Mark and Sari Descoteau are co-owners of Parksville’s Terminal Auto Body. — Lauren Collins photo

Changes in auto body a wild ride

Parksville business boasts highly trained, veteran staff

Sponsored by Terminal Auto Body | Impress Branded Content

North America recorded its first automobile collision in 1891 when John Lambert’s steam carriage hit a tree root in the road and careened into a hitching post. No one was seriously injured, but the carriage was most certainly damaged, and the repairs were problematic, to say the least.

Back then, vehicles were painted through a series of brushed-on layers of oils and paints, interspersed with back-breaking sanding and hand rubbing. The process took more than 50 days to complete.

Spray painting didn’t come into play until 1923, and the original lacquer used on cars was only discovered by accident when a worker at the DuPont film plant left a drum of cotton fibers treated with a nitrate solution on the loading dock one hot weekend. No word on if he was fired for the mistake, but the liquid that was produced changed the way cars were finished.

Changes in auto body repair have continued through the years and Al Descoteau, owner of CARSTAR Terminal Auto Body in Parksville, has watched the industry change and improve to where, to do the job right, today’s shop are required to maintain a dizzying array of tools, equipment and specialized facilities.

They also need highly qualified staff, with years of experience.

“At Terminal, most of our staff have been with us for 10, 15, 20 years…but they all get regular training to stay up to date on the latest techniques,” said Descoteau.

“Vehicles today can be a challenge. You can have three or four different types of steel on a single vehicle and we have to use computers and manufacturer’s specific guidelines to generate a repair plan.”

Tools and training have also changed in the 38 years since Al Descoteau started CARSTAR Terminal Auto Body, but one thing has remained constant.

“People love their vehicles. It’s often one of their most valuable possessions, and when damage occurs, it’s a traumatic experience. My father instilled that in my sister, Sari, and I, and now that we’re running the business on a day to day basis, we have a lot of empathy for the customer. We treat them with respect and make certain that the process is as seamless as possible,” said Mark Descoteau, Al’s son and the co-owner and operator of the business.

Changes in auto body repair have come quickly and have had a major impact on the industry, but it’s the core values and dedication to excellence that makes the difference in any auto body shop, Al explained.

CARSTAR Terminal Auto Body was recently accredited by Certified Collision Care, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, for their excellence in the field. It also received official certification for the repair of Fiat Chrysler automobiles.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

PQB crime report: Resident provides banking information after email saying they had won lottery

Fraud, theft among 240 complaints received by Oceanside RCMP in one-week period

COVID-19: Updates from Parksville, Qualicum Beach, RDN

Level 1 Emergency Operations Centre now activated

PQBeat Podcast: Talking cars with Philip Wolf and Peter McCully

Listen: Chat includes best and worst vehicles, dream rides and more

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

COVID-19: List of postponed/cancelled events in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Send your organization’s updates to editor@pqbnews.com

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

Most Read