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Car accidents suck. What sucks even more though is when there is major damage to your auto-body, which as you should know already is damage that can quite literally impact your safety and the safety of those in the vehicle with you.

When damage does occur, many people will wonder if they can do the repair themselves. A hammer and some key hitting points, right? Wrong.

While using a hammer and some other equipment—like that product that looks like a miniature plunger with a corkscrew on its head that supposedly allows you to pop dents out—may have worked in the olden days, this is no longer the case. Auto body repair takes a bit more, and there are key phases to doing a correct auto body repair job to make sure the car is returned to the proper safety levels and looks new again.

The first key to this is the estimate, which is the phase in which an insurance agent and auto body shop look at the damage and see how extensive it is. Whether it is a simple dent or damage that affects the actual integrity of the vehicle’s components, this phase is best done by a licensed professional. These will have the knowledge and expertise to fix the problem.

If the components of the vehicle are not too damaged and can simply be repaired, this can be done now. Often however, insurance agents and auto body shops will see if the extent of the damage is too far to simply fix the part, and will order new parts to make sure the vehicle’s safety is maintained.

Once that new part is shipped in, it is added to the car properly. New components could be costly, as these parts aren’t made of materials that can be picked from a tree. Yet, if you really think about it, a cheap part bought from a sham-seller will cause further damage, which is even more expensive. Don’t think about the short-term costs: think long-term and what you are preserving with parts that are properly manufactured and installed.

By this point, your car should be ready to go. Oftentimes, your insurance will cover a chunk of the price, but you may have to dole out dough as well. Make sure that you take it to a location that will fix the vehicle with the attention it needs so that you and your passengers—and everyone else on the road—are safe.

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