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Green Car Repair?

May 17, 2010

Let’s just say “crunch.” Eight days crunch!after I took possession of the “blue baby” there was an unfortunate  occurrence in the driveway (and I was not responsible).  The blue baby is now going to spend a few days at the car hospital.  [The woman at the desk told me that at least 13 times a week people come in because of driveway incidents.]  Sigh, this is why we have insurance.  But some good news – if two cars under the same policy are damaged in the same incident you only pay the deductible once!

At some point over the weekend I wondered about auto repair and the green factor but since the insurance company chooses who does the work and the bodyshop chooses the parts and paint, I figured there wasn’t much room for input from me anyway.  Besides, honestly and truly, I just wanted the car repaired.  So while waiting for the estimate I was pleasantly surprised to see a pamphlet called A cleaner bodyshop, a greener tomorrow.  The pamphlet is published by BASF, makers of R-M Onyx HD waterborne paint.  Long story short, it is automobile paint that “meets or exceeds OEM standards”  (whatever OEM standards are – I’m sure they are very important and very high).  Among its many features are that “there’s less waste, disposal is easier, and basecoat solvent emissions are reduced by up to 90%.” 

A quick Google search and it seemed that the big selling point to the bodyshops wasn’t so much that their tree-hugger clients would be pleased, it was about making the jobsite safer for the employees. Imagine working in a bodyshop where they paint cars day after day.  Imagine the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) – the fumes.  I’d last 20 minutes, tops. 

I suppose the other green bit on the car repair is that the fender and door shell will be used, not new -– ta da – reusing! (in retrospect, of course they will be used, it’s a 2 year old car – where would you get a new ‘08 fender and door shell?). I wonder if my old parts will be recycled?  Maybe I’ll ask.  Between a reused fender and greenish (blue) paint, and perhaps recycled old parts, the car repair might not be as bad for the environment as I had expected.

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