Category Archives: Auto Body Blog

Signs That Say Your Car Needs An Oil Change

The Essentiality of Car Oil Changes

Some car owners don’t go for regular oil changes, for some reason, and that can be detrimental to engine life and overall performance of the vehicle. Most rely on the mileage reading on their odometer that will tell them it is time for a scheduled oil change. Usually, a newly bought car, that’s brand new, may benefit from such practice, say it’s first oil change may be after the first 6,000 miles reading or after 6 months, and so on. But you see, different vehicles have different oil change schedules. Consider it just a helpful guideline.

For most cars, there should be some tell-tale signs to indicate when you’re due for an oil change. Firstly, is your oil dark and dirty now? Clean oil, originally colored amber, collects dust, dirt, and other grime from engine use. It changes the oil’s color overtime and the grime it collects thickens the oil that can interfere with smooth engine function. Have your oil checked regularly, like monthly.

Do you hear some knocking noise underneath your hood?

Sometimes it gets louder over time. Must be your oil. Clean oil is thin and gets in between the engine parts providing lubrication, preventing metal-to- metal contact. Hence, it leads to a quieter, smoother drive. Otherwise, the fluid will start to break down, failing to lubricate the parts and you’ll soon be hearing loud knocking. It is time for a change.

If you’re low on oil, your oil change light will illuminate on your dashboard. Then go for that oil change as soon as you can. In some instances, a lighted oil change checker will mean your vehicle is at high risk of engine damage due to the lack of fluid.

Does your tailpipe emit smoke? In cold weather, it does belt out a translucent vapor. But do check your oil, because smoke out of your exhaust pipe can be a sign oil has leaked into the engine. It can also indicate faulty parts in the engine. So have your car checked.

Smell oil inside your car? That’s a warning sign. There’s a leak somewhere if the smell is strong. If it’s mixed with the smell of gasoline, it can mean your car is overheating and oil is burning into the exhaust area. It can ignite a fire. Once you detect the smell of oil inside your car, get an oil pronto..

Car Care Tips from Your Seattle Auto Shop

These are just some of the helps we extend our clients. We concern ourselves too with helping car owners know how to keep their car in top form for the long term. Know more about car care maintenance tips from your auto body shop in Seattle.

New Study: Many Americans Don’t Know About Car Care

Americans Lacking Maintenance Knowledge

A recently conducted study involving 2,000 American car owners found that many drivers, a quarter of them, know they take a risk driving their cars already in need of repair or are not in good running condition.
The study questioned the respondents about what they perceived is the state of their vehicles and what they know about car care basics.

Results showed that a good 68% of Americans know there’s at least one thing wrong with the car and could use a repair. When it comes to car care, 36% didn’t know what entails fixing a flat tire. Half of the respondents even said they’re not confident about changing car oils. One third aren’t even sure which correct oil would their vehicle need. A quarter wouldn’t know how to jump start a car should the situation arise. One in five think that using an air pressure gauge to check tire pressure is too much for them.

Now it gets complicated. Would you believe that 41% of Americans were unable to actually identify a car’s engine when presented with an image? That’s tough. So looking under the hood is not really going to help these guys. Being the case, they’d refrain from taking the car to a mechanic even when a new or strange noise is heard under the hood. But they will still raise the hood and look under even if they’ve not the slightest idea what’s wrong!

Why so? 54% of Americans seem to be intimidated by a car mechanic. Four in ten won’t do that because they’re afraid of the cost and any other additional work the mechanic finds that needs fixing. Only 19% feel very confident they’re paying a fair price when they take their car to one.

But as times change, people choose only what they want to know about their cars. Like, 83% percent of millennials could connect their phone to the car’s speakers and play music, 30% of those 66 and older cannot. On the other hand 71% of the oldies could drive a stick shift, only 51% of the 18-35 can. The 66 and older seem to be more knowledgeable about car maintenance. They know when their car is in need of oil change or need new tires, and so have those done in a timely manner.

While good car maintenance is important, today’s Americans should be more knowledgeable about simple ways to keep their vehicles in safe and good condition.

Learning Basic Car Care in Seattle

We at Greenwood Collision are always on hand to fill in our customers with bits of car care information. Car owners should be able to know the basics which is better for their cars. We’re just on hand to help along the way. Don’t hesitate to drop by.

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Summer Road Trip: Is Your Car Ready?

Car Tips To Be Roadworthy For A Road Trip

You and your family, or maybe a bunch of your friends, are going ahead with that planned road trip. It’s summer anyway, and a great ride might just be the thing you need for a cool-off. You might not be the driver, or better if you are, the first thing to ready-up is none other than the vehicle itself. Is it ready for the drive? Roadworthy yet? A few things to check out.

First of all, be sure to take out anything in the car that you wouldn’t be needing – any excess weight that you’ve stocked in it so you can be more fuel efficient when you go.

Will you have a clear view of the road? To reduce summer glare, check your demister. It can put a film of grime from traffic fumes on the inside of the windscreen combine with the sunlight to block your vision.

Especially that it’s summer, you don’t want your air conditioning to fail you, so be sure it’s properly working. If the gas in your air-con system leaks and gets too low, the air-con will blow warm instead of cold. Test it and see if the cold air can stand even if your heater is on. If it’s not an icy blast in a few minutes, the system might need re-gassing.

Check your battery. The water inside will evaporate faster in soaring temperatures leaving lead plates exposed. Got coolant? If not enough, refill and keep an eye on the temperature gauge. Have you had a change oil yet? Your engine needs all the lubrication it can get, especially important this summer.

Load on fuel, of course. Check tires and their right gauge. Rubber can disintegrate in hot temperatures, especially so if it’s got the wrong pressure. Before you leave, get the windscreen squeaky clean with water and detergent and dry it with a microfibre cloth. And don’t forget the other windows; when screens are clean they rarely mist up so you won’t have to use the heated rear window as often.

Now you’re ready. Have a happy, safe trip!

Safety On The Road First By Auto Shop in Seattle

Be sure to keep in mind our safety tips for a summer road trip, guys. If you want us to check out your wheels before you go, come over to our shop in Seattle.

Car Crashes in America: The Numbers Game

Top Causes of Car Accidents

Every year thousands of people are injured and killed in car accidents. According to the Institute of Insurance Safety a total of 35,092 people were killed in car accidents in 2015. It’s decreased by more than 7,000 since 2006 but nonetheless, that is still far too many fatalities. The increased in public awareness, implemented government decrees, safer roads, and advancing technology in safety measures have contributed much to the small decline. But accidents still do happen.

What could be the main causes of this reality?

The institute says that speeding is one of the most common, contributing to a total of 108,554 car accidents. That accounted for nearly 30% of all car accidents during that time. Of the nearly 10,000 speed related deaths that occurred in 2015, nearly half (48%) happened on roads where the speed limits were higher than 55 mph.

Drunk driving has resulted in nearly 113,000 deaths over the past decade, contributed to nearly 30% of car accident fatalities. The CDC said that there are 28 fatalities every day due to overindulgence of alcohol.

A distracted driver on the road is potentially dangerous. Talking on cell phones, texting, eating, talking to passengers, and adjusting the radio/climate controls are common distracted driver behaviors that lead to fatalities. From 2010-2014, drivers who were distracted while driving caused nearly 4.5 million car crashes.

It’s responsible for nearly 16% of all car accidents. That’s according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And using the cell phone while driving is the biggest distraction of all, now on the rise, and mainly contributed by the 20-29 age group at 39%; followed by the 30-39 age at 19%.

Weather-related accidents are another – driving under adverse conditions such as rain, snow, fog, etc. There were 1.2 million such accidents from 2004-15, accounted for 22% of all car accidents. In that span, more than 400,000 were injured, more than 5,000 fatal. Wet pavements and rain were the main causes.

Red light accidents claimed the lives of about 700 people from 2010-14. The National Coalition for Safer Roads did a study in 2013 looking at red light violations and found some interesting patterns. Such as, 30% of beating the red light behavior happens in the afternoon, Fridays of the week have the highest number of violations and Sundays the lowest. Lastly, one other cause of car crashes is driver fatigue, which represented 5.9 million car accidents during 2005-09, or 83,000 drowsy driver-accidents a year.

Friendly Reminders from Seattle

Based on the above statistics, it is as clear as daylight what we ought not to do or what to avoid. Your auto body shop in Shoreline have seen its fair share of road accidents in our many years of service. We always make sure to give friendly reminders. See us for your needs.

Beware: Your Car Paint’s Worst Enemies

Everyday Stuff That Can Ruin Your Car

If you’re the type of car owner who take little notice of markings, spots and other small tell-tale signs of everyday encounters on the road, parking spaces, under trees, etc, that affect your car and its paint, then you’re more likely to set them aside for another distant car wash day. So what would your car and car paint really watch out for to prevent future issues? Some of them can erode the top coat, cause erosion and future rusting, some can streak the paint, fiberglass, or the glass windows and become difficult to remove. You can never tell, because they’re everyday items.

Did you know that leaves and berries on the car, if left alone and with a sprinkle of rain, can leave acidity and erode into the paint? Tree sap is more problematic. It spreads and sticks like glue and erode quickly. What’s more is that it’s hard to remove. If it has dried up, use a good tar remover or mineral spirits and wash thoroughly. Have your car treated and waxed professionally will help reduce damage.

Hose-pipe and/ or sprinkler water can cause damage, too. If you live in areas where your tap water is high in mineral concentration the minerals can leave spots on the car as it dries and bond to the paint surface. They are difficult to remove. Washing your car and letting it “air dry” in the sun can also leave spots that afterwards become harder and harder to remove. As a rule, always dry your car after a wash or a sprinkler.

Do you regularly wash and clean your sponges, cloths and brushes used for washing your car? Do you keep them stored in a clean, dry place and not exposed to dust, dirt and grime? Or do you put them among your dirty tools? Every time you use your car cleaning stuff, you can transfer the dirt, sand, or grease onto your car when you clean it. Like sandpaper they can scratch and leave swirls behind. Always wash your sponges, cloths and brushes before using them, and replace them if they become old or worn.

If you didn’t know, bird droppings are acidic. They can also contain undigested seeds and gravel. They can gradually erode and scratch the paintwork on your vehicle. Wash the droppings off as soon as possible, or better, make use of a power-washer in order not to grind the abrasive bits in further by hand. If you have to, protect your car with its car cover or park in covered spaces, far from trees or other structures where birds congregate.

Lastly, residual fuel from overflow or nozzle-drips can leave oily residue below your fuel tank cover. If not cleaned off, it can stain the paint finish after some time. It also attracts and collects dust and grime as you drive. Clean it off as soon as possible, or wipe below the flap, when topping up your tank.

Caring for Your Car Paint in Seattle

These are some friendly tips from Greenwood Collision, your auto body shop in Seattle. A car’s paint job is no small investment; it’s got your personality and lifestyle, things that you care about. And we do, too.

Trends In The Auto Repair Industry: Looking Up

Do-It-Yourself Auto Repair Vs Auto Mechanic Services

As a car owner, would you spend time trying to learn to repair your vehicle yourself and save money? Or would you rather opt for the services of auto repair shops and get on with your life?

Let’s look at some statistics. Entering 2018, there are 258,416 businesses currently operating within the auto repair industry theater, employing 565,110 people. The total revenue generated by the auto repair industry in the United States in 2017 is $64 billion, growing at 2.5% from 2012-2017. Growth is predicted to continue for at least five years. Profitable? Yes, it is. Ibis World is the source of these figures.

Other reports are backing this data. A report published by V12Data found that the average age of the U.S. vehicle fleet has increased by 17% over the past decade. It means that people are looking to get more life out of their cars. There is also observed a shift away from dealership repairs, which now account for only 25% of aftermarket auto repair.

The auto repair industry has been trending upwards in recent years. This can be due to an increase in disposable income as well as corporate profit. The average American has seen an increase in disposable wealth and hence, more likely to spend money on automobile repair and maintenance rather than spend time to learn how to repair their vehicles themselves.

Again, the average lifespan of cars today is longer than it has been before. Overall, vehicle owners are holding on to their transport longer, hoping and expecting to get more mileage. This requires regular maintenance and more repairs as the vehicle ages. Hence, we see an increase in the demand for auto repair shops.

Regarding fleet vehicles, which companies buy in bulk, their behavior can really dictate the trends within the auto repair industry. V12Data found that the average age of the U.S. vehicle fleet has increased by 17% over the past decade. So this means, even corporations and not just private owners are trying to get more mileage out of their autos. Also notable, is that the industry is experiencing a shift away from dealership repairs, which now account for only 25% of aftermarket auto repair. Good news for auto repair franchises, which are gaining more and more of the market.

A Wise Option in Seattle

Need an auto repair shop now? Then rush to Greenwood Collision and leave the headache to us. Why try fixing it yourself when it’s more practical to leave that to the experts at Greenwood Collision in Seattle.

Auto Body Shop Seattle: Is There A Perfect Car Collision?

Making Car Crashes Look Better

Experts say that, in the event of a car collision, the more deformed a car’s front end and bumper are, the better are the chances of people inside escaping unscathed. It only means that the front end components of your car absorbed all the impact of the collision, protecting you and your passengers inside. Did you know that the automotive industry have since been working – designing, manufacturing, analyzing, and testing – to make collisions look better in order to shield passengers from harm?

A team of researchers from SIMLab of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, financed by the Research Council of Norway, are designing aluminium, steel and plastic structures that can withstand high-energy collisions.

They say they don’t know much about cars, but are experts on materials, aluminum and its properties especially. Hence, Audi, Toyota, BMW, Honda and Renault are working closely with them. SIMLab partners with the automotive industry that heavily depends on computers, making accurate models of materials used in cars and how they behave under stress.

SIMLab has tested all sorts of materials for cars. They’ve designed bumpers, bolts in guard rails, among other car parts, using materials they know behave in a certain way when stressed. They also determine the best shape if the material is different because it is the shape that responds in the right way when compressed. Similar shapes made of different materials may have different properties.

The lab also tests their designs in simulation compressions, from slow and calculated to that of a collision at different speeds. They understand the physics of crash science, making versatile models that the auto industry can use, and testing them in the lab before public release.

Their research efforts are invaluable to automotive innovation. That is why they partner with related industries to get as much from different fields of expertise. However, with new funding, SIMLab is branching out into the oil and gas industry, and looking at how they can help in terrorism prevention.

Rebuilding Your Car in Seattle

We are your collision repair experts in Seattle, rebuilding your car with precision and aesthetics restored. We’ve had over 10 years of painting and restoration experience in the city and loads of satisfied customers.

Yellow Taxis: Less Prone To Accidents

Riding Yellow Is Riding Safer

Out of the National University of Singapore comes a new study that established a link between a taxi’s color and its accident rate. The study is saying that the higher the visibility of a vehicle’s color (as in this case, yellow taxis), the less likely it is to get into an accident.

An analysis of two fleets of taxis in Singapore, one yellow, the other blue, ran 36 months where taxi, driver and accident data were studied. It suggests that yellow taxis have fewer accidents than blue ones. Due to the high visibility of yellow cabs they have a lower accident rate.

The research team analysed available data from Singapore’s largest taxi company, which involved millions of observations on the company’s drivers and taxis, and accidents involving these taxis. From 4,175 yellow taxis and 12,525 blue taxis, it was found that yellow taxis have about 6.1 fewer accidents per 1,000 taxis per month. This translates to the physical risk to the passenger calculated over the course of a 40 year period that a passenger will experience 1.1 accidents in a blue taxi, compared to 1 accident in a yellow taxi. That’s a 9 per cent reduction in accident rate.

This can also translate to cost savings for the taxi operator. If the Singapore taxi company would agree to switch all his blue taxis to yellow (that’s at a current ratio of 1 yellow to 3 blues), with an an average repair cost of S$1,000 per cab and a downtime of six days, the company would have 76.6 fewer accidents per month or 917 fewer accidents per year. It’s an annual savings of S$2.0 million for the operator.

The findings of the study also suggest that colour visibility should play a major role in determining the colours used for public transport vehicles. The results are also useful to smaller taxi companies and to drivers who use their private vehicles as taxis to work for private-hire car services. The use of yellow in other types of public transport, such as school buses, can make these vehicles a safer ride for its target passengers, like children in this case.

The findings of the study were published in scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Help For Any Color Vehicle in Seattle

While your auto body shop in Seattle get to see a variety of vehicle collisions involving cars and taxis of varying colors, it may be safe to say that vehicles of high visibility color do have less accident rates. Bring in any repair job of any color into our shop and get topnotch service, from one of Seattle’s best.

Auto Body Shop Seattle: Cars Seats Safe For Kids

Keeping Your Child Safe in The Car

Did you know that car seats saved the lives of an estimated 9,600 children age four and younger between 1975 and 2010? When three out of every four car seats are not used correctly, this can lead to a serious issue of child neglect borne out of ignorance of car safety. One must read instructions carefully.

For your kid’s car seat safety, what should you look for? Apart from automatic door locks, push-down, pull-up window switches, advanced frontal air bags, and side impact air bags among others, car seats are essential add-ons to make a safe car safer for children. There are several options in the market.

The Rear-facing Car Seat is best for kids under the age of one (like newborns and small babies), using them until they reach the top height or weight limits stated by the manufacturer. In a crash, a rear-facing car seat cradles and moves with the child. This helps reduce stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord. This seat is available in 3 types: Infant-Only Seat, small and portable; Convertible Seat, which can convert to forward-facing with a harness as the child grows; and the All-in-One Seat which can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing one, to a booster seat as a child grows.

The Forward-facing Car Seat are used by kids who have reached the top height or weight limits stated by the manufacturer of rear-facing seats. During a crash, the harness contacts the child at the strongest parts of the body to distribute the crash forces and to keep the child in the seat. The tether limits the child’s forward head movement. This seat is available in 4 different types.

A Booster Seat is used by kids after they have reached the same limits indicated by manufacturers of the forward-facing seats. This seat is placed in the back seat. It positions the seat belt so that it fits properly over the strongest parts of a child’s body. This can help reduce injury during a crash. Available in 4 types, one is the Booster Seat with Back, designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly. It also provides neck and head support and is ideal for vehicles that don’t have head rests or high seat backs.

Then there’s the built-in Seat Belt. It is used by kids who are tall enough to sit in the seat without slouching; can keep their back against the vehicle seat; keep their knees naturally bent over the edge of the seat; and can keep their feet flat on the vehicle floor. Placed over the strongest parts of the body, the seat belt restrains a grown child or adult in the event of a crash.

Kid Safety Features In Your Car

If you’re having a car repair at Greenwood auto shop in Seattle, ask us about kid safety features. We can help you as to which type of restraint system is best for your child and how to install it properly.

An Accident Waiting to Happen

Following A Friend Can Be Following Disaster

You might have found yourself in a situation driving your own car and keeping pace with another car right in front of you. You got yourself in a sort of caravan agreement because you don’t know exactly the way you’re headed. Hate getting lost, too? Did you know that it’s an unsafe driving behavior? There’s a court case involving a driver who got seriously hurt in an accident following another car in a similar situation.

A recent study came out of the University of Arizona, inspired by the court case, to show evidence that this risky behavior can result in accidents. There’s scientific proof to show that drivers who follow another car to a destination are more likely to drive dangerously. Those who initiated the study thought many people have the intuition that the behavior can be dangerous, yet there exist no research to back it.

So the team of researchers decided to test this intuition by recruiting students who have valid driver’s licenses to participate in a driving simulation. First, they were asked to drive around a simulated city just to get a picture of their basic driving behavior. Then, this was compared to how they drove when guided by a navigation system. Next, they did the ‘follow a friend in the car in front’ test. All tests assessed general speed, distance to the car in front and the time it took to move lanes. Hazards were used to see if driving behaviour changed under different driving scenarios.

Here are the results. Those ‘following a friend’ drove faster and more erratically, closer to the car in front and made quicker lane changes. Also, the drivers were more likely to cut in front of a pedestrian crossing a road and speed through traffic lights turning red.

It was observed that the leading cars are not breaking any laws, but those following behind were not just copying risky behavior from risky drivers, but were influenced by the traffic around them. Drivers often feel a social pressure to keep pace with other traffic and run traffic lights when other vehicles do the same. By using a computerized driving simulation, the study was able to eliminate the contagious effect, where driver behaviour can be influenced by the traffic around them.

The researchers concluded the test with some useful advice. It is a lot better and safer to know the address of the destination, or use a map or a navigation device to get to the destination without incident.

Arriving Safe and Sound in Seattle

Yes, it is far safer to know the way yourself rather than following behind someone else’s car. Avoid accidents and near-accidents waiting to happen if you can. Greenwood Auto Shop is at your service in Seattle when such things happen.