A Primer on Collision Repair in Downriver Michigan

Car Repair Downriver MI

Automobile accidents can be downright terrifying. The brace for impact, the squealing tires, the broken glass, metal and plastic – it’s over before you know it, but the results can be devastating. Hopefully you’ve walked away unscathed. If so, once the dust settles the first thing that may come to mind is how much it’s going to cost. Even if you’re not at fault and insurance covers most of it, there still may be some up-front costs. And not for nothing, but the inconvenience of possibly being without a car can be a major setback. Or perhaps your car is still serviceable but has a few dents or scrapes that totally cramp your style and put your vehicle one step closer to clunker status. Fear not – an entire industry exists to help get your ride back to its day-one shine. Let’s brake down a few key points to help you navigate the world of collision repair.

A Primer on Collision Repair in Downriver Michigan


A vehicle appraisal is one of the first steps to getting it fixed. The appraisal (not to be confused with an estimate) is the written value; usually by an industry professional, of your vehicle’s worth. As you probably know, a car’s value declines with age and mileage. An appraisal establishes the value of your car, which the cost of repair can then be weighed against. Often, appraisals come in pairs. Whichever auto body shop you selected will appraise the vehicle. Your insurance company will also want to conduct their own. Ideally, the two are comparable.

A Primer on Collision Repair in Downriver Michigan

Is it totaled?

Likely due to the aggressive sound, the term is used often and sometimes incorrectly when referring to a badly damaged vehicle. In short, if a vehicle is “totaled” it means the cost of repair exceeds the cost of the vehicle. Bearing that in mind, it’s easy to see how less-expensive cars are more easily totaled. For example, a five-thousand-dollar car in need of seven thousand dollars of repair work probably wouldn’t make sense to fix unless its value is more than just monetary. Of course, there are always exceptions but generally a vehicle in need of repairs that exceed its value is considered “totaled.”


An estimate is a list of parts, labor, and costs that a collision repair shop requires to complete a job. Estimates are not always accurate, but a respectable shop will come very close. Unsurprisingly, prices can vary from shop to shop, and if your insurance comes with a high deductible but the damage to your vehicle is superficial, it might pay to shop around. 

Aftermarket or OEM?

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer” and applies to components made either by the vehicle’s manufacturer, or parts made by another company that were included with a vehicle when it originally left the factory. “Aftermarket” means, in short, anything else that didn’t originally come with the car. If your car sustained damage to critical components, your body shop or service center may ask if you want to replace parts with OEM-spec or aftermarket. Some aftermarket parts can be of very high quality and even exceed what a vehicle’s manufacturer originally used, and some can be better suited for the budget conscious. While not always the case, using aftermarket parts can save a few bucks.


Insurance policies vary greatly, but it’s not unheard of for some providers to exclude certain elements. For example, if you’ve done any sort of performance work to your car and haven’t contacted your insurer to boost coverage, there’s a good chance any new upgrades will be excluded. But if you were in an accident and not at fault, it’s likely the other driver’s insurance will cover it. Or maybe you like to share your car. If an accident occurs with another driver behind the wheel and your coverage lists you as the sole driver, be prepared for some bad news. Always remember to read your policy carefully and make note of any exclusions.

Repair Authorization

After bringing your vehicle to a collision repair center, they’ll give you a rundown of the cost and time needed to repair your vehicle. The fact that a shop has given an estimate does not mean you’re beholden to them. Sometimes it pays to shop around. People often shop two or more collision repair centers, and some may be able to perform the job faster than others. Furthermore, your insurance provider may require their permission before any work is to be completed. Like always, reading over the fine print will help avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road. Regardless of where you choose to take your vehicle, no work will be performed until you (and sometimes your insurance company) sign a repair authorization form.

Give Good Care Auto a Call!

The collision techs here at Good Care Auto have years of experience repairing everything from fender-benders to rollovers. Now that you have a better understanding of collision repair, it’s time to put it in motion. At Good Care Auto they boast multiple bays stocked with the latest tools and equipment, operated by industry-leading technicians. Call them today at (734) 285-1188 or drop by for an estimate at no obligation. No job is too small. Let Good Care Auto get you back on the road today!

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