Category Archives: Auto Body Blog

Distracted and Driving? A Dangerous Mix

The Distracted Driving Law: Putting an End to Distraction

Did you know that overspeeding is only the second most common cause of car accidents on US roads? Beating it is the growing threat of decades-old distracted driving. Using mobile phones while behind the wheel contributed, by no small means, to the myriad of distractions already in practice by millions of driving Americans.

With the hand-held devices, drivers make calls, text , or surf their phones at the same time as they mind the road, steer the wheel, change gear, peer at their rear view, and for good measure, chat with their seat mate. As luck would have it, stepping on the brakes in time might not just save the day. Crashes, collisions and casualties mount. Eating, drinking, reading, grooming and other forms contribute as well.

Distracted driving, hence, becomes a huge concern that lawmakers moved to put a stop to this reckless behavior. Senate Bill 5289, also called the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act, has just been passed in April 2017 and proposed to take effect January 2018 in Washington.

It forbids use of a handheld device, and all video watching, while a car is either moving or briefly stopped. The standard traffic fine of $136 would increase to about $245 on the second offense. The bill was accompanied by many painful testimonies of victims’ families. There were 171 fatalities in 2015 in Washington state alone.

The bill is not without its hitches. It still requires the signature of Gov. Jay Inslee which will push the effectivity date to January 2019. Member opponents to its passing are asking for more time for public adjustment, asking also that reporting to insurance companies should only apply on the second offense, not the first.

Extra time will also allow for a sustained education campaign, have car owners install built-in communication systems, and beef up the State Patrol numbers which are presently low.

A current law is in place that bans texting and cellphone chatting at the ear, but leaves legal other forms of phone use – social media and streaming video. The new law will allow motorists the “minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device,” such as to launch a navigation app while a smartphone is mounted in a dashboard cradle.

An extra fine of $30 will be charged for other forms of distraction. Opponents say that the new law only opens to more government intrusion and punishing technology instead of the driver. Nonetheless, proponents are willing to wait. Good things take time.

All for the New Law in Seattle

Greenwood Auto Body Shop is all set for changes in 2018 or the next. Road laws are in place for the general good. Our shop is nonetheless ready for mishaps while we encourage road safety all the time.

Original Article

Going on a Trip? Prepare Your Car for the Summer

Tips for a Summer-Ready Road Trip

If your entire family is planning on an outing, say a cross-country road trip this summer, the vehicle you’re taking along ought to be in top-performance mode. This should spare you some troubles while you’re far from home. Something like, nothing is going to spoil your vacation. Inspect your all-important fluids – oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and washer fluid. And certainly, your gas. Look for signs of leaks and have them fixed if you see any.

Check your belts and hoses. A snapped timing belt can quickly mean the end of your journey! Look for frays, cracks, and loose and missing fittings. Your hose should be checked for hard zones, mushy areas, apart from other damage. It should be firm, not stiff.

Have you inspected your air filters? Maybe it’s time for a new one if you haven’t looked at it in a year. Your filters can suffocate fast especially if you are expecting to travel very dusty or rocky roads.

The battery. Is it close to the end of its lifespan already? If so, a replacement will best reassure you. Inspect for signs of corrosion, which speeds up especially in summer months rather than in cold weather. Check its charge. Are the terminals clean, secure and firm? Your battery check also includes looking at your lights and engine sound and performance when you switch on.

Just before heading out, give your battery another final check. Where lights are concerned, inspect if all bulbs are functioning well and firm in their sockets. Replace those that need new bulbs. Each of those have a purpose, especially crucial for night travel.

This is not a time to have a brake problem. So check them thoroughly. Listen for grinding, growling or a shrill squeak. Feel for a vibration or pull when you apply the brakes. Does the pedal sink all the way down to the floor? If you suspect something amiss or you do not feel right about your brakes, have them looked into.

Caring For Your Car in Seattle

Needless to say, your tires should be in good running condition. Check for uneven wear, embedded objects, any visible damage. Which tire doesn’t keep its proper pressure? And is your emergency tire still usable? For your family’s safety, tires should be in top condition before you go. Also, check for unusual sounds and odors coming from your AC. And finally, have those emergency items ready, check the list – from first aid kit to portable jump starters.

Summertime is the best time to have your car looked over at Greenwood Collision your, auto body shop in Seattle. See us and let’s talk safety in summer.

How Much Can an Accident Devalue Your Car?

What to Know if Your are Trading-in Your Damaged Car

According to an ABC News article, vehicles lost an average 33 percent of their value after an accident. If you’re in the market for a car trade-in yet have just gotten out of an unfortunate road incident, get to know a few things before you see a dealer.

Remember firstly that you will likely get the deal you’re envisioning if there had not been an accident. A vehicle’s value drops permanently if it sustained damage in an accident, even if the vehicle in question is still in very good condition.

Know that auto dealerships are keen on vehicle history reports. These reports will include accidents, insurance claims and everything about a vehicle’s past life. The reports can ascertain fair market value, the price adjusted accordingly.

Significant damage to your car can affect your trade-in value proportionately. If the damage – dents, misalignment, paint work, etc – is obvious, the more difficult it is for the dealer to resell it. Some cars have to be rebuilt entirely, in which case it will be labelled ‘totaled’ by the insurance company and that will earn it a ‘salvage title.’

Even after repairs or improvements, it is going to be still be unattractive to buyers or dealers. Who knows what issues with structure will crop up later.

Another factor to consider is the quality of repairs. If the vehicle went through high-quality repair and restoration, using top materials, paint job, or good refurbishing and accessories while looking as good as the original version, then dealers will not so much depreciate its value.

Finally, the age and model of your vehicle are also price determinants for trade-ins. You can expect a certain degree of depreciation even for newer models that had been damaged, much so if your vehicle is older. Some models or brands may be popular and sought-after, in which case dealers will have an easier time selling your trade-in, even if it has been damaged.

Hence, should you own a old model and make of a car that has been in an accident and was damaged, you may have to expect a much lower trade-in or buying price.

Damaged Cars Like New Again in Seattle

Repair and restoration services are our specialty at Greenwood Collision auto body shop in Seattle. Trust your car to experts and experienced specialists for a transformation job you will surely be happy about.

Does Size Matter in a Car Crash?

Small Cars versus Big Cars: The Safety Factors

Small cars are everywhere on American roads these days and that’s because more people are after fuel-efficient vehicles, with fluctuating oil prices around. Many options are sporty versions, they are easier to maneuver, more agile, and of course, compact cars are easier to park. But are they safe? What are your chances of getting out scott-free in cases of accidents, like collisions?

Well, actually driving or riding bigger vehicles do make you feel a lot safer. However, size does not really count that much. While mass is a factor for bigger cars, meaning there is more room between the collision point and the occupants, smaller cars today are built with many safeguards, no longer what they used to be decades ago. Vehicles today have crash standards.

Large vehicles are mandated to keep their impact point at a relatable height to a small car. Both large and small cars have safety features. Today, the small car will not always be the underdog, or that the favor will not always be on the side of the bigger vehicle.

One other factor is vehicle design. Automotive design today is not only to reduce injury, but also to avoid collisions. Cars have crumple zones that absorb the energy even before it reaches the occupants, causing less trauma and injury. The frame rails, hood, suspension, firewall, and windshield provide structural integrity, collapsing in a controlled manner to absorb energy and reduce the effects interiorly. So, the gap now between the safety of a large vehicle and a small one is a lot narrower.

In the same vein, the quality of materials used now is another factor. Lightweight cars are engineered to be rigid and strong. Materials are high-strength with structural integrity, with bracing allowing for crumple zones to be incorporated into the components for protection in an impact.

Safety systems are another factor. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, airbags, and seatbelts are standard, regulated and enforced decreasing significantly the incidence of severe injuries and fatalities.

Smaller cars being easier to control is another factor. They are more nimble; with their sporty suspension and better traction, less mass and quicker response to inertia, they can easily avoid collision. So we can say now that smaller cars today can give the bigger versions a good run for their money.

Welcoming All Makes of Cars in Seattle

Your auto body shop in Seattle believes that safety is primarily in the driver’s hands. But should you find yourself in a road accident nearby, be assured we can respond with our service, be your car big or small.

Storing Your Car for Extended Periods

Going on a vacation?

There comes a time when you need to put your car away for an extended period of time. Maybe you’re going out of town for a while, or maybe your vehicle has suffered damage that renders it undrivable.

Until such a time as you can get your car down to our auto body shop in Seattle, take the following precautions to preserve your inert vehicle:

  • Wash and wax your finish.
  • Fill your tank. The less surface area that is available inside your tank, the less condensation will be gathering. This prevents rust and break-down.
  • Put a 4-mil polyethylene drop cloth on the floor of your garage to act as a vapor barrier.
  • Don’t apply your parking brake if you don’t need to. This will prevent unnecessary corrosion.
  • Use jack stands to take the vehicle’s weight off of your wheels. This will help your tires last for a longer time.
  • Disconnect your car battery and put it on a trickle-type charger. This will keep it from draining while in storage.
  • Plug your tailpipe with a rag. This will keep moisture out, guarding your car against rust.

The Advantages of Car Mats

When people think about car maintenance, they usually think about the engine, the body, and other structures that they need to have serviced by the professionals at our auto body shop in Seattle. Unfortunately, this means that they frequently neglect the care of simple things, like the car’s interior. This is why it is a good idea to invest in a proper set of car mats.

A car mat serves to protect the floor of your vehicle from all of the dirt and mud you track in, the food and drinks you spill, and more. They are particularly important in regions that get a lot of rain or snowfall, as the water you track in can foster the growth of harmful microorganisms in your carpeting.

A good car mat takes a lot of the work out of cleaning your interior, which goes a long way towards creating a sanitary and odor-free environment.

Consider getting a set of tailored car mats for your vehicle today.

What is the Lifespan of a Tire?

Everybody knows that a tire will gradually wear down with use. However, our Seattle auto bodyshop wants you to be aware that there are forces outside of your driving habits that are taking their toll on the rubber you’re riding on.

Indeed, even a tire that is sitting in your trunk, doing nothing, is eventually going to become unsafe. It’s aging, in much the same way that a rubber band ages. The rubber is becoming brittle and cracked, and the steel belts in your tread will gradually pull away from the rest of the tire. When this happens, it’s no longer suitable to support your car.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pin down exactly how long a tire can be expected to last. There are several significant variables at play, one of the biggest being heat. It’s been observed that tires age more quickly in a warm environment, or when stored in direct sunlight. Your best bet is to be mindful of the temperature of your spare tires, never buy used tures, and remain vigilant for signs of aging.

Getting the Stink Out of Your Car

Our auto body shop in Seattle has encountered many cars that have developed stubborn, offensive odors.

Maybe the owner spilled something, maybe there was a leak, or maybe something even crawled into their engine and died. Whatever the source may be, it can often leave behind a stench that simply will not go away with conventional cleaning. Fortunately, there are measures you can take against such smells.

First of all, it’s good to be aware of what might cause your car to stink. Dry up wet patches before they encourage the growth of mildew. Clean up food before it attracts mold. Avoid eating, smoking, and transporting pets around in your car whenever you can.

Should you find yourself stuck with an objectionable odor, identify its source and remove it. Dry out mildew, or steam clean spots that might be infected with bacteria. If the smell has worked its way into the fibers severely enough, you may need to replace carpeting or underpadding. There are also some commercial products available which claim to be able to eliminate odors; consider these as appropriate.

Don’t Top Off Your Tank!

Are you in the habit of topping off your gas tank at the pump?

This is a common practice among motorists who are hoping to squeeze as much fuel as possible into their cars. However, our Seattle auto body shop cautions you away from topping-off, as you are ultimately doing more harm than good.

The fact is that your gas station pump automatically shuts off for a good reason. After this point, any further gasoline you pump is going into the gas station’s vapor recovery system. The only think you’re doing for your vehicle is possibly damaging your evaporative emissions system.

It won’t hurt to make a habit of putting in gas when you’re quarter or third full and fill it up to 3/4 or 2/3 full.

Save your money, and trust your fuel pump when it tries to cut you off.

Are Your Keys Killing Your Ignition?

Do you have a lot of key chains on your car keys?

Over time, a lot of us can develop a serious case of “janitor-keys”. Between our house keys, office keys, mailbox keys, and more, the keys to our cars’ ignition have a lot of neighbors on our keychains. You may not think about this too much, but our auto body shop in Seattle advises that this has implications for your car.

The fact is that a heavy keychain is taking its toll on your ignition. The weight of your keys, combined with the jostling action of your driving, is gradually inflicting damage on the tumblers. Sooner or later, this is going to add up to ignition failure. You can prevent this by separating your car key from the rest of your keys, driving with nothing but your ignition key in the keyhole.