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Old 11-11-2010, 01:21 AM   #33
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: VA
Posts: 13,119
My Ride: E60M
Dispelling a myth: "Certified" Bodyshops

Ok, there's a lot of talk about finding "BMW Certified Bodyshops" to fix your car. These are myths. You may as well be hunting bigfoot.

Bodyshop technicians do recieve pretty intensive training in collision repair. They are certified by I-CAR at different levels (Gold, Platinum, etc). This means that they attend a certain number of classes a year, and pay I-CAR to maintain their certification. I am I-CAR Platinum certified, even though I have never done collision repair in my life. I paid to go to the classes, and paid to keep my certification up. Actually, mine has probably expired by now.

The closest you will find to a "BMW certified body shop" is the shop that a dealer recommends you go to. All this means is that the dealer has a good relationship with that shop. I've seen several terrible shops that have good relationships with their local high-end car dealers. I've seen one marginal body shop that is owned by a BMW dealer.

Mechanics can get factory training, but collision repair is collision repair. I-CAR teaches the fine differences between attaching a BMW fender versus attaching a Toyota fender (here's a hint, there are different numbers of bolts).

When your adjuster gives you some suggestions for good shops, listen to them. We are legally prohibited from "steering" you towards shops, to prevent the appearance of impropriety, but we can let you know of shops that have good reputations in your area. I cannot give you my opinion of those shops, I can merely reflect on what I know as fact. Are their repairs good? Do they get things done quickly? Are they easy to deal with?

I typically won't offer this information, since offering it without you asking could possibly be construed as "steering", but if you ask me for recommendations, or you ask me about a specific shop, I will certainly tell you what I can about them.

When you ask a dealer for a body shop recommendation, they're going to recommend whoever they have a good business relationship with, or whatever shop they own. The quality of work doesn't matter as much to them.

I'm not going to bad-mouth any shops in this thread, because that's not what this thread is for. But if you have questions about specifics, I can certainly answer some about shops that I've worked with.
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