Time Required for Repairs


Repair time, also known in the industry as "cycle time," or how long your car will be in the body shop, is determined by a number of factors, not the least of which is the severity, nature and extent of the damage.

Generally speaking, the use of OE, or original equipment, parts can help speed repairs. Here are a few reasons why:

  • When a part fits properly, like an OE collision part should, the technician can install the part and move on to the next operation. When a part does not fit correctly, the technician must either take more time to attempt to make the part fit properly—possibly compromising the quality of the repair and the final appearance of the vehicle—or try another part. Ordering another part can cause a delay of a day or more.
  • Vehicle manufacturers don’t recommend the use of salvage parts. Sometimes, however, a salvage part is specified for the repair. When this happens, the salvage part may need to be reconditioned, cleaned-up, have small dents removed, and have the paint completely sanded before it is ready to be fitted to your car. This could cause delays.
  • The use of multiple parts suppliers may slow the repair process.

In some cases, the body shop is authorized to write an estimate for repairs and the insurer will accept that estimate. In other cases, your insurance company may require its own estimator or adjuster to look at the car. This usually consumes a day or more.

Time Required

Be sure to ask the shop how long repairs will take. Generally speaking, everyone involved in the process—you the customer, the shop and the insurer—wants you to get your car back as soon as possible. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Today, repairs are often completed over a number of days, depending on the severity of damage. If the repair time estimate seems excessive (barring heavy structural damage), consider another shop.