Choose Toyota dealer for body shop repairs or Insurance Provider?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by e_lady333, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. e_lady333

    e_lady333 New Member

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    OK - so I have only had my Prius for 3 months. Yesterday while on the highway an SUV ahead of me hit a piece of tire tread that then hit me and went under the car. I noticed paint damage under the front bumper and the guard around the tire is now gone. The front driver side panel was loose but I was able to just pop it back into place - though it looks lower that the other side. Luckily my insurance covers it. I was given a list of service providers and there are no Toyota dealers on the list. I looked up reviews on the two Toyota dealers here in town and they are really bad!!! So do I go ahead and have a non-Toyota body shop fix it? My insurance will warranty the repairs at their providers as long as I own the car. Can't say that will happen at the dealer. Any advice?
     
  2. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    A good non-dealer body shop will usually be better than a dealers body shop. A big body shop does a lot more body work so has more experience, that doesn't always translate to better work but it's one indication. The trick is figuring out which ones are the good ones.

    Some dealers take you car in then farm the work out so they are making money off another shops work.
     
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  3. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I would agree that you don't have to fear a "Non-Dealership" body shop. Infact, I would tend to also agree that a good body shop, in of itself might be better than a typical dealership.

    The trick isn't so much dealership vs. independent bodyshop, as it is just finding a good bodyshop period. I'd look up reviews and try to get as much information about any bodyshop I was considering.

    Unfortunately sometimes in an accident situation people are hurried, pressed for time and you don't have a lot of time for research. The internet can really be your friend. I look for positive reviews about the 'actual work done" from consumers...not reviews like "Bob was so friendly...and he gave me free coffee"....

    I also just go with my instinct. Look around and listen when/if you take your car in for an estimate. Are other people complaining? How clean and organized does the shop seem? Do workers seem happy? Is the shop well lit?

    Also, how long has this bodyshop been in business? The longer the better. Do they themselves offer a guarantee on the work?

    Good luck.
     
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  4. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    If your are choosing between two equally good body shops, and one is your insurance provider's in-network shop, always choose the in-network shop since it expedites the repairs and your insurance company will be on the hook for the quality of the work for as long as your own your car.
     
  5. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    Yes, a good body shop will usually be better than a dealer.

    I too would go with one of the shops recommended by my insurance company. I had extensive body damage due to a hail storm on a car (not my Prius) recently and I used a non recommended shop. I wish I had used the recommended shop because then when things went wrong I could have gone to the insurance company for help dealing with the shop.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    We bought from a Toyota Dealer with a string of dealerships in greater Vancouver, and one body shop, under the same name, accredited by the main (and more-or-less only, government sanctioned) auto insurance body in our province.

    If the quality of work is good, I think it would be advantageous to go with such a shop. As an example:

    Our last vehicle was in a T-bone type accident, requiring replacement of both passenger doors on one side. The shop that did our repair does good body work and painting, but screwed up when swapping components between old and new doors: they were likely not aware of an aligment procedure when installing window glass. No body shop is going to have shop manuals for the vehicles they repair.

    As a result the drivers window would not run up properly. Having the shop manual, and being "that way", I tore it down myself and fixed it. But, for a body shop closely tied to one manufacturer, with access to all the repair documentation, this should not happen.

    This body shop also had a hell of a time with door alignment. And again, I ended up remedying it. I know...
     
  7. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    I would generally agree with that, but it's not a slam dunk. Always check the shops reputation.

    Normally a large dealerships group bodyshop would be an advantage compared to an individual dealerships body shop, but I have had less than stellar work done by just such a body shop. Whichever way you go you should check the shops reputation. With all the online sources we have now that's a lot easier than it was.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    +1 on the above. A big thing: how they react when things go wrong. Mistakes can be made, how they remedy them is telling. Look for customer testimonials.
     
  9. mickey513

    mickey513 Member

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    Most Toyota dealerships or any new car dealership will RARELY have their own factory repair body shop. Body work is usually outsource to a local body shop.
     
  10. ScottN

    ScottN Junior Member

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    I had my rocker panel molding replaced at the body shop that services the Toyota dealership along with several other brands. They did an excellent job and the work was done on time. I preferred a shop associated with the Toyota dealer because I thought they would know the car better and have all the manuals necessary. But the biggest reason was because mine is Blizzard Pearl White which is a three stage paint process. I was just not confident that a "regular" body shop would have the process down as well as a Toyota shop.
     
  11. pixelmixer

    pixelmixer New Member

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    "Bob was so friendly...and he gave me free coffee"....
    Made me laugh my a$$ off! Ha ha ha ha ha!! So true!
     
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