Californians who have body work done on their cars can get it inspected for free at their home or office by the state Bureau of Automotive Repair, yet almost nobody takes advantage of this service. Last year, the bureau only performed about 110 inspections statewide, says Jamie Ramos, the program's manager. He doesn't know how many of the cars inspected had shoddy work done. “We don't track the history of results,” Ramos says.
Under the program, any car owner who gets in a collision and has body work done can get a state inspector to make sure all repairs listed on their invoice were done correctly. For example, if the shop said it put in a new part, the inspector will make sure it was not refurbished. “In auto body collision repairs, it could look beautiful on the outside, but what's behind there could be unsafe. It could reduce the structural integrity and put the driver and passenger at risk,” Ramos says. The program does not inspect regular mechanical repairs such as brake jobs or transmission replacement, but it will examine almost any work done as the result of a collision.