Top 5 questions to ask your panel beater

Sheen Resources
Panel beating
Sheen Panel Service
April 14, 2023
April 21, 2023
7 minute read

Let's face it. The last thing you want after smashing up your car is a dodgy panel beater ripping you off. A car accident is upsetting enough without worrying about whether you're getting the best deal on smash repairs.

It can be hard to keep a cool head in the aftermath of a smash, but you need to think practically and choose the right panel beater to repair your vehicle. Sounds easier said than done, right? Not necessarily. If you want to avoid being ripped off or having a second-rate job done on your car, then you just need to ask the right questions.

A good panel beater should expect you to ask a few questions - after all, you're enlisting them to fix and restore your pride and joy. Ask them the following five questions before you commit to the smash repair process and pay close attention to the answers they give.

If you've done a serious number on your car, upload your smash and we'll give you a quote within the hour.

1. Are your parts the real deal?

Cheap panel beaters seem like a great deal, but the poor workmanship and non-genuine parts can cost you more down the road. If you don't fancy having to pay another panel beater to repair the repairs and reverse the shoddy work completed by cheap panel beaters, make sure you choose a panel beater with a good reputation and a lot of experience in the smash repair business.

The number one thing that cheap panel beaters are known for is using non-genuine aftermarket replacement parts that do not meet the specifications set by the car manufacturer. These aren't subject to the same quality standards as genuine parts and are therefore cheaper upfront. However, they can end up costing you significantly more in the long run as they may wear more quickly, break more easily, or simply not function as required.

Genuine parts are more expensive to buy upfront because they come with a lifetime guarantee from the vehicle's manufacturer and are made to precise finish and fit specifications. They are the only thing a reputable panel beater will use. Using anything else may risk the safety and reliability of your vehicle, and only panel beaters who cut corners will do that.

Genuine Parts

2. How do you choose your methods of repair?

Ask your panel beater to explain how they determine the process of repairing your vehicle. This is a great way to discreetly check their standards and if they have set procedures in place.

While set procedures may sound like a good thing, what you should be looking for is a set process that involves examining your car from top to tail and assessing everything about it that needs to be repaired. A panel beater's approach to smash repairs on your vehicle should be completely personalised. If you've driven both a sedan and an SUV during your lifetime, you'll understand why: no two cars are exactly alike. Settle for nothing less than a tailored quote for your smash repairs.

At Sheen Panel Service, we choose our method of repair based on the manufacturers approved repair method. Anything outside this scope doesn't fall into the spec of the manufacturer. When we put together panel beater quotes for our customers, there are multiple factors we take into account, such as the extent of the damage and the age of your vehicle.

Our Upload Your Smash page enables us to come back to you with a quote within the hour, but we also carefully examine your car in our panel shop, as the many factors that determine how a repair should be undertaken can't always be depicted in photographs. There may very well be structural damage hidden behind the cosmetic detrition to your car, and we can talk you through all our methods of repair.

3. What's the level of experience held by the team?

You wouldn't want just anyone to work on your vehicle - reputation matters. Ask your panel beater about how much experience they have in the smash repairs industry and whether they can make dealing with your insurer as painless as possible by assisting you through the claims process. You won’t need to be concerned about shoddy smash repair techniques if the panel beater you choose has been in the business for a long time.

Ask them if they have:

  • Trade school qualifications, e.g., they are trained and certified to work on your vehicle.
  • Current membership with the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC). As VACC-affiliated body repairers, they will comply with all VACC equipment standards, repair standards, and disputation procedures.
  • Specialist training from professional auto industry organisations such as I-CAR and BASF.

In addition to this, research panel beaters online to see what other people are saying about their customer service and repair techniques. Find out if they're committed to new, environmentally-friendly ways of repairing cars by asking if they're Clean Green accredited. A CG certification requires businesses to adhere to the highest environmental standards and minimise emissions like VOC and oil-run off. It also helps to check Google reviews and other review websites to see what others think of the business.

4. Do you offer a lifetime guarantee?

As VACC-affiliated body repairers, Sheen Panel Service complies with all VACC equipment standards, repair standards, and disputation procedures. VACC members must offer a minimum three-year warranty on all smash repair services, and we have been a proud and active member of the VACC for over 40 years.

However, Sheen Panel Service goes one step further by offering a lifetime guarantee on all our repairs - providing our customers with additional peace of mind in choosing us as their panel beater.

Most of our competitors will only offer a limited guarantee on smash repairs. Our confidence in our work is one of the areas in which we stand out from the crowd. Our lifetime guarantee means that if a fault is detected in our work, even if it's several years down the track, then we'll repair the issue at no cost to you. Check out our Before & After Gallery for proof of our top-quality repairs.

Asking about a lifetime guarantee is a surefire way to find a panel beater who will work with you every step of the way. Don't accept second best when it comes to smash repairs - get workmanship that is guaranteed to restore the condition and value of your vehicle.

5. Can you help me out with an accident replacement vehicle?

This might be the first question that springs to mind when searching for a panel beater, but don't forget to ask the others as well if you want to get the best deal for smash repair services.

Whether you've dented your car or had a more serious accident, an alternative form of transportation while it is towed and repaired is crucial.

When consulting a panel beater, ask if:

  • They offer an accident replacement vehicle. No one wants a rental car fee on top of smash repair costs.    
  • If you can specify where you want the replacement vehicle delivered (home, work, school, gym, etc).
  • Whether their replacement vehicles come in a range of options (small car, family-sized unit, trade ute or service van).
  • If they offer post-service care and conduct a full follow-up to ensure you're fully satisfied in the weeks following repairs.

At Sheen Panel Service, we'll get you back on the road straight away with a replacement vehicle that suits your lifestyle. Our fleet features over 400 modern vehicles with options for families and tradies. Plus, when you pick up your repaired vehicle, it will be repaired to pre-crash condition – valeted, detailed, and with a complimentary gift bag.


Want a free smash repair quote?

At Sheen Panel Service, we provide great value smash repairs. We don't cut corners, and we only use genuine parts. You can rely on us to be transparent about how we come up with our smash repair cost estimates and to keep you informed about the progress of your vehicle's repairs. Our extended operating hours enable customers to pick up or drop off their cars outside of office hours, and we are even open on Saturdays until 12pm.

Our team is contactable 24 hours a day, and if you're unable to upload your smash, you can call us and speak to someone straight away. We offer post-service care and a lifetime guarantee on all work completed. Want to learn more about Sheen Panel Service? Call us to find out why we're among the best panel beaters in Melbourne.


Upload your smash to get started with Sheen

By uploading photos of your smash, Sheen can help you get back on the road sooner. Using the photos you provide, we can get started on preparing an accurate quote for smash repairs.