Repairing Process

What does it take to repair a crashed car?
No auto body shop wants your vehicle repaired better and faster than we do. We strive for an on time repair every time but with that being said unexpected things happen. We appreciate your understanding and patience. The list below is here for you to get a glimpse of what it takes to repair your vehicle back to pre-accident condition.

Write an estimate

This process begins with our highly qualified estimator reviewing with you, how the accident happened which aides in the evaluation of the damage. The estimator assesses the damaged area and determines which parts can be safely repaired and which ones need to be replaced. In a visual inspection the estimator can only write what can be seen and from that a “preliminary estimate” is written. This process is either done by a body shop estimator, or by the insurance companies estimator.
AutoRight Collision Repair is able to upload estimates directly to some insurance companies and others we will gladly send in a .pdf format with pictures to the insurance company via email. If the insurance company has provided you with an estimate AutoRight Collision Repair will start with that estimate to insure that the insurance company is billed correctly for any hidden damage found during the repair process. If your vehicle is determined to be safe to operate you then receive an appointment date to return your vehicle for repairs.

Parts Acquisition

The insurance companies require different parts usage depending on how the policy is written. There is original equipment by manufacturer (OEM) parts, like, kind, and quality (LKQ) parts that come from the recycle yard and aftermarket replacement parts that are manufactured by another source than the original manufacture and have different ratings of quality that range from certified to fit to non-certified. Parts acquisition varies depending on make and age of the vehicle, what days the supplier orders, and the location of the warehouse the parts originate from. Once parts arrive they are reviewed for damaged and if damage is found the part is either returned to the vendor or scheduled for repair.

Vehicle Scheduled Appointment Date

Mechanic checking the engine - Body Repair Shop  in Santa Fe, NM
Bring your vehicle to the shop on your scheduled date with all of your personal belongings removed. If you have made arrangements with a rental car company we will call for your pick up. Next we begin our check in process reviewing and documenting the interior and exterior condition of your vehicle. The repair is then assigned to the body repair and paint technicians.

Tear Down

Tear down is an industry term that is used in reference to the technician removing the damaged parts to reveal any hidden damage. If no hidden damage is found the repair will continue as was planned on the preliminary estimate.

Hidden Damage Located

Once hidden damage is revealed the estimator will review the scope of the damage with the repair and paint technicians to determine what additional parts and repair time will be needed to complete the repair and painting process. This step is where the repair blue print is adjusted and expected delivery dates are reevaluated. In a worst case scenario the repair may be put on hold till a part has arrived due to a fit requirement. Generally the repair process can continue without a delay.

Insurance Supplement

Now that hidden damage has been located it is important to get the insurance company involved again with a “supplement” bill. The supplement that is filed with the insurance company requests additional repair time, paint time, or additional parts with supporting documentation showing the additional damage found. This process has some variance from company to company; however a supplement is usually reviewed within 48 hours. This may delay the expected delivery date while awaiting approval from the insurance company. Your patience and understanding are appreciated greatly at this time. Once your insurance company has approved the additional repairs and costs, needed parts are ordered.

Body Repairs

The repairs and parts fitting begin immediately by our highly skilled, professional body repair technicians. Some of the things the repair technician might do during the repair include: paint less dent removal (PDR) from hail damage, replacing badly damaged parts/panels and fitting the new parts and panels to align with adjacent panels, remove dents with a dent puller or by "hand-hammering" and using specialized fillers to thinly fill in the worked area to create a smooth work surface on the metal. The technician may be required to cut out and then weld supports or panels back on the vehicle. The repair plan may also require the technician to “de-trim” parts that were not damaged in the accident but need to be removed for repair access or for the paint process to prevent hard edges that lead to paint peeling.

Frame and Uni-Body Repair

Automobile manufactures engineer vehicles to crush in a way that minimizes injuries to the occupants during a collision impact. The energy-absorbing components, the uni-body and frame, may be damaged in an accident and need to be repaired or replaced. Our highly skilled technicians know when to repair and when to replace the components to ensure factory crash standards are maintained. The technician will use the frame machine to “pull” the vehicle back into the factory's frame specifications to insure the safety of the vehicle is maintained.

First Quality Inspection

The quality control inspector performs an inspection to ensure the manufacturer standards for collision repair were met. The vehicle is then moved to the paint department.

Paint Preparation (Paint Prep)

Surfaces that were repaired are sanded to proper smoothness, cleaned and moved into the paint booth, “masked off”, and sprayed with primers and sealers. Once dry they are sanded again and checked for a smooth surface. The “wet sanding” is done with very fine sand paper and water to give the perfect smooth surface prior to paint. New parts will also need to be “scuffed” to ensure there is “bite” for the paint to adhere. The car and parts are cleaned and then moved into the paint booth and “masked off” again to ensure over spray does not land on the vehicle areas that are to be kept paint free.
Paint preparation on side bumber - Body Repair Shop  in Santa Fe, NM

Second Quality Inspection

After paint preparation our quality control inspector checks for a perfect surface prior to a base paint.


The paint process has many steps from the sealers and primers sprayed on during the preparation process to the basecoat and clear. The basecoat layer is the color. Our base coatings won't fade, keeping the color of your vehicle looking just like new. The clear coat is the top coating layer and it protects all other layers from nature's elements. It also gives your vehicle the shine of a new vehicle. One of the most crucial aspects of the paint process is the color match. Our certified paint technicians use state of the art color matching technology to make an accurate color match. After we have achieved the correct variance of color through tinting the paint is applied in the paint booth. After the appropriate dry time the clear coat is applied and heated to cure the finish.

Third Quality Inspection

During this inspection the paint surface is inspected for imperfections in the paint, paint match quality and buffing requirements.


This phase of the repair has the body repair technician installing the components back on the vehicle ensuring proper panel alignment is achieved and replacing any safety feature as required such as one of the many airbags that come as standard equipment on all vehicles.

Alignments, Drivability Test & Safety Inspection

The vehicle is test driven to check for roadworthiness. This inspection reveals the need for an alignment and the alignment reveals if there are damaged suspension parts causing the vehicle to be out of alignment. During the test drive the safety components are checked to ensure proper functionality. If a safety indicator is revealed the dealer may need to “reset” the vehicle computer to recognize the newly install safety equipment.
Car wash - Body Repair Shop  in Santa Fe, NM


Wash and Polish

Our detail technician will wash the out side of your vehicle, clean the interior and polish repaired panels.

Final Inspection

The estimate is reviewed for accuracy and payment confirmation has been received. The vehicle is inspected one last time to make sure the vehicle is returned to its pre-accident condition and is ready for you to pick up.

Call Us for More Information

We know that getting into an accident puts you in a difficult situation, and we want to help you as much as we can. Contact AutoRight Collision Repair today for more information.

Cars We Service:

  • Acura
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Dodge
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Infinity
  • Jaguar
  • Lexus
  • Lincoln
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Pontiac
  • Saab
  • Toyota