Collision Center Basics

Sometimes we all need a refresher course on the proper steps to follow in the collision shop. Below you will find the 6 essential steps all auto body shops should follow to successfully examine the damage needing repair:



Clean the Vehicle

First, clean the vehicle with auto wash and rinse off. Follow that with a wax and grease remover, and wipe the whole vehicle dry with a clean cloth. The intention is to eliminate contaminants, discover additional damage to up-sell the repair, and to prevent unjustified claims.  

Best Practices - Collision Center Basics - Step 1


Review the Repair Order

Inspect the clean and dry vehicle and review the repair order carefully to verify all the damage that needs to be repaired.

Best Practices - Collision Center Basics - Step 2


Protect the Interior

Cover the interior of the vehicle with seat covers and floor mats. If the vehicle is stored outside, cover any broken windows with weather barrier.

Best Practices - Collision Center Basics - Step 3


Acclimate the Vehicle

The vehicle needs be moved inside the body shop, so that it is dry and at room temperature (65-75 F/ 18-24 C) before any work is begun, to provide a better surface preparation and adhesion to a stable substrate.  

Best Practices - Collision Center Basics - Step 4


Control the Dual Action (DA) Sander

To eliminate overly coarse scratches and gouges, start the tool once it is physically on the surface to be sanded and stop the tool after removing the tool off the surface.  Command a good grip on the tool to achieve proper results.

Best Practices - Collision Center Basics - Step 5


Choose the Proper Tool

Random Orbital or DA sanders are made with different orbits to achieve different results. Many tool companies color code their tools to indicate the orbit. 

  • 3/8" Orbit sanders are best for coarse sanding and heavy material removal. 

  • 3/16" Can be used for most body shop applications and the coarsest paint shop applications. 

  • 3/32" Can be used for most paint shop applications and all machine sanding on new finishes. 

Follow recommended sanding patterns for flat and contoured surfaces, ensuring the entire are is sanded as efficiently as possible. This will provide uniformity and eliminate chop contoured surfaces.  

Now that the vehicle has been successfully looked over, it can begin its way through the collision repair process, and back into the customer’s hands in a timely manner.



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