Why Does Car Body Repair Work Cost A Lot?

Posted on: 24 April 2019

When you get a quote from a car body repair services provider, you may be wondering exactly how anyone could come up with such a number. After all, isn't most of the work just dealing with some metal, plastic and paint? Folks tend to assume there must be some price inflation like we see in healthcare, but there really isn't. It's worth learning more about what goes into estimating a car body repair bill.

Matching Paint is Tough Work

Someone who owns a white car stands back and wonders how hard it could possibly be to match white. Many factors go into making matching a much harder job than it seems at first blush.

Every manufacturer has their own paint codes, and you can find the paint code for your car on a sticker that's usually located in one of the door jams, under the hood or inside the trunk. As long as your ride hasn't been repainted using a different product, this code should provide the auto body tech doing the work with all the info they need.

This isn't the end of the challenge, though. Once the code has been indexed, a technician will find instructions for matching the paint. This typically includes a base paint, and it may also include other materials such as metal flakes and pearlescent fluids that give the paint extra visual depth and sheen. Getting that mix right is difficult, and the materials often have to be acquired from manufacturers or licensed suppliers. That adds cost.

How Hard is Replacing a Panel, Though?

Depending upon the age of the car in question, it can be expensive to source body parts for cars. Finding matching parts for older cars can get challenging, especially once aftermarket and OEM suppliers simply stop making them due to low demand. At that point, replacement components have to either be purchased from new old stock or from salvage yards. In extreme cases, parts might have to be fabricated.

Having a new car doesn't necessarily mean cheaper repair costs, either. With the advent of sensors all over newer vehicles, repair costs are going up. A simple fender-bender that might have once cost hundreds of dollars to fix now costs thousands.

Why? Many new cars have lane-departure warning and brake-assist systems that automate some safety features. Sensors at the corners of the car power these systems, and those sensors often end up damaged in accidents.