(NAPSI)—Auto accidents are more common than you may think. In fact, an estimated 15,000 drivers per day need to find a collision repair shop, according to NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you find yourself looking for a collision repair shop, body shop or bump shop—whatever you have grown up calling them—remember that all repair shops are NOT created equal. Today’s high-tech cars and trucks feature more advanced designs and materials, and more changes are coming down the road.

With these advances in vehicle technologies, it’s more important than ever that your collision repair shop has the most up-to-date training, and the necessary tools and equipment, to properly fix your vehicle so it is structurally sound in the event of another accident. That’s why you need to ask the right questions when choosing a qualified collision repair shop, even if you have a favorite shop or a friend in the business.

Updated Training Is Key

One way to know if your collision repair shop has updated training with technicians who have the knowledge to properly fix your vehicle is to look for Gold Class® shops. This recognition is awarded by I-CAR®, a not-for-profit organization focused on improving the quality and safety of auto collision repair for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.

Gold Class is recognized by many major automakers and insurers as a standard of excellence, indicating a shop is properly trained to provide complete, safe and quality repairs, which is what you’ll want for your vehicle. In fact, Gold Class shops are required to provide training to all their collision repair technicians every year.

To help you make a more informed decision, I-CAR recommends asking a few additional questions when you take your damaged vehicle to a collision repair shop:

• Does the business have the current Gold Class plaque in its lobby, or the current Gold Class logo on its front door?

• Does it display other vehicle maker and/or industry certifications?

• Does the shop have experience working with your make and model of vehicle?

• Does it have modern equipment, such as a three-dimensional measuring system, a paint-mixing system and a spray booth?

• Does the shop access and follow OEM repair procedures and refer to I-CAR repair guidelines and best practice information?

• Is the staff friendly, courteous and willing to answer your questions?

• Is the facility clean and well organized?

• Does the shop have good word of mouth and reviews?

Today, only 10 percent of collision repair shops have completed the rigorous training requirements needed to achieve Gold Class. Is your go-to shop one of them?

To see if the repair shop you select is Gold Class, look for the Gold Class logo on the door, a current Gold Class plaque inside or, best of all, check online at www.GoldClass.com for a complete listing of all shops that currently hold the industry-standard designation. The quality and safety of your vehicle, and most importantly, the safety and peace of mind of you and your family, might depend on it.


On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)