This is an article written for Off The Throttle by Korey Adekoya of Shabana Motors.
After a car accident, one major source of stress is the repair process. However, once any necessary repairs are complete, how do you know if your vehicle is truly fixed?
If you’ve had major work done to your car after an accident, look out for these warning signs that it may not be fixed:
Responsible car owners should frequently check under their car for any possible leaks. However, it is especially important to watch out for any leaks after picking your vehicle up from the body shop.
Low or damaged tires
After an accident, it’s possible that one or more of your tires were damaged and needed to be repaired or replaced. If this is the case, there’s no reason why your tires should be damaged when you pick up your vehicle. If they are, contact the auto body shop immediately. The dealership may have provided a faulty tire or the body shop may have overlooked a potential problem. It’s extremely dangerous to drive with damaged tires, as one or more of the tires could blow and cause another accident.
Headlights, break lights, and turn signals
It’s essential to ensure that all your headlights, break lights, and turn signals are working properly before leaving the auto body shop. In the same way that driving on low or damaged tires can cause a blowout, driving without the appropriate lights and turn signals can cause a major accident – potentially putting yourself and others in harm’s way.
Gauges and indicators
Your gauges and indicators should be working properly after picking your car up from being repaired. Sometimes, everything will appear normal for a little while – and then the “check engine light” or “change oil light” will pop up, alerting you to a potential problem. This could be a new issue or it could be related to the previous bodywork. It’s best to call or visit the auto shop where your vehicle repairs were completed if this happens.
Alignment (pulling to the left or right)
Running over potholes is one of the most common reasons to take a car to the shop. Not all roads are adequately maintained, and potholes are fairly routine. Depending on your driving speed and the size of the pothole, the damage may be as simple as a flat tire or as severe as a damaged rim and bent frame.
The suspension systems in most vehicles are multi-faceted, with several small and subtle parts that aren’t always easily recognized (even by the most experienced technicians). If you have any suspension work done to your vehicle and it still isn’t aligned straight – for example, if your vehicle is pulling to one side of the road – then verify that the body shop continues to investigate the issue until they find a solution.
When enduring major repairs on your vehicle, efficient auto shops will ensure that all your fluids are filled at maximum capacity before handing you the keys. Regardless, car owners should do their due diligence to ensure that there are adequate fluid levels in their vehicles at all times.
One way to minimize the potential for these warning signs is to do your research and select a reputable auto repair shop with excellent reviews. Yelp is a valuable resource that allows you to type in the business or service you want and find ratings and reviews to aid in your selection.
There are many ways a car can drive differently after an accident. Be prepared by knowing what to look for when picking up your car from the shop and by communicating with the technicians doing the repairs.
About the Author
Korey Adekoya works with Shabana Motors in Houston, TX. He runs the Shabana Motors Blog where he writes specifically about fixing bad credit and in-house financing options.