7 General Servicing Tips After a Collision

The days or weeks after getting into a collision on the road or even in a parking lot can be confusing. There’s a lot for you to do. One area that will consume a significant part of your time and efforts is general servicing and repair work. Here are seven tips that’ll help you navigate collision repairs.

1. Complete All Repairs Before You Drive Again

Having to look for car repair shops to get vehicle repairs is one of the most inconvenient things you can experience as a car owner, and it’s even worse after a collision. For one, finding the time to have all issues diagnosed and addressed may not be the easiest thing to do in the world. That said, you shouldn’t let that be an excuse for you to put off repairs. You always want to ensure every component that may have been compromised due to the accident is in proper working condition before you take your ride out for a drive again. Doing so will help prevent further damage that could bring your car to a sudden stop when you’re in the middle of a busy highway or an area where roadside assistance isn’t easy to access.

If you were to talk to the owners of some of the cars you see broken down on the side of the road, you’d find that most of them ended up in that situation because they ignored an issue while it was in its early stages. It then developed into a more complex and harder-to-address issue such as auto engine repair. The result is usually higher repair expenses and added costs like car towing and getting a temporary replacement car. However, if you observe timely repairs and keep up with general servicing requirements, you can avoid most car troubles. Never drive your car if it’s producing noises that are out of the ordinary or you suspect something isn’t working as it should. A faulty car isn’t just an inconvenience, but it also puts you at a higher risk of getting into an accident on the road.

2. Find a Way to Pay for Repairs

Paying for general servicing and repairs is a part of every car owner’s journey. It could be due to a collision on the highway, a sudden breakdown, or a fender bender at the mall parking lot. Whatever specific situation you find yourself in, car repair bills can be high and hit you when you least expect, making you dig into your pockets. The good thing is there are ways to make covering urgent repairs more manageable.

For example, if your car repair is related to a collision, your auto insurance plan may come in handy. It’s designed to give you a financial cushion by covering part of the repair costs as well as any medical bills that arise due to the treatment of any associated injuries. However, don’t be too quick to turn to your insurer for help. You’ll want to consider whether leveraging your insurance will be cheaper than paying from your pocket.

The thing with filing an insurance claim is it could increase your insurance rates. So before booking an appointment with your insurance provider, consult a car accident lawyer. Another option you have is using your credit card. While you want to avoid accruing excessive credit card debt at all costs, that plastic lifeline can come in handy when you need to fork out hundreds or thousands of dollars for repairs. However, if you decide to take this route, proceed with caution.

Using your credit card can attract high interest rates that if you fail to pay in a timely manner, will drive up the total cost of the repairs. So if you can’t clear the debt right away, you’ll have spent a lot more by the time you’re making the final payment. That’s the last thing you want when hit with the inconvenience of car repairs.

You’ve probably heard it said a couple of times before, “You should keep an easily accessible emergency fund for such unexpected expenses.” The question is, should you really turn to your emergency fund to cover car repairs? Using your emergency fund may offer a solution when you don’t have the extra cash to pay for repair or general servicing costs. And since having a functional vehicle is likely an important aspect of your work and personal life, it passes as a valid reason to dip into your emergency fund.

The thing that stands out with this approach over using your credit card is you won’t end up paying high interest rates and other additional costs. Yes, you’ll have to build it back up again in case of other emergencies. However, it’s a much better option.

3. Trust an Experienced Professional

Modern cars feature way more computers compared to their older models. It’s one of the main reasons you’re advised to work with seasoned professionals for auto body collision repair. They’ll have all the proper tools needed to perform general servicing and repairs correctly so you don’t have more problems to deal with later on.

You need someone with advanced proficiency to ensure every sensor and connector is functioning properly after an auto collision. If further damage beyond what was incurred from the crash occurs, you won’t be getting any compensation. Insurance companies typically only cover collision damage.

Another reason you should only trust reputable and experienced professionals is to preserve your car’s value. One thing that those who’ve gotten into a car accident painfully realize is how a crash can affect their vehicle’s future trade-in or sale value. An accident history instantly lowers the price, but a shoddy repair job will sink the price even further. The expert you hire should be able to color match the paint perfectly, besides getting the car driving as it did before the collision. This way, you’ll enjoy the car while you have it and still make some good money when you decide to trade it in for something newer or sell.

4. Ensure Structural Sturdiness

The structural integrity of your car is likely to suffer when you get into a collision. The body and frame may get distorted or bent, making it less capable of absorbing a future collision’s impact. In extreme cases, the car may collapse or crumple, putting the occupants at a higher risk of death or sustaining serious injuries.

For this reason, a major part of proper collision repair involves restoring a car’s structural integrity. This could be in the form of replacing damaged parts, reinforcing affected areas, wheel alignments, or straightening bent frames. Skilled mechanics employ specialized equipment and tools to ensure effective repairs that meet factory specifications and perform general servicing tasks.

Besides preserving the structural integrity, professional repairs will improve the car’s performance and safety on the road. A collision can damage or compromise various car systems and components. This can result in issues with the car’s braking, handling, wheels, and overall performance, putting you and other passengers at risk.

For example, your suspension system may suffer damage, affecting how much shock the car can absorb and its ability to maintain traction on the road. The steering system may also be compromised, making the car hard to control. Proper collision repair focuses on repairing and replacing all these components and systems as needed to restore the car’s performance and safety levels on the road.

5. Inspect All Drivetrain Components

Even if you keep up with drivetrain maintenance and general servicing, there’s still a chance something will go wrong with the system. Whether you’re the proud owner of a FWD, AWD, RWD, or 4WD, some signs can alert you of issues with the drivetrain system. For example, if you hear weird noises or vibrations from the front of your car, there’s likely something wrong with one of the drivetrain components.

If you feel like the brake and gas pedals aren’t as responsive as they should be when you step on them, it’s a sign of another issue. You also want to pay attention to burning smells from the engine, weird fluid leaks, and the check engine light. Most problems with the drivetrain components need an inspection and repairs from a professional automotive technician.

The complex grouping of the parts that make up the drivetrain under your vehicle’s hood is extremely important to its functionality and requires proper and periodic maintenance. Note that the different components have different periodic inspection intervals. If you’re not sure, turn to your owner’s manual for the axles, differential, driveshaft, transmission, and engine so you know when exactly to take your vehicle in. However, as a rule of thumb, never miss major milestone check-ins. If you need to get any replacement parts, such as a remanufactured transmission valve body, seek the help of an expert to get the right fit.

6. Search for New Parts

Maybe you’re already familiar with how frustrating the process of ordering a car part can be and waiting for it to arrive only to find it’s not the right fit. Not only will such a situation cause you costly delays but it could also damage your vehicle if you try to force things. Luckily, some tips can help you with your search to ensure every part you buy fits your vehicle, whether it’s for engine or tire repair, or general servicing.

When dealing with car parts, understanding the specific vehicle measurements is key to ensuring compatibility. You want to make sure you know the exact dimensions and specifications required for proper fitment. The measurements may include diameter, height, width, length, and other metrics associated with each component.

When you have all the appropriate measurements for your car parts, it’ll be easier for you to narrow down your search to find the perfect fit. You’ll also find your communication with auto shops or suppliers more effective. Another thing you’ll want to pay attention to is the manufacturer’s part number.

Manufacturers assign every car part a unique identifier. The part number provides important information about a specific component. This includes its fitment applications and variations within a model range. So if the manufacturer’s part number matches the one you need, you can be sure you’re picking the right part. For example, if you’re replacing a Volkswagen Golf’s headlamp, the manufacturer’s part number will allow you to identify the exact headlamp for your specific trim level and model.

You also want to make use of community groups or online forums focusing on your specific vehicle. Such platforms will connect you to professionals or fellow enthusiasts who’ve experienced similar replacement scenarios. All you need to do is share your vehicle requirements and details and you’ll almost always receive helpful recommendations on getting the correct car part. You can also get some valuable tips on general servicing and other best practices.

7. Protect Your Repaired Car

The initial days after giving your car a paint job are crucial. While it may be tempting to wash it so you can see it in its brand-new state, you shouldn’t. You need to give the paint time to cure. Ideally, you’re supposed to wait at least two weeks before giving your ride a wash. Consider it part of general servicing or giving your car time to heal.

Now, when you decide to wash your car, it’s important that you use suitable materials. Don’t rush to the drive-through carwash just yet. While it may be convenient and fast, the tough bristles and high pressure could result in long-term damage to your vehicle’s paint. Instead, do it the old way and hand wash your ride with appropriate soap and a sponge or soft cloth. The key here is to be thorough without being too rough on the paint.

A major part of protecting new car paint is getting the timing right in terms of when you put stuff on it. In the same way, you’re advised to wait before washing your car, you should wait before waxing. Don’t apply wax to your vehicle’s new paint job for a minimum of 60 days. Doing so will give the paint time to cure and harden.

Once that period is over, you can wax after every 6 to 12 weeks for that famous shine. Investing in car ceramic coating is one of the best ways of protecting your car’s exterior. For one, it will provide a layer of protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. It will also prevent the paint from oxidizing, reducing the likelihood of fading.

Now that you know the general services that you’ll want to take care of after a collision, you will also want to make sure that you find a reliable collision and auto repair shop to do these services. Especially after a collision, you want to make sure that the shop you’re bringing your car to is reliable and knowledgeable so your car continues to work like new.

The first step you can take is to ask friends, family members, or neighbors if they’ve recently used an auto repair shop that they enjoyed. Chances are if they had a good experience with their recent servicing, they would be happy to offer the company to you. If you don’t know anyone who recently visited a mechanic, you can also look online. Take a look at a specific company’s website, review websites, or a search engine to see what customers are saying. This will give you a good idea of specific experiences clients had and how the company handled them. You can also see not only how the service itself was but also the customer experience.

While customer experience is important, you should also be sure to look specifically at the company and the services they offer. After all, you want to make sure they are able to work on your specific car and problems.  Also, consider asking about budgets, discounts, warranties, or more!

The key to getting your car back to working condition after a collision is ensuring timely repairs and keeping up with general servicing requirements. Seek the help of a professional where needed. Before then, you can use this read to get some helpful tips.