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Andrew Jacques inspects a quality repair.

Adapters: Balcatta Panel & Paint on Fixing Hi-tech Cars and Car Craft Crash-repair Quality

A Perth panelbeater has found that life-saving technology featured in modern cars and SUVs can greatly increase the cost of repairing these vehicles to manufacturers’ standards.

Andrew Jaques, owner of Balcatta Panel and Paint, says modern cars act like computers on four wheels and keep drivers and passengers safe with advanced sensor technology.

But a bingle in a vehicle with hi-tech safety features can cost much more to fix than a minor collision in a car not so well equipped.

“For example, blind-spot sensors fitted behind bumpers of new cars are actually a little radar,” Mr Jaques said. “As soon as you replace one you have to have the car recalibrated by the dealer.”

Recalibration increases the repair bill. He said replacing a sensor on a Kia Stinger, a luxury sports sedan that starts at $52,000, was costly.

“You think, Kia – inexpensive brand, but the sensor is $1700 plus GST,” he said. “After that we have to bring it to the Kia dealer to have it recalibrated, so you’re talking about more than $2000.”

Reversal into a roadside pole can incur a new sensor. “And that amount doesn’t include the cost of the bumper and paintwork repairs,” he said. “We always try to offer competitive pricing for private repairs, but we highly recommend getting insurance that will cover these types of expenses.”

Mr Jaques is an exemplar in the car repair business, after buying into it six years ago. His background in aviation led him to focus on high quality work that he insists on overseeing personally.

“The owner of the business has skin in the game,” Mr Jaques said. That approach helps safeguard the business in an evolving marketplace. “There’s always room for us as a niche repairer.”

Balcatta Panel and Paint is in the nationwide Car Craft crash-repair network that originated in WA in 1987 to improve industry standards. Mr Jaques and staff undergo tutorials to maintain quality.

He arrived from his native Sweden 30 years ago, having started working life as a pastry cook and chef who owned an American-made V8 Valiant at 16 when still too young for a driving licence.

In Perth he indulges a lifelong passion for cars from a spick and span workshop in Balcatta’s business community. “Our team is highly qualified, and we deal with local customers and businesses. We love to help getting fleet cars back on the road, and we offer priority services for local businesses.”

Away from work, it’s more cars. Mr Jaques is a member of the American Car Club of WA. “It’s a great way to connect to other passionate car lovers and sometimes I even bring the family along,” he said. For more information please visit www.balcattapanelandpaint.com.au.

 This article is one of many which have featured in 'Adapters', a series exclusively for Perth Media clients, profiling news of innovative small businesses, start-ups and not for profits in WABN.

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