When a collision happens, the external body of a vehicle is usually damaged. And this requires body work to repair. But collision repair and body work are two different things, even if the auto shops that do one often do the other as well.
Superficial damage to your car’s body—the paneling, the bumpers, the hood—can be fixed by a body shop. They examine the damage and determine if the paneling needs to be removed and replaced or if the dents can be popped out.
They will also help you determine if a new paint job is necessary, replace broken lights and advise you on care of the car’s external structure. If you want a cosmetic change made to your car, you would look for an auto body shop that doesn’t necessarily specialize in collision repair.
If your vehicle has been in an accident, the external body may not be the only thing damaged. Collision repair specialization allows a technician to remove the damaged panels and inspect the actual frame of the car for weakened integrity. Without the right training, a technician might not recognize signs of damage on a car’s frame, making it a liability if the car is driven and ends up in another collision.
Repairing this kind of damage requires specialized training to recognize the signs of structural damage, both to car frames and the mechanical systems that keep them running. Body work handles the external damage to a car, from rock chips to vandalism to wear, and collision repair handles the external and internal damage to vehicles from car accidents.