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Have you ever wondered why when you take your vehicle to 3 different body shops for estimates, you get 3 different estimates?.  Not only is it confusing, it is also very frustrating for customers.  Chaz Auto Body wants to help you by explaining why this happens.

Before we go any further, let’s first explain what an estimate is.  An estimate is a “blueprint” for repair; it explains very specifically the proposed repairs to fix the vehicle.  The estimate should only assess the visible damage and never make assumptions about hidden damage.  The estimate always needs to be in writing and advanced shops, like Chaz Auto Body, use advanced software  to improve the accuracy of an estimate.  The more accurate and complete the estimate, the better chance that there are no surprises when vehicle is repaired.  A cheaper and less extensive estimate typically ends up costing a consumer more in the end.  Remember, cheaper isn’t always right.  Also, always make sure the estimate does not leave something out.

The first thing that can create differences in estimates is the type and quality of methods and procedures a body shop uses to repair vehicles. For example, some body shops require employees to remove all moldings, mirrors, and door handles before a vehicle is painted. Not only is this the best way, it ensures a professional and long-lasting result.  Surprisingly a number of  shops do not work this way.  Additionally, many shops mask off the affected areas. However, masking creates seams or lines where the paint can erode, and eventually causes the paint to peel.  This is frequently seen on the door handles of repaired cars.  Shops with less than professional methods, procedures and policies can affect the estimate.

Auto body shops have different beliefs when it comes to selecting the source of parts to repair a vehicle: aftermarket, used, or factory.  The source of parts can have a dramatic impact upon the estimate you receive.  All estimates need to clearly state the source of part used.  Remember, the customer always has a say in what parts are used to repair their vehicle.

The insurance company paying for the repairs can also have an affect upon the estimate.  Insurance companies may require their customers to use aftermarket parts or pay the difference if the customer selects something different.   If you are the person who was not at fault, or claimant, you should have the choice in part source.

In today’s competitive market, auto body shop labor rates are about the same, usually within a few dollars of each other.   Some also use the same software and guide books to decide fees and prices.  In theory, estimates from different body shops that use the same parts and procedures should produce similar estimates.  As you compare estimates, make sure to ask the estimator to explain their quote in detail and how they came up with the projected cost. This explanation always needs to match the estimate.  In the end, select the shop that has written the most accurate and complete estimate. At Chaz Auto Body you will find that we offer superior and consistent service at all of our locations.   To learn more about Chaz Auto Body and our standards of excellence, please visit our website at www.ChazAutoBody.com.  We look forward to working with you.

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When shopping for a collision repair shop, be sure to look for a shop that takes pride in its appearance. They say don’t judge a book by its cover but a messy shop may be an indication of a lack of pride, and a lack of pride is likely to reflect in their workmanship. Most professional auto body shops will keep their office and shop clean and orderly. Carefully inspect the office first then ask to see the shop. Most shops will give you a tour if you request it but be cautious with ones that hide their shop behind policies. If the shop is messy and disorganized, you may want to keep shopping.

Be sure to look for their various licenses, permits, and certifications. All Alaska shops are required to have a state & local business license, a tax permit, an EPA certificate, and a hazardous materials permit. The better shops will be certified by I-CAR (the training standard of the industry) as a Gold Class shop. For even more professionalism, look to see if they are certified ASE mechanicss, and members of the Better Business Bureau or their local chambers of commerce.

When touring a shop, be sure to ask about their equipment. Do they have a frame rack with a computerized measuring system? A car accident can bend your frame, and a bent frame can be dangerous. Believe it or not, some body shops don’t have proper frame equipment; it not required by law. Also be sure that if they have a frame rack, that it has a computerized measuring system that can print you out a copy of the before and after results. Don’t take any chances.

Do they have a downdraft paint booth? All body shops are required by federal laws to paint in booths that filter the harmful vapors produced by paints. However, most body shops use an overhead draft system which forces the paint, as well as dust and contaminates from the floor, to vent over the vehicle. This creates unnecessary extra steps for cleaning and drastically takes away from the overall quality of the paint job. A downdraft spray booth pulls all the air from the top and forces it down to the floor, leaving your vehicle dust free afterwards.

Also, make sure that their paint booth has baking capacity. It literally takes weeks for new paint to fully cure, but to ensure the quality of the paint, the outer shell should be a hard as possible before reintroducing into the shop. If not dust and contaminates will get stuck in the new paint. Most professional shops have paint booths with baking capacities and the best shops have smart baking cycle systems. Be sure to ask or contact us at www.chazautobody.com for more information.

Chaz Collision Express understands that an accident can be a very confusing and shocking experience.   Here is some great advice on what to do in the event of an auto accident whether it happens in the great state of Alaska or anywhere else.

1. STOP! Don’t make any sudden moves. Take a few moments, regain your composure. Don’t panic, the worst is over.

2. Inventory yourself, your passengers and any pedestrians or other vehicles who may have been involved in the accident. Get a quick assessment of any injuries and take basic first aid steps if needed.

3. Get everyone involved in safety. If possible, move the vehicles off the road to prevent any further hazards and turn off the vehicle to prevent fire. If possible have someone alert oncoming traffic that an accident has occurred.

4. GET HELP! Call 911 if necessary; emergency response units must be notified of any injuries.

5. Take pictures.  With the prevalence of camera phones, take some pictures before the vehicles are move to help illustrate who hit who.

6. Limit any discussion of the accident. Don’t discuss fault with anyone!  Let law enforcement review the facts. If the accident has occurred on private property and didn’t involve any injuries, you should exchange insurance and contact information with the other parties.

7. The information that should be exchanged with the other parties are: drivers names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle identification numbers, vehicle models, license plate numbers, insurance company names & policy numbers.  Also make sure to get any witness names and their contact information.

8. Have the vehicle towed to one of Chaz Collision Express five convenient locations:

Anchorage – Downtown
1801 E. 5th Ave.
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
907-792-2500

Anchorage – South
6210 Old Seward HWY.
Anchorage, Alaska 99518
907-550-2500

Fairbanks – North
511 Harold Bentley Ave.
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
907-328-2500

Fairbanks – South
511 30th Ave.
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
907-458-2500

Wasilla
1581 E. Financial Drive
Wasilla, Alaska 99654
907-864-2500

Remember Chaz Collision Express works with all insurance companies.  Our shops are your direct link with your insurance company. We will call them and help make all the arrangements to ensure that you have car is restored to mint condition. Need more information? Check out our website, www.ChazAutoBody.com.  We will be happy to answer any of your questions.

A great deal of business for Chaz Auto Body comes from drivers who are careless in the winter driving conditions. While many times it is impossible to stop an auto accident from happening when ice and snow are on the ground, there are some things you can do to decrease the damages and hopefully prevent injuries in the process. Here are some easy tips will help you stay safe while driving this winter.

Scrape, Scrape, Scrape!
Never try to drive your vehicle anywhere without scraping the ice off all the windows so you can see clearly. Too often, drivers simply clear off a spot on the windshield and think it is fine to go along their way. This is dangerous, irresponsible and even disrespectful to other drivers.

Brake Slowly
Stopping quickly on the snow and ice is a recipe for losing control of your vehicle. You could slide into trees, curbs, other cars or even people. Learn how to brake slowly in various situations so you do not panic when gradual stopping is needed.

Be Aware
Knowing what is around your vehicle is an ideal way to preventing accidents. If you constantly know your surroundings, you can make split second decisions that will either help prevent accidents or decrease the effects of a collision.

Winterize your Car
Severe cold and heavy snow can be hard on your vehicle. The first thing you need to do is have your car winterized to make sure it is in the best shape possible to take on winter storms.  Some simple steps to take are:

  • Make sure the battery is fully charged
  • Check your tires pressure
  • Change to an oil that provides better winter performance
  • Check windshield wipers and wiper fluid

If you skid or get stuck
If you start to skid turn into it and accelerate slightly to get control of your vehicle
If you get stuck in the snow try rocking it back and forth until your tires are free

Be ready To Deal With Emergencies

  • Learn how to replace a flat tire
  • Practice installing tire chains for hazardous road conditions
  • Carry jumper cables and learn how to jump-start your car battery
  • Carry an ice chipper and snow brush to maintain clean windows

Driving on winter roads can be scary but if you are prepared and ready for any situation it will ensure a stress free snow season. Knowing what is around your vehicle is an ideal way to preventing accidents. If you constantly know your surroundings, you can make split second decisions that will either help prevent accidents or minimize the effects of a collision.  Your friends at Chaz Auto Body hope that by following these quick and easy steps will help keep you and yours safe and secure on the dangerous roads this winter.

Chaz Collision Express is Alaska’s premier auto body repair shop. For more than 30 years Chaz Collision Express has providing Alaskans superior auto restoration services.  Whether your car needs repair as a result of a collision or because of the hard Alaska winter, remember Chaz is there to make your car look new again.  Our top of the line technicians combined with state of the art equipment and facilities makes Chaz Collision Express your go to place when you need auto body repairs or you are looking for an auto body shop .  Chaz Collision Express has five convenient locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Wasilla to make your life as easy as possible.

Our experts at Chaz will assist you in making the right choices when it comes to repair of your vehicle and many insurance companies trust Chaz to keep their customer happy.  Chaz Collision Express also provides free auto body shop estimates so you know what to expect without any surprises.

The staff at Chaz Collision Express wants you to make the right decisions when you need help repairing your car.  So please check back time to time as we post articles in this blog providing advice and tips about exterior vehicle maintenance, winter driving tips, and things you should  remember when selecting a car repair shop to restore your car to a “factory new finish”.  And of course we love comments and feed back, so if you ever have questions about auto body repair, auto body shops, collision centers, or just want to say hello, please email us or post a comment on our blog and we will be more than happy to respond.  We look forward to creating many new friendships across the state of Alaska.

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