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Gary Otting works on cleaning a car in the shop, an important part of maintaining a car’s bodywork to prevent deterioration.

Otting Body Shop has been servicing Cascade and the surrounding areas for three generations. Specializing in auto body and framework, it was founded in 1960 by Robert Otting under the name “Bob’s Body Shop.” It was purchased by his son Mark Otting in 1992 and rebranded to its current name. The family-run body shop prides itself on quality work, specializing in repair to the body and exterior of the vehicles.

“We’re the third generation that’s worked here,” said Meredith Lahey, one of Robert Otting’s grandchildren and an office manager in the business. “We’ve served the Cascade community and the surrounding areas and have seen a lot of change in cars. The industry has changed because cars are worth a lot of money and people invest a lot in their cars, so they want them done right. We’ve had loyal backing because our body men and our dad are very particular and don’t like anything to go out of the shop that doesn’t look like it was just bought off a lot.”

“We specialize in anything from framework to collision to painting,” said Lana Nachtman, another of Robert Otting’s granddaughters and office manager. “With cars going to aluminum we need to have different tools to work on them versus steel.”

Lahey and Nachtman offered advice on how people can better care for the body of their car and avoid having to pay them a visit. One topic they gave priority to was the simple act of keeping the car clean. According to Nachtman, it’s important to make sure any particles picked up over the winter are removed before they can cause damage to the car body.

“The biggest thing is washing and cleaning your car,” said Nachtman. “With all the salt and grime they put on the highways around here to keep them safe and clear, that stuff just corrodes your frame and rocker panels. It’s possible a car wash might not do it. It might take you getting in there with a hose to get all that grime out of there, otherwise, it’s just going to sit there and eventually rot away and cause your vehicle to rust.”

Nachtman also emphasized the importance of safe driving and keeping tires in good condition to avoid collisions that can so easily damage the car’s frame.

“Especially in the winter, we often get vehicles in here that, if they would have just gotten new tires, they might not have ever slid to the ditch. A lot of people put their tires off, but there have been times where the car went in the ditch because the tires were bald.”

In the event a vehicle does need repair, Lahey strongly recommends owners be well-versed in what their insurance does and doesn’t cover.

“People need to make sure they understand their insurance policy, know what their deductible is, and what kind of parts the insurance is going to cover,” said Lahey. “A lot of people think their insurance is just going to let them have brand new parts and a lot of insurance companies in the fine print don’t necessarily allow that. You definitely need to understand what your coverage is.”

While some types of body damage are hard to avoid, Otting Body Shop encourages vehicle owners to stay on top of their basic maintenance and avoid unnecessary repairs.