Tag Archives: Greenwood Auto Body

General Maintenance Safety Tips

Do you fancy yourself a real automotive do-it-yourselfer?  That’s great!  Just be sure that you’re taking care of yourself while you take care of your car.  After all, you can always take your car into your Seattle body shop in a worst case scenario, but we won’t be able to do anything to fix you.

  • Protect Your Eyes: Sparks, sharp objects, even blasts of hot steam or splatters of toxic chemicals; all of these represent potential hazards to your fragile eyes.  Get a set of dark-lensed goggles, or even a pair of sunglasses that fit snugly on your face and attach to a strap around the back of your head.

  • Wear Gloves: It can sometimes be difficult to tell what is safe to touch inside your car.  You’ve got sharp edges, electrical systems, harsh chemicals, and metal surfaces that are prone to a lot of heat.  Get a heavy pair of gloves.

  • Work in an Open Area: Chemical vapors from your car can be dangerous to breathe over an extended period of time, and gasoline is still combustible in a vapor form.  Work on your car outdoors if you can, or at least leave your garage door open.

  • Secure Your Car: Set the parking brake, turn off the engine, and put the car in neutral.  Some exceptions can be made, if the particular repair you are doing requires the engine to be on, but these should be rare.

When Your Oil Light Comes On

Say you’re out on the road and your oil light turns on. Do you know what to do? Take the advice of Greenwood’s Seattle body shop to avoid doing catastrophic damage to your car.

In case you don’t know which light is your oil light, it generally takes the shape of an old-fashioned oil can. This will light up in red when your car experiences a drop in pressure. When this happens, you want to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and shut off your engine. It is not safe to continue running your car without oil pressure, for without lubrication, your engine is rapidly tearing itself to pieces.

The first thing to do after pulling over is to check under your car. Is any oil leaking out? This probably means you’ve blown a gasket, and will need to get a tow. If you don’t see any leaks, try checking and changing your oil (it helps to have an extra bottle of oil on hand). After you’ve done this, try starting up your car again and seeing if the oil light comes on. If it does, you’ll want to get your car to a proper body shop as soon as possible.

Checking Your Own Tire Pressure

Maintaining a good tire pressure is an important part of keeping up your fuel efficiency and maintaining the integrity of your tires. Tires gradually lose air over time, and can take a sharp drop in pressure when the cold season comes around. Checking this pressure and maintaining good tires is a simple procedure that our Seattle body shop can do for you on a routine visit, but it also pays to be able to keep track of it by yourself.

All you need to check your tire pressure is a digital tire gauge. These can be bought for about fifteen dollars in many stores with an automotive section. Try checking your pressure before you drive your car first thing in the morning, and compare the pressure to the ideal tire pressure listed in your owner manual, inside your gas-filler door, or on the door jam. If the pressure is low, take your car to your gas station to get a fill-up.

The Importance of Changing your Spark Plugs

Do you remember the last time you had your spark plugs changed? It’s a simple procedure, one that our Seattle body shop could have done in minutes. However, it’s still something that far too many driver’s neglect. This hurts fuel efficiency, and will eventually prevent your car from starting.

The function of the spark plug is to create an electrical spark so as to ignite your fuel when you start your engine. To do this, it forces an electrical charge to jump across a tiny gap, like a miniature bolt of lightning. Over time, this gap is getting sullied by the fuel that runs through your engine. Carbon builds up, inhibiting the flow of electricity. The more of a build up you get, the more fuel you have to burn to get your car started. Eventually, you won’t be able to get a spark going at all.

A normal spark plug will generally last between ten and twenty thousand miles. If you’re approaching that limit, don’t wait to have your plugs checked out. You’re probably saving money in the long run.

Cooling Down an Overheating Engine

An overheating engine is a bad thing.  It can cause your car to shut down in the short term, and letting it continue to overheat is taxing on your car and can lead to more serious damage very quickly.  You’ll want to get your overheating car down to Greenwood’s Seattle body shop as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, here are some tips to cool down your car so that you don’t damage it further before you can bring it in:

  • When you notice your car overheating, shut off the engine.  Give it a minute; do not open the hood if the engine is giving off steam or smoke.

  • When the engine has cooled down, open the hood and check the coolant reservoir.  This is a plastic jug-like structure fitted with a hose that feeds into the radiator.  Don’t open this unless you’re confident your engine has cooled down enough, as you can burn your hand with the blast of hot steam that may shoot out at you.

  • Use a rag to open the radiator cap.  Again, be careful that you’re not going to get burned by a blast of hot steam.  Fill to the top of the radiator if you need to.

  • If you’re out of coolant and you don’t have access to new coolant, go ahead and use water.  This won’t last as long as coolant, but it’ll get you out of an emergency situation.

  • Look at the hoses coming out of the radiator or the heater system.  Have any of them burst?

  • If you’ve got the engine cooled down and the coolant replaced, try starting your car again.  Watch your temperature gauge closely.  Run the heater if you can stand to.

  • If your overheating problem continues, have your car towed to the body shop.  Driving an overheated car more than you need to is only making your problem worse.

Bouncing Back from Bad Shocks

Have you noticed your car suddenly taking bumps harder than it used to?  Chances are that your shock absorbers have taken some sort of damage, probably from going over a particularly nasty bit of terrain.  If this is the case, you should think about getting in to our Seattle auto body shop as soon as you can; after all, it’s not just your comfort that is suffering from bad shocks.  Damaged shock absorbers can also bring you any or all of the following:

  • Bad Braking: With bad shocks, your car might start to nose-dive a bit when you brake.  It’s not absorbing the energy of your brake like it should, and it leaves you more prone to skidding and sliding on slippery surfaces.

  • Poor Steering: Your shock absorbers help your car deal with the unbalanced pressure that comes with making a turn.  Bad shocks hurt your ability to steer effectively, putting you in danger when you merge on the freeway or hit an intersection in a busy city street.

  • Excessive Tire Wear: With bad shocks, your tires are no longer standing on even legs.  This subjects certain tires to more wear than others, and leaves you vulnerable to blow-outs.

  • Additional Engine Damage: Your car is a complex machine, and it doesn’t benefit from taking the worst of every bump in the road.  You need your shocks to spare your more delicate engine parts from further abuse.

What Kind of Tires are Right for You?

Perhaps you’ve heard of “low profile” tires. A lot of dealers are fond of putting these on their cars and touting their merits, drawing buyers in with the sharp aesthetic and the superior gas mileage that they offer. But are these tires really right for you? Let your Seattle auto body shop help you in determining whether or not low profile tires would really be worth your money.

First of all, it is true that low profile tires can help with your fuel economy. The increased leverage offered by the thinner layer of tire between your rim and the road can offer an extra mile or so per gallon, depending on your specific car and driving habits. Unfortunately, low profile tires lose something in being able to handle rough terrain. The advantages can go away really quickly if you live in a colder region that is prone to potholes. When you drive over a pothole, you want the cushioning of a regular tire to protect your car from damage. Couple this fact with the higher price that you usually end up paying with low profile tires, and you may better off with a more conventional tire.

Preventing a Friend from Driving Drunk

Far too many car accidents are caused by drunk drivers. We all know that drunk driving is bad but, when we’re in an inebriated state, we occasionally need the intervention of a loved one to stand in for our better judgement and keep us off the road. Greenwood’s Seattle body shop offers the following tips in the event that you ever find yourself between a drunk friend and the driver’s seat:

First off, don’t be confrontational. Your friend is in an emotional state, and needs to be steered by positive emotions. Try to be light-hearted about it, make it a joke, or suggest that it would be a personal favor to you if he or she didn’t get behind the wheel. If this doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to take his or her keys while he or she isn’t looking. Be adamant about not riding in the same car as the drunk driver. Get some support if you need to, as drunk people can be quite susceptible to social pressure.

If everything else fails, remember that you’d be doing your friend a favor to alert the authorities. After all, he or she is better off with a police record than with the injury or death that so frequently accompanies drunk driving.

Shaking Steering Wheels

Are you experiencing a quick back-and-forth motion in your steering wheel? Greenwood’s Seattle body shop can help! This is a common problem resulting from collisions or pothole-related damage, and can in many cases actually be quite simple and inexpensive to repair.

The first question to ask is, “When is your steering wheel shaking?” In general, you might be experiencing either a constant shaking motion or a shake that only occurs when you reach a certain speed. If your steering wheel is shaking only at a certain speed, chances are good that your wheels are just a little out of balance and need a simple alignment. If the shaking is constant, you might have either a bent wheel or a loose steering linkage. Whatever the case may be, bring your car in to Greenwood and we’ll get your restless wheel back in order again!

Tips for Before You Need Auto Collision Repair

You don’t want to wait until you need auto collision repair to make sure you’ve got everything in order.  Follow these simple tips from your friendly Seattle auto body shop to avoid problems after the crash.

  • Read and understand your insurance policy.  If you don’t understand any part of it, talk to your representative.

  • Know your rights and responsibilities.  Review the driving and insurance laws of your state.

  • Identify organizations that you can trust.  It’s better to know who your auto shop, doctor, and legal council will be before you need them in order to avoid aggressive fraud artists.

  • Know your vehicle.  Perform regular maintenance and keep it in reliable condition.

  • Practice safe driving!  You may not be able to control other drivers, but you should at least be able to rely on yourself.