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Car Accident FAQs

Accident Terminology

Having an accident is no fun, and the terminology used during the car repair process can be confusing. Below are questions most commonly asked about repair procedures and phrases found on estimates.

What do the terms LKQ, OEM, REMAN, and AFTERMARKET mean when talking about replacing parts on my vehicle?

OEM Original equipment manufactured (parts directly from the dealer).

LKQ Like, Kind, and Quality (OEM parts that have been taken off a vehicle that was probably totaled or sold for parts.

REMAN Original equipment part that has been refurbished for resale.

AFTERMARKET Parts made from someone other than the original manufacturer. They are often less expensive than OEM parts, which is why your insurance might require us to use them. Some aftermarket parts have been certified by CAPA (Certified Automotive Parts Association). CAPA tests for quality standard fits and corrosion protection, and verifies that the parts are similar to OEM. The parts supplier will offer a lifetime guarantee against rust and leakage.

Why do you have to remove the bumper to paint it?

In order to do a professional quality bumper refinish, we must be able to paint the edges that are tightly fit against the car. Anything less would jeopardize the durability of the paint procedure. Short cuts are NOT recommended at Casten’s.

Why must you remove the glass and moldings from my quarter panel in order to paint it?
We remove those pieces so we can paint the quarter panel properly. If we did not remove them, and only covered the glass edges, you would notice peeling or chipping around areas that were not properly prepped. Because we guarantee our refinishes, it has to be done right. You are entitled to restore your investment back to pre-accident condition. Therefore, we highly recommend removal of these pieces before painting.

What is a Unibody?
Years ago, most cars were placed on frames. Today, cars are built on a unibody. A unibody is multiple components welded together to form a complete structure. Most unibodies are constructed of high strength steel. Some are made of aluminum because it is lighter and some cars demand a lighter body (ie. Jaguar).

Can’t you just pull or push the dents out?
In the good ole days, shops could hook up a dozer and pull out the dent. Today, the strength of the steel is a different quality. A proper repair requires removal of all the paint, stripped down to bare metal, and then studs are welded to the damaged area. Once that is done, the technician will hook up a slide hammer to the studs, massage and pull out the dent. Again, shortcuts are not recommended.

What is Betterment?
Betterment is a charge, or reduction in payment for wear and tear on parts. Insurance companies apply this on replaced parts such as tires, suspension, shocks, ball joints, etc. Example: If your tire needs to be replaced due to an accident, and it was 50% used, the insurance will only cover 50% of the new tire cost as betterment.

What is Appearance Allowance?
When an item has been nicked or scratched, but is not that noticeable, some companies will offer a percentage off your deductible instead of repairing
that item.

Why do you have to color blend when painting?
Blending of an adjacent panel insures a correct color match. This is mostly done when cars are painted with a pearl, metallic or non-solid color.

While you’re painting one part of my car, can you use leftover paint to repair another area?
No. Due to the refinishing process and our measuring systems, paint is mixed to the job requirements. To paint another area, you would also have to consider the costs of primer, base coats, sealer, clear coat, sand paper and other refinishing materials.

My car is still under warranty. If I take it to Casten’s, is my warranty still valid?
YES! We have never heard of a new car warranty being void due to a repair at our shop. Through a variety of sources, we have access to information to properly repair your car.

Will I receive a lifetime warranty from your shop even though you are not one of my insurance company’s direct facilities?
YES! We guarantee our work, not your insurance company. Casten has been a successful family owned business for over 46 years because of the pride our reputation maintains.

Your shop is not on my insurance company’s preferred list. Can I still get my car repaired by you?
YES! YES! YES! This is America. It is your car, your money has paid the premium, and you are entitled to take your car to a certified, qualified, shop. Anything else is considered steering. Know your rights.

I love my car, but the insurance company wants to Total it. What should I do?
You have three choices.

  1. Accept a payment equal to retail value of your vehicle PLUS title fees and sales tax.
  2. Keep your vehicle and receive payment equal to the actual cash value less its salvage value, if your car is 9 model years or more.
  3. Ask your agent if your policy qualifies you for a replacement vehicle. This is when your insurance will buy you the same model car at its current market cost.