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Collision, Restoration or Body Shop: What’s the Difference?

Car owners, do you know the difference between a collision center, car restoration, or auto body shop? If not, expect to lose both time and money as you learn the differences… the hard way.

Why It’s Crucial to Know The Shops

Customers need to know the differences between collision, restoration, and body shops to be able to select the appropriate business that offers the services they require. One reason? It’s because of the estimates that customers will receive often vary widely between the shops.

Each shop based on its specialization and experience will factor in and/or exclude various assumed conditions.

A collision center repairs the functioning of your car after an accident. The majority of traffic collisions create destruction and the potential loss of your car. Restoration reinstates old, often antique vehicles, to their previous working and aesthetic condition. Restoration also restores the vehicle to its “authentic” state. The fundamental service of a body shop is to provide cosmetic repairs or to manufacture the body of an automobile or truck.

Body Shop

Collision vs. Restoration vs. Body

A body shop’s estimate often includes damage that is not immediately apparent as compared with a collision specialist. Different shops will have different rates for labor. Just a dollar or two’s difference in hourly labor charges can make a significant difference by the time you receive the estimate or bill.

Another difference to consider is the type of parts each shop will be using. A collision specialist may be more apt or agreeable to using recycled or aftermarket parts than a body shop.

For collision repair, your insurance and or lease company may also have a say in the types of components used for the repair, whether they be new OEM, aftermarket, or recycled parts.


For many people, it makes the most sense to repair mechanical problems before the cosmetic damages following a collision. The damaged components of your vehicle can be repaired and replaced by the collision repair shop.

The mechanic will use high-tech equipment to diagnose, say for example if your car’s check engine light is on and recommend the necessary parts to initiate or improve its functioning.


Restoration corrects underlying damage to the vehicle that is difficult to detect and most likely unseen. Inspection usually entails the use of lasers and ultrasound that can measure a vehicle’s frame, for example, to properly align and straighten it.

A cosmetic restoration technique for replacing a car’s original paint often entails the use of a spectral analyzer, which is a device that can scan factory paint samples as well as your vehicle’s current finish to match and correct the proper shade and help to prevent it from fading over time.

Body Shops

Not all mechanics have the necessary skills required to complete collision repair work. It is easier to consider the difference if you compare, say a plastic surgeon to a general practitioner.

The body shop specialist will evaluate your vehicle in its entirety for the purposes of repairing the entire appearance of the vehicle. They can then recommend the required treatment for dent removal, application of paint, fender repair and body part replacement.

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