No one wants or expects to get into a car accident. The same is true with car breakdowns, but if and when these things do happen—on a large or small scale—the next step can become confusing pretty quickly: Do I get my car repaired at the local dealership or should I go to my local body shop? Rest assured, there is an answer to this question, but it all depends on the type of work to be done. 

It is a mistake to think mechanics are qualified and able to perform all forms of auto repairs. Knowing this can keep you from taking your car to the wrong place. The breakdown between services is usually between cosmetic needs and mechanical ones.

When to Use a Mechanic

For a car that has any non-cosmetic needs, it’s good to find a mechanic. Remember, no body damage = mechanic. These professionals can be found at independent shops, as well as dealerships (even if your car is not the make/model sold at the dealership, most will service your vehicle). Mechanics have the proper tools and expertise to remove, replace, fix engine issues, and interior display malfunctions, etc. They can quickly assess your car and make a recommendation for the necessary repairs needed to get you back on the road. However, if your car has been in a collision and has sustained body damage, at any level, it’s time to take it to an auto body shop.

When to Use a Body Shop

Any sort of collision repair needs to be done at a body shop. They have the knowledge and access to the materials needed to get your car looking like it did before the accident. But beware, not all body shops are alike. Mechanical needs are usually unseen and only noticed when they stop working. Cosmetic repairs, however, must be done perfectly to match the rest of the vehicle. If the match is not perfect, it will stand out like a sore thumb. When looking for cosmetic repair, choose a local shop that has a history of performing high-level work. Find a place like Granite City Collision where you can ask around and get a good idea of the level of work they do.


Cosmetic repair is much more than simply removing and replacing exterior car parts. At Granite City Collision, we look over your entire vehicle, not only the areas in need of repair; we see how the repaired area will fit and blend and work with the rest of your car. It might look like new, but what happens when you turn a corner and pressure is put on the new piece of paneling? If not done correctly, cosmetic repairs will only last a short time before falling apart.

What Exactly Does a Body Shop Do?

Body shops—also known as “collision centers”—primarily work on exterior body and frame damage and repair of any non-moving parts. A good body shop will:


  • Restore any vehicle after minor or major body damage has taken place
  • Repair scratches, scuffs, and dents
  • Repaint any damaged area with a perfect match
  • Restore according to manufacturer specifications
  • Repair and/or replace cracked or broken glass


What About a Mechanic Shop?

A mechanical shop performs regular maintenance like oil changes, brake changes; they will also perform diagnostic testing and repair any moving part. Specifically, mechanics will replace belts and other parts that tend to wear out during normal driving, as well as, repair any engine components that wear out—spark plugs, rods, cylinders, etc.

Getting the Right Repairs

In order to figure what sort of repairs you need, the first step is to get a quote. The easiest way to do this is to log onto Granite City Collision’s website and click on the “Request a Quote” tab. Then fill out the form and wait for a response. That’s right, you don’t have to leave the house in order to start the process. Once you are finished online, a Granite City technician will contact you to discuss your situation and explain your options. This is nice because it gives you a chance to explain what needs done with the technician before the vehicle is even seen.

It’s important to have a reliable place to take your car when it needs a fix and Granite City Collision is the right place. Here are a few of the most common things done at a body shop:

  • Paintless Dent Removal (PDR)

Stray grocery carts, hail, and flying rocks can all leave noticeable dents in body panels and doors. Left untreated, even minor dents can cause more expensive paint damage down the road. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we use a process called “paintless dent removal.” PDR does not require any fillers or sanding, as a trained technician uses a variety of special tools to gently and slowly push dents back into place without harming the factory paint job. Overall, PDR is a very cost-effective and long-lasting way to get your ride looking great again.

  • Auto Body Painting

A new paint job might be necessary after an accident to protect an older car’s exterior from the elements, or simply to improve esthetics. Body shops routinely do paint jobs on vehicles with bodies that are marred by scratches, rock chips, rust, paint swirling or other damage. When doing so, these are the steps our trained technicians use:

  1. Surface is sanded down to the bare metal and cleaned
  2. Corrosion-resistant primer is applied and allowed to cure
  3. Cured primer is sanded down and the surface carefully cleaned
  4. Several layers of paint are applied with a sprayer and allowed to dry for up to 7 days
  5. Clearcoat is then applied that gives the finish a high-gloss appearance
  6. The exterior is then buffed and polished
  • Window Repairs and Replacements

Auto glass damage comes in many forms, including chips, cracks, and breaks. Sometimes the damage can be repaired, and other times a total windshield or window replacement is necessary. If your vehicle is being repaired a local body shop due to an accident, they may have a full-time glass repair technician on their payroll. Those that don’t partner with glass repair shops in the area that can send out a technician to perform the necessary window repairs or replacement before the vehicle is picked up.

  • Frame Testing and Straightening

Studies have found that roughly 50% of all vehicles sustain frame damage after an accident, including minor fender benders. A frame that’s unknowingly weakened or bent can place a vehicle’s occupants unnecessarily at risk during a subsequent accident. A vehicle with a bent frame will also track unevenly down the road, handle poorly and probably cause your tires and steering components to wear out prematurely.

To help ensure that your frame is safe after an accident, these are the steps body shop technicians take:

  1. The frame is first visually inspected for signs of damage
  2. If any damage is present, the vehicle is then placed on a frame alignment machine
  3. The machine then straightens the frame using hydraulic force and torque until it’s back to its original factory specifications

Once the frame is straightened, your vehicle will track normally and be safer to drive.

Why Choose Granite City Collision?

Since 1963 Granite City Collision has been saving people heartache and money through highly innovative and professional ways of vehicle repair. And with friendly service and a lifetime warranty on all our workmanship, you will find no better place in North Carolina to take your vehicle.

No matter if you need a simple dent repaired or body reconstruction due to a collision, Granite City Collision has you covered. The process of getting your vehicle fixed and back to you is quick and painless, as Granite City Collision works with you directly and your insurance company to make sure that every expense and process is clear and agreed upon. The last thing you want to worry about after having damage to your vehicle is trying to find a repair center that will give you a fair, honest price and quality workmanship. Granite City Collision not only gives you these, but they also give free estimates, so neither you nor your insurance company has to front any money before the work is even done.

With over fifty years’ experience, Granite City Collision has only gotten better at vehicle repair and customer service. Make the easy and convenient choice and take all your vehicle’s cosmetic repair needs to Granite City Collision.