What’s the Difference Between a Auto Body Shop and Mechanic Shop?
When considering whether you need auto body or mechanic repairs, many people make the mistake of assuming that mechanics are qualified to perform all auto repairs.
When a car needs repairs, especially following a collision, the first stop for most people is a mechanic. They never consider whether they need an auto body vs mechanic. For cars with no body damage, a mechanic is the best place to go. They have the tools and expertise to remove and replace damaged components to get your car on the road again.
Mechanics can evaluate all of the mechanical systems and make necessary repairs. If the vehicle doesn’t have body damage and the owner needs an engine light checked or some engine noises looked at, a mechanic is the way to go. For anything involving the vehicle’s appearance, it’s time to move on to an auto body shop.
Auto Body Shop
For cars with body and mechanical damage, an auto body shop is the best option. Like mechanics, body shops have the tools and knowledge to make the vehicle safe to operate. They can also perform the necessary body repairs to get the vehicle looking like it did before it was damaged.
Auto body repair is about much more than just removing and replacing parts. The entire appearance of the vehicle needs to be evaluated to make it look like it did before the collision. Even a low-speed collision can cause changes to the entire body of the vehicle. Panels can shift and twist far from the point of impact.
An auto body shop can evaluate these changes and determine the best approach to restoring the appearance of the vehicle.
Can’t I Just Do The Repair Myself?
Anyone can look at a dented fender or cracked bumper and decide that it doesn’t look right. What about the body panels opposite from the point of impact? While not directly damaged, they still suffered through some of the same impact forces as the fender or bumper. They could have moved or deflected, causing misalignment or damage to the paint.
An auto body shop can check to ensure that other parts of the auto body are still properly aligned, and that there’s no hidden damage. Removing and replacing a single panel doesn’t ensure that the rest of the car will look the way it’s supposed to.
While a mechanic certainly has the tools and know-how to replace a body panel, they don’t offer paint services. To get the panel replaced and also get the car looking like it’s supposed to, you need an auto body shop.
An auto body shop can repair the body and match the existing color of the paint, providing a finished product that looks like it’s always been on the car. This is an important step, as the color of a car fades and new panels must be painted to match the paint on the rest of the vehicle.
In the end, it isn’t about who does better at their job. Auto body shops and mechanics both have extensive training and experience in their fields. While these fields have some overlap, they’re not interchangeable. Deciding whether to have repairs performed by auto body shop or a mechanic is about deciding what repairs are needed and what results are desired.