After an accident, you may wonder, “can I repair my car myself?” While it may be tempting to take matters into your own hands, it’s essential to recognize the risks that come with repairing your own vehicle; you should also remember when it is beneficial to do so and when you should take your car to a specialist.
In this article, we will look at the various situations in which repairs are necessary to determine if you can repair your car yourself after an auto accident or other collision.
Before You Do Anything: Is There a Lien on Your Vehicle?
Before you decide to start any repairs on your car, it’s essential to consider whether you own your car or are still under financing. If you haven’t paid your car off yet, a bank or other lender may still have a lien on your vehicle. This means that the lender owns the title, and they may not want to risk anything happening to the car—after all, it’s their money that’s on the line.
Lienholders will instead prefer that you take your vehicle to a certified professional, and in some cases, they can even control which shop you go to. It’s always best to refer to your loan agreement and look for conditions regarding repairs in case of an accident.
If nothing is listed in your agreement regarding specific auto shops and the lienholder is still trying to control where you go for repairs, you may want to consult with a branch manager regarding your contractual obligations.
If You Own the Vehicle
You have more options if you own your car outright, meaning you own the title and there’s no lien on your vehicle. In these cases, you can most likely take the insurance payout and use it to repair the car on your own, if that’s what you choose. Alternatively, you can use that money and go to an auto repair shop.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t always the case, and your insurance policy may have certain restrictions on whether you can or cannot repair your car on your own and which shops you can go to—similar to the restrictions you may face under a lienholder.
If You Decide to Repair Your Car on Your Own
If you decide that you’re going to make the repairs yourself, getting an adjuster to look at the damage may not be a bad idea. An adjuster can get you a more accurate estimate on what the repairs could cost—this will allow you to know what kind of settlement you should go after and if the money will cover everything you need to make the repairs. In the long run, it has the potential to save you a good amount of money.
Remember, if you decide to take matters into your own hands—and you mess up any repairs—additional costs will come out of your pocket. Make sure your abilities are up
to par with the necessary repairs. If you have to stop and think, “can I repair my car myself?” you should probably consider taking the vehicle into a shop.
If you’re confident in your ability to repair your vehicle, make sure that you know your settlement will be enough to cover all the expenses that come with the repair. The last thing you want is to run out of money during your repair, rendering your vehicle useless and leaving you in a position where you can no longer continue with the repairs.
The Different Types of Repairs
You’ll want to consider the repair that you’ll need to perform on your vehicle. Some repairs will need professional attention due to their complexity, while others may be something that you can perform at home.
There are a variety of repairs your car may need, the most common being the following:
- Collision repairs.
- Frame and structural repairs.
- Cosmetic touch-ups.
- Vandalism and theft repairs.
- Dent repairs.
- Suspension and alignment.
- Mechanical repairs.
Without the proper equipment, you could end up causing more damage to your vehicle. Alternatively, going out of your way to buy equipment can take up a lot of your settlement, and if you’re not versed in how to use the equipment, you could cause yourself further financial strain.
Depending on the insurance company, your insurer may refuse to provide you with future comprehensive or collision coverage if you choose to do your own repairs—especially if further damage occurs to the part that you repaired.
In more complex cases, the small amount of money that you’ll save during the initial repair may not be worth the long-term damage you can do to your vehicle and the relationship between you and your insurance company.
What If I Can’t Afford the Repairs?
If you find yourself in a position where you can’t afford the repairs on the vehicle, you could either be missing out on a proper settlement or you may be getting a higher quote from a mechanic. In these circumstances, it’s imperative that you speak with your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company to see if you may be missing out on compensation. If more complicated cases, you may want to speak with an auto accident lawyer.
If you’ve only gone to one auto shop and you can’t afford their quoted repairs, you may want to shop around and see if you can’t find a more affordable—still reliable—shop. Make sure that you’re staying in contact with your insurer and lienholder if applicable to ensure that you stay in-network.
Visit Schneider Auto for Your Repairs
If, after pondering, “can I repair my car myself?” you find that you’re in over your head, give the experts at Schneider Auto Karosserie Body & Paint a call. We have been providing quality auto repair services to the Salt Lake Valley since 1984.
We won't let you down as a certified I-CAR Gold Class Shop and an Acura and Honda ProFirst Certified Collision Repair Shop. Get in touch with us today for an estimate.