Tag Archives: Seattle Auto Body Shop

Maintaining Your Car in the Winter

The cold months are upon us, and this means that there are many more potential threats to your car. Hash weather and extreme temperatures can take its toll on your vehicle, so you’ll want to take extra precautions to make sure you and your car get through winter in one piece.

To this end, our auto body shop in Seattle offers the following tips:

  • A good broom can be the best way to clear snow off of your car. Try finding a short-handled broom to store in your trunk.
  • If you get stuck in the snow, a hubcap can serve as a shovel to dig yourself out.
  • Try to avoid putting air in your tires when the temperature drops to ten below. The valve may stick and let all of the air out.
  • You can keep frost from building up on the inside of your windows by leaving a window open a crack.
  • If you track road salt on your carpeting, you can clean it out with a solution made from equal parts water and vinegar.
  • Is your washer solvent freezing? Mix your own with one quart of rubbing alcohol, one cup of water, and two tablespoons of liquid detergent. This solvent will serve down to thirty-five degrees below.

Automatic Transmission Fluid

Transmissions! Aren’t they a nightmare?

For many people facing potential automotive damage, the phrase “I hope it’s not the transmission” is a common one. Indeed, this is a complex and delicate system that can lead to crippling and expensive repairs, so your Seattle auto body shop advises that you take the time to care for your transmission.

The number one thing to do for your transmission is check its ATF (automatic transmission fluid) levels. You can do this via a dipstick that should be located towards the rear of your engine, probably labeled as “transmission”. Check that the fluid levels are correct, and that the fluid has a good, cherry-red coloration. A bad color means that your fluid is dirty, and should be replaced.

When adding new ATF to your transmission, remember that not just any fluid will do. There are several kinds of ATF, and you will need to check your owner’s manual to be sure that you get the correct one. DO NOT USE ENGINE OIL IN YOUR TRANSMISSION.

If you can manage to change your ATF twice a year, you’re in good shape to keep up the performance of your transmission for a good, long time. Don’t be afraid to stop by our auto body shop in Seattle for some assistance and advice.

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.

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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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.