Auto Body Vs. Auto Repair

normal auto repair shopWhile these may seem synonymous for many people, they are in fact two distinct services. It’s important for car owners to know the difference before taking your vehicle to one or the other only find they don’t provide the service you’re looking for.

While auto body work repairs, maintains and improves the body (body panels, frame, interior design, etc.), auto repair services fix the car to ensure it is roadworthy.

This article breaks down some of the differences between these two services, so that consumers can ask for what they specifically need and want, as well as ensure the best service for their cars.

Two Distinctive Services

Many people do not differentiate between auto body work and auto repair services. Generally, they are simply referred to as “auto mechanics”. However, there are distinct differences between them both in terms of service provided and the skills needed to perform that service. Both require an understanding of automotive components and systems; however, this is where much of the similarity ends between a body shop and a mechanic shop.

Different Specialties Require Different Training And Tools

mechanical and electrical partsAn auto body shop generally involves all aspects of repairing dents, scratches and damage caused by auto accident collisions. Auto body work also includes refinishing and painting the entire vehicle. This requires a specialized knowledge of automotive paints, finishes and other related chemicals and materials that are used in car manufacturing.

Auto mechanics, on the other hand, offer repairs performed for vehicles such as oil changes, brake inspections, tune-ups, tire replacement and generally to replace damaged components.

Auto repair shops typically operate as separate businesses from auto mechanic shops (or as “stations”), although some may be attached to larger chains or franchises such as Jiffy Lube or Meineke Car Care Center. Some larger companies offer both services at one location, providing convenience for individuals who wish to utilize both sets of services.

Comparison Chart: Auto Body vs Repair Services

Auto Body Repair Shop Services Include

  • Painting, refinishing and auto body repair
  • Bumper repair and replacement
  • Dent repair and removal
  • Glass repair and replacement (includes windshields)
  • Custom paint jobs (paintwork) services are available for specific paints that require very high quality finishes with an extremely smooth surface finish, without orange peel texture. This is usually required when restoring older vehicles to their original state or color where there was no body filler used in the past. Many trendier colors also require this type of finishing in order to look good. Only a highly skilled craftsman can provide this sort of finish on a modern vehicle and you’re unlikely to find this service at your typical auto repair shop.

shop and an auto body repairsAuto Repair Shop Services include:

  • General maintenance services such as oil changes or tire rotations. Some shops may offer major repairs such as engine overhauls or fuel pump replacement.
  • Engine diagnostics (though this is typically available at both types of locations).
  • Minor repairs such as battery replacements or taillight replacements.
  • Major repairs to the engine, transmission, etc.
  • Other Services Include:
  • Light interior work such as air filter replacement or carpet cleaning.
  • Tire repair and rotations.
  • Exterior buffing and waxing to remove scratches or clear coat peeling on the paint of the car.