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I had an accident in my 2002 firebird conv. and sent it to the shop for repairs. The shop has had extreme problems finding all the parts for this vehicle, although all the damage was purely cosmetic. Make a long story short it has been in the shop for a year. What steps should i take before putting this vehicle back on the road? PS: I pick the vehicle up April 15 2007 and want to take it on a road trip to Miami before trading it in. HELP!!!

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Marie, 1 whole year? Ouch! I find this really alarming. It was at a body shop? It was covered under insurance? I'm assuming it was. I would talk to your insurance agent and insist that they pay for you to take it to another body shop to have it looked over to make sure they did everything correctly and found everything thing that needed to be repaired or replaced. If you didn't have insurance and had to pay for this yourself, I would still take it to another body shop and have them do a thorough accident inspection. If I were you, I would only pay 1/2 the bill and Let them know that you are taking it to another body shop for a 2nd opinion and that you will pay them the balance after you know the job was done right. If this doesn't work, make sure you pay it with a credit card so you have some recourse if they messed something up. Best Of Luck, Amy Mattinat

Kim Walker, Marketing Director at Peak Automotive We do not know all of the circumstances around this car and the shop it is in; however, considering that it is only a 4 - 5 year old car, and every single part is available from the dealer as well as many other sources this car should NOT have been in a shop for a year.  We suggest as soon as you pick the car up bring it immediately to another qualified shop to have it completely checked over.  To find a quality body or repair shop, visit shops in your area and ask your friends who they trust.  Visit the shop and look for a clean, orderly, neat atmosphere paired with kind, courteous staff that listen well.  Again, we do not know all of the circumstances with this car - maybe there are good reasons for the job to take this long - it simply does not seem right from what you've mentioned for it to have taken this long.  Obviously before taking it on a long road trip to Miami - be sure that you have driven it enough to feel comfortable with your road trip and this car. Good luck! 

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Maria, If the vehicle hasn't been driven in a year, you should probably have all the fluids checked and at least the oil should be changed. I would drive it localy for a little bit before taking the road trip to make sure that everything is working properly. Lori

Marnie Kramer, Owner and Creator at Maria,I am sorry that this has been such a long ordeal for you. It does not make much since, even though the vehicle is out of production service parts run for at least seven years. As for road worthiness, you should get a copy of the bill so you understand exactly what was done to the vehicle. If in fact, if it was just cosmetic there should not be any major concerns. The fact that it has been sitting for a year could be a bigger issue. If it has been sitting for all that time there could be flat spots in the tires giving it a bumpy ride, those should work themselves out after the vehicle is drive, but may need to be replaced. The fluids should be topped off and it probably would not hurt to have the oil changed. Depending where the vehicle is the brakes could have rusted do to non use. The battery may need to be replaced. You should make sure that the repair facility does a general inspection, prior to you taking delivery.Thank you for visiting AskPatty.comSincerely,Marnie Kramer Marnie Kramer

Patty Streeter,  at Take it to your ASE certified shop and/or an Authorized Pontiac dealership for a complete inpection and needed service to make sure your Firebird is ready for a long road trip.

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