When Is Minor Collision Repair an Option?

When Is Minor Collision Repair an Option?

Assessing the amount of damage your vehicle has received in a minor accident can be tricky. What appears to be a small dent may conceal more substantial damage beneath the surface. But generally speaking, if none of the engine components are damaged, no fluids are leaking, and there’s no apparent malformation of the frame, you may not need to pay the premium prices of a full service body shop. In this article, we’ll cover the differences between major and minor collision repair shops—including the dramatic cost differences between them—and we’ll clarify the types of work they do.

When Is Minor Collision Repair an Option? - A paintless dent repair technician corrects a vehicle dent inside a minor collision repair shop.

What is Minor Collision Repair?

Most people think the term “body shop” has only one meaning, but it can actually describe two different types of operations:
  • Full-service body shops that can repair body, frame, glass and mechanical damage.
  • Minor collision repair shops that specialize in damage affecting only the body of the vehicle.
Full-service shops take in the big, ugly wrecks because they have mechanics on duty and frame-bending machines in the shop. They’re also happy to take in the smaller jobs, but they still have to charge rates consistent with their high overhead costs. Minor collision shops not only have lower overhead, they also tend to deal with less insurance paperwork and do more pay-out-of-pocket repairs. This reduces bookkeeping and red-tape costs, so you can usually expect to pay less at a minor collision shop for the same work, assuming your damage is repairable by these methods. And paying out of pocket can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars in the long run, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Types of Major Collision Damage

You’ll probably need to contact a full-service shop if you have any of these types of damage:
  • Bent frame
  • Suspension damage
  • Engine component damage
  • Broken windows
  • Trunk or doors that will not close
  • Dangling parts
  • Fluid leaks
  • Deployed airbags
  • Broken or missing lights

Types of Minor Collision Damage

This is the type of work APR does. We’ve chosen not to invest in the “heavy equipment” used by full-service shops because many, many repairs can be done without it, and for those jobs, we’re often able to save customers a lot of money. Here’s what we can fix:
  • Large dents
  • Bumpers and other plastic parts
  • Paint scuffs and scratches
  • Most hail Damage
  • Door dings and parking lot dents

Repair Methods

Small dents can often be quickly repaired by pushing out dents with Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) tools, preserving the original paint. Minor scratches are buffed out. Deeper damage is filled with putty and re-painted using state of the art, color- and texture-matching methods.

Should You File an Insurance Claim for Minor Collision Repair?

Every situation is different, but in some cases, minor collision repair can actually cost less than your insurance deductible (the amount you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay the rest). Minor collision shops can leave literally hundreds of dollars in your pocket compared to full-service facilities. Even in cases where your deductible is higher than the repair cost, bear in mind that if the damage is reported to your insurance company, your monthly rates may go up in the future. These accident-based rate increases penalize you for up to three years, so even a $30 per month increase over 36 months adds up to $1,080 out of your pocket. If this is more than the cost of the repair—and you have the cash on hand—it may make sense to pay for the repair now in order to save money in the long run.

Definitely Take the Smaller Jobs to a Minor Collision Repair Shop

When you just have a parking lot door ding or hail dents, a minor collision shop is a no-brainer. PDR removal of a small dent may only cost $50. Small touch-ups range from $50 – $75. Even a bumper panel can usually be repaired for around $250. That’s not chicken feed, but it’s many times lower than a full-service shop’s price tag for the same work. Questions? Give us a call at (316) 262-8888. We’ll do our best to help.

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