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.
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.
When you get into an automotive accident, it’s always good to not be the one at fault. To this end, it’s important to eliminate distractions as much as possible while you drive. If you don’t want to make any unexpected trips to our auto body shop in Seattle, be mindful of the following driving hazards.
The fact is that any form of multitasking behind the wheel is depriving you of not only focus, but also at least one of your hands. Dialing your phone while you drive triples your risk of getting into an accident. If you try to reach for an object rolling around on the floor, the risk goes up nine-fold. The worst, however, is texting, which sends your risk factor up by a full twenty-three times. When you get in the car, be prepared to devote all your focus to driving until you shut off the engine again.
Most of the time, when we talk about fostering better driving habits, we’re focusing on our teenage drivers. After all, a full forty-three percent of teen drivers admit to texting while driving. However, our auto body shop in Seattle wants to remind all the parents out there that a lot of the responsibility should be falling upon them; indeed, it paints a sobering picture when you consider that the percentage of adults who admitted to texting while driving was at a whopping forty-nine.
According to a survey conducted by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions, a surprising number of parents are engaged in unsafe driving practices while their kids are in the car. Eighty-three percent of students surveyed said that their parents were periodically guilty of risky driving behavior. Talking on a cellphone was the biggest offense, closely followed by speeding, with texting taking a distant third place. Sixty percent of teens said that they tried to stop this behavior, but a full forty-one percent said that they were ignored.
If this describes your own driving habits, take care to be more mindful in the future. After all, it’s not enough that you simply get your teen to his or her destination safely; you also need to set a proper example so that he or she will drive more safely when you’re not around.
Suppose you are at a mechanic who just can’t seem to get to the heart of your problem. Maybe he pinpointed the issue to your fuel injector, and then decided that the fuel pump needed to be replaced. Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, but you should remain on the lookout for signs that you should be leaving this mechanic for the professionals at Greenwood’s auto body shop in Seattle.
Sometimes an unscrupulous mechanic is taking advantage of your own lack of automotive expertise to justify unnecessary repairs. Even if the mechanic is honest, though, it’s possible that you’re dealing with somebody who simply does not have the means to properly diagnose your problem. If your mechanic is making you go through additional repairs that were not initially accounted for, have him justify the original repair. You may be entitled to a partial refund. If the mechanic gets difficult or continues to misdiagnose your car, it may be time to trade up to Greenwood.
It’s important to repair scratches that appear in your car’s finish in order to protect your car’s body from damage. However, a lot of scratches seem too small to justify the expense of a proper new paint job. It is for this reason that many people want to turn to a store bought scratch remover product. But is a scratch remover really a viable substitute for the professional touch of our auto body shop in Seattle?
In a series of tests, the scratch removers proved to be effective for use against very light defects. Shallow scratches, swirl marks, oxidation, all of these can generally be cleared away with a store bought product. However, any scratch that is deep enough for you to feel is probably not going to be repaired with a scratch remover. For these problems, you’re probably going to need to take your car to Greenwood Collision.
When tires fail, they generally seem to go without warning. However, there are ways to spot a problematic tire before it actually blows up on you. Our auto body shop in Seattle advises that you periodically check your tires to spot the following warning signs of an impending flat:
- Cracks in the sidewalls.
- Uneven wear in the treads. This can point to uneven inflation, bad wheel alignment, bad suspension, or damage to the tires.
- Excessive wear in the treads. Your tire probably has an indicator bar running across the tread that becomes visible when it goes beyond the minimum allowable depth of one sixteenth of an inch.
- Bulges or blisters in the tire.
- Vibration. If your tires are vibrating excessively while you drive, you may have a misaligned or unbalanced wheel or internal tire damage.
Most of the time, the emissions from your car’s tailpipe are going to be invisible. It can therefore be worrisome when you start to see a cloud of smoke start billowing out the back of your car. When this happens, do you know what to do? Is it a problem that will resolve itself, or is it something to take to our auto body shop in Seattle? The answer depends on the color of the emissions you see.
- Thin and White: If your tailpipe is producing a white vapor that dissipates quickly in the air, it’s probably nothing but water. This points at condensation in your tailpipe, which is common and no cause for concern.
- Thick and White: When your tailpipe is emitting billowing white smoke, your car is probably burning off engine coolant. This is a problem that requires immediate attention if you want to avoid overheating and inflicting serious damage to your engine. Turn off your car immediately and call a tow truck.
- Blue or Gray: When you see thick blue or gray smoke, your car is most likely burning oil in its combustion chamber. Your oil levels should start to drop more quickly, which can lead to more serious problems down the line. Take your car to a mechanic as soon as you can manage.
- Black: When your tailpipe is shooting out black smoke and soot, it’s probably burning too much fuel. If this happens on a cold day, give your car a chance to warm up. If the smoke disappears, it’s probably nothing to worry about. Otherwise, you’ll want to have a mechanic look at your engine.
Sometimes a car’s paint job can develop unsightly swirl marks or spiderwebbing scratches. It’s a common sight with old cars, so some people jump to the conclusion that it’s a problem that only comes with old age. However, even your new car can become affected with such scratches if you are not careful. Our auto body shop in Seattle advises that you take the appropriate steps to spare your car’s paint job.
Spiderwebbing and swirl marks are frequently the result of bad car washing practices. Take a look at the towel or cloth you are using to wash your vehicle; is it clean? If you are using a professional car wash, do you trust them to use proper equipment on your car? Ideally, you should be using a quality terry towel that is clear of any dirt. With proper treatment, your paint job can remain strong and vibrant for years to come.
Nobody knows better than Greenwood’s auto body shop in Seattle that the world of engine oil is not what it used to be. In living memory, the consumer could simply go down to the automotive section of their local store and pick out a bottle of oil based on a simple measure of viscosity. Today, however, oil has become so complex and convoluted that many manufacturers are putting out their own special brands and insisting that you use it if you want your car to keep running properly. Observing this, a canny consumer needs to wonder: is there a legitimate need to use the manufacturer’s brand of oil, or is this all marketing mumbo-jumbo?
The short answer is that, if your car’s manufacturer specifies a brand of oil for your engine, it’s probably a pretty good idea to use that oil. Different engines do in fact have different needs, and the right kind of oil can go a long way towards keeping up performance and prolonging the life of your car. However, it is also important to note that you don’t necessarily need to use the specified brand to get everything you need; so long as you are following the specifications found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you should be fine.
A problem that some drivers encounter is that the manufacturer threatens to void their drivetrain warranty if they do not use the manufacturer brand. The good news here is that you are protected by something called the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, which requires that your manufacturer is able to actually establish that an off-brand oil was responsible for damaging your engine. Should you be in a situation where you are being denied a warranty claim based on your oil use without an investigation, the company is in violation of the act.