Category Archives: Auto Body Blog

Can I Replace My Own Wipers?

Suppose your car is in perfect condition, but you develop a little crack in a windshield wiper.  You probably wouldn’t want to take such a small problem to your Seattle body shop, would you?

Fortunately, replacing the wiper by yourself is a surprisingly easy task for even the least gear-headed drivers among us.  Just take a look at your wipers; though different makes have different mechanisms, it should be fairly simple to determine how to remove the wiper from the arm that holds it against your windshield.  Simply pull this arm away from the windshield, detach the old wiper, and replace it with a new one.

The important trick to remember is that you’ll need to be sure to buy the right kind of wiper for your car.  Stores sometimes will have a machine or booklet that lets you know which wipers you need for your car depending on the year, model, maker, etc. Wipers come in different sizes, so you’ll want to identify your wiper’s size or even bring it with you to the store.  Also, the wipers on a single car are often different sizes, so don’t make the mistake of getting a matching pair. If you have trouble, you can always bring it to our Seattle body shop for a little assistance.

Car Colors and Accidents

Did you ever think that the color of your car might have an impact on your likelihood to get in an accident?  

In truth, there does seem to be a discrepancy in the colors of the cars that we service at our Seattle auto body shop.  Some of this can of course be linked to the greater popularity of some colors, but several scientific studies have shown that cars of certain colors are more likely to get into a wreck than others.

The good news is that the most popular car color, white, is one of the safer colors you can drive.  White is apparently among the more visible colors in all situations, with snowy conditions being the obvious exception.  In terms of visibility, it’s second only to lime yellow. (But who wants a lime yellow car…right?)

On the other end of the spectrum, a disproportionate number of accidents involve black, grey, or brown cars.  These tend to blend in with common driving conditions and are the most likely to end up on the other end of somebody’s “it came out of nowhere!” story.

With this in mind, consider your own situation and choose your car colors carefully. Check with your insurance company to see if colors matter.

Look Out for Rust!

Rust is a big problem for your car. Be it in the engine or the body, this is the slow and silent killer for an automobile. Our auto body shop in Seattle can check your vehicle for rust as part of your regular maintenance, but it also pays to periodically inspect your own vehicle for signs of this corrosive blight.

It can be easy enough to spot signs of rust on your car’s exterior. However, the biggest problems tend to occur out of sight, on the underside of the vehicle. This is where problems frequently go unnoticed for long enough such that it effectively destroys the car. Take the time every so often to look under your car, and schedule a visit to Greenwood Collision as soon as possible if you find any signs of rust.

Gasoline: Are the Costlier Brands Really Better?

The major gas companies spend a lot of money on their advertisements, many of them trying to convince you that their fuel is worth the extra pennies because of some elusive additives that the bargain brands don’t have. Some people come to our Seattle auto body shop and wonder: is this all marketing, or is there an actual benefit to buying costlier gas?

In truth, you’re not likely to see much of a difference between two different brands of regular gasoline. Though one may boast the power to clean out the gunk that the other one supposedly leaves behind, this represents a somewhat dated notion of the effects that gasoline has on your engine. There is still some debate on the issue, but there have been tests conducted wherein the long term effects of using cheaper gas have been shown to be apparently identical to those of gasolines with more specialized additives. If you need advice, simply buy from whatever pump is giving you the best deal and the most convenience.

Your Tailgate vs. Your Mileage

Many pickup truck owners believe that, by riding with their tailgates lowered, they can improve their gas mileage. After all, it seems logical enough that a lower tailgate is more aerodynamic and therefore requires less work from your fuel. However, this may not be the great boon you think it is. Our Seattle auto body shop advises that you may not be getting the mileage you were hoping for from your lowered tailgate.

Research has demonstrated that, when you drive with your tailgate up, you may actually be enjoying superior aerodynamics over a lowered tailgate. As air flows over a pickup truck in motion, it rushes over the cab and pushes forward on the back of the vehicle. This benefit is largely lost when you don’t keep the tailgate up. Meanwhile, replacing your tailgate with an aftermarket net is even worse, as it subjects your truck to a surprising amount of drag. Keep your tailgate up, and enjoy better mileage!

So Your “Check Engine” Light is On…

For many drivers, the “check engine” light is a frustrating sign.  Not only does this indicate that there may be some horrible damage in your car, but it’s also not being very helpful in determining what this damage is.  It could be a matter for your Seattle body shop, or it could be a minor problem that you can fix yourself.  To help you know the difference, try following these simple steps:

  • When your light first comes on, the first thing you should check is your gas cap.  If it’s not screwed in tightly enough, it will set off your light.

  • If it’s not the gas cap, listen for any unusual sounds or behavior in your engine.  Something like this is probably a problem you should have looked at right away.

  • If there doesn’t seem to be anything unusual going on in the engine, watch the light to see what happens.  It might go away on its own, but if it sticks around for about a week or so, you should bring it in.

Driving With Pets

We at your Greenwood Seattle auto body shop are mostly concerned with your car, because that’s what we know how to fix.  There’s not much we can do for a driver if his pet suffers an unfortunate injury out on the road.  Therefore, in the interest of protecting our furry and flea-bitten friends, we ask that you heed the following advice when it comes to taking your pets for a ride.

  • Keep your pet’s routine.  Stop for walking and feeding at the usual times.  If your dog isn’t accustomed to going to the bathroom on a leash, cultivate this habit.  This can keep your animal calm and easier to control on long trips.
  • Get your pet used to the car.  Try some short, dry runs to destinations that the animal likes, like a dog park.  Watch for motion sickness, and see your vet if the animal experiences any problems that don’t go away.
  • Secure your pet.  An animal running free in a car is compromising the safety of the entire vehicle.  Cats can get under the pedals, dogs can block your vision, and anything can go flying through the windshield if you brake too quickly.  You can search your pet supplier for the right carrier or harness that will afford safety and comfort to your animal.
  • If keeping your dog in a pickup truck bed, clear the area of loose materials and secure the animal with a leash.
  • Do not leave an unattended pet in a hot car!

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Avoiding Swerving

Danger can come from any direction out on the road.  Reckless drivers, small animals, and unsupervised kids can jump out at any time and send you and your vehicle on a premature trip to your Seattle auto body shop.  These are scenarios where you may be inclined to “swerve”, a maneuver that is sometimes necessary but is frequently dangerous as well.  Swerving can lead to collisions, take you off the road or even send your car into a rollover.  To avoid these kinds of disasters, try following these tips:

Firstly, you can’t beat the proverbial ounce of prevention.  Staying alert and watching far ahead of your car can help you avoid a lot of potential dangers.  Children at play, a cat that might dart out in front of you, a slippery spot in the pavement or a car poised to turn into your path, these are all hazards that you can plan for if you see them far enough in advance.  It’s also a good idea to allow for at least three seconds of space between your car and the car in front of you (more during unsafe conditions, like rainy or windy weather).

If you need to swerve, turn the wheel first and then apply the brakes to reduce the chance of rolling over.  If you’re going off the road, fight the instinct to swerve directly back into traffic.  Keep driving straight as you gradually slow down, if it’s safe to do so, and merge back into your lane when you’re under control again.

We hope that this advice serves to save you any unnecessary grief or damage.  Whenever your best driving skills should fail you, however, you can always count on the collision experts at Greenwood Auto Body in Seattle.

Should I Use High-Octane Gasoline?

Are you ever tempted to reach for the “high-octane” gas when you’re fueling up your car? Maybe you anticipate getting a better mileage, or you envision racing down the road with a get-up-and-go that you’ve only dreamed of. If this is a feeling you are familiar with, take the advice of our Seattle body shop: you’re wasting your money.

The truth is that high-octane gas is only doing you any good if your car is made to use it. Such cars have high-compression engines, which require a premium gasoline to prevent knocking during acceleration. High-compression engines are among a tiny minority of cars on the road, though; if you have to wonder whether or not your car is one of them then it’s probably not. The regular octane gasoline will give you as good of a performance as your car can get, so save your money and reach for the 87.

The Pre-Road Trip Maintenance Checklist

Summer is upon us, which means long trips in the car with friends or family. Such trips can be really rough on a vehicle. Since nobody wants to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere, be sure to check all of the following before you hit the road:

Engine Oil: Are your levels right? Are you due for a change? This is one of the easiest ways to foster a well-functioning engine.
Transmission Fluids: Many people forget about their other important oils, like the ones that lubricate your transmission. If you’re due for a change in your transmission fluids, seek out an oil-change professional.
Engine Coolant: If you have a reasonably new care, your coolant should be good for between 100,000 to 150,000 miles. Check your coolant reservoir to see if you need to be topped off.
Tires: Be sure that your tire pressure is at a proper level, and that your treads are not too worn down.
Brakes: Do your brakes squeal when you apply them? It’s time for a change. Be sure to take care of this before any long drives.
Battery: If your battery is over a couple years old, check that the terminals are secure and corrosion-free.

If you have any more significant problems with your car, take it into Greenwood Collision’s auto body shop in Seattle.