Helpful Tips

10 Apps For Drivers

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Sick of getting stuck in traffic? Can’t remember where you parked your car? Well, there’s an app for that!

There are several mobile apps designed to help drivers navigate their way around from place to place. However, map apps are just the beginning. There are also mobile apps that help you get better gas mileage, avoid getting tickets, and help you find just the right place to visit on a road trip. Below are some of the best car apps available!

 

Roadside America

Your road trip can take every possible interesting or weird turn with the help of this app. So don’t miss out on some of the best and oddest attractions on your next trip.

 

AAA Mobile

This app can help you experience some of the best places to visit even if you’re not a member of AAA. If you are a member, roadside assistance is also available.

 

Waze

If you leave this app open while you drive, it can automatically report traffic conditions, accidents and road conditions. It also helps you give a very accurate estimate for arrival times.

 

Road Trip

This app will track fuel economy for you, but it also keeps track of your maintenance records and reminds you when you’re due for service, like an oil change. It also keeps track of how much you spend on your car.

 

GasBuddy

If you’re looking for the gas station with the best price, then GasBuddy is perfect for you. You can also earn rewards for inputting prices for others to see.

 

PlugShare

This app is designed for drivers of electric cars and it’s a great tool for finding charging stations wherever you go. It even updates the availability of each station.

 

Open Road

Take your navigation to the next level with this apps that offers one-tap calling and music in addition to navigation. It’s also compatible with Spotify and has its own Find My Car feature.

 

My Mechanic

Keep tracks of your vehicle’s health and diagnose problems with My Mechanic. This app works with an OBD-II telematics device to diagnose your car and help you find a mechanic in your area.

 

DashCam

This app stores video locally so that you can save yourself from insurance fraud, bad traffic tickets, or provide correct information the police in case of an accident.

 

Google Maps

It’s simply the best out there. Better still, the app syncs your desktop searches to your mobile device and it can integrate with Waze.

 

7 Safe Driving New Year’s Resolutions For 2019

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Each year, over six million automotive accidents are reported throughout the United States. Far too often, the collisions result in extensive vehicle damage, serious injuries, and even loss of life.  To help keep you and your family safe this year,    here are some tips to help make a few key adjustments to your driving habits to reduce your crash risk. To make sure these habits stick, make each one a New Year Resolution for a safe and happy 2019. 

 

  1. Use Your Lights

Your ability to properly signal turns, stops and emergency maneuvers depends on the proper function of your blinkers, tail lights and hazard lights. You can verify these systems work by turning them on then walking around your vehicle.

If you notice any damage, including standing water in the housing, give Auto Body Xperts a call at (888) 669-6692 and let us fix that for you!

After verifying your lights are working, always use them to indicate your intent while driving. Also, remember to flip on your headlights in inclement weather and right before dusk to keep your vehicle highly visible to other vehicles.

2) Pay Attention to the Road Ahead of You

Each year, just over 400,000 people are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. With the use of mobile devices on the rise, this number will likely continue to increase unless drivers commit to redirecting their attention to the road ahead. Although texting remains a talking point when it comes to driving safety, other forms of distraction may include: Eating, Talking with others, Changing radio stations, Inputting navigation information, Applying makeup, Reading, Watching movies.

To dramatically improve your safety while driving, you can simply pull over momentarily to complete these actions. Upon returning your attention to the road, signal and merge back into traffic to safely continue on your way.

3) Don’t Speed

Although speeding often feels like it gets you to your destination much faster than normal, the truth is that even a 20 MPH increase in speed does very little for your arrival time. If you are traveling 10 miles to your destination, driving 20 MPH over the speed limit of 55 MPH will only save you just under three minutes total. Your risk of getting into a collision doubles with each 5 MPH increase in speed. The risk of sustaining fatal injuries also increases for not just you and your passengers, but other vehicles and pedestrians in your path.

4) Use Safe Following Distances

Many people forget to utilize the three second rule while driving, which can result in unsafe following distances. While following other cars too close, you may not have enough time to stop if a hazard appears in front of the vehicles in your path.

To give yourself enough time to stop, follow with a three second delay when driving on dry surfaces in low traffic conditions. To check your following distance, pick a stationary object ahead and start counting when the vehicle in front of you passes it by. If you pass that object before three seconds have passed, you will need to slow down to adjust your following distance. In hazardous weather, heavy traffic or other potentially risky driving situations, increase your following distance even further.

5) Commit to Safe Merging Practices

The zipper merge technique is actually the most efficient and safest way to combine two lanes of traffic. Instead of stopping short to merge into the continuing lane early, simply stay in the lane until arrows appear. Then, turn on your blinker and slow down to match your speed with the vehicles in the adjacent lane before smoothly merging over. If you are already in the continuing lane, move your vehicle forward at a steady, predictable pace and leave enough room for one car to zip in at the merge point.

6) Say in the Right Lane Unless Passing

While driving down roadways with two or more lanes on each side, you can stay out of the way of fast moving vehicles by staying in the right lane unless you are passing another vehicle. By traveling in the right lane, you lower the risks associated with speed differences between two or more vehicles. Left lane drivers will be able to fly past you without weaving around vehicles, which will also help prevent your involvement in a collision. This will help you stay out of legal trouble as well, as it is illegal in many areas to remain in the left lane indefinitely.

7) Show Respect for Other Drivers

Displaying respect for your fellow drivers can help set the tone for your entire drive. You can show your respect for other drivers by offering a wave as thanks allowing you to merge into their lane. When you notice another driver making a mistake, pilot your vehicle out of harm’s way and remain vigilant. Pointing out the mistake by honking, yelling, or gesturing will only increase stress levels and heighten emotions for all parties involved. Your positive attitude can help you avoid road rage prone drivers while keeping your own stress levels low throughout the drive.

Winter Road Trip Safety Checklist

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Getting your vehicle ready for holiday travel doesn’t necessarily require the skill of a professional mechanic. In fact, with these nine tips you can easily prepare your car for a winter journey yourself! But don’t wait until you’re ready to hit the road. Do these safety checks now so you can make any necessary repairs before the big day.

 

1. Inspect windshield wipers.

Damaged windshield wipers can reduce visibility. Make sure your car’s wipers are in good condition and operating as they should. If they are streaking or skipping across the windshield, replace them.

2. Top off windshield washer fluid.

Windshield washer fluid helps your windshield wipers perform at their best during wintery weather. Before heading out, fill your vehicle’s windshield washer reservoir with high-quality, “no-freeze” fluid — and keep an extra gallon stored in your car just in case.

3. Gauge tire pressure.

Proper tire pressure helps maximize your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, stability, and can reduce the risk of a flat tire or a blowout — all things that are particularly important during a long, wintery drive. Check each tire and make sure it is filled to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure specified in your owner’s manual. Keep in mind that as the temperature drops so will tire pressure, so check your tires periodically throughout your trip.

4. Check tire tread.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average winter holiday road trip length is 275 miles. Whether or not your road trip will be that long, make sure your tires are prepared for the journey by ensuring the tread is 1/16 of an inch or greater. If it isn’t, the risk of hydroplaning increases and your car’s traction and braking ability diminish.

There are a few quick and easy ways to check tire tread depth. One way is to insert a penny into the tire’s tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, the tire should be replaced.

Tip: If you’re going to face harsh winter road conditions, winter tires may be a worthwhile investment. When compared to traditional tires, winter tires offer better grip, improved stopping power, and better all-around control when roads are wet or snowy.

5. Stock your vehicle with essentials.

Before you embark on a long road trip this holiday season, put together a car emergency kit. At minimum, your kit should include an ice scraper, a flashlight, a blanket, jumper cables, abrasive material like sand or kitty litter, a small shovel, and winter boots if you aren’t wearing them already. Of course, you’ll also need food, water, and any necessary medications.

6. Ensure lights and signals are in working order.

Walk around your vehicle and check that the headlights, taillights, break lights, turn signals, and hazard lights are working properly. You’ll also want to be sure the lights are free of debris and take time to clean them during your trip as built-up snow, ice, and dirt can reduce their effectiveness. Then be sure to have your lights on at all times while driving!

7. Add roadside assistance to your auto insurance policy.

Most auto insurance policies offer roadside assistance plans. If you’re not signed up for roadside assistance, consider adding it to your coverage before your trip. In addition to services like towing, flat-tire repair, and lock-out assistance, some roadside assistance plans also offer travel interruption reimbursement, as well as hotel and car rental discounts.

 

With everything else on your to-do list, it’s easy to overlook car care. But if you face winter weather conditions during your holiday road trip, you’ll feel more secure knowing your vehicle is up to the task.

Pre and Post-Repair Diagnostic Scan and Calibration

 

In our world today, technology is advancing rapidly! In 1971, the first computer was sold. The first iPhone was sold in June 2007. And now we live in a world where the technology you would see in a movie actually exists. There are phone with a holographic display, smart glasses, and even technology that will fold your laundry for you. For companies to remain successful and competitive, they have to look into how to incorporate advanced technology in product. This includes the Auto Industry.

Currently, each vehicle has an average of 60-100 sensors on board. Because cars are rapidly getting “smarter” the number of sensors is projected to reach as many as 200 sensors per car. These numbers translate to approximately 22 billion sensors used in the automotive industry per year by 2020, according Dr. Mike Pinelis (President and CEO – MEMS Journal, Inc).

It is important to have all of these sensors running properly to insure the vehicle is running safely. With there being so many sensors on a vehicle, it is hard to know if a sensor was damaged or needs realignment by manually analyzing the vehicle. An advance scan is needed. This is where the pre and post-repair scans come in. The purpose of the pre and post-repair scans are to insure the sensors are calibrated properly.

 

Why does it matter to have the sensors properly calibrated?

The following statements are from Master ASE Technicians and trainers, Eric Mandoza and Bill Zilastik from Toyota’s collision repair and refinish training center. Eric is a Toyota Collision repair and refinishing training assistant manager and Bill is a Lexus technical and collision repair training manager. They have provided some examples that explain why it is important to have the pre and post-repair scans done to have the vehicle running safely.

The pre-collision system uses a millimeter rate radar sensor that is behind the grill in the car that looks through the Lexus or Toyota emblem and looks ahead of the car to see where the car is going and is very good at spotting items in front of the vehicle and is able to spot where the car is going. And if it sees something in the cars path that it thinks it might pose a problem or collision hazard, it can alert the driver, pre-charge the brakes, and pre-tighten the seat belt. So if there is a collision, the collision won’t be as severe as it might have been without this technology. It is an excellent safety system. The pre and post-repair scans will verify the sensor is working properly.

The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System uses the same sensor as stated above and that system will keep you at a specific distance from the people in front of you using cruise control so the vehicle in front of you slows down you slow down as well.

 

What is the difference between a pre and post-repair scan and why does it matter to have both done?

Pre-Repair diagnostic scan is a complete health check of your vehicle and provides the repair shop (and insurance company, if applicable) a complete report on the number of computer modules on board, as well as any diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) that could indicate pre-accident and/or accident related damage. This essential step eliminates unnecessary delays waiting for parts and/or additional insurance authorizations, and identifies issues with the vehicle that could be missed without a pre-repair diagnostic scan.

Post-Repair diagnostic scan ensures that all systems on your vehicle are in proper working order prior to delivery. It is important to note that the majority of DTC’s do not result in a malfunction indicator lamp (dashboard light). Failure to perform a post-repair scan by trained professionals with factory scan tools significantly increases the risk that your vehicle may be returned with malfunctioning, or inoperable, safety and convenience systems. A post-repair diagnostic scan is the single best way to ensure that your vehicle is returned to pre-incident condition.

After a vehicle is in an accident, it is important to make sure the vehicle is repaired correctly and is safe to drive again. That is why the original manufacturers and collision repair centers are now implementing pre and post-repair scans as a new step in the repair process.

December Newsletter

Scan Class

On November 14, we held a seminar on Vehicle Scans and Calibrations. All Auto Body Xperts staff, local insurance partners, glass companies, and more attended the event! Continuing education is very important to Auto Body Xperts! With vehicles advancing in technology and features, we want to make sure we are up to date on Original Manufacturer policies for safely repairing vehicles!

Closed for the Holiday

This year we will be closed on Monday Dec 24 (Christmas Eve), Tuesday Dec 25 (Christmas Day), Monday Dec 31 (New Years Eve), Tuesday Jan 1 (New Years Day) so our staff can spend time with their friends and family.

We WILL be open Dec 26-28.

Shields of Hope – Heroes Holiday

We partnered this Christmas with Shields of Hope (an organization who helps families who are battling cancer) to help them with their Heroes Holiday Program! Heroes Holiday started in 2014 as a way to support local families struggling around the holidays with much-needed supplies, household goods, and gifts. Each year at least 5 families are selected through a 3rd party nomination process. This year, they were able to help 16 families!

To learn more about Shields of Hope, please visit http://shieldsofhopewestmi.com/ for more information
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Save The Date!

Our summer events are coming back this year! Be sure to save the dates!

June 18: Auto Body Xperts Car Show, now in Hudsonville by Gemmens!

August 7: Zeeland Open House

August 21: Hudsonville Open House

September 21: Allendale Fall Festival Car Show
Visit www.autobodyxperts.com for more information!