BLOG: The repair versus replace conundrum

So, I’ve been reading a lot lately and the question that seems to be on everyone’s lips is, ‘do penguins have knees?’ writes FRAN BARKER, paint technician at John Macadam & Son Ltd.

Now, there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Worse still, theoretical discrepancies. When was it decided that repair was better than replace, who made that decision and what did they think they’d gain?

The question is not rhetorical. You see, going back to basics, pretty much everyone would agree that ‘the customer is always right’. Yes?

No matter how much you may think that the customer is being picky, they still have a right to some sort of standard. What that standard is, I suppose, is up to you. Perhaps if the customer is really adamant on paying as little as possible, for £100 you could offer to make it matt, £150 semi-gloss…..

If you were the customer, would you want a damaged panel on your prized possession to be repaired or replaced?

Which would you prefer – your car to have a half-inch deep valley of filler 10 inches long hidden by primer and paint in the middle of your repaired panel, or a nice new panel, unrepaired, with no risk of filler sinkage? I know what I’d prefer… I love filler sinkage, it’s great!

Is it greed or is it common sense? Yes, it generally costs less to repair a panel, but at what cost?

‘It’s better to repair than replace, it’s better to repair than replace…’ Saying the same thing over and over doesn’t make it any truer. Getting paid 2/3rds of the price of a new panel to repair from an insurance company is fantastic, but only if you can guarantee that the repair is going to be 100%, because comebacks are costly.

As a self-educated cynic, I question who is saying what and why? Metal and plastic can be recycled, so is the ‘environmental’ card being pulled out too readily to fill panels with filler to ‘save money’ or maybe for an increased bottom line? You decide.

The next time you buy a new car, ask yourself that question: Do penguins have knees? I’ve worked at a main dealership and that dealership (like many, if not all) repaired damage to cars with only three miles on the clock. Things are not always the way you think they are.

By the way, penguins do have knees…