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1HomePageMap small mw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Christmas came to Overture Center for the Arts in the form of much-needed body repair services donated by the Russ Darrow Group to the organization van. The Russ Darrow Collision Center, located at the Russ Darrow Kia of Madison dealership, 6525 Odana Road, Madison, WI, is responsible for repairing nearly US$4,500 worth of body work to the vehicle. The front and rear bumpers and sliding door were replaced, as well as other body work from normal wear and tear. The new sliding door is donated by LKQ Corporation-Keystone Automotive, and the paint is donated by Auto Paint and Supply. The labor and remaining costs are donated by the Russ Darrow Collision Center. The van was detailed and completed on Friday, December 20, 2013. “We are incredibly grateful to the Russ Darrow Group and their partners for this incredible gift,” says Overture spokesman, Robert Chappell. “The Russ Darrow Group investment in us, like every donation we receive, really demonstrates their commitment to the success of the community as a whole.” Russ Darrow Group is headquartered in Menomonee Falls, WI.

Belron is closing the Glass Medic distribution center in Columbus, OH. The company will now serve the Belron business units exclusively, including Safelite, according to Melina Metzger, public relations manager for Safelite. “After a thorough business review, the Glass Medic parent company, Belron Technical, determined its core purpose is to serve the Belron business units exclusively. Therefore, Glass Medic has ceased sales of all products and its Columbus, OH, distribution center will close,” says Metzger.

The slippery driving conditions that have plagued drivers this winter are creating more business than usual for body shops in the Twin Cities, MN. Collisions on icy pavements are pushing cars into each other—and into car repair businesses. Some reports have drivers waiting as long as six to eight weeks to repair damage from recent crashes; however, body shops tell local news that the wait should not be that long. “Right now, I would say we could get it in within the next week, although we are still booking,” said Chris Thorston, owner of Minnetonka Collision. “I see a lot of shops are a week and a half, two weeks out.”

“It is a little heavier than normal, but we are poised to handle the excessive work load,” said Gary House, ABRA Auto Repairs of Plymouth, MN.

Repair shops say most of the damage has been front- and rear-end collisions in February 2014, with the icy spin outs adding some total body repairs.” Most repairs that I am seeing average five days,” said Thorston. “There are still some bigger ones that are obviously taking two to three weeks to do the repair.”

The Auto Collision Repair program at Greene County Career Center (GCCC) in Ohio won its division thanks to paint and body work on a 1949 Chevrolet panel wagon. The class placed third in the pedal car challenge with their GCCC tow truck. Shane McCormick spent six days over winter break painting the vehicle. Juniors and seniors from the Rick Burton program along with members of the Automotive Technology program spent part of a career day sponsored by Cavalcade of Customs.

All Line CARSTAR in Bolingbrook, IL, recently became certified in the Honda and Acura ProFirst Body Shop Recognition Program, and has received I-CAR Gold certification as well, CARSTAR announced. The American Honda ProFirst Program is designed to promote the correct, complete, and safe repair of Honda and Acura Vehicles, and provide support to those collision repair businesses.

“As vehicle technology evolves, we have to constantly educate our technicians and enhance our processes to provide the best auto body repair available,” said Teresa Kostick, owner of All Line CARSTAR Auto Body.

“We’re honored to receive these certifications and applaud our team members for their hard work in earning them. This is a tremendous benefit for our customers—they can trust that we are committed to providing the highest-quality body repair possible and have the best trained staff repairing their vehicles.”

“In the last 17 years, by far, it’s been probably one of the busiest years,” said Wayne Boocher, owner of Boocher’s Body Shop in South Bend, IN. “I hate to say it, but it’s been a great year for people crashing,” he told local media.

“There’s not a shop around that doesn’t have some type of work coming in and out the door.”

There’s been a lot of collisions, he said, not to mention people damaging their cars from potholes.

Damage underneath can also come from snow that has turned rock-hard after melting and freezing again, said Greg Barth, president of Barry’s Seat Cover, Auto Body, and Glass in South Bend.

“This time of year we see more suspension damage than the summer because the snow is so hard and icy now. When you hit it, it’s like hitting a curb, cement, or a small tree,” Barth told the South Bend Tribune.

Today’s cars have a lot of plastic shields underneath, Barth said, which make the car more aerodynamic, while also protecting the car engine from road realities.

“You get a lot of that broken off this time of year because of the snow,” said Barth, adding that accidents change as winter progresses.

“Early in the year, it’s tough for people to drive on snow again,” said Barth. “There’s always a big increase in accidents with the first snow around Thanksgiving, and then people start to drive more cautiously,” he said. “Right now we are seeing more slide-offs, more so than car-to-car accidents. More slide-offs and rear-end collisions where people can’t stop is what’s going on right now.”

Trucks are not immune to weather accidents, noted Mike Mills, vice president of Jefferson Auto Collision Service in Mishawaka, IN.

“We just had a really large Dodge 250 diesel pickup roll in that was a roll-over,” Mills said. “He just lost control on black ice and flipped it over in a ditch.” He said that he has seen vehicles big and small brought in. “There’s really no consistency with anything,” he said, including the type of damage. The only consistent thing is how busy he is, usually a couple of days after a major snowstorm, he said.

People will come in and say that they need an estimate right away, he said. But often there’s four people ahead of them. The snow keeps coming, and so do the repairs.

“We’re always busy in the winter,” Barth said.

“People drive crazy.”