Unfortunately, the short answer to that question is, “it depends.” The damage inflicted on a car in one collision can vary widely from the damage sustained to another car in another crash. With different auto body types, different internal mechanisms depending on manufacturer specifications, and different intensities of impact, the amount of time it will take to get your car back in working order will depend on the amount of repair work needed. All that being said, there are some indicators that can give you an idea of when you’ll get your car fixed and back on the road.
Actions of the insurance company
If the accident was large enough to warrant an insurance company getting involved, the response of the company will impact how long it takes to get your fixed car back in your driveway. The insurance company will need to communicate with the repair shop to give their approval of estimates and give the go-ahead for the shop to begin working on the vehicle. Delays in communication between the repair shop and the insurance company will push back the actual commencement of repairs, which of course will push back the date your car will be returned.
If your car was involved in a small fender bender in a parking lot, or sustained minor damage from a low speed collision, the repair work likely won’t be extensive. However, even cosmetic repairs can take time because an expert body shop will put in the effort to match the paint used for repair work with the colour of your car. Repair work for minor collisions can take on average one to two weeks to complete, but smaller jobs like scratch removal may be completed sooner.
Accidents that occur when vehicles are travelling at high speeds typically result in more extensive damage. For instance, if a car gets rear ended on a highway, it is likely going to have significant damage to its back bumper, trunk, and tail lights, among other possible parts. When such a collision occurs, a repair shop will need to liaise with the vehicle manufacturer to ensure the correct parts are used in the repair work. Those parts will need to be sourced, which can be a lengthy process if the vehicle is rare or an older model.
Another potential problem with major collision repair is the discovery of new issues during the repair process. Sometimes during the course of a repair job, mechanics will find more extensive damage that requires the further dismantling of affected pieces, and their subsequent rebuilding. If damage from a collision is significant, or if critical components of the vehicle were damaged during the crash, you can expect a much lengthier wait time before you get your car back on the road.
Of course it’s frustrating to have to wait to get your car back after a collision. You have places to go, things to do, and people who depend on you for transportation. But it’s better to deal with the delay than to push through a repair job that may not return your car in its proper working condition.