Whether your car has a few scratches which have accumulated over time or it has suffered extensive structural damage due to a recent accident, the panel beater is the specialist you need to visit to get your car back on the road looking as new as ever.
A panel beater will fix any exterior damage on your car, be it a minor dent which needs filling or a wrecked bumper. You may find that some panel beaters may also be certified to fix mechanical and electrical issues, but strictly speaking this is not part of a panel beater’s job. Since most of the time the car would need spray painting after a panel beating job, some also offer this service in the same garage.
Choosing a panel beater
What do you look for when choosing a panel beater to entrust your car with? Experience and reputation are essential in this sector as the panel beater must be knowledgeable about a great number of brands and keep up to date with the new models coming out each year. The experience he has will determine how the final product will look like. This is all the more important if you have a luxury car which needs a face lift. Going to an insurance approved repairer is a big plus. If a repairer is QVR approved (Quality Vehicle repairs), it means that he’s certified by insurance companies as capable of providing good quality service to his customers. Those who gain this certificate will have a sign installed in their garage. This certificate requires them to be inspected annually by international vehicle repair specialists who review whether the required standards are still met year after year.
Panel beaters can work directly with individuals, with commercial companies and in some cases, directly with insurance companies. Here are some of the services they provide:
Undergoing a car accident is not the end of the world. A panel beater will get your vehicle back to its original condition, even if the damage incurred may seem too extensive. If you decide to proceed with the repair through your insurance company, the latter will liaise with the panel beater to get the repair completed as efficiently as possible. Your insurance company will choose one of its approved repairers and will guide you every step of the way until the car is repaired and back on the road.
An alternative to working with your insurance company, you may decide to work directly with the panel beater of your choice. What is the typical process?
1. You take the car to your panel beater to inspect the extent of the damage and provide you with a quote. The repairer may also come himself if the car isn’t driveable or he may offer towing service. When a car has gone through a major accident, the panel beater will examine it in full since although the damaged area will be visible, there could be other parts which may have been compromised in the accident.
2. If he needs to replace some panels, he will need to order the necessary parts or manufacture the panels himself.
3. He will then set a date for you to drop off your car at the garage. The repair may take a few days, depending on the damage suffered.
4. Once it’s been transformed back to its original condition, you will be informed to come and collect your car.
Some panel beaters may also provide you with a hired car while your personal vehicle is being repaired.
A panel beater can handle any minor or major structural repairs. Whether you need to replace your door or bumper or give your car a whole face lift, he will assess what can be repaired and what needs to be replaced and will do any welding that may be required. A panel beater can repair any material the car is made of, be it fibreglass, plastic or steel. He may also be required to conduct chassis realignment to straighten the car frame when it goes through a major accident. If your windscreen needs repair or needs to be replaced completely, the panel beater can take care of it too. Apart from the structural work, he may also be required to do aesthetic work on a vehicle after a panel beating job such as sanding or polishing, to revive the vehicle’s surface.
Most panel beaters can repair any car or small van. If you need structural repair on your motorcycle or your truck, you need to visit a more specialised panel beater.
Dents and rust
Dents and scratches may accumulate over time and although they do not affect the vehicle’s performance, they are aesthetic faults. Whether it’s a key scratch or a hail storm might have left its mark on your car, a panel beater will restore it to its factory state. If the base metal is showing in a dent, then it needs to be repaired with fillers before rust starts developing and the flaw expands.
Paintless dent repair (PDR) is a procedure mostly used for small dents. This procedure doesn’t require any panel beating or repainting as it shapes back the metal to its original state without touching the paint. Although it costs less and is faster than standard panel beating, it cannot be used for dents which are in a cramped location or which are too deep.
Extending a car’s longevity means taking care of any faults which may arise instantly. Panel beaters offer rust treatment, where they cut away rusty parts of the body and weld new steel pieces to replace the corroded parts. Any body part which has corroded, whether it’s in the car door or in the chassis, will be repaired. Rust proofing is essential in Malta since seasalt can easily damage cars which are frequently parked near the sea.
Restoration and Customisation
Although the main job of panel beaters is repairing damaged cars, others may focus more on car restoration, or specifically, classic car restoration. Whether you just need some rust removed from your vintage vehicle or you need a complete makeover, a specialised panel beater will be able to bring your classic car back to its former glory.
Some panel beaters may focus more on customising and upgrading car bodies; adding spoilers or car lips are the two most common car modifications.