What is a Body Shop?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A body shop is a facility for the repair and restoration of automobiles. The staff at an auto body staff are trained to deal specifically with damage to the body and frame of a car, such as that which might be incurred in a collision. Repairing damages to the body of a car or the frame can get quite complicated, and as a result a trip to the body shop is rarely cheap. In some cases, automobile insurance will cover the expense, if it is related to a collision and the driver has proper insurance.

Auto body staff are trained to deal with damage to the body and frame of a car.
Auto body staff are trained to deal with damage to the body and frame of a car.

Damages to the frame can make a car useless to drive, as can severe body damage. These damages also look unsightly, which is a concern for people who might want to resell their cars. The focus on the framework of a car sets a body shop aside from a regular auto repair shop. In a general auto shop, all sorts of auto repairs may be handled. These repairs can range from routine maintenance, such as changing the oil, to rebuilding engines. These services may also be offered in some body shops, depending on their size.

Body shops typically work on cars damaged from a collision.
Body shops typically work on cars damaged from a collision.

Typically, a body shop includes welding and painting facilities along with lifts and heavy tool benches. The staff are specifically trained in the repair of body damage, and some of them may have pursued additional certification. It is also not uncommon to see a body shop which specializes in a particular make or style of car. These body shops can be excellent for people who own these cars, because the staff knows the cars inside and out.

When a car enters a body shop for repairs, trained staff will estimate the general cost. The staff may need to fabricate new parts, order new sections, or use brute force to bend the frame of the car back into shape. In all cases, repairing the damages can get extremely expensive, especially if the damages are substantial. The estimate is submitted to the car's owner, who decides whether or not to go ahead with repairs.

In some cases, the cost of repairs will add up to more than the car is worth. In this case, the owner will usually ask the body shop to scrap the car. If the payments are being covered by insurance, the insurance company will order the car destroyed and they will replace the car with a new one. Because body damage is so expensive, some drivers like to get comprehensive insurance, so that they know that their cars will be repaired or replaced in the event of major damage.

Auto body shops often fix dents and repaint cars and trucks.
Auto body shops often fix dents and repaint cars and trucks.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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