Carson, CA – March 17, 2011 – If your car has an ugly dent or an unsightly scratch that needs to be fixed, but you're daunted by the task of doing it yourself – or by the expense involved with having an expert fix it for you – AutoMD (http://www.AutoMD.com) offers tips to help alleviate your concerns and, quite possibly, to help you save money on auto body repairs.
The Top Five Cost-Saving Auto Body Repair Tips from AutoMD.com are released to coincide with National Collision Awareness month and to help U.S. consumers put a dent in the estimated $40 billion* they spend annually on collision repairs.
“These simple body repair tips add up to potentially huge cost savings for car owners, whether they are DIYing or going to the repair shop,” said AutoMD.com President Shane Evangelist. “And, of course, during National Collision Awareness month, the number one thing AutoMD.com asks all car owners to do is to drive carefully and safely to avoid collisions and fender benders altogether.”
Following are the Top Five Cost-Saving Auto Body Repair Tips from AutoMD.com:
- Evaluate auto repair labor rates.
Most auto repair shops have a lower labor rate for body repairs than for mechanical repairs, so be sure to check labor rates ahead of time and evaluate your bill after the work is done to ensure you're being charged the appropriate rate for the job. Many shops post their rates online. To find the posted rates of a body shop near you, try AutoMD’s Shop Finder. Shops that do both mechanical and body repairs usually have two rates, so call and ask before you decide where to go.
- Consider paintless dent repair.
If damage to your vehicle is minimal, consider paintless dent repair (PDR), a widely-used alternative to more expensive traditional body repairs. Skilled technicians can often repair dents without sanding, body filler or painting required – and with no trace that a repair was made. What's more, your insurance company might offer a discount or waive your deductible if you opt for PDR.
- Do-it-yourself for minor vehicle scratches.
For do-it-yourselfers, you can fix scratches and chips with touch-up paint, and paint exposed metal quickly to prevent rusting. To confirm you have the correct color, locate your car's paint code on the door jamb and match it with the color code of the touch-up paint. For minor scratches, use a combination of ultra fine 2000-grit sandpaper and soapy water to remove the scratch. Then, use a rubbing compound to blend the finish.
- Replace damaged body parts on your own.
Sometimes replacing a tweaked bumper instead of straightening it is a more cost effective solution. Do-it-yourselfers can save money and replace damaged bumpers or fenders by not only going online to locate replacement parts, but also by accessing AutoMD How-To-Guides.
- Prevent auto damage from the get-go.
There are a variety of products on the market today to help prevent damage to your vehicle from the get-go. Bumper protectors and magnetic door protectors made from energy-absorbing foam can be used to prevent dents and dings. Rear back-up cameras are designed to help you avoid colliding with objects behind you. Using care while driving and parking – such as avoiding potholes on the roadway or narrow spaces and cart returns in a parking lot – can go a long way in helping you avoid auto body damage.
*AAIA Collision Repair Trends Report, AutoMD™ estimates