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Why Choose an OEM Certified Auto Body Repair Facility

Is your auto body shop OEM certified for your particular brand of car?

Read below to learn why every car owner who is shopping for an auto body shop after a collision needs to do their research.

About ten years ago it wasn’t as crucial where you took your car to get fixed as long as the shop did high quality work, had a good reputation, and great customer service. Nowadays, with the advancements in technology and materials, you need to be diligent in finding a shop who can actually fix your car the way the manufacturer wants it done.

At Southwest Collision we have dedicated our time and resources to continued education, tools and equipment to uphold our level of quality OEM  repairs and manufacturer certifications.

Staying current in the industry is a must due to the frequency of changes in construction methods of vehicles.  As manufacturers make drastic safety and material changes in their vehicle designs, it makes a huge impact in the collision repair industry, one that has even forced auto body shops out of business who couldn’t keep up with these advancements.

Car manufacturers (OEM) are under significant pressure from the government and consumers to make vehicles stronger and safer, as well as higher MPG ranges. These demands have made manufacturers seek out exotic metals such as ultra high strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber for construction of their vehicles.

OEM Procedures for Aluminum Auto Body Repairs

Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Ford and a few other manufacturers are using aluminum in their vehicles, and more car makers are looking into its use. Aluminum body repair processes are far different than auto body repairs with other materials. Aluminum requires very specific repair procedures and tooling that many body shops may not have access to.  The other issue with new materials is it’s possible to weld it back together, however it would be incorrect and possibly dangerous to do so. Heat can affect some materials and make them shrink, bend and extremely brittle, reducing their strengh. Manufacturers may require riveting or bonding of some structural components, rather than applying heat and body shops who aren’t OEM certified might not even know that.

Since aluminum and steel do not mix well together and cause corrosion when exposed to each other, it’s required to have a “clean-room” designated specifically for aluminum repairs. Southwest Collision has invested in an all aluminum building with 4 working bays designated solely to aluminum vehicle repairs.

New Chief Velocity Measuring System

The investment in equipment and training is staggering for body shops that are already struggling to make a decent profit due to other circumstances. You can’t just pull and hammer a car back into shape anymore. In fact, in some cases you cant even weld them in order to create a repair that the manufacturer would approve. Many times under OEM specifications, the manufacturer will require a new OEM part to be installed on a vehicle.

Because of these advancements, auto manufacturers are pushing for body shops to become factory certified as a matter of public safety as well as ensuring that the best parts are getting put back into your car.

Why should consumers consider an OEM certified auto body shop for collision repair?

Safety and quality are certainly the benefits when choosing an OEM certified shop. See the five reasons below that make OEM’s the best option to uphold quality repair processes:

1. The OEM certification Programs are thorough:

Certification programs depending on the manufacturer come in a range of complexity from a simple to more stringent programs.  Some such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz  have onsite training required for the technicians. Some manufacturers require a tool inspections, company dress codes, and even a certain level of customer service ratings. In some cases, the industry standard certification and training courses, I-CAR Gold can qualify a shop that has completed coursework for various certifications.

2. OEM training is expensive
The average cost of a four-day factory certification can cost a shop upwards of $10-20,000 and some training programs last two weeks, so those technicians aren’t even in the building to work on customer cars.  If a shop is dedicated enough to get their technician’s factory certified, you can bet that this is a shop which does not cut corners and expects to deliver the highest quality vehicle repairs for their customers.

3. Specialized Tools
Specialized tools often are required to become a certified facility as well as being necessary to fix your car. Therefore, the shop as well as the employees must pass certain criteria to use the tools and machinery. Some of this tooling can cost a shop over $250,000 or more. Different vehicles require special jigging in order to replace parts such as frame rails, where tolerances have to be exact. If your shop doesn’t have the proper tools, they are likely going to rig something up to get the job done, but minus the precision from the specialized tooling.

4. OEM Training can require on-site visits from the Manufacturer.

Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Fiat have a rigorous certification program that requires an on-site, in-depth inspection.  What better way to know that the manufacturer approves of the shop you have chosen then to know that site visits were required for certification?

5. OEM certification requires re-certification.

Shops must stay up to date, and must apply for re-certification. When you are searching a shop online, check with them to see if they are STILL certified for your car manufacturer. Just because they were when they built the website, doesn’t guarantee that they still are today. The same goes for the certifications hanging on the wall. Do your due diligence and double check before booking your repair appointment.

Southwest Collision is consistently working to ensure all of our certification criteria is met. Our customers can be assured their vehicles are repaired back to the factory specifications as required by the manufacturers.

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