Preliminary Vs Accurate Repair Estimate in Issaquah: What’s the Difference?

repair estimate, preliminary estimate, accurate estimateFor a collision or other auto repair, you need to obtain a repair estimate. One of the inquiries we get frequently is if we charge for an estimate. The short answer is no. More accurately, though, it depends on whether you’re requesting a preliminary estimate or an accurate estimate.

What Is a Preliminary Repair Estimate?

We don’t charge for a preliminary repair estimate. In fact, we recommend avoiding any collision shops that charge for this basic service.

For a preliminary estimate, bring your car to our station. We’ll take note of the surface-level damages, determine labor cost, and factor in other potential work, such as auto paint restoration.

This service comes at no cost to the customer, but the estimate is in the ballpark range. Expect the actual cost to be plus or minus a few hundred dollars. In rare instances, the difference could be in the four-digit range

Many car owners take their car to two or three collision shops for a preliminary repair estimate. It’s not unusual to get widely different figures between shops.

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Can Autumn Leaves Around Highlands Damage Your Car?

car damage leaves, autumn leaves damage, fall leaves damageAutumn is here. For various tree species, this means the yearly cycle of shedding their leaves in preparation for new growth. Leaves are practically weightless and may seem harmless. However, car damage from leaves is actually a real thing.

How Do Leaves Damage Your Car?

The damage is primarily at the aesthetic level. Fall leaves decompose wherever they land. As the natural decomposition process occurs, the leaves ooze sap, tannic acids, and other natural compounds. If leaves remain on your vehicle for hours, they can degrade onto the surface and damage the auto paint. In some instances, it may also leave a fossil-like imprint on your vehicle. While autumn leaves don’t cause dents, they can lead to micro-abrasions.

Highlands and surrounding cities have relatively humid fall weather. The moisture and fluctuation in warm and cool air speed up the leaves’ deterioration process and hastens erosion to car surfaces.

Leaves on the road also indirectly damage your vehicle. Leaves cover up potholes, curbs, and dips in the road. Wet fall leaves can also create slippery surfaces and increase the chances of the car spinning out of control and causing a collision. Continue Reading →

What to Do After a Collision with an Animal in Factoria

animal collisionWhile not too common, wildlife may wander into the urban outreach of cities like Factoria. Sighting the occasional deer or buck is a beautiful sight. However, an animal collision is also not that uncommon. What exactly do you do if this happens?

Does My Insurance Cover It?

Most comprehensive car insurance do cover damage from collisions with a large animal. Collision coverage, despite its name, typically doesn’t cover damages from hitting an animal. The average collision repair cost for colliding with a deer, by the way, is about $3,200.

I Hit an Animal; What Do I Do?

Don’t drive away from the scene. This is considered a hit-and-run and may incur state penalties. First, pull over and switch on the emergency lights. Make sure everyone is okay and contact local law enforcement. We highly suggest taking pictures of the damage. The documentation will come in handy when filing a claim with your insurance.

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The Importance of Car Body Plastic Repairs Around Highlands

car body plastic, auto plasticHere’s an interesting fact: modern cars contain a large number of plastic components. Parts, such as the interior bumper, door panels, and equipment housing, contain mainly plastic material. With this in mind, collision repair shops need to be knowledgeable in car body plastic repairs.

Why All the Plastic?

People unfairly demonize plastic as being cheap and inferior material. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Plastic reduces a car’s weight and improves fuel economy. Plastic is also more resistant to corrosion. Once the car is headed for the scrapyard, the plastic is easier to recycle and reuse than steel and aluminum. Continue Reading →

The Importance of Electronic Recalibration in Collision Repairs Around Renton

electronic recalibrationIn modern automobiles, the computer controls safety technologies, such as lane departure warning and blind-spot detection. These features save lives on the road. However, a collision—even a small fender bender—can throw these systems out of balance. As part of collision repairs, a mechanic must also conduct electronic recalibration.

Why Electronic Recalibration Is Necessary

Collision repair isn’t just about restoring the frame and crumple zone. Today’s cars have multiple computers, sensors, and radars, all of which are ultra-sensitive. A collision can knock these components out of alignment. This may result in a safety feature’s failure to activate, such as an airbag not deploying. Similarly, an alert on your dashboard may fail to light up. This places the driver and passengers at serious risk. Even minor impacts causing only a small dent can cause decalibration. Continue Reading →

Dings and Dents: How to Distinguish the Two in Renton

dings dentsIt’s unavoidable if you’re a car owner: Incidents involving runaway shopping carts or swinging car doors can lead to visible blemishes. However, is the damage a dent or ding? People often treat the terms interchangeably, though technically the terms “dings” and “dents” imply different degrees of damage.

How Dings and Dents Differ

Motorists who bring their car to our shop for dent repair freely switch between the terms. For auto body specialists, though, the differentiation matters. Here’s the difference:

Ding: A ding is a relatively minor blemish where the damaged spot is no more than half an inch in diameter. The auto paint is also completely intact. Damage from rolling shopping carts usually falls into this category.

For most car owners, a ding is an eyesore, but it doesn’t require urgent attention. In other words, no need to cry over spilled milk. Most owners still eventually decide to restore the ding. Continue Reading →

How to File a Hail Claim in Bellevue

hail claimThe Bellevue region isn’t exactly prone to hail, but it isn’t completely immune to it either. Hailstorms can occur even in the summer. Hail as big as golf balls can cause immense property damage. The good news, though, is that your insurance may cover the damage. We explain how to file a hail claim.

Does Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

Only your insurance provider can answer this question. Most car owners are apprehensive about filing a hail claim out of fear their premiums will skyrocket. However, most comprehensive coverage plans cover hail damage since the damage is classified as an “act of God.” This means unavoidable damage due to events outside human control. In any case, verify with your insurance agency instead of taking our word for it. Continue Reading →

What Does a “Totaled Car” Mean?

totaled car, total lossWere you in a recent collision? Your insurance agency may deem your vehicle a “totaled car” or “total loss.” What exactly do these terms mean, and what are the parameters for determining that a car is totaled?

The Definition of a Totaled Car

Insurance companies classify a vehicle as a total loss if repair costs exceed 75% of the car’s Kelly Blue Book value. Needless to say, a totaled car is beyond what a paintless dent repair or auto paint restoration can fix.

After an auto accident, you will have to bring your vehicle to a collision center. Doug’s Auto Collision Center works with most national and Bellevue-based auto insurance providers. We make the final determination if a car is a total loss. If not, we can restore the vehicle to its pre-collision factory condition. If damaged beyond repair, your insurance will send you a check equal to the value of the car before the collision.

If the car is salvageable, we’ll coordinate with your insurance provider for repairs. A rental car may be arranged for you in the meantime. Continue Reading →

4 Myths About Auto Body Shops

body shop mythsIf you have been involved in a collision, you have a number of details to look after. You need to select a body shop to perform the repairs and deal with the insurance company. The entire process is stressful, and part of the stress is due to a number of body shop myths. Listed below are some myths … as well as the truth.

Body Shop Myth No. 1

Dealerships do a more reliable job of collision repairs after an accident than independent body shops.

Truth: This is simply not true. Many car owners believe only a dealership can order factory parts for their vehicle. At Doug’s Auto Collision Center, we work with original equipment manufacture (OEM) parts regularly and avoid using inferior aftermarket parts. Continue Reading →

What Happens to Your Car Insurance Rate After an Accident?

insurance rate after accidentAfter an auto collision, the condition of your car is just one of your many concerns. You may also be worried about insurance adjusters. What exactly happens to your insurance rate after an accident? Does it skyrocket, or are the concerns completely unfounded?

The Truth About Insurance Rates After an Accident

We can’t give you a straightforward “yes” or “no” regarding whether your insurance rate goes up after an accident. So many variables are at play. One of the biggest factors is whether you were at fault or your degree of culpability in the collision. If you were determined to be at fault or partly at fault, then you will probably see a rate increase. If you have a history of being in accidents, then you may also see a rate spike. This applies even if you were not at fault in any of the collisions.

Other factors that may come into play include your driving history. Do you have a record of tickets and traffic violations? Continue Reading →