Helpful Tips

Xpert Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for Spring

Winter is ending and you can finally start to enjoy spring and warmer weather! After the harsh winter, it is important you make sure your vehicle is ready for spring! Here are our Xpert Tips for preparing your vehicle for  spring!

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Wash Your Vehicle

Wash your car, including the undercarriage. Although you can’t see the undercarriage, that is where road salt accumulate. Cleaning the undercarriage will help to avoid rust and build-up.

If you really want to get into spring cleaning, wash the interior of your vehicle as well. Although it may seem dry, the floor may be saturated with water, snow, salt, and anything else your shoes tracked in over the winter.

 

Inspect, Rotate, and Align Your Tires

Winter driving is hard on your vehicle’s tires. Aligning and rotating your vehicle’s tires ensures safer wearing and will get the best life out of the tires.

It’s also important to monitor tire tread and make sure none of your tires are balding; they will need adequate traction for the rainy months ahead.

 

Check Your Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers take a beating during winter. It is best to change your wipers with the seasons, especially as the rainy season approaches. New windshield wipers will improve visibility and reduce the risk of an accident.

 

Check Your Vehicle’s Battery

Because your vehicle works extra hard during winter, it is easier for the battery to drain. Most auto parts stores offer a free battery inspection. If you suspect your battery’s life is low, check the date that it was installed and visit your local auto parts retailer if it is older than four years.

 

Fill Your Vehicle’s Fluids

Get all of your vehicle’s fluids topped off and filled, especially windshield wiper fluid. It empties quickly during the winter when it is constantly being used to clean off slush from the windshield. Purchase a wiper fluid with RainX, it will keep your front window clean and increase visibility, especially in the rain.

Engine oil protects the engine against wear and tear. It is important to keep it full so that the engine and its working parts continue to function properly.

Another important fluid to monitor is brake fluid. Brake fluid transfers the pressure from your foot on the pedal to the wheel. If the brakes do not have enough fluid, it will take more time and effort to stop your vehicle.

 

Check for Damage

Now winter is over, look over the body of your vehicle to see if there are any scratches or dents on the vehicle that may have gone unoticed over the winter. Then visit your local Auto Body Xperts location to see how you can get that fixed!

Driving in All Types of Weather

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Some accidents are nearly unavoidable, but driving in unsafe road conditions greatly increases your risk of getting in an accident and damaging your vehicle. If you are going to be driving in unsafe conditions, make sure that you are prepared and know how to handle them. Although we’d love your business, safety is our first priority. To put safety first and avoid a collision, here are our Xpert tips when driving in dangerous road conditions:

Rain

Rain can be the most dangerous driving condition. Vision is impaired, roads are slick, and other drivers are probably behaving unexpectedly. It’s a good idea to replace your windshield wipers every six months to a year to make sure that they are functioning properly so you can maintain vision even in inclement weather. When the roads are wet, it takes longer for your car to adjust; you should drive slower than in clear conditions so that you can steer and brake properly.

Flooding

Water usually collects on the sides of the road, so you should drive in center lanes to reduce the risk of hydroplaning. Never enter a section of road where the water is too deep to see the ground through, as this can cause severe damage to the electrical system in your car. You should try to drive in tracks left by the cars in front of you, as these areas have better traction. Don’t follow anyone, especially large vehicles, too closely as their tires can spray water onto your windshield and make it impossible for you to see.

Snow

Snow poses many threats similar to those created by rain. The most important thing to remember is that you need to make sure that you can see traffic and others can see you. It is a good idea to keep your lights on, even in the daytime, to make sure others can see you. You should leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you; a good estimate is about three times as much space as you would normally leave. Snow on the road creates low traction for your tires and makes it more difficult to slow and stop your car. Apply your brakes slowly to prevent skidding.

Ice

Ice often accompanies snow and it poses a serious threat, as it can be very difficult to see. In the winter months you should be especially cautious on overpasses, bridges, and roads that are not used frequently, as these are the first areas that will freeze over. However, ice may form anywhere in wet conditions, even when temperatures are above freezing; shady and windy areas may still be cold enough to create ice. Never pass sanding trucks or snow plows, as it is very likely that the road ahead is not safe to drive on.

Fog

If you are driving in fog, make sure that you turn off your high beams, as these will reflect on the fog and make it impossible to see. Instead, use your fog lights. Since visibility is reduced, it is a good idea to make use of noises by turning off the radio and opening the windows; this way you can listen for braking vehicles or motorists coming up behind you. As in any dangerous road condition, you should drive slowly and cautiously. It is a good idea to drive in the right-most lane so that you do not risk driving into oncoming traffic.

High Winds

Be prepared to account for the extra force being applied to your vehicle when driving in high wind conditions. You will have to over correct when steering to compensate for the directional force of the wind depending on which way it is forcing your vehicle. The faster you are going, the more the wind will affect your vehicle. You should avoid driving next to other vehicles, especially large trucks or SUVs, as a sudden wind could force them to swing out and hit you.

 

Of course, the safest way to handle unsafe road conditions is to stay off the road if you can. If you must drive, stay calm and drive safely by following these Xpert tips.

Xpert Tips for a Frozen Car Lock

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Tip #1 –  Don’t Use Hot Water

Car locks have tight seals and water can hardly reach inside to melt the ice, so the hot water rarely works. Depending on how  cold it is outside, it could  make the ice worse.

 

Tip #2 – Don’t Force the Key

Forcing the key into the lock is another bad option. It can result in a broken key or a broken lock.

 

Tip #3 – Check All Locks

Check all the door locks of your car and identify the one that is least frozen. Most likely it is the one that has been in the sunlight. In wintertime it is best if you avoid parking your car in the shade.

Morning sunlight can help with opening door locks, even if they are frozen.

 

Tip #4 – Use Your Thumb

Press your thumb against the door lock. Keep it there for a few minutes. The skin’s warmth might heat the lock just enough so that you can open it. Try to open the lock, but do not force the key if things are still frozen.

 

Tip #5 – Warm the Key

Use a hairdryer or your hand to warm the key.

Insert the heated key into the frozen car lock. Try to open it without forcing. The ice might not melt with just one attempt. This may take a few times of heating the key to make it work.

 

Tip #6 – Use Hand Sanitizer

Pour some hand sanitizer on the key and using the key as the delivery device, try to insert as much hand sanitizer into the lock as possible.

Hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which lowers the melting point of ice.

 

Tip #7 – Use a De-Icer

A commercial de-icer may be used to melt the ice. During the cold season, you should keep de-icers in your home and winter jackets, so that you have these on hand at all times. DO NOT LEAVE IT IN YOUR CAR!

 

Tip #8 – Check the Doors

Pull the door handle firmly to see if it opens. If the car door is frozen as well, don’t force it open and avoid using tools, at the risk of scratching your car.

Firmly push against the door’s margins with the palms of your hands, until the ice around the door cracks. Remove the ice around the door and open it.

 

Tip #9 – Be Prepared

Before the winter time comes, spray WD-40 into the locks to remove any water that is in there.

 

Tip #10 – Be Aware

Locks usually freeze after a vehicle has been washed. Due to the road salt, washing your vehicle is recommended to prevent rusting.

Have your vehicle hand washed in the winter so water is not sprayed into the locks at a high pressure (this would happen at a drive-thru car wash). After the vehicle is washed, spray the locks with WD-40 to insure the locks won’t freeze.

 

How to Pick the Right Body Shop

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The only thing more stressful than dealing with car damage is not knowing where to go for reliable help. When you’re searching for an auto body shop nearby, you need to find a business that you can trust to get your car up and running in short amount of time and charge an honest price for the work.

Here is a list of the top six questions that you should ask to determine if an auto body shop is reliable:

  1. What Credentials Does The Business Have?

The first thing to know before selecting a body shop is how long it has been in business. Repairing a vehicle correctly and quickly takes knowledge and experience.

An important sign of a reputable body shop are certifications from car manufacturers and industry associations. Good national certifications to look for are the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). These certify that technicians have been trained and have the skills to make the proper repairs safely.

 

  1. Can You Give Me An Estimate?

As the car owner, it’s up to you where to bring your car for repairs, even if your insurance company has agreements with other body shops. Don’t feel pressured into choosing from the shops on your insurance carrier’s list.

To find a reliable auto body shop, it’s best to shop around. Get three or four estimates from different businesses near you. Most repair companies provide free quotes and some can calculate an estimate on their website. The lowest estimate is not necessarily the best, however; be sure to take into account the quality of the parts and the expected long-term durability of the repairs quoted as well.

 

  1. What Kinds Of Parts And Materials Will Be Used To Make The Repair?

This is often where you will see the most variation between estimates. It’s important to ask if the repair shop will use aftermarket, used or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.

If sections of the vehicle will need to be painted, you should ask if the paint used will match the current color. A paint code attached to the car indicating the exact type of paint used by the manufacturer. Ask if the repair shop will match this color and if they will tape-off or blend the repaired area. Some body shops tape off the repair area when painting, this saves costs for the body shop but will cause problems for you later.

 

  1. Is There A Warranty For Repairs And Replacements?

A body shop which stands behind its work should offer a written warranty. Ask how long it lasts and what it covers. The minimum should cover the repair work, parts, and paint job for one year.

 

  1. Does This Auto Body Shop Have Insurance?

You never know when bad luck will strike twice. Make sure that the auto body shop you choose for repairs carries insurance for fire, theft, or any damage that may happen to your vehicle while it is being repaired. If your car will be held there for a few days while being repaired, you want to make sure it’s insured from further damage.

 

  1. What Are Others Saying About This Business?

Ask around. What do friends, family, and acquaintances have to say about their experience with that auto body shop? Do they recommend it? Would they go back? Satisfied customers are the best resource a body shop can have for attracting more business.

You can also get a feeling for the quality of service that a shop near you provides by checking out their ratings, reviews, and customer comments online. Read if others have had positive experiences with customer service, felt they received quality repair work in a timely manner, if estimates were accurate, and the prices were fair. Be understanding that not everyone is perfect so be sceptical if every review is a 5-Star review. If all reviews are 5-Stars, these reviews are most likely generated by the company.

 

Other Tips

Don’t Settle For Less Than The Best – To be sure you get all the services that you’re looking for, here are a few more questions you might consider asking a body shop:

  • Can you work with my insurance provider?
  • How long should it take to repair?
  • Can you provide a rental car while mine is in the shop?
  • Ask the right questions up front and not only will you avoid hidden costs, you will begin to build a relationship with a company that you can rely on today and in the future.

 

Getting repair work on your car can be a stressful time, but finding a body shop that you trust can help put your worries to rest. Look for a local owned, family operated auto body shop where service is friendly and high quality.

 

Here are Auto Body Xperts answers to these questions:

  1. What Credentials Does The Business Have?

Auto Body Xperts is proud to say we have been in business for 70 years! We are also I-CAR Gold Certified and ASE Certified.

 

  1. Can You Give Me An Estimate?

We offer free itemized estimates for repair, with your repair, our skilled estimators also walk you through the estimate and explain the different items on the estimate. They are also there to answer any questions you may have,

 

  1. What Kinds Of Parts And Materials Will Be Used To Make The Repair?

Auto Body Xperts repairs the vehicle based on what the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommends to provide a high quality and safe repair.

As for painting the vehicle, Auto Body Xperts does not cut corners. We use eco-friendly (waterborne paint) to paint the damaged area. We blend the paint so you can not tell where the damage was and so you don’t have any problems with the paint in the future.

 

  1. Is There A Warranty For Repairs And Replacements?

Auto Body Xperts goes way beyond the industry minimum; we offer a lifetime warranty.

 

  1. Does This Auto Body Shop Have Insurance?

All Auto Body Xperts locations are fully insured.

 

  1. What Are Others Saying About This Business?

We encourage customers to review us online, we appreciate the feedback (good and bad). See our reviews online to see what our customers think!

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.