Is body damage expensive to repair?

If you’re wondering “is body damage expensive to repair”; the answer is, it depends. The make, model, age and extent of the body damage are the main contributing factors to the cost. If the parts are hard to find or the damage is serious – it will cost more. This is due to the hours required to fix the problem and the price of any replacement parts.

1. What is the purpose of auto body repair?

Auto body repair is the process of repairing, restoring, refinishing or replacing vehicle chassis, frames, panels, windshields and glass. It’s used to return the car, van or truck to good working condition, usually after an accident. The types of tools an auto body repairer uses and the processes they apply depends on the type of damage they are fixing.

2. What is the most expensive thing to fix on a car?

The make, model and age of your car are big factors in how expensive a repair will be. But some of the universally most expensive things to fix on a car are:

  • Catalytic converter – The parts are £150-£850, so with labour, the bill will be much higher.
  • Alternator – Repairing or replacing an alternator is £150-£300.
  • Door panels & bumpers – Just parts for this can run you £300-£700.
  • Clutch – Here the labour is the main cost at several hours to replace a clutch for £450 quid on average.
  • Head gasket – For around £600, you can get a head gasket repaired.
  • Timing belt or cambelt – Costs to replace these depend on time and parts ranging from £200-£1000 pounds.
  • Radiator- Expect to pay around £250-£750 to repair a radiator.

3. What are the most common car repairs?

The most common car repairs are spark plugs, fuel cap tightening, oxygen sensor replacement, brake jobs, oil changes, tyres, ignition systems and electricals. How much this repair will cost and how long it will take depends on the configuration of the vehicle, easy access to parts and the skill of the car repair technician. Always go to an accident repair centre with expertise in your vehicle, especially if it’s a classic or rare car.

Reader’s Digest CA explains, “The availability of parts is one of the biggest challenges classic car owners face, and it can be a tough one to overcome. You can increase your chances of getting the parts you need by joining a local classic car club, attending auctions and car shows and learning about online sources of vintage parts. You can also seek out modern-day equivalents to classic parts in cases where the originals are simply not available.”

4. What is the hardest repair on a car?

Anything that requires you to take out the engine or the transmission is the hardest repair on a car. This might be an engine replacement or transmission repair but even when replacing a clutch the transmission needs to be removed, so it’s a tough job too. Beyond these two components, the Air Con is a difficult fix involving a lot of different parts which can be fiddly to manage. Lastly, bodywork (especially frame straightening) is a specialist field requiring fairly specific training to get a good and seamless finish.

5. How much does it cost to fix a scratch on a bumper?

Fixing a scratch on a bumper is quick and easy costing around £150-£250 to complete. That’s good because these sorts of car repairs are common as nicks and dings in the parking lot will happen over the life of your car. Remember that you can get a quote before visiting a body shop by sending in a picture of the damage. If you’ve only scratched the clear coat, you may be able to remove this yourself with a repair kit from the shop. But, if the paint is scratched, you’ll want to take it to a professional.

6. How much does it cost to repair a cracked bumper?

This depends on the amount of damage to the bumper. If it doesn’t need to be replaced, costs can be as low as £600. If you do need to replace the bumper, parts are around £300-£700 and it will take a few hours to get the old bumper off and put the new bumper on. For this, expect your bill to be around £800-£1000 and take around two working days to finish. But, you will have a brand new bumper afterwards with no weak points.

7. How to find a good accident repair centre

Finding a good accident repair centre isn’t a mystery. First, it’s a great idea to ask friends and family for their recommendations. These are people you know and trust who can provide full context to the service and quality of the auto body shop. But, if that’s not an option, maybe because you live in an isolated area, why not turn to online reviews. Trustpilot and Google reviews can give you a wide-ranging snapshot of the mechanic on their best and worst days. This can help you make a decision about two or three places to contact for a quote.

To get the best quote, send them pictures of the body damage you’re looking to repair. Get a few quotes for an all-in price. Don’t forget to ask them if they’ve worked on your make and model before. This might be the deciding factor if the quotes come in an all-around similar range. Remember that you can ask for any old parts back and if you’re not happy with the repair, ask them to fix it before you pay. If they are unable to resolve your issue, talk to the Motor Ombudsman for support.

8. Summary

Is body damage expensive to repair? Not always. Scratches can be fixed in under an hour by a qualified technician for under £250, even when the bare metal is showing. Bumpers and panel replacements cost a lot more – into the £1000 range. And any job where the transmission and motor need to be removed is likely to be pricey. But keeping your car in good condition and repairing body damage is the key to protecting your investment.

What is shot blasting?

Shot blasting is not as common of a term as sandblasting but it involves using round abrasives to get rust, oxidation, dirt and other debris off of metal components so they can be worked with and painted or refinished. But what does it actually do, what’s the difference between sandblasting and shot blasting and why would you want the procedure for your vehicle. We’ll answer all these questions and more in this 7-minute read.

1. What does shot blasting do?

Shot blasting removes contaminants like oxidation, rust and dirt from metals but also concrete and some ceramics. Metal Supermarkets explains, “Shot blasting works by propelling round materials known as shot media against a surface which in turn removes the contaminants of the surface and also can improve its finish. What type of shot media is used is a very important decision for the shot blasting process. The size and hardness of the shot material will dictate how much surface removal of the material being cleaned will occur. The type of material being cleaned will also play a role in the effectiveness of the shot blasting process. Typically, the shot material and size will be selected depending on the composition of the material whose surface is being shot blasted.” That’s why you need to hire a shot blasting team that knows what they’re doing or you risk damage to your vehicle.

2. What is the difference between shot blasting and sandblasting?

Sandblasting uses grains of sand and air to push the sand out at a high velocity. Shot blasting uses uniform and round particles to clean just as well but without the air propulsion. Finishing Systems explains, “The term “shot blasting” refers to the process of propelling abrasive media material with centrifugal or mechanical force. Shotblasting has an entirely different [pressurising] system than sandblasting. This abrasive treatment method uses a device similar to a spinning wheel to centrifugally accelerate shot-like material and blast it against a surface.” Sandblasting isn’t even done anymore in the UK with actual silica sand because it’s very dangerous and causes lung cancer.

3. Is shot blasting safe?

Of course, shot blasting is safe but with any advanced cleansing procedure it needs to be performed by a trained technician. Ervin explains, “While the process is relatively straightforward, the utmost care must be taken in its application. Any abrasive shot used in the blasting process will be propelled at extreme velocity and can cause significant harm to workers if the correct precautions are not taken. This can cause lacerations, puncture wounds, and worse. A poorly prepared blasting space can also result in significant material and property damage, causing significant loss of time and resources while the issue is properly addressed and cleared.” When undertaking shot blasting work, make sure to find an experienced body shop that adheres to all the required safety protocols.

4. Why is sandblasting banned?

Sandblasting isn’t actually banned but the use of silica sand is. You can still use air propulsion to fire abrasives at metal, ceramic and so on, but you can’t use silica anymore. This is because the material was causing lung cancer in sandblasting technicians and other exposed workers because the process creates a lot of dust and debris. That debris is hard to control and protect against, leading to a high cancer risk. So it was banned in the 50s.

5. How much is shot blasting?

The cost of shot blasting varies but £20-£40 per hour is fairly standard. So, for specific items, you might expect to pay the following:

  • Car Wheels: £15 + VAT each
  • Motorcycle Frames: £70 +VAT with powder coating
  • Car Chassis: £140 + VAT with primer
  • Roll Bars: £80 + VAT with powder coating
  • Bull Bars: £70 + VAT with powder coating
  • Lorry Chassis and Sides: from £650 + VAT with primer

 

Checkatrade suggests, “if you’re considering sandblasting, speak to local specialists for their professional advice and options for your project. Ask for detailed quotes with accurate sandblasting costs in your area. Discuss the need for permits and any other potential costs you may incur. Shop around for fair and competitive sandblasting costs. Always hire a tradesperson with relevant experience and ask to see examples of their recent work. When hiring a tradesperson, check their previous customer reviews to confirm the quality of their work.”

6. What is the purpose of abrasive blasting?

The purpose of abrasive blasting is to prepare the material (usually metal) for painting, finishing, peen and other treatments. It removes surface debris. This cleans and prepares the surface for other activities like powder coating, vinyl, paint and more. There are many kinds of abrasive blasting including grit and shot. But this refers mostly to the materials used and the way the abrasive is delivered to the material’s surface. The shot is rounded pellets and grit is irregular abrasive material like sand or walnut shells. What you use for your project depends on your needs and what is being prepared. You’d use abrasive or grit blasting on surfaces where the metal shot won’t work.

7. What is abrasive blasting process?

Different from shot blasting, the abrasive blasting process uses an air nozzle instead of centrifugal force to strip surfaces. Progressive Surface explains, “Abrasive grit blasting, or [sandblast cleaning] is a surface treatment process widely used in a variety of different industries with many diverse purposes. Abrasive blasting is the process by which an abrasive media is accelerated through a blasting nozzle by means of compressed air. The abrasive used varies based on the surface treatment required.” This differs from the shot blast process as those media are rounded and delivered via a spinning wheel.

8. Summary

In summary, shot blasting is a safe and effective way to remove old paint, rust, dirt and debris from metal, ceramic, concrete and other materials. This can be done as a clean or as prep for painting or other treatments. And it’s important to hire an experienced body shop to undertake this work as working with shot blasters is highly specialised.

What is custom automotive fabrication?   

Custom automotive fabrication is the process of creating bespoke parts for vehicles. This could be for the interior or exterior. And a custom fabricator is usually used when standard parts are no longer available or the client has a specific vision for the car which can’t be achieved off the shelf. Today we’ll look at what that means, example car fabrications and the costs involved with custom automotive fabrication in this 7-minute read.

1. What does an automotive fabricator do?

An automotive fabricator makes parts for hot rods, sports cars, muscle cars, trucks, antique cars, kits and bespoke builds. This could mean creating suspension systems, custom headers and exhausts, bespoke chassis, and any other speciality parts to support your vision. But it can also include conversions from cloth to leather or other speciality interior parts you need.

2. What does custom mean on a car?

Custom refers to a vehicle that’s no longer in stock condition as the factory intended. This might mean that the interior has been changed or enhanced. Or it could refer to aftermarket parts added to supplement original parts no longer being available for older models. Very extreme examples of car modification include lift kits, body kits, lowriders, hydraulic suspension and more. The most involved modifications involve ‘chopping the top’ or lowering the roof and sectioning.

According to Wiki Motors, “To section a custom car body, the entire car body has a predetermined amount of metal cut from the perimeter of the body. Once the cut is achieved, the top half of the body is lowered to sit on the bottom section, and it is then welded back together. This is perhaps the most involved and time-consuming practice in [customising] cars. Chopping and sectioning are thought to bring custom cars to the next level.”

3. When did people start customising cars?

While the 1950s in California often get all of the credit, the custom car trend began earlier. According to Custom Car Chronicle, “The Custom Car movement as we know it really started in the early [1930s] but at least a decade before that the movement was set in motion. In the late [1910s] the rich and famous demanded more elusive cars than the cars available from Detroit. They found their way to several of the [Los Angeles] local Custom Coachwork companies. Who could create more streamlined and luxurious bodies that would set them apart from everything else on the roads. It would help give them even more status than they already had.”

4. How can I customise my car?

There are endless ways to customise your car. And an expert body shop will help you understand what materials and methods can enhance the look and performance of your vehicle. From adding a performance exhaust to completely changing the chassis, the range of enhancements you can make is really only limited by your timeline and budget. Some of the most popular medications are spoilers, skirts, suspension kits, lowering or lifting, air filters and exhausts.

Leasing Options reminds us all, “that any changes that you make to your vehicle that alters it from the factory state must be declared to your insurer and lease provider or finance company. The terms of your agreement may prohibit modifications, so it is very important to check first.” And always have your mods carried out by an experienced body shop so you don’t damage the performance or value of your vehicle.

5. Why you should customise your car?

There are many reasons to customise your car. The most common are for aesthetics or performance – sometimes both. When deciding if customising your car is right for you, first check with your insurer. You’ll want to make sure that the mods you want won’t invalidate your policy. Next, know that you can only modify a car that you own. Don’t try to customise a financed vehicle. Lastly, check to make sure that the mods you like won’t negatively impact the value of your car.

According to CarWow, the most hated permanent modifications are:

  1. Modified exhaust
  2. Lowered suspension
  3. Underbody neon lights
  4. ‘Wonky wheels’ (extreme negative camber)
  5. Modified sound system/speakers
  6. Spinning rims
  7. Tinted windows
  8. Tinted headlights
  9. Spoilers

6. What’s the cost to customise a car?

It costs anywhere from £1000 to £40000 to customise a car depending on what you want to do to it. Riviera Leasing also encourages us to think about the increases in insurance. “Our study shows that bodywork and engine mods are the most expensive, increasing policies by an average of 153%. That means if your policy was £500 a year, you would actually pay £1,265. So, if you were planning on supercharging your engine, think again. Even aftermarket safety mods hugely increase insurance prices, as bodywork adjustments like strengthening brackets and fibreglass panels are shown to bump up your premium, also by 153%. [And] drivers who are considering changing their alloys or trims could be affected by a shocking 153% price hike, on average.” So take all this into consideration when commissioning custom automotive fabrication.

7. How long does it take to customise a car?

It depends on what you’re doing. A paint job can be updated in a day, but if you’re chopping the top, this can take weeks to complete. MicroGreenFilter explains, “The process of designing, engineering, and assembling a car can be long and arduous. It takes approximately 7 years to design the perfect car, 12 months to engineer it, and as many as 200 days for assembly.” So, when you’re modifying, this can easily become a long-term hobby that spans months and years. Some enthusiasts are never done tweaking their rides. Talk to your body shop about the timeline for any modifications and make sure they fit in with your expectations and interest level for a longer-term project.

 

If you want to be sure of a premium fit, come to White’s Bodyworks. Our team has over 20 years of custom automotive fabrication experience. Talk to us about your custom car plans today.

All about classic car servicing & MOT

If you have a range of questions all about classic car servicing & MOT, we’ve got you covered. We’ll explain why you need to service your old cars, how often to drive them and how long to let them sit. And we will share how to store them, if PDR works on them and even more helpful advice in this 7-minute read.

1. Why do you need classic car servicing & MOT?

You need classic car servicing to keep your old car in good working order. Now, many old cars won’t need an MOT. The government guidance states that if, “the vehicle was built or first registered more than 40 years ago [and] no ‘substantial changes’ have been made to the vehicle in the last 30 years, for example replacing the chassis, body, axles or engine to change the way the vehicle works” then an MOT is not required. But just because you don’t need to get an MOT by law, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t budget for classic car servicing in general.

2. How often should you service a classic car?

Have your classic car serviced at least once a year or every 3,000 miles. That’s because there are more things that can wear out, rust and go wrong on an old car than on a newer one. And if you want to keep your classic car in good condition, you don’t want to let problems bed in.

3. Do classic cars need a lot of maintenance?

Not necessarily. You will want to have your classic car serviced once a year, but if there are no major problems detected, then you’re in the clear. The type of car you have, how often you drive it and where you live will largely determine if your car will need more or less maintenance. Ocean-front living is a hotbed for rust and rare cars are difficult to find parts for. If you drive your classic car every day, you’ll naturally put more wear and wear on it. But it depends on what standard you want to keep it to as well. A factory-fresh paint job is harder to maintain than a rotted-out ‘it runs’ jalopy.

4. Does PDR work on old cars?

Absolutely. Paintless dent repair or PDR definitely works on old cars. It’s the best way to remove dents where the paint is in good condition without needing a respray. This can help maintain the value of your classic car for years to come. However, you don’t want to try and attempt a PDR on your own classic car at home. This procedure uses special tools and if you do it incorrectly, you may damage the paint, requiring a standard dent repair. Matching paint to old cars can be a challenge and impact the value.

5. Can I drive my classic car every day?

Yes. But… you will increase the wear and tear on the vehicle. So, it’s important to consider if owning a modern car for your daily commute makes more sense. If your car is particularly rare, lacking in safety features or you live in an area where the road conditions are poor, you probably won’t want to drive your classic car every day. Using it less will ironically allow you to get more years of quality enjoyment out of the vehicle when you do take it out. But it’s your car and your money, so at the end of the day, it’s your choice.

6. How do I keep my classic car in good condition?

There are several ways to keep your classic car in good condition. First, think about storage for your classic car. If you can store it in a climate-controlled indoor environment, this is ideal. If that’s not an option, opt for garage or covered off-street parking. Be sure to turn over the engine and take it around the block at least once every week or two. And get into a regular servicing agreement with a reputable classic car shop. You’ll want it looked at every 3,000 miles or annually at least.

7. How long can a classic car sit?

Don’t let your classic car sit for more than 2 weeks at a time unless you’ve prepped it for storage. It’s important that you turn on the car, let it run and take it around even a block or two every other week. This helps keep all the engine parts lubricated, prevents rust in the fuel tank and keeps the battery from becoming parasitically drained. If you don’t have time to drive it around, at least keep it running for 10 minutes each time.

If you have to store it for a few months, there are steps you can take to prevent damage. According to Edmunds, “Use an all-weather car cover if you cannot leave your car in a garage. Get the car washed and waxed before placing it in storage. Be sure to fill up the [petrol] tank and add a [petrol stabiliser] if you will be storing the car for more than 30 days. [And] use a battery tender to avoid having to jump-start the battery.” Even with these precautions, you’ll want to have it serviced once you take it out of storage to ensure nothing has degraded during that time.

8. Summary

Regular annual servicing or checks every 3,000 miles are key to keeping your classic car in good repair. While you might not need an MOT if it’s old enough and all original, frequent maintenance can prevent small problems from becoming costly. While you probably won’t want to use a classic car as your everyday driver, you should take it out for a spin every 2 weeks. If you can’t, there are ways to prepare the car for safe longer-term storage and keeping it out of the elements is always a good first step. If it does get a little banged up, you can use PDR to get it looking good as new in most cases.

If you need more support in looking after your classic car, our team can advise you. Reach out on 01273 933633 today.

 

Paintless dent removal guide

Our comprehensive paintless dent removal guide will help you understand what the treatment is and if it works. We’ll review what’s involved and if you can carry out PDR yourself. And we’ll share what it may cost and how long your results will last. It’s everything you need to know about paintless dent removal in one 10-minute guide.

1. What is paintless dent removal?

Paintless Dent Removal or PDR repairs any size dent without the need for filling or painting. To do a PDR, the technician will massage and push the panel from behind. The goal is to restore the original shape without damaging the original paint. As such, it’s not possible to do PDR if there is damage to the paintwork. Paint damage can look like warping, stretching, chipping, thinning, rips, tears or other kinds of paint trauma. So, your body shop will make an assessment to see if your dent is a good candidate for paintless dent removal. They can do this in person or through email if you send high-quality photos. Don’t worry, most dents can be repaired with PDR. And since there is no curing time, this is one of the fastest ways to remove dents.

2. Is paintless dent removal any good?

Paintless dent removal is very effective. According to Dented, “Since paintless dent repair can remove 80-90% of dents, it is the best way to get a dent out of your car. […] If you want to have your vehicle dent free for a fraction of the cost and in less time, the paintless dent repair process is a great way to restore your vehicle’s body panels.” That’s because it uses fewer supplies than a standard dent removal process. There’s no curing time. And there’s no chance of miss-matched paint. Plus, your car isn’t going to lose value through after-market additions. So, that makes it a very desirable repair method.

3. How much does it cost to repair a paintless dent?

PDR is £120 per panel on average. That makes it generally more affordable than standard dent removal which can cost from £100 to £200 per panel. To determine if your car is a good candidate for paintless dent removal, you’ll want to provide high-quality photos of the damage to your body shop for a quote. The size of the dent doesn’t matter with PDR. The only concern is that the paint is in perfect condition. However, you might want to try and remove very small dents yourself with suction or hot water first.

4. Can you do PDR yourself?

Not really. PDR uses specialist tools. And those require training to learn how to use. The metal rods and body picks used in professional paintless dent repair aren’t that intuitive. And the process requires you to manipulate the metal by hand to different levels. In short, this is a precise and meticulous process. It’s not something you’d want to attempt at home. And the tools cost around £40 for you to even try it. Considering the average cost to have pros do it is £120, it’s not really worth it. You might cause more harm than good. However, you can try to remove some very minor dents yourself without these tools or paint. The main two ways to do that is with hot water or with a plunger that’s smaller than the dent.

5. How does paintless dent repair work?

Paintless dent repair works by returning the bodywork to its original shape. This is done by removing the panel or accessing the underside of the dent. During the process, a technician uses body picks or metal rods to work on the panel. Overall, their goal is to return it to its original shape. And they do this by manipulating the metal slowly to bring it to level. In short, it’s effective on nearly any dent where the original paint is not damaged in any way. Since there’s no filling, levelling or curing; it is faster than traditional dent repair. And that makes it cheaper too. Finally, you won’t damage your car’s value either. That’s because PDR doesn’t require aftermarket paint or fillers.

6. What size dent can PDR repair?

PDR works best on large and shallow dents in the bodywork. But it can be used to repair any size dent. In fact, 80-90% of all dents can be fixed with PDR. The only requirement is that your paint isn’t damaged at all. Paint damage can include scratches, chipping, stretched paint, missing paint or other forms of paint trauma. Once there is paint damage, then traditional methods must be used. However, PDR can prep your panel for painting too; if that’s needed.

7. Does paintless dent removal last?

Yes. Paintless dent removal is a permanent dent repair solution. It restores your car’s bodywork back to its original shape. And, since there is no repainting, it’s a perfect colour match. When PDR is done effectively, you will not be able to see where the repair has taken place. And it will not decrease the car’s value as no aftermarket filler or paint is applied. Since it doesn’t have any curing wait time, PDR is much faster than traditional methods.

8. Summary

In conclusion, our paintless dent removal guide showed how PDR is effective for most dents. It’s practised by levelling the bodywork from the underside. And, so long as there are no paint issues, it will fix any size dent. While you don’t want to try it yourself, it’s not too expensive to have done. At £120 per panel, it’s generally less than traditional body repair. And that’s because there is no filler, paint or curing time required. As such, you’ll not damage your car’s resale value with any aftermarket additions. Overall, PDR is probably the best way to repair scratches and dents. But we did share that very small dents can be fixed on your own with just hot water or suction in most cases.

 

If you think you need PDR, why not send a photo over to our team of technicians today for a fast and free quote.

What you need to know about dent and scratch repair

When determining what you need to know about dent and scratch repair, price isn’t always number one. In fact, you first need to know what types of repairs are available. Then, you need to consider if your car is really worth repairing. And if it is, if that repair is covered by insurance. We’ll spell it all out for you in this 7-minute read.

1. What is dent and scratch repair?

Dent and scratch repair is the process of removing scrapes and impacts caused by something hitting your car. They can be very small or quite large depending on the collision you had. But you can get them from little things like shopping trolleys, bollards, poles and columns. It’s most common to get them on the doors and bumpers. Dent and scratch repair removes these bumps and scuffs to get your car back to its original condition.

2. What causes dents and scratches?

Dents and scratches are always caused by an impact. Scratches tend to be horizontal or vertical lines caused by sustained contact with another object. And dents are caused by sudden blunt force. You can get dents and scratches just doing everyday things with your car like parking up. Sometimes, but rarely, dents and scratches are caused by vandalism. For example, a troublemaker might go around a parking lot running their keys along the side of cars to scratch their paint.

3. Is it worth getting my dent repaired?

It is worth getting your dent repaired if your car has more value than the cost of the repair. That seems intuitive. But you may not know how much your car is actually worth right now, especially if you’ve had it for a while. Large dents can cost hundreds to replace, so you’ll want to take that into consideration before getting a dent repaired. And a scratch? The price of that repair will change depending on how large and deep it is. Plus, it will also change if you need fresh paint or not. However, it’s important to remember that deep scratches and dents can let in rust. So, if you care about your car, it’s probably best to fix a small issue now before it becomes a large problem.

4. How much does it cost to fix a dent and a scratch?

The average cost to fix a dent and a scratch in the UK is £100 – £200 per panel. Some small dents you might be able to repair yourself with hot water or a plunger. But if there’s any paint damage, you’ll need a professional. Same with scratches… You may be able to fix small ones that aren’t visible on your wet car with a polishing compound. However, if the paint is damaged, it’s best to seek professional help. It’s rare for dent and scratch repair to cost more than £1500 in total, so for all but the oldest rust-buckets, it’s worth it. And you can get a quote beforehand by sending in a photo of the damage.

5. Is dent and scratch covered by insurance?

Generally, no. There is a specific type of insurance for this sort of damage called cosmetic insurance. It’s usually around £100 per year with no or low excess. The purpose of this kind of insurance is to avoid claiming on your main policy with a higher excess. But, according to WhatCar, “You will probably have to tell your main insurer about any claims that you make on a scratch and dent policy, too. The respective companies should be able to advise you about this but, generally, any claim has to be reported to your main insurer, otherwise, you could invalidate your policy, so scratch and dent cover is not a way to avoid adding claims to your normal car insurance policy.” So, it’s probably not worth involving insurance to cover these sorts of repairs. It’s better to pay for it directly if you can. Over the life of your car, unless you’re often in a high-traffic area, you’ll likely only need to fix one or two dents. But a £100 per year policy would add up to more than that in annual costs over time.

6. How do body shops fix dents?

First, they’ll check to see if it’s worth repairing the dent or just replacing the panel. Then, the technician will use the correct method to fix the dent. This might include a hammer and dolly, dent puller (suction), stud welder or pliers. When they have repaired the dent, it might not be level yet. In that case, they will need to apply a filler to bring it to level. Following that, they will add a hardener and sand it smooth with the surface of your car. Once everything is dry, they’ll repaint it to match with the rest of your car. However, if your car is old or uncommon, a perfect paint match may be difficult to find. You’ll want to work with a specialist shop like Whites Bodyworks to ensure a seamless repair.

7. Will my insurance go up if I scratch a car?

If you make a claim or the other person makes a claim, then yes. Your insurance may go up if you scratch a car or your car is scratched and you claim. However, most scratches and dents are minor. Therefore, they are not covered by standard insurance. So, you’d have no need to claim. If you repair the damage privately or arrange to do so with the other driver, then you’ll have no claims against your insurance.

8. Summary

In brief, it’s generally a good idea to repair a scratch or a dent. It’s affordable. And it protects your car from developing surface rust and compounding the problem. In most cases, you won’t need to involve insurance as dents and scratches are generally not covered by primary policies. If you do have cosmetic insurance, you’ll need to consider if it’s worth it in the long term. Lastly, if the paintwork is involved, you’ll want to make sure you have the work carried out by a professional garage that’s familiar with your make and model. Hopefully, that has helped you with everything you need to know about dent and scratch repair. Remember, you can always pop over a picture for a quote on your unique case.

Reasons to hire a vehicle transport service

If you are considering a vehicle transport service, you might be unclear what to actually expect on the day and how this service will benefit you. There are many reasons to hire a vehicle transport service, things you should look for when getting quotes and the variable costs associated with moving a car around the country. We’ll break it down in this 7-minute read.

1. What is a vehicle transport service?

A vehicle transport service allows you to move a car, motorbike or van from one location to another without driving it. There are two main ways to do this. You can transport a vehicle on a towed trailer or on/inside another vehicle. For most people, transport on an open flatbed is all that’s required. For this, using a built-for-purpose Ford Transit Transporter is probably the gold standard. Since the vehicle is loaded right onto the bed, there’s no chance of jackknifing or losing the load like is possible with a hitched trailer. And the tyres don’t touch the road as they do with wheel lift towing, so you’re not adding any wear and tear to the vehicle during transport.

2. Why do you need a vehicle transport service?

There are many reasons why you need a vehicle transport service. If your car has broken down, you’ll need transport to get it to the local garage. Maybe you’re selling your car and want it delivered to the buyer so you don’t put extra miles on the clock. Maybe you’ve not taxed your car so it’s not road legal yet but you need to move it. Or maybe you’ve been in an accident and need roadside recovery. Finally, if you’re going to a car show or race and don’t want to put any wear on the car before the day, car transport is ideal. Whatever your reason, trust our transport techs to deliver your vehicle safe and sound.

3. What should you look for?

When hiring a vehicle transport service, go with an enclosed or bed-based transport solution. There is a lot that can go wrong if you’re towing a hitched trailer. The trailer hitch can refuse to interlock, it can loosen during the ride, it can break and you can jackknife the trailer when reversing. It’s not much better with wheel lift towing, since this still puts wear on your tyres (unevenly at that since the front is not touching the road). That’s a lot of added headaches you don’t need. So look for a white-glove service where you and your vehicle get seamlessly collected and taken to your destination without any fuss or wear. Make sure the firm is insured and uses an appropriate transportation vehicle for the type of car, truck, van or bike you’re moving.

4. How does a vehicle transport service work on the day?

When you arrange for a vehicle transport service, the driver will arrive at your starting location. It only takes a few minutes to load your car, bike, truck or van onto a Ford Transit Transporter and secure it. Then, the driver will deliver your vehicle securely to its destination. You may be riding with the driver or it might simply be a drop-off service. You’ll get confirmation of delivery when it has arrived.

5. What’s the average vehicle transport service cost?

The standard cost for transported car delivery is between £1-£3 per mile within 60 miles. If you go further than 60 miles, the price will be lower. Also, you may pay extra fees for special care instructions, remote drop-offs, overweight or oversize vehicles and guaranteed delivery slots. Click Trans explains, “Want to transport your Vauxhall from Gloucestershire to Bristol? A van from Tipton to Botley? The average price for the route length up to 200 miles is [£93] and it decreases with every mile. The estimated average cost per mile is [£.89].”

6. Can you drive a car that’s not road legal?

The short answer is no. According to gov.uk, “You’re responsible for making sure your vehicle is always safe to drive (‘roadworthy’). It can be unsafe even if you have a current MOT certificate. You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.” Generally, for most vehicles to be legal, it needs to be safe to drive, have an MOT, be taxed and be registered with DVLA. And you need to be old enough to drive, have good eyesight and possess a valid licence for the vehicle type you want to drive (or if you’re learning, be with a qualified driver and have “L” plates on). You can however drive a car to the MOT shop to get an MOT even if it is already expired.

7. What is the cheapest way to transport a car?

It’s actually by train. But that’s hardly an on-demand service. According to Auto Star, “A train is the cheapest way to ship a car cross country compared to a car trailer since several cars need to be shipped and a train uses much less fuel per car than a trailer. Apart from being cheaper than shipping a car by truck, auto shipping by rail allows you to load up your car with boxes before it is loaded.” However, you’ll be restricted to certain pickup and drop off locations and you’ll likely need to arrange for a private vehicle transport service to get you the last mile on both legs of your journey. So you may find it’s just not worth the added hassle just to save a few quid.

 

There are many reasons why you may need to hire a vehicle transport service. And the method, service level and requirements you have may vary. If you’re within 60 miles of our Hassocks, Sussex garage, we hope you’ll choose us. Our great-value car transport service can accommodate nearly any requirement via our fleet of Ford Transit Transporters. Contact us on 01273933633 to arrange your pick up and drop off.

What is classic car welding?

If you’re pricing up the repairs for your classic car restoration, you’ve probably gotten to some welding jobs. And, if you’re not sure, it can be a minefield of different welding types, approaches and expertise levels. Today, we’ll unpack these topics and define ‘what is classic car welding’ and how you can use it in your refurbishment or restoration project to the best effect.

1. What counts as a classic car?

You can define a classic car as whatever you want, really. It could be a pre-2000s boxy and rigid design aesthetic or the boat-length cruisers of the 40s and 50s. But there is an actual legal definition for a classic car that’s related to tax exemptions, however. And that’s a model that’s 40 years or older. According to the UK Government website, “You can apply to stop paying for vehicle tax from 1 April 2021 if your vehicle was built before 1 January 1981. You must tax your vehicle even if you do not have to pay. If you do not know when your vehicle was built, but it was first registered before 8 January 1981, you can still apply to stop paying vehicle tax.” So, they’ve put a pretty fine point on what’s legally considered a classic car. But most purists would consider a car a classic only if it’s very old – from 1915 to 1948. Anything newer is colloquially referred to as simply vintage. But for the purposes of classic car welding, we’re taking the legal definition.

2. And what is classic car welding?

Classic car welding is a speciality service offered by reputable bodywork shops. Welding is a process that secures two metal pieces together without a binder material. But with classic cars, you’ll want to consider how these welds were completed on the original piece, the materials you’re welding and their use. Using the wrong type of weld can yield disappointing and obvious repair results. So, you’ll want your classic car welding team to understand the different types of welds and how they will impact your finished rebuild or restoration.

3. Types and purposes of classic car welding:

There are different types of welds that a bodyworks shop might use on your classic car and unique reasons for undertaking a welding job.

Some of these include:

  • TIG and MIG welding – MIG is slightly preferred over TIG, but the correct weld for your car depends on the application. According to American Torch Tip, “The difference between the two is the way the arc is used. MIG (metal inert gas) welding uses a feed wire that constantly moves through the gun to create the spark, then melts to form the weld. TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding uses long rods to fuse two metals directly together.”
  • Spot welding – TWI Global explains, “Spot welding (also known as resistance spot welding) is a resistance welding process. This welding process is used primarily for welding two or more metal sheets together by applying pressure and heat from an electric current to the weld area.” It’s generally appropriate for low carbon steel fusing.
  • Adding new and replacement parts – If welds are required internally or externally, extra care must be taken to prevent spark and fire damage to existing hardware and upholstery. There are specialist techniques available for welding parts near electricals that you should discuss with your classic car welder.
  • Welding panel sections – In restoration, welding panel sections can be tricky to do without getting any warping. A good shop will tell you that you need to butt weld without overlapping the seams and never ever do a stitch weld. You’ll need to go to a shop for this because the tack welds you do place must be air nozzle cooled instead of water-cooled. And most home shops don’t have the right equipment for this work.
  • Cast iron, aluminium and steel repairs – Cast iron and aluminium are fairly difficult materials to work with. According to Building Conservation, “Cast iron can be repaired using a variety of processes according to the exact nature of the cast iron and the circumstances in which the repair must be performed. These processes include specialised welding techniques, cold metal stitching, and various types of reinforcement.” Similarly, an expert shop will know what classic car repair techniques to use for each of your aluminium or steel parts.

4. Average classic car welding costs in the UK

Most of the time, welds are priced per square inch or square millimetre patch. If you’re patching good metal and you’re not dressing the weld on a 4-inch by 4-inch patch, £80 GBP is reasonable. If you want it prepped and painted, that’s going to cost more. And if you need a job quoted by the hour, £11.79 is the median wage for a mid-career auto mechanic with welding skills and  5-9 years of experience. But that’s not including any margins for the shop on top, so expect to pay around £40 per hour as the average classic car welding costs in the UK.

5. Why do you need a classic car welding expert?

Improper welding techniques even plague original factory production line vehicles to this day. So, when you’re doing a classic car restoration, you might be dealing with welds that were never really fit for purpose, to begin with. You need a classic car welding expert to ensure that your restoration investment is safe and roadworthy. That’s a must. Beyond that, they have the skills and expertise to apply welds that fit in with the other joins and won’t look out of place. They can work near electricals safely and they practice the most up to date techniques to reduce the risk of spark damage. Lastly, they will update you at each stage of the process so you can keep your project within the timeline and budget.

 

There’s more to welding than getting a machine and putting fire to metal. Using the right type of weld for the job is critical to getting a high-quality classic car repair. If you have a welding job, let’s talk about how we can help.

Is it worth repairing a car after an accident?

If you’ve just been in a collision, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth repairing a car after an accident. And you’re not alone. That’s a question that tens of thousands of us in the UK ask every year. According to the most recent data, “In 2018, there were 122,635 reported road traffic accidents of all severities, a rate of 370 accidents per billion vehicle miles. […] Non-fatal (and particularly slight) casualties are sometimes not reported to the police, so reported road traffic accidents may underestimate the actual number of accidents.” So, if you’ve had an accident, here’s how to decide if it’s worth repairing your car after a collision.

1. Common vehicle accidents in the UK

Chances are you’ve had a rear-end collision. According to Business Motoring, “A rear-end collision was found to be the most common type of crash with a massive 38% of all collisions. Other common collision types were junction collisions, which accounted for just 13%, and after that, roundabout collisions which came in at 6%.” And remember that little bumps and scuffs almost never get reported, so every trolley or bollard that gets run into wouldn’t be in these results.

2. Who do you need to tell after an accident?

Before we get into the costs, it’s worth reminding everyone to contact their insurer if they’ve been in an accident. According to GoCompare, “Always tell your insurer about an accident straight away, even if you don’t want to make a claim. The other driver could make a claim against you so it’s best to let your insurer know your side of the story first. Your insurer should now handle the claim for you.” If the other person didn’t stop, the other driver is not around or you feel unsafe, it’s worth contacting the police as well. And if anyone is hurt, call for an ambulance before you do anything else.

3. Is it worth repairing your car after an accident?

Once you’ve let insurance and anyone else involved know about the accident, it’s time to think about repairs. Your car insurance company will assess the value of your car before the accident, the scope of the repairs needed and determine if it’s worth repairing. If the repairs cost less than your excess, you should do this repair on your own. If repairs are more than the value of your car, then your car is written off and you will get a settlement for it. And you can buy the car and repair it on your own after that if it’s not Cat A or B. However, if the insurance company is not willing to repair the car it is probably not worth repairing at all unless:

  • It has sentimental value to you
  • If the repairs are less than the cost of a new car and you need transport
  • You’re going to restore the car to its original glory and there’s a resale market for it
  • You’re going to refurbish or customise the car and there’s a resale market for it

4. Common vehicle accident repairs & average costs

According to This Is Money, “The ‘true monetary cost’ of being involved in a shunt on the road is £415, whether a driver pays the repair costs themselves or claims on their insurance policy, data from a comparison website shows. However, if motorists do the latter, the result is an average increase to their next premium of 9 per cent – the equivalent of another £69 a year.” Since rear-end collisions are the most common accident, the most common vehicle repairs are for bumpers, lights and paintwork. So, if you need to repair deep scratches, expect to pay between £180 and £240 and work can be completed the same day. If the bumper is just a little dented, this is a quick fix and costs less than a full replacement at £300 to £700. And big, deep dents are around £220 to £450 per panel. Lastly, if you’ve dinged an alloy wheel, expect to pay £90 for an average edge repair. If you need a new tyre, expect to add £40 or more to that figure. But if you’ve hit your headlamp and damaged it beyond repair, expect a hefty bill on some modern cars. The Express reports, “blown headlight bubbles can cost as much as £846 on some of the most popular cars in Britain.”

5. Choosing a good repair shop

If you’re not sure how to choose a good repair shop, Which suggests, “search online to create a shortlist of garages near you – if you need to leave your car at the garage, which is highly likely, you’ll be glad it’s not too far away. Then ask local social media groups, friends and family for recommendations and search online for reviews, bearing in mind reviews or testimonials on the garage’s own website are unlikely to give a balanced view.” Call ahead and get a general quote for the work based on your damage photos. And when you arrive, get one that includes parts, labour and VAT for factory-original or approved parts. When the work is done, ask them to show you in detail what they’ve done so you know what’s been worked on. And keep all the paperwork safe afterwards.

6. What to do after your car accident repair

Even if you are footing the bill for a car repair yourself, you’ll need to tell your insurance company. Not reporting a collision can invalidate your policy and then you won’t be covered if you have a major incident. After the repair is finished, get a written receipt from the repair shop that includes any warranties on the parts or work. If you’re not happy with the work that’s been completed, talk to the garage first. They’ll likely want to rectify the situation. If they don’t, document everything and talk to Citizen’s Advice for help.

 

Repairing a car after an accident is a largely personal decision. It might be based on the value of your car, your financial situation, what you want to do with it or if it means something to you overall. If you do decide to go ahead with a car accident repair, let’s talk about your needs.

How do you fully restore a motorcycle?

Unsure how you fully restore a motorcycle? There are a few established ways to repair, protect and upgrade classic motorcycles. We’ll cover the basics of restoration, the most common motorcycles to restore and the easiest motorcycles for beginners to restore. We’ll talk you through the steps in motorcycle restoration and when it might be best to bring in professional support like Whites Bodyworks. How do you fully restore a motorcycle? We’ll break it down.

1. What does restoration mean?

Many people conflate a restoration with a rebuild. Motorcycle restoration involves bringing your bike back to its original condition. It’s more expensive and time-consuming than rebuilding or refurbishing a motorcycle. That’s because you’ll need to source original parts. According to Heritage, “You’ll need to strip it down to its bare minimum and go piece-by-piece, often having to spend additional time sourcing exactly what is required at each stage of the restoration process. However, if you have the cash and you have the time, then it can still be a very rewarding undertaking.” You can also get the support of a professional body shop to help with your motorcycle restoration. If you’re doing it yourself, remember that this will be a long process that can take years. So, make sure you’re committed to seeing the project through before you take anything apart.

2. What are the most common motorcycles for restoration?

According to Motorcycle Habit, “The easiest motorcycles to restore are generally Japanese brand motorcycles made between the late [’60s to late ’80s].  They are easy to find, easy to work on, and cost very little compared to other motorcycles.” Popular restoration brands include Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. And, according to Bennetts, they recommend purchasing these while they’re affordable before they increase in value:

  • 1996 Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit
  • 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000K5
  • 1985 Yamaha V-Max
  • 1993 Ducati M900 Monster
  • 1994 BMW R 1100 GS

A restoration of one of these popular cycles could see you realise a significant upside on your investment after you put the time into them. Consider joining owners forums and talking to other owners about their refurbishment journey. They may even have tips on where to find great parts that can save you time and money.

3. What is the easiest motorcycle to restore?

Any bike can be easy to restore, provided you can get the parts. According to Carole Nash, “As a rule, motorcycle manufacturers make spare parts for their bikes available for around 15 years after production ends, after which you’ll be looking for new, old stock (NOS), second hand, reconditioned, remanufactured or pattern parts. If your bike is popular, and there are loads on the road, then the chances are you’ll be able to find spares relatively easily – either second hand or new parts made by a specialist.” So you’ll want to find a bike that’s fairly popular so you’ve got the support and parts you need. Consider a rolling refurbishment instead of a bike that’s in pieces. That means you buy a bike that works but needs some reconditioning or replacement parts to really make it shine. That’s opposed to a motorcycle that’s already someone else’s failed project. They suggest trying your hand at a Honda C90 Super Cub or similar for your first motorcycle restoration project. Above all, make it fun and try to get enjoyment out of the process. Don’t go into your first restoration trying to make a ton of money or refurbish a rare bike. It will only lead to disappointment.

4. How much does it cost to restore a motorcycle?

Expect to spend around £1000 to restore the average classic motorcycle in the UK – if you do all the work yourself. If you hire someone to help, expect to pay 2-3 times more. According to Planit, “At present, the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.30 an hour (1 April 2021). Salaries for newly qualified motorcycle technicians tend to be around £16,000 a year, rising with experience from around £22,000 to over £30,000 a year.” Most experienced motorcycle restoration technicians charge around £30/hour. That means a week of expert work on your bike will be over £1000. This can double or triple your outlay. So be aware of what work your bike needs, how much your garage charges and how much you can tackle yourself in order to properly budget for your project.

5. What are the steps in motorcycle restoration?

The steps in a motorcycle restoration will vary based on the condition of your bike and if it is kept outdoors. But here are the basic steps in a motorcycle restoration:

  1. Create a dedicated workspace.
  2. Buy a bike lift.
  3. Buy the owner’s manual for your bike.
  4. Take a picture of everything before you take it apart.
  5. Strip all the parts to clean them, bag them and photograph them.
  6. Create a list of everything that’s not in working condition.
  7. Order parts in order of importance and note on the list what’s arriving when.
  8. Jobs should follow this order (generally): battery, carbs, fuel tank, rust, electrics, spark plugs, brakes, consumables and lastly any cosmetics.

Anything that you’ve replaced that’s still in good working order you can sell on eBay or Facebook to other eager motorcycle enthusiasts.

6. Why do I want professional help with motorcycle restoration?

If this looks like too much work and you just want a nice-looking classic bike to roll around on, then it’s best to talk to a professional. They can help you fit pieces that require expensive specialist tools or help source hard-to-get parts. There’s no need to have the entire contents of a Kwik Fit in your garage for a small job you’ll not need to do again. Maybe you had a difficult time sourcing a part and want to be 100% sure it’s fit correctly to prevent riding damage. Call us. We can help you with your classic motorcycle restoration and repairs no matter what type of classic bike you have. Talk to our helpful team of restorers today.


01273 933633 / repairs@whitesbodyworks.co.uk
Unit 23, Firsland Park Estate, Henfield Road, Albourne, Hassocks, West Sussex BN6 9JJ