We know that not everyone is as familiar as we are with all the aspects of returning your car to it’s original condition after you’ve suffered a collision. So we’ve tried to anticipate all your questions here, grouped according to the following general topics.

Getting An Estimate

Do I need an appointment to get an estimate?
No appointment is needed. If your car is not too damaged to drive you are welcome to bring it to the shop for an estimate any time. Our hours are 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. And here’s our address and a map to the shop.

What happens when my vehicle is towed to the shop?
When we receive your vehicle we take photos of the damage. Then we tear down the damaged areas and write up an estimate. We’ll call you with a preliminary figure for the repairs.

Do I have to get multiple estimates?
There is no law that requires you to get more than one estimate.

Are estimates free?

How long will the estimate take?
Allow approximately 20 minutes for us to inspect your car and write an estimate. If the damage is extensive or you have an unusual or custom vehicle it may take longer.

Can I get a ride home after dropping off my vehicle?
We offer free shuttle service within a 5 mile radius of our Lake City shop. We can also pick you up after we’ve finished repairing your car.

What about car rentals?
Enterprise Car Rent-A-Carl has an office about a mile from our shop. We’d be happy to take you there. They can be reached at (206) 364-3127. Or we can assist you in arranging a rental car.

Can I pay for the repair with a credit card?
Yes, we take Visa and Master Card.

I noticed that you are I-Car Gold Certified, what does this mean?
Being I-CAR Gold certified means that our technicians have the training and knowledge to properly inspect and repair your vehicle. We are trained to detect hidden damage and to be fully versed in all the state-of-the-art skills and techniques required to return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Learn more about I-Car certification. Download a pdf about I-Car Gold certification.

You refer to being Certifed by the CertiedFirst Network. What does this mean to me?
The CertifiedFirst Network is comprised of dealership and independently owned auto body repair centers that meet high standards for customer satisfaction, and offer impressive levels of quality, courtesy and professionalism. Learn about why you should choose a Certified First certified shop like Stetner Auto Body.

And what about your membership in the ACA?
The Autobody Craftsman Association is a non-profit trade association comprised of individual and independent businesses within the automobile collision repair industry in the Northwest. As a member Stetner Auto Body takes advantage of repair classes offered by the association and agrees to abide by a code of ethics. Learn more about the ACA.

And I also noticed the Good Housekeeping seal on your home page, what does that mean?
Since 1909 the Good Housekeeping Seal has been a highly recognized symbol of  a business’ trustworthiness. The seal may be carried only by those businesses that have been reviewed and accepted by Good Housekeeping.

What about the Better Business Bureau?
We are also accredited by the Better Business Bureau. We are proud of our commitment to fair and honest business dealings. Here you can learn about the membership standards for the Northwest chapter of the BBB.

Insurance Issues

Do I have a choice of where to get my car repaired?
Yes, you can have your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice. Washington State law (WAC 284-30-3903) does not allow your insurance company to dictate that you go to a specific shop.

My insurance company wants me to bring my car to their claims center for an appraisal. Do I have to do this?
You may want to do them that favor, or you may leave your car at our shop and request that they inspect it here.

Can you help me negotiate with my insurance company?
We are happy to assist our customers by working directly with the insurance company to process their claims.

What is a deductible?
The deductible is a specified amount of money that you are obligated to pay before your insurance company will pay on your claim. The deductible amount is determined by the terms of the policy that you and your agent decided on when you arranged to insure the car.

Can you save me from paying all or part of my deductible?
An honest repair shop will always say no to this question, and here’s why: An insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. Essentially it says that you’ve agreed to pay the first portion of the cost of repairs if you file a claim. In return your premium is lower than it would be. This is not only  because the company pays less in claims, but also because deductibles cut down on people cheating the company with false claims. You may recall choosing between a lower deductible and higher premiums when you first arranged for insurance.

If a body shop conspires with you to “bury the deductible” this constitutes insurance fraud and is against the law. Insurance appraisers are very experienced in estimating the costs of repairs and can’t be fooled by an inflated estimate. In order to “bury the deductible” an auto shop will have to make short cuts in repairing your car. In this case you get a second-rate repair job which lowers your car’s value at trade-in time. And remember, a shop that will cheat the insurance company will cheat the customer as well.

Repair Concerns

How soon can you start to work on my car?
We will start repairs on our vehicle as soon as we have approval of the estimate by you or the insurance company and we’ve acquired the parts.

Do you use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts in your repairs?
We prefer to use OEM parts in our repairs and will do so whenever we can. However, the insurance company may require us to locate and install used parts or aftermarket parts, based on the policy. This is a matter between you and your insurance company, though we may be able to help you with the negotiation.

Do you repair unibody constructed vehicles?
Yes, since the 1970’s nearly all vehicles have been built with unibody construction which saves weight while maintaining strength.

What if my car has frame damage, can it still be repaired?
Yes, we have the experienced technicians and all of the state of the art equipment required to straighten your car’s frame and be sure that it’s back to specifications.

Will the new paint match my existing paint?
Our trained paint experts and state of the art computer controlled PPG paint mixing system assure a perfect match with your vehicle’s existing paint. Learn more about PPG auto finishes.

Does Stetner Auto Body offer a warranty?
We know that your vehicle represents one of your most important family investments, so our repairs are covered for as long as you own your car. Please call us for warranty details. Our 35 year record of satisfying customers here at the same location in Lake City is your assurance that we’ll be around to stand by our work.

After the Repair

How soon can I wash my car?
The car may be washed within a few days using a mild car soap and a gentle cloth or sponge.

How soon may I wax my vehicle?
We recommend waiting 90 days for the finish to completely cure before you wax it for the first time.

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