Any recommendation for a good body shop, preferably north county or central

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Submitted by Coronita on June 23, 2011 - 7:50pm

Well it guess it had to happen.
Someone ran into my 4 month old 550 while parked in a parking lot AND DIDNT FVCKING LEAVE A NOTE....

At any rate, do any of you folks have a body shop to recommend?

I've went through the following so far with some folks I've talked to, but wanted to hear if anyone else had something good to say about a specific shop

1. Penske Collision (Balboa)...mixed reviews I've heard...Anyone, anyone have any experience?

2. Amato's (Sorrento Valley)....I went there one time for an estimate and they were unbelievably rude, but I'm told their work is decent

3. Chapparone... Went there...The work was OK, not stellar but ok......

There was supposedly one really good place up north county, but forgot the name...Works exclusively on european....Anyone?

Just need to get front bumper painted. Shouldn't be that hard....

Submitted by Coronita on June 23, 2011 - 7:51pm.

...stupid stupid that I hadn't finished hooking up the side camera video otherwise the fvcker would have been nailed....

Submitted by jpinpb on June 23, 2011 - 8:18pm.

DH says Amato's is the best.

Submitted by carli on June 23, 2011 - 8:46pm.

We like the guys at Carmel Valley Collision Center ( on Sorrento Valley Rd. Unfortunately, having teenagers, we've had to use their services twice and they've always provided us with a very fair price and done a perfect job.

I've also heard good things about Amato's but a friend who used them thought they were expensive, and when they worked on her car, they somehow screwed up the electronic locking system, which prevented her from locking her car...she picked it up on a Friday and couldn't bring it back until Mon because they were closed so she spent the weekend being a little nervous about leaving her (very expensive) car unlocked wherever she went.

Submitted by Cube on June 23, 2011 - 11:54pm.

We've used AJ-USA (, Mira Mesa at Flanders) twice. Once around 2000 (for my wife's car before we were married), and once recently.

With regard to the recent work (front bumper and quarter panel and door), I was very happy with their workmanship. Everything looked good as new, color blended properly (I can't even distinguish the repainted parts from original parts), they provided me a vial of touch up paint for other parts of the car should I need it. They did give me a more expensive quote than Caliber Collision, but I had more confidence in their quote (AJ wanted to remove the quarter panel to repair the large dent and paint it, whereas Caliber gave me a quote for pulling the dent and painting it while still on the car).

I was paying out of pocket, but I went with AJ-USA despite the higher price since I had more confidence in their quote and their work.

I will say, though, that I don't think much of after-market paint jobs. AJ's work is warranted (by the paint system manufacturer, I believe) for 10 years. The work done in 2000 has had the clear coat bubbling and peeling in the last year or so. To be fair, we did not take very good cosmetic care of that car over the years (washing / waxing), so I don't know how much to attribute the product life expectancy / warranty correlation vs. poor upkeep on our part.

That being said, based on our recent repair with them, I am certainly inclined to use them again, and I'll try to take better care of the recent repair we had done with them.

Submitted by CafeMoto on June 24, 2011 - 7:08am.

I brought my car to Amato's years ago.
The guy walked around my 97M3 and said, "is this a real M3 or did you stick a badge on it?"
The work was class but this gent started off the conversation going the wrong way.
To be fair: I had that odd 4 door version, so looking back I can see why he thought it might be a fake. Some people don't know how to talk or park ;)
Good luck with your repair -the 550 is one of my personal favorites.

Submitted by ljinvestor on June 24, 2011 - 8:51am.

flu, can you let me know where you get the camera as I've always wanted something for that same scenario

Submitted by montana on June 24, 2011 - 9:19am.

My wife had a similar instance, but the vehicle that hit my wife's car had a trailer hitch, so our damage was a little more extensive, a hole in the bumper (new bumper needed) and broken headlamp.

We decided to go through our insurance and they recommended Caliber located on Kettner Blvd downtown. By going through our insurance approved repair shop, we saved an extra $100 off our deductible. Not only did we save some cash, but Caliber did an excellent job in repair and also in communication with progress on the repair job.

Your expense should be minimal, as you are only looking to have paint done, but it was nice to know that our insurance company would give us an incentive to go their approved shop. As an added bonus, there hasn't been any increase to our premiums.

Submitted by Coronita on June 24, 2011 - 9:32am.

Anyone ever use West Coast Specialties?

Submitted by KIBU on June 24, 2011 - 10:25pm.

how bad was the hit? What location? I recently got a big hit on the bumper corner. I took it out and molded it back to original curve, only the paint needed done. But if you leave it for a while, the hot sun may make it unchangeable (no more flexible).

Submitted by sreeb on June 25, 2011 - 2:05pm.

My kid had some work done by Stroyer Brothers in Escondido (right off autopark). It looked like a very credible job.

Submitted by svelte on June 25, 2011 - 4:25pm.


Being a car guy who is VERY picky about repairs and who has been run into a number of times over the last 15 years, I have quite a bit of experience in this area.

Without hesitation, I recommend Henson & Sons in Escondido. They have always done an absolute stellar job on my cars and have come back to me with *better* paint jobs than what the factory did! They will disassemble everything to paint (remove trim, door handles, etc), something that Chapparone promised me they would do, but then didn't.

I've dealt with Henson & Sons about 10 times with my cars, my family's cars, and friend's cars and have inspected each repair extremely closely. They do fine work and it's the only place I'll go now.

Submitted by kcal09 on June 25, 2011 - 9:55pm.

flu wrote:
Anyone ever use West Coast Specialties?

I brought my car there twice and they did an excellent job. They are not cheap but it's worth every penny. Fortunately, the insurance of the other party paid for the repairs.

Submitted by LeaSD on June 26, 2011 - 9:45am.

Carrillos Auto Body
3074 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116-1501
(619) 281-6791

AAA sent me here after my accident - only good things to say - $8500 damage to my Lexus - and when I got it back - it was like nothing had happened. They were really organized - emailed detailed quotes - followed up via phone as promised - weird thing to say after a car accident but it was a positive experience.

Submitted by bob2007 on June 26, 2011 - 6:45pm.

Philip Thearles is the best I have found. The do customizations on new cars as well as repair work. Had a similar situation on a new mdx. Their work was completely undetectable including color, finish and texture. They are in El Cajon, so its not the area you wanted, but the few jobs they did for me and also friends of mine the work was perfect. Last time was about 4 years ago though.

Submitted by Hobie on June 27, 2011 - 7:14am.

While you are searching shops take a look at a finished job. Look for overspray. Under the hood, inside wheel wells, inside door jambs. There should be none.

The guys that pay attention to detail will mask these areas off very carefully. Don't let them 're-undercoat' inside a wheel well to cover overspray.

Submitted by ucodegen on June 27, 2011 - 5:23pm.

Well it guess it had to happen.
Someone ran into my 4 month old 550 while parked in a parking lot AND DIDNT FVCKING LEAVE A NOTE....

That is why I am driving a big @ss chebby these days. Two big incidents come to note:

  • Parked over at UTC, upper lot near Sport Chalet. Drove home from lot and noticed that the rear bumper was bent (It was made from 3/16 and 1/4 inch steel). Looked under the truck, frame showed no bending but I saw blue and brown paint marks on frame members going almost 3 feet under the truck. Went back to UTC and looked around where I parked. I saw a few pieces of taillight lens and some metal pieces, some over 20 feet away from where I was parked - one looking like a spiral made from 1/8 inch wide sheet steel that when straightened, was almost 1 foot long (something blue got can-opened). It did look like the people who hit me picked up most of the pieces of their car that got scattered when they ran into the back of my parked truck. I suspect they were 'showboating'. I was real curious as to what their vehicle looked like.
  • Parallel parking in La Jolla; as I was backing in, an old man too impatient to wait decided to go around the truck.. but he didn't make sure he pulled around the truck. The result was a gouge from making contact with my front bumper down the side of his new, black car and some damage from hitting my front tire (BFG MT 35x12.5). Idiot tried to claim that it was my fault, but since I took a LOT of photos of the scene.. insurance corrected him.

    That beater is kind of like an armored vehicle, though I do miss the better gas mileage and smaller size of a car. I guess I am going to have to cave to getting another car sometime.

  • Submitted by anxvariety on June 28, 2011 - 9:26am.

    europacific in Oceanside/Vista is another. Used to know owner, not sure if he still owns it - but smaller shop than the others. Not making a recommendation, but maybe a spot to get a quote see their work.

    Submitted by Coronita on June 28, 2011 - 10:34am.

    Thanks folks. The going rate seems to be $800 for a bumper and takes about 3 days... I think I'll go to westcoastspecialties or Philip Thearles...

    I'm not so much concerned about the paint match itself, since I'm sure almost all places will do that ok.

    I'm more concerned about making sure they get the correct gap spacing after they reattach the bumper....These bumpers are really tight fit with virtually no gap spacing these days.

    Submitted by Coronita on June 28, 2011 - 10:37am.

    ljinvestor wrote:
    flu, can you let me know where you get the camera as I've always wanted something for that same scenario

    I built it myself, using a old android phone, a wireless data adapter and some backend software..

    Submitted by livinincali on December 3, 2013 - 7:54am.

    I had my bumper replaced at when I got rear ended. I do believe the quote was right around the $800 you mentioned but insurance paid for it.

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