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Atlantic Racing Scene

A visit to a Nova Scotia collision centre

xBy Jay Lerue

Typically, a trip to any auto body shop means that we’ve suffered some misfortune in some form or another. A fender bender, a break in to our cars, scratched paint, you name it! It’s just not a fun experience, for the most part. That said, it can be a very positive experience as well.

It’s a very exciting feeling when your car comes back from the body shop in just as good, or even better condition than it was before it went in. Been there, done that! You find yourself just as excited as you were when you first bought your car.

To expand on this, I consulted with Mr. Todd Kent (photo below), with Colonial Collision, located at 48 Ash Lake Court, in Bayers Lake Park, just outside of Halifax. Todd has extensive years with Colonial Honda and recently transferred from their Robie Street service department, to head the Colonial Collision body shop. “We can offer service to every make and model,” says Todd, as we walk through the body shop. “Look around you and you’ll see there are Fords, Toyotas and of course, Honda vehicles,” he says. We pride ourselves on the ability to do this, because it keeps us competitive,” he adds.

Tall and proud! Todd Kent stands in front of the Collision Centre he manages.

But recent changes in the Auto Body industry will see most or all body shops making some very extensive transitions. “Dupont is our exclusive paint provider,” says Todd. “Dupont is a very reputable name and they are the leaders in the industry for waterborne paints,” he says.

Did he say waterborne paints? “In the year 2009, the Canadian Government will mandate that all auto body paints be waterborne,” says Todd. “It’s an environmental and health and safety issue, with respect to things like VOC’s and such,” he says. “Volatile organic compounds, or (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects, so we have to switch to waterborne paints, to offset these issues,” says Todd. “It will become law in 2009.” This is certainly good news for anyone with an environmentally safe mind set, but according to Todd, waterborne paints have been in standard use for at least 10 years already in Europe.

A technician carefully puts the necessary touches on this Mustang

As far as Colonial Collision’s future plans for this eminent change in the way it handles painting cars, Todd says that the company is currently under intense evaluations, to assess its needs. “We will meet or even exceed the new methods with finesse,” he says. “It may involve replacing the paint booth to bring the shop completely up to speed,” says Todd. “We have to take airflow in the booth into consideration, because the airflow in the booth is key, when using waterborne paints,” he says.

“We’re ready for it, though,” says Todd. Colonial Collision has been in the auto body industry for 20 years now and we’re confident we will do fine with all the new changes facing this industry. We will still remain as competitive as always and assure the finest quality of service.”

A skilled and trained auto body technician services a truck.

Something that is relatively new to the Auto Body industry, in a local sense, is the beginning of a networking of sorts for as many as 10 local (Halifax Regional Municipality) body shops, called the ICN. This stands for “Integrity Collision Network,” and serves as a line of communication between the shops within its membership. “The ICN is a network that collectively market themselves to customers, including insurance companies, in a fair and ethical manner,” says Todd. “It’s really great, because we can consult with one another and act as a sounding board for each other if there are any questions or concerns,” he says. “It’s a nice sort of unity among shops” he adds.

But where having to visit a body shop is concerned, Todd Kent has the last word. “We try to take the sting out of having to come to a body shop in the first place, says Todd. It would be great if people only had to come to us to repaint a classic car, or truck, but unfortunately, that’s not the real world. What we try to impress upon people is that when we are done, you will have your car back the way you remember it, or even better. We pride ourselves on returning all cars we service back to their original factory specs,” he says. “We also do full detail services to all cars that we repair. That means the car is cleaned inside and out. The customers love this about us and providing these extra touches helps us to maintain a solid reputation in a strongly competitive marketplace.

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