Mechanic vs Auto Body Shop? Where should you take your car?

What’s the difference between an auto body shop and an auto repair shop (more commonly known as a mechanic)? This is probably one of those questions you’ve never wanted to ask, assuming you should already know the difference. But it’s actually a very common question. It’s important to know the difference since the likelihood of experiencing mechanical issues with your vehicle is high and the average driver has 3 to 4 accidents over the span of their lifetime. The pros at CIC are here to give you some quick and easy ways to distinguish which is which in the mechanic vs auto body shop debate!

Anatomy of Your Car

Basically, you can divide your car into two divisions: Parts you can see, and parts you can’t see. The body is the exterior of the vehicle – bumpers, body panels, glass and other parts that are not part of the engine – are the parts you can see and those are repaired by an auto body shop. You’ll need a body shop if you’ve been in an accident or there has been damage to the physical appearance of your vehicle. The internal parts you can’t see – the engine, brakes, battery, radiator, etc. - are considered mechanical and are responsible for helping the car move or come to a stop. You are likely to visit an auto repair shop for routine maintenance like oil changes and worn down brake pads or on more rare occasions like engine or battery issues.

Mechanic vs Auto Body Shop - Do Body Shops do Mechanical Work?

It depends. Some body shops may have a mechanical repair tech on site and others will refer you to one or outsource that aspect of the repair to a trusted mechanical shop with whom they work. Either way, if you’ve been in an accident, your body shop should be able to tell you if your car needs mechanical work and how that will be handled during your repair.

What does a body shop do?

Also referred to as collision centers, body shops repair damage to exterior and non-moving parts.

  • Restores vehicles after minor or major collisions
  • Repairs scratches, scuffs and dents in the sheet metal
  • Restores paint and repaints to match factory colors
  • Replaces bumpers, damaged body panels, and other components that are not part of the engine
  • Repair vehicles per manufacturer specifications  
  • Repairs or replaces glass

What does a mechanic do?

An auto repair shop performs regular maintenance, diagnostic testing, and repairs moving parts:

  • Replaces brakes
  • Replaces other parts that wear out during normal driving
  • Performs oil changes
  • Repairs engine components that wear out or become damaged during use
  • Repairs other moving components of the vehicle

Check out our blog for other guides, tips, and tricks to help you care for your car and stay safe on the roads, or if you’re ready for an estimate, head over to our website or give us a call at (845) 627-3100.

We had an excellent experience here - Jon was so easy to work with and made this whole process very stress-free. I appreciated how quickly / ahead of schedule the work was completed - not to mention the quality of work was top notch and didn't look rushed at all. Very impressed and would recommend to anyone! We also appreciated Dawn's help during this process.

Knaack I.

Very well organized and professional

Fernando G.

Great place, very professional and kept me informed on the expected completion date.

Cynthia Blackwell

Superb customer service and personal attention

Myles S.