Everyone wants their car to look at its best, and it’s really annoying when the bodywork gets damaged. Even minor damage can spoil the car’s appearance and will reduce its value considerably. As soon as any damage occurs, you will want it to be repaired quickly and with invisible results, because a botched repair can look worse than the original damage. While there are some kinds of minor damage that you can sort out for yourself, it is much better to leave the tricky jobs such as dent removal and paint matching to an expert.
With access to over 9,000 members, the AutoMend network provides a diverse range of car and van maintenance and repair services. Among our membership there are many garages that can deliver bodywork repairs, and there are some that operate a full body shop service for extensive repairs and resprays. We also have a number of mobile bodywork repair specialists who can come to your home or a suitable location to repair moderate damage, including bumper scuffs, scratches and dents. We have a specialist solution for every automotive problem, including bodywork damage, so give your local AutoMend mechanics a call and see what they can do for you.
There are so many ways that your vehicle’s bodywork can get damaged. Sometimes it’s your own fault and sometimes it’s caused by other people or things and is completely out of your control. Here are just a few of the most common causes:
Car park damage – this is a really annoying one and is the most common cause of scuffs and dents. You may have parked safely in the middle of a parking space, but when you return to your car, there is a dent or a scratch in your paintwork. This damage is often caused by a thoughtless motorist who has parked too close, and they have flung open their door and hit your car. Children are particularly fond of causing this type of damage. Shopping trolleys are another prolific source of car park dings and dents.
Collision damage – this can be major, such as a collision with another vehicle, or more minor, when you have backed into a post or other obstruction. Inattentive cyclists, fleeing wild animals and even badly situated wheelie bins can also be sources of this type of damage.
Impact damage – stormy weather brings flying objects such as tree branches or roof tiles crashing down onto your poor car. Flying debris from other vehicles, loose stones on the road surface and potholes are another source of impact damage and stone chips.
Bird droppings – hard to avoid, but if you leave them to dry on your paintwork, you can end up with an etched paint surface.
Vandalism – it’s inexcusable, but there are people who delight in running sharp objects down your paintwork or jumping onto your bonnet leaving a large dent.
Bumper scuffs – if you’ve misjudged a turn in a tight space such as a multi-storey car park, this is the most likely form of bodywork damage to occur. The corners of your bumpers are also vulnerable to other drivers who turn too tightly past your car and do the damage for you.
Rust – as your car gets older, the paintwork begins to thin in some areas, and the metal beneath is exposed to air and moisture. The result is corrosion, and rusty patches. You get the same problem if an area of damaged paint is not repaired quickly and effectively too.
If the paint surface is undamaged, the vast majority of dents can be repaired quickly and invisibly by a competent bodywork repairer.
Large areas that have been dented without breaking the paint surface (such as a car bonnet with a shallow indent) can be pushed or ‘sucked’ back into flatness using a tool similar to a sink plunger. The bodywork specialist may also use a heat gun to get the dent to ‘pop’ back into place.
Some bodywork repairers have a specialist piece of equipment that ‘massages’ the area of the dent, causing it to revert back to its original shape. These kinds of repairs are usually invisible once completed.
Damage which has scratched or broken the painted surface will need to be painted. The area of damage can possibly be pushed or sucked back into shape, or it may need to be filled. If your repair needs to be painted, it will take longer than a paintless repair because of the curing time for the paint (and the filler if used).
There are literally thousands of variations of paint colour on our roads, so how can the bodywork repairer be sure they have a match for your car? If your car is a model that was sold in the UK in the fairly recent past, it will have a paint code associated with it. Specialist repairers have a paint mixing system that uses the paint code to mix a bespoke batch of paint specifically for your repair. Using this system, even pearl and metallic paint finishes can be matched up.
If your car is an old, classic or more exotic import model, the paint shop may need to order in an amount of paint if they don’t have it in stock. A professional bodywork repair outfit will assess any damage and discuss the repair method and requirements with you before starting work on your vehicle.
It all depends on the type of insurance you have, the value of your vehicle, the cost of the repair and the size of your excess.
For third party insurance cover, the costs of repairs will be down to you. If your insurance is fully comprehensive, any bodywork repairs will be covered. However, if you make a claim, you will need to pay and excess, and it may affect your no claims discount. Dent repairs tend to be relatively inexpensive, so if the repair will cost about the same or less than the excess, it makes sense to pay for the repair yourself. Get a quote for your bodywork repair from your local AutoMend network member, and it will help you to make the right decision.
If your vehicle has a low value due to age or condition, you need to consider whether the cost of the repairs is justified compared to the value of the car. However, if the car is the love of your life, or a classic, the comparison will be immaterial. Talk to your local AutoMend repair specialist to examine your options – they may be able to offer you a special deal or a low-cost alternative to a more expensive bodywork repair.
If you drive an old banger, the chances are there’s quite a lot of rust, and you may be adept at touching It up yourself. For a newer and more valuable vehicle, it’s a good idea to leave rust repairs to the professionals.
Simply repairing the rusty area may not be enough – it is important to understand why the corrosion has occurred in the first place and remove that cause, otherwise the rust may return. If it’s a ding that has broken the paint surface and allowed air and moisture to corrode the metal underneath, the cause is pretty obvious, and a fill and paint repair will do the trick. If the cause is a problem with an adjacent seam, or an adjoining piece of bodywork, the real cause may be hidden from view and need specialist equipment to put it right. If it’s not straightforward, leave it to the experts from the AutoMend network.
The answer is yes, a professional mobile bodywork repairer can achieve the same quality of finish as a body shop. Mobile bodywork repair vehicles are fully equipped to handle small to medium sized bodywork repairs and can operate even in rainy weather. The vans typically have shrouds which completely enclose the damaged vehicle and are fitted with heating and dust extraction to create a clean environment in which to repair the damage.
All the vehicle owner needs to provide is a level surface and sufficient safe space for the van to get alongside the damaged vehicle. This safe space requirement means bodywork repairs cannot be completed at the roadside, where there is a risk of collisions from other vehicles. However, a domestic driveway or a private car park are ideal places.
The benefits of calling in a mobile repairer for bumper scuffs, paintless dent repairs and other minor damage repairs are:
They tend to work out cheaper than a body shop, as the business overheads are lower.
They come to you, and the repair is done the same day.
You are not left without a car for a long period, and you don’t have to use a loan vehicle.
Our network has members located all across the United Kingdom, so wherever you are, there will be someone local to you who is able to do bodywork repairs. We wanted it to be as easy as possible to get in touch with our members, so we have devised a simple method of contact. Type in your post code and pick the location nearest to you. Tell us your vehicle type and the service you are seeking, and we will give you a list of all the bodywork repair centres near you. The list will show the businesses in order of distance from you and include contact details for each one. At this point you can ask for a free, no-obligation quote from your chosen providers, or simply pick up the phone and talk to them for help and advice or to make a booking. For no-nonsense bodywork services at sensible prices, contact the AutoMend network.