Nissan Leaf Accident RepairEnlarge Photo
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving, what type of car you have or how it happened: having a car accident isn’t nice.
Normally, post-accident, your insurance company may help you find a local repairer to get your car looking good as new again. But if you have an electric car, letting them do that could damage your car’s expensive battery pack, reducing its life and usability.
Here is our take on what happens after an accident, and why you need to ensure your electric car goes to a specialist garage for repair instead of a repair center chosen on price alone by your insurance company.
What your insurance company wants
Most insurance companies will have a list of approved bodyshops in your area that specialize in accident repair.
In some cases, these repair centers will have negotiated lower-than-normal repair rates in exchange for becoming an ‘approved repair center’ for your insurance company.
Lower rates means your insurance company has to pay less, giving lower operating costs and higher profits. Because it has an existing relationship with its approved repair shops, it will also help streamline paperwork and repair times.
Toyota Prius body damage
Toyota Prius body damageEnlarge Photo
As a consequence, your insurance company will do everything it can to persuade you to have your car repaired at one of its approved repair centers.
Beware the paint-booth
While your insurance-approved repair shop may be extremely competent, it probably specializes in just bodywork repair, not a particular type or make of car.
It may not know, for example, the correct handling procedure for making high-voltage battery packs safe, or have the correct specialist battery life equipment needed to remove them.
If your car’s accident requires new body panels or a respray however, your car’s battery pack will need to be safely removed from the vehicle before it enters the paint booth.
As part of the painting process, your car will be placed under large heat lamps designed to harden the paint.
But the heat they produce could expose your car’s battery pack to large amounts of heat, overheating the battery and potentially reducing its life.