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How to choose a panel beater

standard wheels:with Andrew Muzamhindo

Vehicle body repairs shops are entities that we never think of until we need them.

In that time of need we are bound to make errors of judgement because of the stress, confusion, emotions and costs that come with repairing a vehicle back to its original format.

This piece might help someone out there who is deciding who to use and how to go about it.

When discussing with a potential panel beater, you must always ask if their parts are original. Fake parts can cost your life and more money down the road.

Make sure you choose a panel beater with a good reputation and a lot of experience. According to Body Repair Centre manager Jonathan Dzirutwe; “Cheap panel beaters might use non-genuine aftermarket replacement parts that do not meet the specifications set by the car manufacturer. These aren’t subject to the same quality standards as genuine parts and are, therefore, cheaper upfront. However, they can end up costing you significantly more in the long run as they may wear more quickly, break more easily, or simply not function as required.”

Using fake parts may risk the safety and reliability of your vehicle, and only panel beaters who cut corners will do that.

It is important to know the processes that your vehicle will undergo. Ask questions. This is a great way to discreetly check their standards and if they have set procedures in place.

While set procedures may sound like a good thing, what you should be looking for is a set process that involves examining your car from top to tail and assessing everything about it that needs to be repaired. If you’ve driven both a sedan and an SUV during your lifetime, you’ll understand why: No two cars are exactly alike. Settle for nothing less than a tailored quote for your repairs.

You wouldn’t want just anyone to work on your vehicle — reputation matters. Ask your panel beater about how much experience they have in your type of vehicle.

You won’t need to be concerned about slapdash repair techniques if the panel beater you choose has been in the business for a long time.

Try and get a guarantee from your panel beater on their work. The best body repair shops will offer a lifetime guarantee on all work. This gives customers additional peace of mind. A panel shop should be confident of their work. A lifetime guarantee means that if a fault is detected on a job done, even if it’s several years down the track, then they will repair the issue at no cost to you. Don’t accept second best when it comes to body repairs, get workmanship that is guaranteed to restore the condition and value of your vehicle.

Ask the panel beater for a courtesy replacement vehicle. Customer-centric panel beaters will offer a courtesy car.

Always seek for a fair price. Finding auto body shop that offers decent price quotes for their services, without charging too much or asking for too little, is the best place to start.

Go into the workshop and see for yourself. It must be efficient and clean. It means that your car will be in good hands while being repaired.

Your time is important, and a good panel repair shop knows that. From the very first meeting, you should feel accommodated; and when the appointment date to service your car draws near, you should get a friendly reminder call. That is truly a great way to know you have found reliable panel beaters.

We recommend that you use a panel beater, which also offers auto body paint spraying. This way, you won’t have one establishment blaming the other for any new, unexplained damages.

Before taking your vehicle in, take photos of your battery and filter parts. Before handing over the keys, take photos of your speedometer and petrol gauge. After the work is done, check that nothing has been swapped and that half a tank of petrol hasn’t been used on joyrides;
Check that the panel beater’s employees have the relevant qualifications and certifications;
Ensure that the panel beater uses the best materials. Work may seem good with the right lick of paint, but underneath, as time goes by, it may deteriorate;
Inspect your car for mismatched paint in a well-lit area. Proper panel beaters use high-quality paints, using state-of-the-art systems;
Finally, drop in for a surprise visit to inspect the progress on your vehicle from time to time. You have the right to do this.

Body Repair Centre have now extended their offering to cover grey imports repairs and any other vehicles besides meeting the stringent conditions associated with repairing luxury cars.

l andrew@muzamhindo.com

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