Helpful Tips

Common questions and tips for getting the most out of your vehicle.

Never Try DIY Dent Repairs on Your Vehicle

Why shouldn’t you do your own dent repairs? Here’s why.

You don’t have the right tools.

Unless you’re a retired professional with a workshop full of your own tools, you simply don’t have the right tools to do the job properly. So, whatever dent repairs you attempt are going to be temporarily successful at best. Here at Auto Body Xperts, we had skilled professionals who focus solely on dent repair. They have the tools, skills, at patients to do the job right the first time.

You could reduce the integrity of your car’s body.

Your car’s exterior protects you from the elements and it is the number one thing protecting you in the case of an accident. Professionals understand this. They know when extra reinforcement is required. They make sure the structural integrity of your car’s exterior is maintained. They make sure your vehicle is repaired correctly so it is safe to drive!

Your insurance might cover it.

If your insurance covers the repairs, just have a professional do it and save yourself the headache.

You could make it worse.

If you aren’t sure what you are doing, but think that you and your buddies can figure it out, think twice before starting your DIY repair. You could end up making the problem worse. Even if it ends up looking great, you could end up with rust forming under the repair, or worse. If you make the problem worse before you take it to a professional, you are going to end up paying a lot more, and your insurance may no longer cover those costs.

 

I know it may be tempting to watch a YouTube video or have your buddy do it who kind of knows how to do it, but safety is the most important thing. We will make sure the vehicle is repaired safely and done correctly to maintain the value of your vehicle.

Text us!

Here at Auto Body Xperts, we understand life is busy! Between balancing a family, work, and life in general is hard enough sometimes. So we strive to make the vehicle repair process as easy and stressless for our customers as possible.  That is why we offer a texting service!  Have a question about your vehicle repair, want to schedule a car wash or oil change (Wayland location only),  or are you thinking about having your vehicle repaired but just wanted some more information first? Send us a message!

While your vehicle is being repaired, we will text you to keep you updated  on the repair process so you don’t skip a beat!

Send us a message today!

Holland:  (616) 393-9363

Hudsonville: (616) 669-6692

Wayland: (269) 792-9408

Zeeland: (616) 931-7140

Be Safe and Buckle Up! Seriously!

How seat belts work

To understand why it’s so important to be belted in during a crash, it helps to break an accident down into slow motion.

First, there’s the car’s impact with whatever it hits. In the brief seconds it takes for the car to crumple and come to a stop, the passengers inside are still traveling at the same speed the car was going before the crash. If they aren’t wearing seat belts, passengers keep hurtling forward until they collide with some part of the vehicle or other passengers — the second stage of the collision. One police officer who has been a first responder at plenty of accidents says he’s seen the unfortunate results of not wearing seat belts. He’s seen people’s knees get blown out from hitting the bottom of the dash under the steering column — even when the driver’s car was only going 35 mph. Another common injury he sees is shattered wrists, when the unbelted driver tries to hang on to the wheel at the point of impact, but momentum keeps his arms and body moving forward.

Even after the passengers’ bodies have come to a stop, there is a third collision as their internal organs slam against their bones or other organs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this internal collision often causes serious injury or death. Think of a person’s head hitting the dashboard — while there might be a bruise or a bump on the outside, it’s the brain colliding with the inside of the skull that can cause the real damage.

Seat belts are designed not only to keep you from being thrown from the car, but also to absorb the impact of a crash where your body can withstand it best — in the bones of your hips, shoulders, and chest, according to the NHTSA. Seat belts also stretch slightly so your body doesn’t stop as abruptly, and they prevent you from colliding with a part of the car or another person. A report from the University of Washington found that when used together, automatic shoulder harnesses and lap belts reduce your risk of death in a car crash by 86 percent. James Madison University also notes that seat belts, when used properly, reduce the number of serious traffic injuries by 50 percent.

One caution: Using a shoulder belt without a lap belt only reduces your risk of death by about a third, and can actually increase the likelihood of chest or abdominal injuries, so always use both.

What about air bags?

Some people think if their car has air bags, they don’t need to wear seat belts. They’re wrong. In fact, being too close to an air bag when it deploys can be dangerous or even fatal, especially for small children. Seat belts keep you far enough away from the air bag so that it will cushion you, not injure you. Front and passenger-side air bags only protect you in a head-on collision, so if you have a side-impact collision, or if your car rolls over, a seat belt is your only protection.

How to wear a seat belt

Simply buckling up isn’t enough. If you don’t wear your seat belt the way it was designed to be used, you won’t be fully protected in a crash. Pull the lap belt across your lap and pelvis area — never across your stomach. Buckling the seat belt across your stomach can cause internal injuries in an accident. The shoulder belt should be snug across your collarbone and chest. Don’t wear it under your arm or behind your back. If you’re at least 4’8″ tall and weigh at least 80 pounds, a seat belt should fit you. Adults shorter than 4’8″ and children should use a booster seat so that the shoulder harness and lap belt will fit, according to the NHTSA.

More reasons to buckle up

First of all, it’s the law in every state, except for adults in New Hampshire. Most states and the District of Columbia have primary seat belt laws, which means a police officer can stop you simply for not wearing your seat belt. Other states have secondary seat belt laws, meaning an officer can cite you for not wearing your seat belt if you’re stopped for another violation.

“Isn’t it my business if I don’t want to wear a seat belt?”

Well, no. According to the National Safety Council, every crash-related death costs the country more than $1.1 million annually in wages and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, property damage, and uninsured employer costs for crashes involving workers. That’s money that comes out of all of our pockets in terms of insurance costs, taxes, and other avenues. And this doesn’t even count the emotional and physical toll on survivors.

The NHTSA estimates that seat belts save more than 11,000 lives every year. Wouldn’t you rather be one of those statistics, rather than one of the 40+ percent of traffic fatalities that are due to not wearing seat belts? Be safe and buckle up!

Common Misconceptions About Collision Repair

What happens when you need to get your car fixed after an accident? Since it’s not something most people think about until after the fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about how repairs are handled. These 6 facts will help clarify some of those misconceptions about collision repair from how your car is assessed to where you can take your car to get it fixed.

1. Collision Damage is More Than Skin Deep

When your car hits an obstacle, that impact goes through the entire vehicle, bending or breaking body panels, frame components, wheels, and interior pieces.

For example, it may seem odd that Auto Body Xperts does wheel alignments, but it’s a necessary part of collision repair because even a minor fender bender can affect the position of the suspension.

2. Shop Estimates Can Vary Because of the Skill of the Appraiser

A skilled appraiser will be able to identify all the damage caused by a collision and provide an estimate that should be very close to the final repair cost. Get someone who doesn’t know what needs to be fixed, and the estimate may be lower but the appraisal won’t cover everything needed to completely fix the car. Even with an expert eye, some repairs won’t be evident until work has begun.

3. “Totaling” a Car Depends on More than the Severity of the Damage

A car is considered a “total loss” by the insurance company if the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle. An almost new car has to be almost irreparable to meet this criteria, while an old luxury car can meet this threshold quickly due to a combination of high parts prices and low resale value.

4. Metal Body Parts Don’t Have a “Memory”

You may have watched as-seen-on-TV devices and Internet videos that claim that with a special tool or some household items, a body panel can simply be popped back into place. In reality, when a body panel is bent, it stays that way, whether that bend was from a press at the factory or from an impact. To remove a dent from a panel, body technicians have to use a range of tools and techniques to gently bend and reshape the metal back to the shape it should be.

5. With a Quality Repair, a Wrecked Vehicle Can Be As Good As New

Manufacturers work directly with body shops and through associations like I-CAR to ensure technicians can bring vehicles back to their original specifications. When these repairs are done correctly, the vehicle has the same function, structural integrity and appearance as a vehicle that has not been involved in a collision.

6. You Can Choose Your Body Shop

Your insurance provider may suggest a shop to take your vehicle to, but they can’t make you go there. When you have work done, it’s in your best interest to find a shop that has the knowledge and tools to do the repair right.

If you want quality work when you have collision damage repaired, go to Auto Body Xperts. Our technicians and shop is I-CAR Gold Class Certified. That means our staff has the experience and the latest training to fix your car right the first time. We take pride in staying informed on the manufactures repair procedures so we can insure the repair is done correctly and safely.

Always Clear All the Snow and Ice off your Vehicle!

As you start your morning commute, you discover that a few inches of snow fell the night before. Not only that, but morning dew has coated it with ice, freezing it to your car’s surface. You’ve got to hit the highway or you’ll be late! In a pinch, you scrape off your windows for enough visibility, but ignore the roof and trunk, believing it will melt off on the way to work.

Unfortunately, the “melting” that occurs on the road creates a major hazard for you and other drivers, reducing visibility, sending projectiles behind and increasing your likelihood of getting into an accident. If you think that skipping this step in the short term will help you in the long run, think again!

Safety Hazards

Falling snow and sliding ice pose several roadway dangers together, such as:

  • Snow and ice can fly off your roof or trunk, creating what’s known as an “ice projectile.” When this hazard hits another motorist behind you, it can temporarily decrease their visibility, damage their windshield or cause them to swerve. On an icy road, this may lead to an accident.
  • When snow and ice start to melt, pieces may slide down your own windshield, blocking your visibility when you’re attempting to navigate slippery roads and unforeseen hazards ahead.
  • When ice and snow slide off at a fast speed, other drivers have less time to react.
  • Many drivers only scrape off part of their windows. Although time-saving, this shortcut decreases your field of vision. Snow and ice buildup can prevent you from seeing other drivers, increases your blind spot, reaction time and chances you’ll get into an accident.

Required by Law

According to Michigan automobile snow removal laws, specifically MCL 257.709 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, drivers may not operate their vehicles when there is an object that impairs the driver’s vision.

In addition, a driver may not operate a motor vehicle if rear-window visibility is obstructed, unless the vehicle has two side mirrors that are adjusted to provide a clear view of the road behind the vehicle.

In Michigan, tail lights, rear lamps and headlamps are supposed to be a certain brightness and should be seen from a certain distance. It is illegal for obstructions like snow and ice to interfere with these brightness requirements.

 

Please be safe and clear the snow and ice off your vehicle.