Monday, June 30, 2014

What Really Happens When Your Car Is At The Body Shop - A Behind The Scenes Look

I was talking to a customer yesterday when I was asked a question that sent the lights off in my head. She was asking me "when" her car would be finished. Not really an unusual question. However, when I answered her, her response was, "why is it going to take sooooo long?" While I was answering her question, I realized that most people don't really know what happens when your car gets in an accident.

Since, unfortunately, most of us will eventually have to have some sort of "body work" done at some time in our lives, I thought it might be interesting to explain what really happens here!
When a car gets hit, metal bends. Pretty simple, huh? Yup, shopping cart makes contact with your car, pushes a little, and there you have it! A little "dent", "ding", "scratch" or whatever you want to call it. It only take a second to accomplish. But, removing it takes hours... and hours. Why? Here's what happens:

The "dent" has pushed in the metal. To "push it back out" first of all, you have to be able to get to it! This usually requires the diss-assembly of some parts. Once you are able to "get at" the spot from the other side, you have to decide what is the best method of "pushing the metal back the other way". Without getting too technical, I'll tell you there are many ways to accomplish this. The idea is to get the job done with the least amount of damage to the metal. Small dents and dings are actually harder to get out than the big ones. Once metal is "moved" in a certain direction, it doesn't like to come back easily. Sometimes it may require a rubber mallet, sometimes the use of precision body hammers (made in all kinds of styles to make this job easer). Sometimes, the dent can't be pounded out! In this case, we need to drill a hole in the middle of the dent, insert a "slide hammer" tool and pull the metal back out to where it should be. It all sounds so simple, but, it really requires a lot of experience and a lot of science to do it properly.

Once the "dent" is brought back out to where it matches the rest of the metal, we check to see how much damage was done to the paint around the dent location. All of this pushing and pulling in and out can crack the painted surface which in turn lets the elements into contact with the bare metal of your car. That can cause major damage to your vehicle in the form of corrosion and rust. To avoid any possibility of this happening, we "scuff" the damaged area around the dent and then, prime it with a primer which seals the area and gives a perfect surface for the paint to adhere to. Then the area is sanded and painted with the color to match the rest of the vehicle. After drying, the area is sprayed with a clear coat finish which provides a protective, glossy seal to the paint. After the clear is dried and cured, it is wet sanded, buffed to a beautiful finish and then glazed to a brilliant shine!

So there you have it! Now, the work I just described is what is required just to remove a small "dent" or "ding" in a body panel. You can imagine what is involved when a car is involved in an accident! These guys are engineers. Straightening the frame or uni-body on today's cars requires talent and is not for the backyard body man or the do-it-yourselfer. The guys who do this type of work are artists. They work long hours and they endure horrible temperatures because they love to fix what others can't. The next time you take your car to a body shop, remember, the work they do there is complex and requires a lot of skill and many years of on the job training to become the professionals they are. They want to fix your car as quickly as possible, but, they are limited to the steps that are required to do the job properly. Your safety and satisfaction is their priority. Your patience will be rewarded with a car that is as safe and beautiful as the day you drove it out of the showroom.

I hope this gives a little insight into what happens when your car is damaged. Although I have only touched on the basics of auto body repair, I'm sure it will give you a pretty good idea of what kind of work is involved. For this reason, it is important to choose your repair shop carefully. Research the shop and ask for references. A good shop will gladly give you a list of references along with pictures of their completed work. Ask about warranties and guarantees. These are important and will save you lots of money in the long run should you have a problem with the repair. Remember what the cost was for that dent? Don't want to pay it again, right? A good shop will provide you with, at the very least, a 90 day warranty on the paint.

Here at LDJ Auto Body we guarantee our body work for the life of the vehicle and our standard paint job is factory warranted for at least 1 yr. and you can purchase additional warranty coverage for that "show" paint job too! That's all for now. Drive safely! Finding a body shop that does great work and has your car ready on time can sometimes be a chore. But not at LDJ Auto Body. Our loyal customers will tell you they won't take their cars anywhere else for their auto body and automotive paint needs. That's why we are the Number #1 shop in Riverview, Brandon, Apollo Beach, and the surrounding Tampa Bay areas!
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Why A Good Body Shop Uses A Paint Booth

When you take your car in for service, you expect a great paint job. A high-quality body shop will meet your expectations by delivering a dust-free car with the new color matching the old perfectly. To assure a good job and to comply with environmental regulations, body shops typically perform the painting in a paint booth, use proper equipment and technique, and make sure that their workers wear protective clothing. Some body shops try to skirt these requirements to lower costs and prices, but the results are not worth the so-called "savings."

Why Use A Paint Booth?

There are several good reasons:

Less dust. A body shop generates a considerable amount of dust in the process of sanding car parts. Technicians can remove dust from paint by wiping the surface with a tack cloth and by then applying several thin coats rather than fewer thick ones. The best way to control dust is to use a paint booth that is:

  • Properly vented with filters in place
  • Kept at the proper pressure and climate
  • Set up so that entrance and exit doors, access doors, and concrete floors are sealed
  • Clean and free of unnecessary items, sand, moisture, and dirt
  • Closed to unnecessary personnel to prevent traffic in and out
  • Manned by a worker in a lint-free painter suit and head covering

Better quality. Equipped with fluorescent lighting attached right outside the booth, the painting technicians can apply a consistent paint job. They can spot flaws or places they missed. Many paint booths are heated for better curing of paints.

Prevents overspray. Proper painting technique assures that paint does not spread to parts of the car not to be painted by masking it to prevent accidental overspray. The paint booth should have a downdraft system with exhaust fans installed in the floor to pull paint particles away from unwanted areas of the vehicle. A downdraft system also sucks up loose, floating dust. Using a properly vented paint booth saves shop owners money on paint, solvents, and supplies.

Contains and reduces toxic fumes. Body shops are moving toward paints and finishes with lower VOC content, but many products contain toxic chemicals that are very harmful to the workers who apply them. They also pose a hazard when they are airborne. A paint booth with proper ventilation through a downdraft, side draft, or cross draft system pulls paint fumes up through high stacks and away from employees, neighboring buildings, and people.

Is safer. A properly designed paint booth uses filters that workers change often to keep the shop in compliance with EPA standards for 98% particulate removal efficiency. It has sprinklers and fire extinguishers in the booth to stop fires and reduce damage to cars and employees. Ideally, the body shop uses a mechanical paint gun washing system that limits technician contact with solvents, reduces solvent usage, and reduces the amount of the VOC and HAP emissions once spray guns are removed from the booth.

Only Trust A Shop With A Paint Booth

Most municipalities require any body shop to have a properly installed paint booth if they use more than a certain number of gallons per week. Some small shops and fly-by-night operators may try to get around the regulations. For best results when you are seeking a body shop, make sure that the shop has a permitted, well-equipped paint booth. Your car, the workers, and the environment will be better for it.

Writing on a variety of topics, Albert Westbrook enjoys putting pen to paper. He recommends visiting Everest Collision Repair with four Utah locations including one in Sandy, Utah.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Help! An Uninsured Driver Hit Me - Now What?

If you experience a car accident, the first thing you may consider (after making sure everyone is okay or medically tended-to, of course) is whether the other driver was insured. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, there are several critical considerations and steps you must take immediately. You should first make sure that you are off the road and in a safe place, and then contact the local police or highway patrol. Use your cell phone to take photos of the other vehicle, including the license plate and any damage. Request to see the other driver's identification, then take photos or carefully write down all information provided. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable doing so, wait until a law enforcement officer arrives on the scene.

Uninsured Driver Risks

Most states have implemented strict uninsured driver laws, and for good reason. Uninsured drivers cost the car insurance industry and law-abiding, insured motorists billions of dollars each year. The Insurance Research Council estimates that almost 14% of U.S. drivers are uninsured at any given time. A tough economy increases the likelihood that drivers will let their coverage lapse when money is tight. Most insurance carriers offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as an add-on to your own auto policy, and many states require this coverage. Contact your insurance company to make sure you carry ample coverage for this risk.

Who is Responsible for Damage

If you are in a public right of way, a police officer or highway patrollers will determine who was at fault in the accident. If the accident takes place on private property, such as a parking lot or parking structure, officers will usually not issue citations or give a decision about fault.

Should You Involve Your Auto Insurance Carrier?

In the event you are hit by an uninsured motorist and not at fault, your auto insurance should cover the damages, provided you have purchased the extra underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. The uninsured driver can even attempt to make a claim against your insurance, so you may want to consider speaking to an attorney. You may have to sue an uninsured driver to collect damages, and you will most likely have to pay your auto insurance deductible out of pocket.

If you've been hit by an uninsured driver and need repairs to your vehicle, your insurance company will also attempt to recover damages from the other party. You may have to appear in court, as a witness and the victim, to testify about the accident itself.

If your vehicle sustained damage, the safest and simplest course of action is to find a reputable auto collision shop in your area and enlist their help. They may offer towing assistance as a part of their services, and work with your insurance company to complete the necessary repairs in a quick, high quality way. Insurance companies can sometimes be uncooperative or difficult to deal with in these cases, and having a professional intermediary such as an established auto body shop can help ease the process for you, helping to reduce at least a little bit of this stressful situation.

Albert Westbrook writes about all kinds of topics of interest to the public. He recommends visiting Everest Collision Repair in Tooele, Utah if you are involved in an automobile accident.
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Facts on Pothole Damage and Your Wheel Alignment

Potholes are one of the daily driving hazards people face, and one that sometimes cannot be avoided. They can cause extensive damage to vehicles that requires costly repairs. The best prevention is to avoid potholes altogether. Sometimes automobile collision insurance covers part of pothole damage repair.

Avoiding pothole damage:

• Keep tire pressure at the manufacturers recommended level.
• Correctly inflated tires are the best buffer between potholes and your car.
• Over-inflated and under-inflated tires are equally poor at preventing pothole damage
• Leave plenty of space between your car and the one in front of you. This allows you to see potholes and avoid them if possible.
• Drive slower during inclement weather. This will help you see hazards, including potholes, before they damage your car.

What to do if you hit a pothole:

• Immediately examine tires and rims for damage.
• Check tire pressure.
• Pay attention to how your car handles.
• Get your car checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

Potential damage from potholes varies by the size of the hole that was struck and the speed of the car at the time of impact. The angle of impact is also a factor.

• Tire puncture, damage or uneven wear
• Wheel rim damage
• Wear and damage to shocks and struts
• Suspension system damage
• Steering system misalignment
• Exhaust system damage
• Engine damage
• Wheel misalignment
• Undercarriage damage

Noticeable effects and behaviors of the car that indicate damage has occurred:

• Flat tires or bulging sidewalls
• Uneven wear on tires
• Fluid leaks from the undercarriage
• Odd noises coming from the exhaust system
• Shock absorbers and springs are less resilient, resulting in a rougher ride and less responsive steering.
• Pulling in one direction rather than rolling in a straight path indicates alignment problems.
• Poor wheel alignment can make a car unsafe to handle in an emergency.
• Car may sway or rock during turns, or it may bounce a lot. This makes the car less safe to drive, and indicates problems with the shocks or suspension system.

If the alignment is knocked off center by a pothole, tires wear unevenly and wear out sooner. The car is more difficult to handle, because the driver must constantly fight to keep it headed in a straight line. A car that has struck a pothole has a significant chance of wheel or steering system misalignment. Have a mechanic examine the car immediately and repair any problems, to prevent bigger problems down the road.

Service Plus Automotive is a family owned business since 1991. We are focused on providing the best possible customer service experience when servicing or repairing a customers vehicle. We strongly believe in customer education and regularly show the customer what needs repairing. We are very involved in various community activities and believe in giving back to the community who has supported us for almost 20 years. For more information, go to
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Art of Auto-Body Repair

Auto body repair is an art form. Restoring a vehicle to perfect working order after it has been in a collision, requires an expert mechanic with years of experience, as well as a slew of specialized tools.

Even minor exterior repairs, such as dent removal and paint refinishing, requires expert craftsmanship in order to color-match the vehicle's paint and perfectly smooth out all exterior damage.

With that being said, there are a number of extensive restoration skills that set a professional auto-body garage apart from an inept repair shop.

Damage Appraisal

Collision repair specialists have extensive experience in appraising the damage that occurs from an automobile accident. This is especially important when it comes to severe accidents, as much of the damage incurred can be hidden beneath the vehicle's exterior.

Simply restoring the vehicle's exterior is only half the battle: damage to the chassis, suspension, and other mechanical components must also be properly diagnosed in order to ensure that the vehicle is safe and reliable once it is back on the road.

Trained mechanics at an expert auto-body repair shop have the skills and experience to extensively diagnose any underlying damage caused by an accident.

By reviewing the circumstances of an accident and utilizing advanced diagnostic tools, collision repair specialists are able to diagnose and repair all of the damage incurred from the accident.

Seemingly minor undiagnosed problems, such as small stress fractures and bends in the chassis, can cause unsafe vehicle handling characteristics which can lead to expensive future repairs and/or additional accidents when the vehicle is in operation.

It is therefore imperative that all damage is properly diagnosed and repaired before the vehicle is released from the shop in order to ensure the safety of the driver and passengers.

Frame and Chassis Realignment

A vehicle's chassis is essentially its skeleton, on which the engine, suspension, and all other mechanical components are mounted. A perfectly aligned chassis is therefore necessary to ensure that the vehicle is safe and reliable, especially when driving at high speeds.

Even a slight misalignment can cause jerky steering behavior or unpredictable handling characteristics which can result in a future accident.

When performing collision repair services, an auto-body repair shop will strip all components from the vehicle chassis in order to check for damage.

By using advanced tools such as laser alignment systems, mechanics can determine if any portions of the frame were bent during the accident. Bent portions of the chassis are then straightened out and realigned to ensure the vehicle handles safely when it is reassembled.

If sections of the chassis are damaged beyond repair, mechanics can cut out the damaged portions and weld in new frame sections to maintain the structural integrity of the vehicle.

Exterior Panel Alignment

A vehicle's exterior consists of numerous separate panels. For example, the front build of a vehicle generally includes a polycarbonate bumper, a metal hood, and metal fenders over each wheel.

When one or more sections are damaged and require replacement, the panels must be carefully aligned to maintain the smooth, uniform appearance of the vehicle's exterior. A misaligned hood, bumper, or fender, creates unsightly gaps that ruin the aesthetic appearance of the vehicle.

Collision repair specialists have extensive expertise when it comes to refitting and properly aligning exterior panels. Through the use of specialized tools such as tram gauges, slip jacks, and precision gap wedges, new exterior panels can be properly installed onto the vehicle while maintaining a flush, symmetrical appearance.

Dent Removal and Paint Color-Matching

Minor accidents don't always necessitate the replacement of exterior panels. Cosmetic mechanics will sometimes use specialized tools such as dent pullers and slide hammers to restore a flush surface on exterior panels.

However, more severe dents and scrapes may require that the panel be repaired and repainted. Generally the area is sanded down as smoothly as possible, and a type of body-filler such as Bondo is applied to the affected area. The area is then sanded down once again in order to achieve a perfectly smooth surface which can then be painted.

One of the most difficult aspects of restoring a damaged vehicle's exterior is color-matching the paint on new components. If the paint on new exterior components, is even slightly off-color, the overall aesthetic of the vehicle is thrown off.

Paint specialists can't rely entirely on the original manufacturer's color code, as body panels are likely to fade slightly in color over time.

Instead, specialists will slightly alter the paint color so that it matches the entire vehicle. Applying the paint while maintaining a like-new smooth surface is also an extremely difficult task: even a slight misapplication can lead to bubbles or an orange-peel consistency that makes the replaced components appear cheap and nonuniform.

Majestic Collision Repair is Guelph's auto body experts. If you've been in an accident, they'll lead you step-by-step through the entire process. They transact instantly with your insurance provider, and also provide you with valet shuttle service and rental car support. As a fantastic finishing touch, they also supply a free car detailing. If you've been in an accident, or just need some cosmetic work done, find out more information at
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cars to Cure a Midlife Crisis | Consumer Reports

Getting older isn't easy but here are some hot cars that can make you feel young again. Each one has enough engaging dynamics and sharp looks to get your mind off your midlife crisis.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Benefits of Proper Wheel Alignment

A lot of people do not realize how important proper wheel alignment is for their cars. They tend to think that there is nothing much that will happen to their tires other than an occasional puncture. The truth is it is vital that you get your wheels aligned as often as you get your car serviced.

Wheel alignment is the process of ensuring the wheels of your car are perpendicular to the road. It also ensures that the wheels are parallel to each other, always at constant pressure, and there is no friction that will arise. In short, it is the process of making sure that your driving experience will be smooth and comfortable.

Wheel alignment helps to save fuel. When the wheels of your car are not aligned, there will be an uneven pressure on the tires; thus, causes them to push against each other. With this, your car will face uneven friction, and there is greater resistance from the road surface. When this happens, your car needs to work harder to move forward, causing more fuel to be burned. However, by having your wheels aligned, there is less resistance from the road surface, which also equates to a big saving in your gas bill.

Saving you money
The significance of proper wheel alignment cannot be more emphasized when we calculate the cost of new tires compared to the cost of wheel alignment.

Greater resistance to the road surface means that there will be more pressure on the rubber of your tires, which would eventually lead to very quick wear and tear on them. When this happens, the tire will get bald on one side, causing your tires to be uneven. With uneven tires, you are not just going to deal with the danger in driving, but also the need to spend money on new tires easily.

A lot of people have the notion that everything is covered in the warranty of the tire manufacturer. However, you must bear in mind that warranties only cover manufacturing defect, not defects caused by poor maintenance.

Provides safety
If you have experienced your car pulling itself to one side all the time, then it is surely caused by faulty wheel alignment. While it is hard to drive on a wet road even with properly aligned wheels, it would be worse to drive on the same road with poorly aligned wheels. Plus, you are putting your life at risk, too. Rather than thinking on how much you will spend on alignment, you must consider the safety that this service guarantees you and those who will be riding with you.

The Perfect Time
When your steering wheel is positioned to be going straight yet your car drives either left or right you know it is time for a while alignment. Another indicator that you need to have your wheels aligned is when one side of your tires is worn out more than the other. It is usually advised to have wheel alignment once every 6000 miles or 6 months, or whichever is earlier. Not only that, you must also get your wheels aligned in case you have hit something while driving.

There is no doubt that this can bring a great effect on the quality of your ride, the efficiency of your handling, the precision of your steering and might lead to "pulling", which causes your vehicle veer to one side while attempting to drive straight. All of these things can become dangerous as time goes by. So, you must ensure that your car is maintained well, and it is in good condition, which is for your own safety.

Tru-Line in Seattle has been trusted since 1962 for all vehicle care services such as suspension, steering and alignment, brake services, wheel/tire mounting and balancing and much more.
Learn more about what Tru-Line can do for you and your car.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Selecting the Right Auto Body Dent Repair Specialist

Modern vehicles manufacturers use innovative materials on the skin of you car. These materials are as thin and as light as possible while still retaining aesthetics and safety. However, no matter what material is used, dents and dings still happen all too often. Finding the right technician is the key to getting the job done correctly at a fair price.

Choosing a Dent Repair Specialist in 4 Easy Steps
  1. Type of Repair. The first step is to determine if the dent can be fixed by paintless dent repair specialist or if it needs to be repaired by a traditional body shop. If the paint is not chipped, it can often be repaired using this method. Paint less dent repair is a more affordable method to fix dents; this process does not involve extensive repair work or painting. Even if it requires more extensive repairs, using the services of a dent repair specialist is advised.

  2. Certified and Trained. Most repair specialists have had extensive training, but there are some who lurk in the shadows and offer great prices for dent repair. Some traditional auto body shops, even though trained in auto body repair, may be lacking knowledge of some of the more innovative and current techniques for fixing car dents. Select a technician who specializes in dent repair and who can display evidence of recent training and certification and you can be sure that the job will be done correctly.

  3. Ensuring Quality Work. When deciding on a specialist, it is important to shop around. It is also wise to do your homework and find out more about a repair shop's reputation and quality of work. Ask to see photos of previous work, look online for reviews and testimonials, and ask around among your friends, co-workers, or neighbors. The more positive reviews the better; ask about reasonable pricing, any additional costs above quoted price, any delays, the quality of the work, and the personality of the technicians.

  4. Guaranteed Results. The specialist should offer guarantees that the work will be done. You should receive an accurate time frame for completion of the work, you should know that they can actually repair the dent, and there should be a guarantee on the quality of the work completed.
Selecting the right specialist is an important decision. You want to make sure you pay a fair price and receive quality and guaranteed results. Doing a little homework will go a long way toward finding the right specialist for your car.

Jennifer Greenfield is a writer in the auto repair business. For more information on paintless dent removal Natick Ma, visit Final Finish at
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Ratings for Front Crash Prevention Systems - IIHS News

ARLINGTON, Va. — Less than a year into a new IIHS ratings program for front crash prevention, auto manufacturers are making strides in adopting the most beneficial systems with automatic braking capabilities and are offering the features on a wider variety of models. Twenty-one of 24 cars and SUVs, all 2014 models unless noted, earn an advanced or higher rating in the latest round of IIHS evaluations.