repairs and are actively working on solutions to make them more efficient, especially for electric vehicles. Companies like BMW, Ford, and General Motors have started to equip their vehicles with crash-force sensors and repair-friendly components, as well as developing repair processes for battery packs. These strategies are aimed at reducing repair costs and simplifying the repair process for auto body shops and insurers. 

Trust the Experts for Advanced Repairs

In an era where automotive technology is advancing at an exponential rate, it’s become increasingly vital to choose a repair shop that specializes in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) repairs and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) calibration. 

At European Collision Center, we recognize the importance of staying up to date with the latest advancements and hold OEM certifications for MercedesBMWAudiPorscheRivian, and Tesla, however, all makes and models are welcome and receive the same high-quality repairs and meticulous attention to detail. To make your repairs as convenient as possible, we also offer complete insurance coordination. 

From minor scratches and chips to extensive bodywork, we’ll give your vehicle the focused attention it deserves—with all safety features functional and fully intact. Call us today at (415) 551-9700 or send us a message online. 

Auto Insurance Changes in 2023

This year, California drivers can expect to see several changes to their auto insurance policies. The California legislature has enacted several new laws that affect how insurance companies do business, including changes to liability coverage and the use of time-limited insurance policy limit demands. Whether you’re buying car insurance for the first time or you’re reviewing your policy to ensure you have enough coverage in case you need auto body repair, here are some of the most significant auto insurance changes to be aware of. 

Insurance Rate Increases

After two years of steady pricing, many drivers can expect to see increases in their auto insurance rates. Towards the end of 2022, California regulators signed off on eight auto rate increases—half of which were for GEICO. State Farm, Farmers Insurance, and Allstate are also expected to increase their premiums. On average, it’s predicted that most consumers will see an increase of about 8.4%.

Protection Against Illegal Insurance Sales

While not directly impacting your car insurance, this bill will certainly be welcome news for consumers who were targeted in illegal insurance practices. SB 1040 allows Insurance Commissioner to ensure those who have sold insurance without a license pay back the amount they collected from consumers—including people who sold extended vehicle warranties through robocalls or took money from individuals for insurance they weren’t legally allowed to sell. 

The Protect California Drivers Act

Passed in 2022, the Protect California Drivers Act updates California’s minimum auto insurance requirements to provide more coverage for victims of car accidents. The current liability insurance limits haven’t been updated since 1967, yet the costs of medical care and vehicle damage have risen significantly. This new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2025, will increase the minimum liability for physical injury or death and property damage. The limits will increase again in 2035. 

As of January 2025, the minimum liability coverage required by California state law will increase to the following amounts:

  • $30,000 for physical injury or death of one person
  • $60,000 physical injury or death of two or more people 
  • $15,000 in property damage coverage

In 2035, these amounts will increase to:

  • $50,000 for physical injury or death of one person
  • $100,000 physical injury or death of two or more people 
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage

The law also requires drivers to increase their liability coverage by 2025 and purchase additional liability coverage in another ten years and requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to increase to match the liability coverage limits.

Time-Limited Insurance Policy Limit Demands

Lawyers often use time-limited insurance policy limit demands to make insurance companies vulnerable to bad faith claims. These demands seek maximum recovery with minimal detail, which often causes insurance companies to reject the demand. To address this issue, the California Legislature has enacted crucial legislative changes that took effect on January 1, 2023.

With the passing of this law, claimants must follow specific requirements for time-limited demands to settle a claim against an insured person. The demand must be:

  • Written
  • Labeled as a time-limited demand
  • Specify a period of time for the insurer to accept the demands
  • Offer to settle all claims within the policy limits

The insurer may seek clarification or additional information, but they must respond in writing if they choose to reject the demand. These changes are aimed at creating a more equitable process for both sides in settling claims and ensuring that cases worthy of early resolution receive the appropriate attention based on the facts and evidence.

Review Your Policy Periodically
The recent changes to auto insurance laws have implications for both insurers and policyholders, particularly the changes in liability coverage; it’s important for drivers to review their policies periodically to ensure they have adequate coverage for their needs. This will help protect you in the event of an accident and ensure your medical bills and collision repair are covered. 

If you need an auto body shop, contact European Collision Center. From high-quality OEM repairs and factory repair methods to insurance coordination, we make your repairs as convenient and stress-free as possible. Call us today at (415) 551-9700!

Tips for Safe Driving in the Rain

Rain fall on the ground in rains season.

Whether you’re on the road during a light shower or a heavy downpour, rain is one of the most challenging driving conditions we experience in San Francisco. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, weather conditions are responsible for over a million accidents each year; of these, 46% of accidents happen in the rain and 70% happen when the ground is wet.

Rainy, wet conditions are directly associated with higher accident rates, but by understanding how wet roads affect the way your vehicle handles, you can drive safely and reduce your chances of an accident. Here are 11 tips to keep in mind when the roads are wet:

  1. Wait for the Weather to Improve

If you feel uncomfortable driving in the rain, you may want to consider postponing your trip or commute until the weather improves—especially if you plan to be driving at night. Driving at night in the rain can be very dangerous, especially with raindrops amplifying the glare coming from oncoming traffic.

If waiting out the entire storm isn’t an option, consider waiting out the first 15 after the rain has started to fall. The first 15 minutes is typically the most dangerous time to drive because the water mixes with the oil on the road, causing the road to be extra slick. After about 15 minutes, the oil will be washed away and the road will be a bit safer.

  1. Double Check Your Car’s Safety Components

Make sure your car’s equipment is in good working order before driving in rainy weather. Before driving in the first rain of the season, it’s always a good idea to perform a check on your:

  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Brake pads
  • Tire tread and pressure

Keep in mind that bald tires can severely reduce your vehicle’s traction and increase the risk of accidents. Likewise, under-inflated tires can increase the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when your tires drive on the surface of the water, rather than on the road. Since the tires aren’t gripping the road, you can easily lose traction and slide around. Keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance is the best way to ensure your safety components will work when you need them.

  1. Slow Down

It’s best to drive slower than the posted speed limit in wet weather conditions because your vehicle’s reaction time is considerably slower than it is on a dry day. In general, your stopping distance is doubled. Most vehicle safety experts recommend reducing your speed by about 1/3 of the posted speed limit.

  1. Turn on Your Headlights

Since rain reduces visibility, it’s critical to ensure you can see the road well—and to make your car as visible to other drivers as possible. Turn on your headlights, even if there’s only a light drizzle. Not only can this help prevent an accident, but it can also prevent a ticket! Remember: California law requires you to turn on your headlights if the weather conditions make you use your windshield wipers.

  1. Use Your Windshield Wipers

This tip may seem like common sense, but many people don’t think to use their windshield wipers in light rain. If your windshield wipers smear the raindrops across your windshield, rather than clearing them, or you hear scraping noises, it’s time to get them replaced.

  1. Keep Your Distance

As mentioned above, your vehicle’s response time is lower in wet conditions, so it’s important to keep a greater distance between your car and other vehicles. You should maintain a distance of several car lengths to allow for safe stopping.

  1. Avoid Heavy Braking and Cruise Control

Heavy braking in wet weather can be dangerous because it can cause your brakes to lock up or a loss of control. Instead, try slowing your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you normally would. Avoid using cruise control, too, so that you’re able to pay more attention to the balance between gas and braking.

  1. Keep an Eye Out for Standing Water

Driving through 6 inches (or more) of standing water can increase your chances of hydroplaning. Whenever possible, try to avoid driving in areas of the road that have collected water by changing lanes or safely steering around puddles.

  1. Let Up Off the Gas

If you start hydroplaning, stay calm and take your foot off the accelerator while steering in the direction you want your car to go. Don’t make sudden turns or slam on the brakes, as these can make it easier to lose control.

  1. Ventilate Your Vehicle

Rain increases the humidity levels inside vehicles, which is why the windows get foggy. Use your defroster or air conditioning to reduce any fog that builds up. If you find your defroster isn’t working as well as you like, you can also roll down your windows, which will help to balance out the temperature difference.

  1. Keep an Eye on Brake Lights

A good rule of thumb for all driving conditions is to keep an eye on the brake lights in front of you, especially if you can see a few cars ahead. This can alert you to quick slowdowns and give you plenty of time to decelerate if you need to.

Go Slow, Be Alert, Stay Safe

No one ever wants to be involved in an accident. However, staying safe in rainy conditions is easier when you keep your speed low, stay alert to road and traffic conditions, and make an effort to drive safely. Keep plenty of room between you and the car in front of you, and make sure you’re doing what you can to keep your visibility as high as possible.

We hope you never get into an accident, but if you do, we’re here to help. From high-quality OEM repairs and factory repair methods to insurance coordination, we make your repairs as convenient and stress-free as possible. Contact European Collision Center today at (415) 551-9700 or send us a message online. Stay safe out there!

What Causes Faded Paint on My Car?

sunburn in the car's roof, fading paint on the hood,

When your car was new, it was sleek and vibrantly colored. Over time, that beautiful, radiant color and shiny finish may start to look dull and faded. Unfortunately, faded paint is a fairly common problem that can be caused by a combination of environmental factors and improper care. The good news is, if you understand what causes paint to fade, you can take steps to prevent it from occurring.

Some of the most common reasons for dull or faded paint include:

  • Sunlight
    The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are one of the top culprits when it comes to faded paint. This is because UV rays can contribute to oxidation, a chemical process that occurs from the paint’s exposure to heat and oxygen. Over time, the paint begins to lose its oil content, which causes it to dry out. This makes the paint lose its vibrancy and take on a faded, chalky appearance. Eventually, oxidation can also cause the clear coat to deteriorate, leaving the body of the vehicle susceptible to rust.
  • Salt
    Although we don’t have rock salt on the roads to worry about here in San Francisco, we do have plenty of salt air! Salt can be very corrosive, especially if it’s left on the paint for an extended period of time. The heat from the sun increases the pores in the paint, which allows the paint to absorb a greater amount of salt and moisture. When exposed to UV rays, salt crystals will begin to eat away at the paint. Not only does this cause fading over time, but it can also result in rust formation.
  • Air Pollution and Exhaust
    Unburnt fuel in the environment and from your exhaust can also damage the paint. Carbon particulates are hard and jagged, which allows them to bind to a car’s clear coat and create scarring. Over time, this can lead to oxidation.
  • Car Washes
    Some automated car washes use spinning plastic brushes and harsh soaps that can damage the paint and cause the clear coat to appear dull.
  • Improper Hand-washing Methods
    Like an automated commercial car wash, using bristle brushes on your car or harsh soaps can damage the paint and cause a dull appearance.
  • Acid Rain
    Acid rain contains acidic material that can ruin the paint on your car and even weaken the metal below. Although the moisture will evaporate, the acidic compounds remain and can cause damage, especially in combination with the sun’s UV rays.

Prevention and Repainting

As you can see, there are many things that can cause your vehicle’s paint to fade or become damaged. How can these be prevented? First, you should try to park your car in the garage or in a shaded area whenever possible. If you don’t have a garage or shady area, you may want to consider using a weatherproof car cover. If you can reduce the amount of time your vehicle sits in the sun, this will go a long way in preventing oxidation.

Secondly, you should get your car professionally detailed every few weeks or whenever your exterior looks dirty. This will get rid of corrosive elements, like exhaust, rain deposits, bird droppings, dead insects, and other impurities that can damage the paint.

Along with improving the appearance of your vehicle, the paint is essential for preventing rust and corrosion from developing on the body. These can compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle – and your safety. A nice paint job also increases your vehicle’s resale value, so there really aren’t any downsides to keeping your paint in good condition.

If your vehicle looks faded or the paint has been damaged in an accident, contact European Collision Center for expert paint matching and repainting services that will help it regain its luster! Give us a call at (415) 551-9700 to schedule your appointment.

Is Rush Hour Traffic Getting Back to Normal?

If you commute to work during typical business hours, you may have noticed a change: rush hour isn’t quite as “rushed” as it used to be.

traffic jams in the city, road, rush hour

It’s not just you. Traffic data suggests that the daily commute – particularly in the morning – has changed drastically since the start of the pandemic, and it’s unclear if it will go back to its pre-COVID-19 patterns.

In general, rush hour traffic has become more spread out and shifted to include the later hours of the morning as more Americans have transitioned to remote work. Although it’s expected that more people will return to the workplace following Labor Day, traffic experts believe that traffic will continue to stay lighter than it was prior to 2020.

Less Road Time, More Accidents

Less congestion on the road seems like it would have no downsides. Commutes are quicker and there’s less time waiting in stop-and-go traffic, which means less stress and potential for road rage. However, it also means there are more dangerous hours on the road, as open roads encourage speeding and increase the potential for deadly accidents.

Even with fewer people on the road, it’s more dangerous out there than it was before the pandemic.

In 2020, the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled on U.S. roads was 1.37, a 23% increase from 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The reason behind this is simple: there was less traffic, so people could go faster. The National Safety Council also estimates that just under 4.8 million people were seriously injured in collisions in 2020.

To add to the issue, police aren’t stepping in the way they would have prior to the pandemic. So, people are speeding because they know they can get away with it.

Now, with traffic returning, many areas have reported incidents of sudden braking and other potentially hazardous driving behaviors as drivers adjust to slightly more congested roads.

Stay Safe

Whether you commute to the office daily or work remotely, it’s important to keep in mind that many people are still adjusting to life after a year of lockdown—and more traffic on the roads. Stay safe by keeping your eyes on the road, limiting distractions, and give people who want to go faster than the speed limit allows a wide berth.

If you do get into an accident, we’re here to help! From high-quality OEM repairs to complete insurance coordination on your behalf, we make the repair process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Give us a call at (415) 551-9700 or contact us online. Stay safe out there!

How to Know if Your Auto Body Repair Was Done Correctly

After a collision, it’s common to want to put the whole situation behind you as quickly as possible. So when the auto body shop lets you know your car is ready to pick up, you might be tempted to just sign the papers and drive away. But how can you tell if your repairs were done correctly? Here are a few tips on what to look for:

Get an Overview of What Was Done to Your Car

Once you arrive at the shop, a facility team member should walk around the car with you and explain what was done and why. This is the perfect time to ask questions on anything you’re wondering about or are unclear on. If you didn’t already ask about the shop’s warranty when you dropped your car off, you may want to ask about that now. Many reputable shops guarantee their work for one year or 12,000 miles. European Collision Center has a lifetime warranty on all repairs. Once the initial once-over is done, it’s time for a visual inspection.

Is Your Vehicle Clean?

When you pick up your car, it should always be clean. Dirt or dust on the exterior of your car can hide imperfections in the paint. Make sure that your vehicle has been washed and there are no old parts lying around in the trunk, engine compartment, or interior.

Examine the Repaired Areas

The next thing you should do is to examine the areas that have been repaired. Does the paint match? Is there overspray on areas that shouldn’t have paint? Do the body panels lie flat and evenly? If you had repairs done near your doors, windows, hood, trunk, or gas tank, make sure they all open and close with ease. If there was front-end damage, check under the hood to make sure that all the hoses and wires are connected. Turn on the headlights –alignment issues should be fairly obvious. If the frame needed to be straightened, request a copy of the frame spec printout and have the technician explain it to you. If any mechanical repairs were done, you should also take your car for a test drive to ensure everything is in good working order and there are no unusual noises, like rattling panels.

Common Repair Issues

In addition to the visual inspection, here are some common repair issues to watch out for:

  • Poor alignment – Is your car pulling in one direction after repairs? This could be a sign that the frame is bent or that the unibody structure is misaligned. Although some frames and unibodies can be straightened after a collision, others can’t – and they typically won’t drive straight or handle properly. This can also cause rapid tire wear.
  • Clipping – Clipping refers to an older repair method where an entire section of another vehicle is welded onto your car. This was a common practice decades ago, but it’s not the right way to repair newer vehicles made from lightweight high-strength materials. Clipping can create structural weaknesses that can compromise the safety of your vehicle.
  • Airbags – Were your airbags replaced? Unfortunately, there have been rare cases of unscrupulous shops charging insurance companies for a new bag, only to turn around and sell it. Check to see if your airbag light is on or if the center of your steering wheel column sounds hollow after your knock on it.
  • Aftermarket and used parts

Some insurance companies may push for auto body shops to use aftermarket or used parts, which are lower in cost. Unfortunately, these parts may not meet the original manufacturer’s specifications or they may even go against the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ask the shop to show you an invoice or receipt for the parts used on your car, because the parts used could make a significant difference if you were to get into another accident.

  • Torque -If you had parts replaced in your suspension system, they need to be torqued to the manufacturer’s specifications. Failing to do so could result in a loose assembly that will affect your handling and performance. Ask the auto body shop which procedures they use when replacing suspension parts and if they can provide the torque specification.

What’s next?

If you’ve inspected your vehicle and aren’t satisfied, make sure to mention this to the shop immediately. A reputable shop should be willing to correct any issues you find.

Of course, the best way to prevent repair issues in the first place is by choosing the right repair shop. At European Collision Center, we adhere to factory repair procedures on every make and model we service, and we perform a thorough check on all vehicles before they’re released. We’re always happy to go over what was done to your vehicle and why – and take the time to show you the areas that were repaired. Our goal is always to return your car to its perfect pre-accident condition – and for you to drive away 100% satisfied!

To avoid common issues and pitfalls with auto body repair, give us a call at 415-551-9700 or contact us online.

Quality Control Matters: Our Steps for Ensuring Safe, High-Quality Repairs

Every team member at European Collision Center takes exceptional pride in their work. Whether we’re repairing a minor scratch in the paint or extensive front-end damage, we take time to make sure every detail is perfect through strict quality control measures.

Auto body repair is more complex than many drivers realize, and even more so with today’s vehicles. Modern vehicles have more electrical components, sensors, and computer processors than ever before – and that’s a trend that will certainly continue as automotive technology continues to evolve. For this reason, greater care must be taken to confirm everything is working exactly as it should before the vehicle is returned to its owner.

Our Process

To ensure the quality of our work always remains high, we perform the following quality control measures on every vehicle:

  1. The first step in the quality control process is when our estimator meets with our clients and review the damage together. Making sure to get clear client expectations on what they want addressed and how the damaged occurred.
  1. The estimator will then do a thorough inspection of the vehicle with the client, noting damage the extent of the damage that we’ll be repairing, as well as any pre-existing damage.
  1. Once the estimator has completed their estimate, it’s given to the blueprinter, who researches the repairs. This includes factory-recommended repair processes, necessary equipment, and any new parts that are needed.
  1. The technician then takes the areas that require repairs apart and develops a repair plan with the blueprinter.
  1. Next, we check the torque specs for your vehicle. This is important because if any rotating part is even slightly off-level, it will create a wobble during rotation. It may not be visible, but it’s noticeable with high revolutions or RPMs. Over time, this can cause damage to the part, or nearby components.
  1. All parts that require welding are welded on, then the technician inspects all welds to make sure they’re of good quality and the correct type for the location.
  1. Once the technician has signed off on the welding, all gaps between doors, fenders, panels, and other areas are checked before the car is sent to the paint shop.
  1. The car is painted, then goes through a series of quality control checks before it’s refinished. Once this is done, they check that the color matches.
  1. The body man looks over the paint department’s work before the car is reassembled to make sure everything is flawless and a complete match.
  1. After the vehicle is reassembled we run a full systems check, including checking the emergency, safety, and ADAS codes, making calibrations as needed.
  1. The shop foreman does a final quality control inspection before the car goes to the detail department. All doors and windows are checked multiple times to ensure they open and close correctly, as well as the trunk and hood.
  1. The vehicle’s then sent to the detail department, where they use a high powered sprayer to test all the areas that could leak, like the doors, windows, and sunroof.
  1. The vehicle is returned to the estimator, who does another quality control check.
  1. If any mechanical components were disassembled, we’ll also take the car on a test drive for a minimum of 30 miles. This allows us to check for any unusual sounds, vibrations, or mechanical issues.
  1. The final inspection is performed by our Quality Control manager and then the estimator is notified that the vehicle is ready for delivery.

What’s Next?

Once your vehicle has passed every quality control check, we’ll notify you that it’s ready to be picked up!

As you can see, your vehicle goes through many different departments and steps after you’ve dropped it off. Although these checks do extend the repair time, it’s the best way to ensure your car will be safe and completely restored to its pre-accident condition. If you have any questions about our repair process, quality control, or you’d like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us at (415) 551-9700 or send us a message through our online form.

How to Choose Right Auto Body Repair Shop

Choosing the right auto body shop is the best way to make sure your vehicle is restored to its former pre-accident glory, but how do you know which shop is the right one? Here are 5 simple tips to help you choose:

  1. It All Starts with Research!
    Accidents can be stressful long after the actual event, so it may be tempting to just go with the first auto body shop your insurance recommends. However, it’s important to remember that insurance companies will often steer you towards what’s cheaper for them – which isn’t always the best option for you or your vehicle. Remember: you have the right to go to any shop you choose. So, do some research before making a decision. Ask friends and family who they’d recommend, read reviews, and look at the certifications of the shops you’re considering.
  1. Location – Stay Local!
    Finding a great auto body shop doesn’t mean you need to travel out of the area; chances are, there’s an excellent qualified independent repair center close to where you live. Look for auto body shops that are factory certified and have good customer satisfaction ratings. These shops go the extra mile when it comes to training, replacement parts, and repair equipment – giving them the ability to truly return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
  1. Due Diligence
    When it comes to auto body repair, you should never be afraid to ask questions. That’s what the repair technicians are there for! A good technician won’t shut you down if you ask them for more information. It’s also a good idea to find a shop that offers full insurance coordination, so they can handle the paperwork and pre-approval costs on your behalf.
  1. Price and Quality Comparison
    When searching for an auto body shop, it’s ok to call around and get multiple estimates; if you have time, you may even want to visit the shop and see how they work. Remember though, the lowest estimate isn’t always the best choice. Keep in mind that the quality of work is what really matters – especially because shoddy work can affect the safety of your vehicle. Once you find a shop that does the quality of work you expect and a reasonable price, you can make an informed decision.
  1. Trust Your Gut!
    When in doubt, trust your gut feelings. If you feel like a shop isn’t being straight with you, listen to that instinct – and remember tip #3! Ask questions. It’s important to feel completely comfortable with the shop you choose.

Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas on what to look for in an auto body shop – but don’t hesitate to consider other factors. Have questions? European Collision Center is here to help! Give us a call at 415-551-9700.

The Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Innovative Car Bras

Nobody wants their car to be harmed by the onslaught of pebbles, road grit, and random debris that slams into your paint every time you cruise down the roadway.

Pros and Cons

But many hate the appearance of the traditional car bra. Though some think the look of black leather or vinyl across the bumper, grille, and hood makes their car look sporty and sleek, others think it is like the vinyl cover on Grandma’s living room couch. An unnecessary accessory that, even IF it provides longer life, detracts from the look and feel of the car as it is meant to be.

There are, though, some other reasons why a traditional car bra may not be as helpful as intended. Sure, it will protect from chips, dings, and scratches, but the surface beneath the bra needs to be cleaned and preferably waxed since debris and dust can act as an abrasive over time. This can be a hassle due to all the hooks that must be removed every time you wash your car. If not secured tightly, the bra can also damage the paint by flapping and vibrating.

However, a BodyGuard clear auto bra can give you the protection you want without the loss of aesthetics or an increase in maintenance. It’s an innovative film that protects your paint from minor chips, scratches, and chemical and environmental stains. It can be custom designed to shield as much or little as you want—from just the front fender and hood to the entire vehicle!

There are some questionable car films out there, but BodyGuard really works, which is why we use it on our own vehicles. Benefits include:

  • Virtually invisible to the eye.
  • Highly effective protecting your car from chips or minor scratches in the paint commonly caused by road debris.
  • Will not peel or crack.
  • Backed by a 10-year warranty.
  • Simple 2-day installation.
  • Can be removed and replaced without harming your paint.

One thing is for sure. The front of your car is exposed to high-speed damage from flying shards, fragments, and objects, and sometimes this harm is greater than even a BodyGuard bra can protect you from. If you suffer dents or dings to your vehicle, bring it to the pros at European Collision Center. We adhere to all factory repair procedures and have the right tools, equipment, and methodology for flawless cosmetic paint restoration, detailing, minor or major collision repair, and lease return repair. For European autobody repair done right, call us at 415-551-9700 or contact us online today!