It’s Just a Scratch, Right?

Does a Scratch Really Need Repaired?

Just like accidents can’t always be avoided, occasional scratches on your car paint are likewise inevitable. For some people, it’s not such a big deal and they can live with a scratch on their car paint as if it wasn’t there. For some people, though, a scratch, especially a deep and noticeable one, is quite an eyesore. That means they won’t rest until the scratch is repaired and their car looks as good as new.

Best auto body repair shop to fix a scratch in Billings

Some may think that repairing a scratch isn’t a priority, especially since it doesn’t really affect how the vehicle performs. While that may be true, it’s also important to note that scratch repair isn’t just a matter of aesthetics and vanity. Because eventually, that scratch you have been ignoring will make its effects known. And then you’ll regret how it’s taken you so long to fix it up. Keep reading and let the best auto body repair shop in Billings explain why you should repair that scratch.

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Vehicle Damage You Can’t See

After a Wreck, There is Often Hidden Damage

You’ve been in a wreck.  It wasn’t bad, nobody was hurt, and both vehicles were moving pretty slowly.  You do a quick inspection of the damage to your vehicle, and you notice that it doesn’t seem all that bad.  Maybe a cracked bumper, a dented fender, or a broken headlight.  It should be an easy fix.

Hidden vehicle damage after a wreck

We see time and again that people are shocked when the repair estimate comes back.  On the surface, the damage seems minor.  But we wouldn’t be living up to our claim of the best auto body shop in Billings if we just repaired the cosmetic stuff.  The hidden damage could cause many problems down the road.


Damage Beneath the Surface

It’s hard to miss the external damage.  But if that’s all an auto body shop paid attention to, then you would be sent away with a vehicle that isn’t safe to drive.  There are a few areas that we inspect closely to ensure you have the safest ride possible.

Frame Damage

Every vehicle is built on a frame.  These frames provide the structural integrity so that the cabin (the part where you and your passengers sit) can roll safely down the road.  In a collision the frame can crumple, bend, or become “tweaked” out of place.  This damage can be minor enough that you can’t see it, and sometimes even an inspection won’t notice it.  But hooking it up to a machine that can measure the frame will reveal the damage.

best auto body shop in Billings

Alignment Damage

When you buy new tires, you probably know that you have to bring the car in after a certain amount of miles for “rotating and alignment.”  This is where they will move the tires from the front to the back, so they wear evenly.  But they will also make sure that there are no little wobbles, and ensure that your steering is on point.  It’s easy to see that even a small collision can knock your alignment off.  If it’s off, you risk significant wear and tear on your vehicle, and it’s a big safety hazard.

Light Damage

Most of the time you can see damage to lights, they’re either broken or not working.  But often the damage isn’t in the headlight or tail light itself, it’s directly behind it.  Loose or broken wires can be a safety hazard, and if they aren’t fixed properly you could have a fire somewhere down the road.

best collision repair center in Billings

Other Hidden Damage

When there’s something wrong with your vehicle, little lights often come up on the dashboard.  But most of the time, those lights won’t go on.  It’s necessary to do a complete scan before and after the work is done.  This will ensure that before the car rolls out of the shop, everything is fixed properly.


Big Sky Collision Center Fixes Vehicles the Right Way

If you have been in a wreck, you want to make sure that your vehicle is repaired to factory safety standards.  We go above and beyond what is required as a collision repair center in order to ensure that your vehicle is completely fixed the right way.

Get in touch with us by calling 406-259-6328 to schedule a time to bring your vehicle in to be repaired.

You Just Got in a Wreck

Do You File a Claim, or Pay out-of-Pocket?

You know in your heart that you’re as careful as a driver can be. In spite of this, you know that even the most careful drivers can sometimes get into an accident because you’re never alone on the road and you can’t control what’s happening around you.

Accidents happen. It’s a simple reality. The question is: if you’re involved in one, how do you decide whether you should file an insurance claim or pay for repair expenses out of your own pocket?

If you’re the only one involved in the accident, for instance, you miscalculated the distance and backed straight into a tree, it’s generally simpler to just pay for the cost of repair yourself, especially if it only resulted in minor damage. But when another vehicle is involved, more often than not, the better choice is to file an insurance claim so legality issues that arise can be dealt with accordingly.

Best auto body shop in Billings

On the other hand, generalizing doesn’t always work since there are still some cases when handling the repair expense on your own might be more beneficial.

To help with this decision, ask yourself the following questions, then make up your mind from there.

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Can an Airbag be Reset?

Or does an Airbag need Replaced?

A common misconception about car airbags is that as long as they don’t deploy, they will never need to be replaced. But like we said, it’s a misconception, which means airbags do need replacement, eventually due to wear, or sooner because of an accident.

On the other hand, it is also incorrect to assume that when an accident occurs, an airbag will automatically have to be replaced. Sometimes, resetting and recalibrating will be sufficient. The important thing is: you need to have your airbag inspected as soon as you are alerted that there’s something wrong with it. Otherwise, you won’t be as protected in case another accident happens.

Airbag reset or replace

So how do you know when the airbag needs reset or replaced? As the best auto body shop in Billings, we want to make sure that you’re an informed customer. Here is what you need to know.

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Can my Bumper be Repaired?

A Bumper is Important; Does it Need Replaced?

Being rear-ended is the most common type of traffic accident. But it doesn’t always happen on the road. In fact, much of the time it happens in the parking lot. Too often people panic and they leave the scene instead of leaving a note. Now you’re stuck with a broken bumper that you have to replace; and even with insurance it’s going to cost you your deductible. The question is: when you discover that your bumper has been rear-ended, do you have it replaced, or just have it repaired (or maybe even leave it and do nothing)?

Can a bumper be repaired

Many auto body shops will recommend replacement because they’ll make more money from it. Plus, it’s not unusual for repair to take longer to finish than replacement. But while there are cases when there is no other choice but to have your bumper replaced, there are also many instances when repair will be sufficient.

Replacing or repairing your bumper will depend on the extent of damage it has suffered. The damage may be a scratch, a dent or a crack. The more serious the damage, the more likely it will be necessary to have it replaced. Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we strive to be the best auto body shop in Billings. And that means that we do everything the right way because it’s the right thing to do.

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Is it a Ding… or a Dent?

Or is There a Difference?

The door ding.  The fender dent.   We often use the terms interchangeably.  But is there a difference when it comes to what actually happened to the vehicle?  And is there a difference when it comes to repairing that vehicle?

Paintless Dent Repair Billings Montana

Here at Big Sky Collision Repair, we fix dings and dents.  We also fix scratches, scrapes, crunches, cracks, and whatever other term you may think of when it comes to auto body work.  But when it comes to your vehicle, you should know the basic terms; especially if you have a lease on that vehicle.
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Repairing Vehicles the Right Way with Bondo

We Don’t Cut Corners

Here at Big Sky Collision Center, there are two things that we take pride in.  First, we take pride in the fact that we don’t just fix cars, we build leaders.  Second, we take pride in the fact that our leaders don’t cut corners.  We fix cars the right way, even if that means it takes a little extra time.

Repairing Vehicles the right Way in Billings

The problem is that as the consumer, you don’t get to see the behind-the-scenes aspects of what goes into auto body repair.  What you see is that you brought your car in and it was dented, and when you picked it up, it was no longer dented.  What happened in the meantime?

As we strive to be the best collision repair shop in Billings, we want to show you what shouldn’t be done, and what we see come through our doors on a semi-regular basis.
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Aluminum Auto Body Repairs are More Expensive

Aluminum is Great for Auto Body, But Harder to Fix

Gone are the days when aluminum was used exclusively on luxury vehicles like Audi A8s, BMWs, Jaguar XKs, some Mercedes Benz models and Range Rovers. With the introduction of Ford’s all-aluminum F150 (one of America’s most popular vehicles with about 700,000 units sold per year), collision repair shops now have to think harder if they need to upgrade their facilities so they can accommodate aluminum collision repair.

Aluminum Auto Body Repairs Billings

Wanting to upgrade isn’t the problem. It’s the cost of upgrading that is. Why? Because there’s a big difference between steel repair and aluminum repair. And a repair shop that attempts to do aluminum repair when it’s not qualified to do so will not just cause safety issues, but might also affect your vehicle’s worth. Big Sky Collision Center is ahead of the game when it comes to aluminum repair, and we can tell you why.
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Bumped a Curb? It May Be More Serious Than You Think

Even Minor Curb Bumps Can Cause Damage

It can happen to the best of us. Especially during winter when the roads become extra slippery, no matter how careful you are, there’s still no 100% guarantee that you’ll never hit a curb.

It’s acknowledged as a common occurrence. It’s also a well-accepted fact that not all curb hits are equal. The severity of a curb hit will typically depend on the speed of the vehicle as it hits the curb, and the height of the curb. Of course, the faster one was driving and the higher the curb is, the more serious the damage will likely be.

Bumped into a Curb

This doesn’t automatically mean, though, that if you were travelling slowly, say 5 to 10 mph, you can instantly assume that there’s no damage. That’s an assumption that you should avoid making because hitting a curb can cause more damage than what you might expect.
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What to do After Your First Fender Bender

What to Do if You’ve Been in a Fender Bender

A fender bender is defined as a minor collision between two vehicles. In other words, it’s a minor auto accident where neither vehicles involved get any significant damage. More importantly, it’s an accident where no one got seriously hurt.


Still, an accident is an accident. And if the driver and passengers are wearing their seatbelts like they’re supposed to, most likely, only the car gets slightly damaged by the accident. Specifically, the car’s bumper, or sometimes its fender, is what needs attention. Big Sky Collision Center, your source for the best auto body repairs in Billings, explains what you need to know after a minor collision.


Bumper vs. Fender: What’s the difference?

fender-of-bumperFenders and bumpers have the same purpose: to protect your car’s vital components and occupants. Their difference is that they protect different parts of your car. And all this time you thought they were one and the same, but they play very different roles.

Bumpers are attached to the front end and rear end of the vehicle. Bumpers are there to serve as shock absorbers, the vehicle’s first line of defense, so to speak. A bumper cannot protect the driver or passengers from getting hurt, but it can dampen the impact of a collision, and thereby protect parts of the car (like its lights and its engine) from being seriously damaged.

As the vehicle’s crash contact point, bumpers are the most susceptible to damage. So it makes sense that they can be easily replaced, easy enough that the vehicle will run without any problems even while one or both bumpers are still being repaired or replaced.

On the other hand, fenders are typically connected to the bumper; they’re the frames installed over the wheel. Which means what the fenders protect are the vehicle’s wheels.


What should you do when you’re involved in a fender bender?

One of the most important things you need to know about fender benders is this: You don’t need to keep your vehicle in the middle of the road when you’re involved in one.

Remember, an accident can only be classified as a fender bender when there’s no serious damage or injury. Following this logic, there should be no problem driving your car. In fact, it will be better to move your vehicle out of traffic’s way as soon as you can to avoid getting hit by other oncoming vehicles whose drivers might not see you on the road, especially when it’s after daylight or visibility is reduced due to snow, fog, or rain.

Once you’re on a safer spot, usually on the side of the road, you can start further damage assessment and proceed with other needed actions. This includes:

  • Turning your hazard lights on, or setting up your warning devices to alert other drivers of your presence.
  • Checking for injuries and if there are, calling 911 for help.
  • Calling the police to report the accident.
  • Looking for eyewitnesses who can help provide relevant information for insurance claiming purposes.
  • Making notes and taking of pictures for documentation purposes.
  • Exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver.
  • Calling your insurance company or agent.
  • Having yourself checked out by a doctor to make sure you don’t have any injuries that can later turn into a serious problem because you simply assumed you were fine.


After everything is settled on the scene, you can work with your insurance agent to have the damage to your vehicle repaired. Keep in mind that even though your insurance company may have a “preferred provider” you get to choose which auto body shop you take your vehicle to.


Bring Your Fender Benders to Big Sky Collision

Here at Big Sky Collision, we have one goal: to make sure you leave with a car that meets or exceeds all factory safety standards. We strive to be the best collision repair center in Billings, and we know that our amazing customers make that happen!

Give us a call at 406-259-6328 to schedule a time to bring your car in if you’ve been in a fender bender.