Autoworks Collision Center offers collision repair, refinishing at three locations

Known for above-average turnaround for repair

By KELLEY MOHR Staff Writer Published:

With locations in Holmesville and Wooster, Autoworks Collision Center has been serving Ashland, Holmes, Wayne and surrounding counties with a goal of providing the highest level of customer satisfaction in collision repairs and customer service.

The services offered run the gambit: Autoworks performs complete collision repair and refinishing on all makes and models and serves as a direct repair center for insurance claims. Autoworks also accommodates self-pay repairs, after-hour drop-offs and pick-ups and offers free local shuttle service, rental assistance, laser equipped frame and unibody repair and computerized alignments.

"We have above-average turnaround for vehicle repair," said owner Dave Rabatin.

For vehicles with chips, scratches, dents or bumps, Autoworks offers mobile trim repair of paint chips, windshields and interisors, as well as paint-less dent repair for everything from hail dents, ball dings and door dings to runaway shopping carts.

"We have customers who will bring vehicles to us with hail damage or small dents and dings. Often, we can have those small dents and dings taken out without having to paint, which is a good savings for the customer and the insurance company and makes for a much quicker turnaround time," said Rabatin.

Autoworks can also do repairs on blemishes and cuts to the interior, dash or door paneling.

With room to service more than 30 cars at a time, Autoworks newest shop -- built in 2009 on Lincoln Way -- offers customers amenities in addition to service, such as a children's room, offices and a drive-through awning for wet days.

"We took all the ideas that we liked and put them into the building. It has all the same equipment as Holmesville, so it's all up-to-date for frame equipment and measuring," said Rabatin.

Autoworks is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest technological advances in the industry.

To do so, the shops incorporate state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to ensure that all repairs are made with quality, and technicians are certified to guarantee that they are up to date on new technology in the ever-changing auto industry.

"We're in the top 10 percent of body shops in Ohio in terms of equipment," said Rabatin.

In Holmesville, Autoworks specializes in servicing and repairing pick-up trucks.

"We work on more pick-up trucks there than at any other of our locations, and it's set up real well to work on pick-ups with an alignment rack and two frame racks," said Rabatin. "The vehicles go through the shop very smoothly with the way that we have the shop set up. We have dedicated body and dedicated paint."

The Lincoln Highway location also features three frame racks.

Each shop is equipped with bake booths, which allows Autoworks staff to bake on the paint in order to professionally seal it.

"When you have a baked on finish, it's very durable and it makes for a much more pleasant job. You don't have the new paint smell of cars that aren't baked," said Rabatin, explaining that un-baked cars might have solvents evaporating from the finish for months. "If you bake it, it smells clean and odorless because it is more like the factory would do it. We want our paint jobs to be comparable to the (Original Equipment Manufacturer) finishes."

Another advantage of baking a vehicle, said Rabatin, is that a car can be painted in the morning, baked, then put out in any weather -- rain and snow included -- without any adverse affects to the paint job.

Autoworks also uses PPG Global paint, what Rabatin calls "a notch above what many facilities use on their vehicles."

Autoworks uses spot welders, factory-like pieces of equipment that add to the quality of the repair process, and at the Holmesville facility, the shop uses a four-wheel alignment machine.

"That really is a great piece of equipment because it gives us the 'before' computerized data and the 'after' computerized data, so that we know what the vehicle was like when we first started the alignment and what the vehicle was like after the alignment," said Rabatin, noting that most body shops lack this piece of equipment. "This alignment rack here is cutting-edge, very user friendly and very accurate."

The print-outs produced by this Snap-on John Bean Alignment Rack is readable by almost anyone, said Rabatin, a feature he most appreciates.

"I can take the alignment print-out and show it to anybody who doesn't know anything about alignments and I can explain to them really easily what the vehicle was like before and after, and they can clearly see it," he said.

At Autoworks, doing more than is required is part of the culture, said Rabatin, and the staff at Autoworks wants every customer to walk out of the shop knowing that the best service and quality vehicle repairs were received.

"No matter what type of a vehicle -- whether it's an old vehicle, a new vehicle or one that we can't do anything to -- we want our managers to treat customers with the same level of importance with total respect and patience," said Rabatin, noting that it's also important that estimates are in-line with customers' expectations. "We like good communication between our customers and our managers."

All vehicles are returned to the customer washed on the outside and cleaned on the inside.

And if a customer needs a service Autoworks can't perform, the shop will provide a name and phone number of someone Autoworks can trust to do the job.

Autoworks works with these quality local companies, such as Wooster Glass Company, Jim's Rust Proofing and area parts stores, to provide top service to customers.

As an off-shoot of that commitment to working with local companies, Autoworks is helping Dave Firebaugh start up a restoration shop in Millersburg.

At the Millersburg shop, Firebaugh will take vehicles apart, take the parts to another shop to get sandblasted and primed then go to Autoworks for the bodywork and painting. Then, the parts go back to the restoration shop to be fully restored with chrome and trim.

"It should really speed up the turnaround time for people who want to have their vehicles restored," said Rabatin, noting that such an organized and stream-lined restoration process will speed up the time-consuming process. "For people who have older cars -- say you have a car grandpa had and you want to fix it up but don't want to spend the next 10 years or more of your life doing it -- you can schedule a date and proceed with it."

That shop is expected to open mid-2013.

The Autoworks Collision Repair can be found at three locations: In Wooster at 1457 W. Old Lincoln Way, Wooster 44691; in Holmesville at 305 Benton Rd. (County Road 189), Holmesville 44633; and at Underwood Motors in Wooster, 2626 Cleveland Road, Wooster 44691.

Reporter Kelley Mohr can be reached at 330-674-5676 or kmohr@the-daily-record.com.

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