Repainting is one of the most expensive and potentially challenging repairs to make in the aftermath of a collision. Poor paint jobs will noticeably change your vehicle's appearance and may drastically impact its future resale value. On the other hand, a good paint job can have your car looking like a million bucks, and possibly even better than it did the day that it rolled it off of the factory floor. This range of potential outcomes leaves many car owners reluctant to approve paintwork following a severe accident, but there are some clear indications that a respray is the only option. Likewise, there are some cases where your car may be repairable without requiring new paint at all.

Are Exterior Panels Being Replaced?

Was a door, bumper, or fender severely damaged in the accident? If an appraiser has determined that an entire exterior panel requires replacement, then your car will need at least some paintwork. The new parts will not arrive pre-painted, leaving the body shop with the task of painting and blending them to match the existing paint on your vehicle. Unfortunately, the modern methods use for automotive painting make it nearly impossible to match a single panel to the rest of a car's body. In other words, even a body panel painted professionally using factory colors will not perfectly blend in with the surrounding paint.

To account for this, auto body shops use a technique known as blending. The shop will prep and paint portions of adjacent panels to create a smooth blend between the old and new paint. While this is not a perfect solution, the gradient creates an illusion of a single color and will minimize any difference in appearance. A good blending job should be virtually invisible, even if you know it's there.

Was The Damage Across a Single Panel Extensive?

Repainting is sometimes necessary if a panel doesn't require replacement. For example, an accident may have left several dents and scratches across your trunk or quarter panel. The structural damage to the body panel may not be severe enough to warrant replacement, but cosmetic damage is present across a significant portion of its surface. In this case, the same issues with blending a new panel will crop up on a smaller scale. Simply touching up the damaged areas will create an inconsistent paint job, so most body shops will prefer to strip and repaint the entire panel. By taking this approach, the shop can use the same method described above to blend the repainted panel with the surrounding portions of your car.

Is Paintless Dent Repair An Option?

Finally, there may be some situations where a collision does not require any paintwork at all. Three conditions must be met for paintless dent repair (PDR) to be an option:

  • The affected panel has not been structurally compromised
  • The metal has not been creased
  • The paint has not been damaged

A skilled body shop can very quickly evaluate your car to determine if PDR is an option. Some collisions may require a mix of traditional repair and PDR, especially if there is damage present on multiple panels in varying degrees.

Ultimately, it is best to trust the appraisal performed by a skilled body shop. While having your car repainted in whole or in part can be scary, a good shop can have your vehicle looking as good as new again.

To learn more, contact a company like Automotive Cosmetic Repair Specialist