Why Your Chrysler/FCA/RAM Lease May Cost You More Than Purchasing

So you have decided to purchase a new vehicle, it is an exciting day!  The smell of the new interior, the beautiful lines of the new model, the fact that you will have a vehicle you can depend on!  These are all sensory factors that captivate us when considering a new vehicle.  Next, we must decide on how we plan to obtain the vehicle we have picked out; purchase or lease?  Both choices have upsides and downsides, each dependant upon your financial position, overall needs and other factors.  If you decide to lease, you may not be aware of the lease policy vebiage within the lease agreement that could affect your insurance policy.  We strongly recommend that you ask your dealer salesperson what the manufacturer requirements are regarding the use of crash parts, specifically, aftermarket parts in the event of a body repair.  Many manufacturers now state that you are responsible for Genuine OEM parts being installed on your lease vehicle.  They state this due to the fact that they must try to sell the vehicle again once you turn in your lease, and to do so as a certified pre-owned vehicle, it must have original, OEM parts installed.  


So far, these requirements are quite simple and not too much to ask of you as the purchaser, right?  After all, who expects to be involved in a collision?  The rub here is that your current insurance company's policy may, in fact, state that they have the option to pay for repairs to your vehicle utilizing alternative parts, such as aftermarket, reconditioned or used (junkyard salvage) parts.  By doing so, this would void your agreement terms with the leasing company, eventually leading to you having to buy the vehicle outright due to voiding the terms of the agreement.  What options do you have now?  Your insurer is telling you they will "Only Pay" for the cheaper parts based on your policy and your leasing firm states that you have to use "Only Genuine Parts".  It's a catch 22 and you are now faced with some decisions that may cost you a lot of money out-of-pocket.  Yes, you can opt to pay the shop for the difference between what the insurer will pay and what the actual costs are, however, this can get quite costly on today's vehicles. 


Before you sign on the dotted line, take some preventative measures


  • Ask your salesperson at the dealership what the requirements of the lease state in terms of replacement parts usage.  Keep in mind that what you are told and what is really on the agreement may be totally different.  It is your responsibility to make sure that you read the agreement to ensure you know what you are signing for.
  • Talk to your insurance agent.  Determine what your policy states in terms of alternative part usage.  Does the insurer offer an additional policy rider with provisions for new, OEM parts?  If not, you may need to explore other options in terms of insurance policies and providers. 
  • Rule of thumb:  The cheaper the policy, the less liklihood for the insurer to provide complete coverage as your lease requires.  Lower priced insurers typically will not be willing to pay for proper repairs as required by the manufacturers.  They try to pay for as little as possible and the one that suffers in the end is you.
  • A collision repair shop will not know whether or not your vehicle is leased or purchased when you bring it in for repairs.  You must explain these details to them.  Another notable fact: a collision repair center does not have any agreement with the insurer of what happens to your vehicle or how it is repaired.  The agreement for the repair soley exists between the shop and the vehicle owner, therefore, you will have to make the decision of how to proceed regarding repairs and who will pay for these additional costs.  The vehicle owner bears the responsibility of seeking the reimbursement from the insurer for out-of-pocket costs that exceed the deductible and/or any applicable depreciation on certain wearable parts.

We have included an OEM Position Statement from FCA/Chrysler/RAM Trucks in this link.  If you have questions about what a manufacturer may require before you make a purchase or lease decision, please contact us.  We will be glad to assist you in locating the position statement from the manufacturer to determine those requirements!  


Why Training Is So Important
Why Training Is So Important

Why Training Is So Important


Let me ask you a question, if you were given the choice between two different pilots—one was trained, the other not—which one would you choose? But what if there was no “up-front” cost for the untrained pilot? You still wouldn’t do it? Yet many business owners do not recognize the importance of employee training.

Most business managers wouldn’t hire unqualified employees yet so many of them do employ under-qualified workers. Employees can become under-qualified due to changing technology or the development of new methods. Don’t get me wrong; training does come at a cost, but it outweighs the cost of not having properly trained employees. The two biggest resources used for job training are time and money. Some of the excuses not to train are:


“We are too busy to learn something new right now.” or “We just don’t have the money to pay for training.”


Training employees' costs time, money, materials and often use third parties that are needed to conduct the training. Not only will there be missed time and unbillable hours, but there will also be additional costs. Another reason businesses often neglect to train employees is because of bad experiences from past training programs. Sometimes the training was done poorly, or the topics just didn’t help however, not training your employees also comes at a much greater cost.


6 Truths That Underscore The Importance of Training

1. Untrained Employees = Unhappy Employees

Employees who feel inadequate, underachieving, or unsupported are unhappy. They aren’t satisfied in their work, which will cause them to underperform, make mistakes, and not care about their work product. That costs the business in lost time and money.

2. Untrained Workers Have a Low Production Value

The quality of their work is lower and of less value. The quality in performance is lower than it could (or should) be.

3. Untrained Workers Are Inefficient

More time (and therefore money) and effort is spent when employees aren’t fully or properly trained to perform their tasks or to fulfill their responsibilities. It takes them longer to do the work.

4. Lost Time/Money Due to Mistakes

When an untrained worker makes a mistake, the time and materials used are lost. The work then must be done again. Or worse, the inadequate product was delivered to the client.

5. An Increase in Miscellaneous Expenses

These are more difficult to track or attribute to untrained workers, but they are there. Creating a CAD drawing incorrectly means reprinting the file. That means it takes more time to fix the mistake, more materials cost in paper and ink, and more time rechecking the work. If it were done correctly the first time, these costs wouldn’t be there.

6. Insufficient Staff Training Means Lost Customers

Untrained employees can cause many of the mistakes listed above, and those mistakes and inefficiencies can cause your business to lose customers. That is the worst possible scenario, but it can happen.


People’s lives and your reputation depend on your company having trained employees. Yes, it’s expensive and with the automotive industry changing as fast as it does it’s hard to keep up BUT what will the cost be if a vehicle you repair fails in a subsequent accident because your company didn’t follow the manufacturer’s recommendations?


Bottom line, you wouldn’t put your loved ones in a car repaired with subpar standards so don’t do it with your customers!



Everything You Need To Know About Paint Oxidation
Everything You Need To Know About Paint Oxidation

Imagine this - it’s time for a brand new ride. You take in your current car for a trade-in, but the price the dealer offers is way below what you think the car is worth. You know it runs great, and it doesn’t have any obvious body damage. What gives?

Did you know that the condition of the paint is a huge factor in a car’s value? As your car ages, the paint breaks down and loses its glossy shine. Eventually it can wear away to reveal the metal body underneath, leaving it vulnerable to rust and corrosion. This process is called paint oxidation, and it can cause problems to more than just your wallet. Read on to learn what paint oxidation is, what you can do to prevent it, and how to treat it when it happens.

What is Paint Oxidation?

As your car ages, oxygen and heat causes the chemicals in the paint to break down. Oils in your paint are what protects it and helps it maintain its shine, but they are slowly broken down over time as they are exposed to the elements. This has a big effect on the integrity of your paint. Eventually, oxidation can strip your car of its paint completely and lead to rust, corrosion, and damage.

How Do I Know If I Have Paint Oxidation?

Just take a look at your paint! The effects of paint oxidation are gradual but noticeable. If your paint is dull, has lost its vibrancy, or has a rough texture, then you’re in the beginning stages of oxidation. As it continues, the clear coat that protects your paint will wear away, causing white or chalky surfaces, and your paint will begin to flake. Finally, the paint will dissolve completely and  bare metals will be exposed to the elements, which can cause permanent damage to your car.

So What Do I Do?

Paint oxidation is unavoidable. Time and exposure to heat and oxygen will eventually affect your paint job no matter what you do. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent oxidation for as long as possible, and once it occurs there are ways to treat it and restore your car to its former glory.

Preventing Paint Oxidation

Paint oxidation can be prevented by properly maintaining your car’s exterior. You’ve probably washed your car before, but have you ever waxed it? Waxing your car is one of the best ways to prevent paint oxidation because it applies a protective coat to your paint. You should wax your car once per month to protect it from the elements, especially if you live in a warm or sunny climate. For best results, use a car wax that is formulated to protect against UV damage.

Another way to prevent paint oxidation is to park your car in a garage or shaded area. When you park your car in direct sunlight, you’re increasing its exposure to heat and UV rays, which will speed up oxidation. If you don’t have access to a garage or shaded area, you can buy canopies or car covers for relatively cheap to protect your paint.

Finally, you should have your car regularly detailed to keep it in new condition. Professionals know how to diagnose paint oxidation and they may have tools and tricks that can’t be applied at home. Auto Craft offers full detail services for the interior and exterior of your car.

How Do I Treat Paint Oxidation?

Even properly maintained cars will feel the effects of paint oxidation. Catching it early and treating it right away are the keys to treating paint oxidation easily and most affordably. Once it gets out of hand, it becomes much harder to handle and may require a new coat of paint. There are two ways to treat paint oxidation depending on if your paint damage is minor or heavy: restoring or repainting.


In the early stages, paint oxidation is minor and can often be treated at home. This means that your paint is dull and has lost its shine, but it has not yet started to flake or look chalky. When this happens, you need to take action right away to restore your paint!

The effects of oxidation can be treated at home by buffing your paint with an oxidation removal product. First, start with a clean car. Then you’ll need to buff the surface until all oxidation has been removed and wipe it clean. Finally, apply a coat of wax to protect the paint. Remember that oxidation can also affect your headlights, so don’t overlook them!


Unfortunately, heavier paint oxidation may not be able to be treated by buffing. Once your paint begins to flake or wear, or if you can see bare metal, it is time to repaint the car. Depending on the extent of your damage, you might need a paint touch-up or an entire new coat. Painting can be pricey, but it’s the best way to treat heavy paint oxidation and will increase the value of your car. We offer touch-ups and full paint jobs that are professional, affordable, and look great. Check out a list of our full painting services.

Paint oxidation is an unavoidable pitfall of car ownership, but by using these tips for prevention and treating it early, you can lessen its effects. If you’re unsure if your car has damage from paint oxidation, its best to seek the opinion of a professional. At Auto Craft, we offer free estimates and consultations to help you keep your car (and your wallet) in peak condition!

Rocky Lundy

Rocky Lundy has been with our company since 2007, he started as an estimator at our Fairhope location and became the the shop manager shortly after starting. 


Loves working on antique cars and spending time with his family. He lives in Saraland wife Margaret, his wife of 43 years. They have a son (married with 1 child) and a daughter (married) and welcomed their first grandchild (Rocco) in November2016.


He taught high school biology, physical science and chemistry at Williamson High School for 6 years. He then spent the next 25 years as an insurance claims adjuster before coming to AutoCraft.


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