preserve your car

How to preserve your car

On average, as soon as a car is driven off the lot, it loses around 20% of its value. Depreciation happens and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it, but there are measures to take to slow it down!

Regular Maintenance
Consistent oil changes can ensure your car’s engine will last for a very long time. Regular maintenance also includes changing brakes and tires, either of which left unattended can cause significant wear on suspension and your steering system.
If Something Breaks, Fix It!
Fix the small stuff so that it doesn’t turn into something more significant, costing you much more money down the road. Stroebel Automotive makes a trip to the shop simple and relatively pain-free!

Keep Your Service Records
You want to know a car’s history when buying a used vehicle, and the service records are the best way to know exactly what has happened to the car internally!

Keep Your Car Clean
Outside appearance makes a difference in resale value, as does keeping up with the interior. A well-maintained interior shows that the car has not been abused in some irreversible ways.

Keep the Car to Factory Specs
Modifying the vehicle can deter someone from purchasing your vehicle. To improve your chances of selling the vehicle quickly at a good price, you should keep it as close to factory specs as possible. More buys are inclined to purchase a car that has been kept original.

Don’t Push the Vehicle to Its Limits
Turning too fast, too abrupt, braking too late, etc. are all things that can weaken the vehicle and chip away at its life. If you want the car to last, don’t put it past its limits and use the car the way it was intended.

Keeping resale value intact is hard work, but if you take care of your vehicle then you’ll have a car that’s in great shape when you’re ready to sell.

car accident | auto body shop michigan

Are Bigger or Smaller Cars Safer?

Many people would consider bigger car to be significantly safer than small cars, however technology has shrunk the gap between the sizes to focus on overall safety of newer cars.

Newer Cars are Safest – Regardless of Size

Modern vehicles have more safety features that minimize injury and risk of death. You can certainly add many features (for a price), but some of the standard safety features include:

  • Side, rear, side-curtain, and front airbags
  • Electronic stability control, which stabilizes your car if it spins out of control
  • Back up sensors and back up camera
  • Blind spot warning using a camera or sensor

Weight and Size

Bigger cars are heavier and can absorb the force of an impact better than a smaller car. Larger hoods in bigger vehicles have the advantage in head on collisions because they have a more significant crumple zone.

Momentum

As the weight of the car increases, momentum does as well, meaning it takes more time for the vehicle to slow down. Smaller cars have a higher risk when involved with a collision with a larger car. In a collision with a smaller vehicle, the energy of the bigger car will be transferred to the smaller car, causing it more damage.

Height

Larger vehicles may be more at risk for rollover accidents as they have a higher center of gravity. Cars lower to the ground have a higher risk of sliding underneath another vehicle, i.e. a small car and a semi-truck.

What is the Safest Type of Vehicle?

Generally, this varies from family to family.

  • Are you looking to keep small children safe? Looking for a car for a new driver?
  • Can you afford to spend a lot in gas or are you looking for something a little more environmentally friendly.

A little research can provide you with information on

  • Vehicle ratings and crash tests
  • Included safety features and available add-ons
  • Electronic stability control
  • Recalls that may compromise the safety of the vehicle

 

If you’ve been in a collision and are in need of repairs, please contact one of the members of Your Hometown Bodyshop today.

Free Estimates Auto Body Repair

Car Value Depreciation After An Accident

The value of a car depreciates after an auto accident, but how do insurance companies determine that value? The total depends on the type of car and the accident history of that car. The car’s value can decrease by its diminished value, which is calculated by the insurance company when they send an agent to come and assess the damage.

Diminished Value and the 17c Formula

Diminished value is the monetary difference between what the car was worth before the accident happened and what it is worth after the accident happened. Insurance companies determine the diminished value of a car by using what is called the 17c Formula.

The Formula originated in 2001 in Georgia following a lawsuit that obligated State Farm to pay out more than 25,000 insurance claims. In order to do this efficiently, the 17c Formula was created as a simple way to standardize the calculations across all of the claims. The Formula worked, and now close to all insurance companies use it as the way to determine the value of cars after a wreck.

Is The Formula Accurate?

Some see the Formula as inefficient given that it calculates the loss of value equally among all types of makes and models, meaning a crashed Ferrari is appraised the same way as a crashed Ford Focus. Insurance companies ultimately give less than what they really should with diminished value checks. Often, the total should be in the thousands but motorists receive checks for hundreds. There are several online resources that provide the formula for consumers to calculate their vehicle’s value.

Is There Another Way To Evaluate My Car After An Accident?

Insurance companies may come to you with an extremely low offer, but you can refuse it and hire a private appraiser to come and look at the wrecked car. Once you have that appraisal, you can go back  to the insurance company and counter their original offer.

It’s important to understand your insurance policy and rights before agreeing to the price your insurance company gives you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

Driving Safe in the Summer | Your Hometown Body Shop

Staying Safe in the Summer

Warm weather not only invites more people outside, but it invites more people to share the road. Here are some reminders to keep you, your family, and your vehicle safe during these next few months.

WATCH FOR PEDESTRIANS

When it’s warm, there are all kinds of people using the roads: bikers, motorcyclers, walking pedestrians, and more. It’s very important to be mindful of your surroundings, for these individuals are incredibly vulnerable. Unlike you, they do not have the protection of a vehicle. Accidents could quickly escalate to a much worse outcome if you aren’t careful.

Remember:

  • People can from any direction, at any time. Be mindful of your blind spots and react quickly.
  • Be especially careful when driving in neighborhoods or around schools, where children are more likely to be playing in the streets.
  • Don’t expect pedestrians to stop for you. They may be distracted, may be hearing- or sight-impaired, and may not see you coming at all. Always pay mind to them, and allow them to pass.

DON’T LEAVE CHILDREN IN THE CAR

Heatstroke can happen so easily, and often it occurs out of ignorance. Never leave your children and/or pets in a car. It does not matter if the window has been cracked open, and it does not matter if it is only for a few minutes. The impact is harmful regardless.

Vehicles heat up incredibly fast, and deadly levels are quickly easily reached within the few minutes that you are gone. On top of that, the body temperature of children rises faster than that of adults— three to five times faster, to be exact. Keep your kids safe by either taking them with you, or leaving the car running for them.

DON’T FORCE YOURSELF TO KEEP DRIVING

Road trips, or long trips in itself, are tedious. If you feel yourself getting drowsy, forcing yourself to continue driving is the wrong way to go. Other lives are at stake at that point, including your own.

Take breaks at a rest stop to stretch, get some food, and go to the bathroom. Switch drivers. Stop somewhere overnight and sleep for a while, and then go back and hit the road. Driving is not a race. It is all about being safe as you go from place to place.

If you have any questions about car safety or where to bring your car after an accident, come by and talk to one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

The Dangers of Summer Driving

Summer is a time for beach days and road trips.  It is also, unfortunately, home to the most common months in which car accidents occur, for both teenagers and adults.  Here’s a look at the most common causes of summer car accidents and what you can do to help prevent them, as well as keep your family safe this summer.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), July and August hold more car crashes and vehicular-related deaths than any other months.  Some of the reasons behind this statistic and why summer driving is so dangerous is that there is an increase of travelers on the road, teen motorists, active road construction, impaired driving, and temperature, which can increase the risk of vehicle equipment failure.

The most common summer car accidents include construction zone accidents, loss of control from a tire blowout, and distracted driving accidents.  Construction means disrupted traffic flow, lane closures, and narrow roads equipped with concrete barriers, poor surfaces, and little to no shoulders.  It is vital to stay focused on the road ahead of you and leave plenty of room between your car and the car in front of you in these zones in order to prevent a rear-end collision.

Loss of control from tire blowout is another common summer car accident.  Old tires, tires with worn thread, and under inflated tires are highly more vulnerable to blowout under the summer heat.  The road temperatures reach a sweltering 140 degrees fahrenheit, and in addition to heat from flexing rubber of under inflated tires can put stress on the tires and belts, and cause a blowout.  Be sure to keep your tires in good condition this summer to prevent an accident, as well as to keep you and fellow drivers out of harm’s way.

Distracted driving accidents are far more likely in the summer, especially with young adults and those of the Generation Z cohort on the roads.  These individuals are known to have a smartphone attached to them at all times, and are more likely to text, snapchat, and check social media while driving.  Many are also distracted by passengers, singing or moving to music, taking their eyes off the road, or reaching for something.  According to AAA, distraction plays a role in 60% of moderate to severe teen car crashes.  Make sure your teen is aware of the dangers of distracted driving before they get behind the wheel this summer.

Another thing to be conscious of this summer are the number of impaired drivers on the road.  From summer barbeques to holidays to graduation parties, many people do not drink responsibly, and get behind the wheel following these events while under the influence of alcohol.  Stay alert for sloppy driving, and be cautious if you find yourself on the road with a car that seems to be swerving or driving recklessly.

This summer, be sure to stay alert while on the roads, either avoid or drive slowly through construction sites, never drive while impaired, and make sure any and all vehicle maintenance is up to date.  If you follow these guidelines, you can help make the roads safer this summer, and prevent any accidents or harm to others while driving.

ASE Certified Shops

The members of Your Hometown Body Shop are proud to be ASE Certified! There are several certifications and organizations in the automotive industry, serving to raise auto care across the nation up to a higher standard. ASE, or the National Institute for Automotive Excellence, is one of them. ASE has been up and running since 1972 as an independent, non-profit organization that certifies individual technicians and service advisors, not the auto shop as a whole. They grant certification based on tests, skill level, and the ethics and community involvement of each worker on a case by case basis.

This system is very helpful across the board. For the technicians, it’s a way for them to show evidence of their skill and professionalism to potential employers. For shop managers, it can help them promote their shop based on the fact that they have ASE Certified technicians, and it helps them get a sense of the skill and experience level for their potential employees based on a nationally appreciated scale. For consumers, it means all they have to look for is the blue and white ASE seal to know that they have found a great place for automotive repair and service.

So how do you become ASE Certified? First, an aspiring mechanic must have a two-year degree and a year of experience, or two years of on the job training, to be eligible to take the test. Only two out of three test takers pass on their first try. In addition, to stay certified technicians must retest every five years. There are over 40 different exams for specialties like school buses, collision repair, truck accessories, and more, and the tests are designed by a panel of experts. That’s why ASE Certification is a staple of excellence in the automotive industry.

You can rest assured knowing your vehicle is in good hands when you take it to one of the members of Your Hometown Bodyshop!

car accident | auto body shop michigan

Hit a Parked Car? Here is What You Need to Do.

While it is a situation no one ever hopes to encounter, if you’ve hit a parked car, taking responsibility for the accident is the right thing to do for both parties involved. And by law you are required to report the accident to the owner of the other vehicle whether it be in person or through leaving a note on their car.

The laws can vary from state to state, however below are the basic steps for what to do after you accidentally hit a parked car.

Don’t leave the scene.

Although tempting, especially when the damage is minor or unnoticeable, driving away and hoping nobody saw you can lead to more serious repercussions if you are caught. In every state, it is against the law to leave the scene when you accidentally hit a parked car and can be considered a hit and run in some cases. No matter how strong the urge to make a quick getaway, don’t do it! From a moral, legal, and financial standpoint, it pays to stick around and do the right thing.

Try to find the owner.

The law doesn’t expect you to wait around all day for the owner of the other vehicle to appear. You are, however, required to make a reasonable attempt to find that owner before leaving. For example, if someone saw the accident, ask if they know who the car belongs to. If the car is parked right in front of a store, go inside and ask if anyone knows who the owner of the car is. Otherwise, wait around 10 or 15 minutes to see if the owner appears. If not, you can legally drive away after leaving your name and contact information.

Leave a note.

If you can’t find the owner of the parked car you hit, the next step is to leave a note for them. Most states require the note to include your name, address, contact number, and a brief explanation of the accident. You may also want to include the name and contact information of your insurance carrier. If you were driving someone else’s car, include the name and address of the car’s owner as well.

Describe the accident in a general way, as any information in the note can be used against you when the insurance companies are settling the claim. Make sure the note is tucked securely under the windshield wiper before driving away.

Document the damage.

Use a camera or your cell phone to take photos or video of the other car’s license plate and the auto body damage to both cars. If you don’t have your phone with you, describe the damage in the note you leave behind, and write it down for your insurance company as well.

Call your insurance company.

Once you have taken all the steps to document the accident and notify the other vehicle’s owner, call your insurance company – the sooner the better. This will enable them to initiate the claims process so both vehicles can be repaired in a timely manner. Be prepared to provide all the details, such as location, time of day, and what you were doing when you struck the other vehicle.

If you have any questions, please call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop!

Automotive PaintAutomotive Paint Color Matching | Your Hometown Body Shop

What Affects Automotive Paint Color Matching?

There are a few factors that make matching color a difficult task. First let’s take a look at what makes up the paint. The basic ingredients in automotive paint are resin, pigment, and solvent. Resin holds together the pigment, provides adhesion to the surface applied, and determines the quality and paint durability. Pigment comes in powder form, and the aftermarket auto paint mixing system includes roughly 100 colors or toners to mix formulas, including pearl and metallic paint colors. Solvent provides transferability; without it the paint would be too thick.

When the auto paint manufacturer mixes these three elements to create a formula for the standard color, they are allowed a tolerance of plus or minus 5% when the paint is delivered. This percentage can make a big difference and actually cause two of the same vehicles to look completely different in color.

Temperature when painting, paint film thickness, time between coats, speed and type of paint spray gun, surface type, and humidity can all factor in differences in auto body paint color shade.

Sunlight is another factor to consider when color matching. A car exposed to sunlight for years will have begun to fade in color.

There are a lot of factors to consider when trying to match autobody paint color. The members of Your Hometown Body Shop are all well versed in the latest painting technology and techniques to get your vehicle looking brand new. If you need automotive painting services, call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop today!

Vehicle Infotainment System | Your Hometown Body Shop

Why Are Electronic Safety System Recalibrations So Important?

Many newer cars come with mandatory electronically-controlled safety systems like airbags, along with optional collision avoidance features like forward crash, lane departure and blind spot detection alerts. The combined objective of those high-tech systems is to avoid accidents, save lives or, at a minimum, reduce impact severity. But even with these innovations wrecks still occur that require auto body repairs. And when a car with any of these newer safety features is involved in even a minor fender bender every driver alert system’s sensor alignment and overall performance must be tested and recalibrated before the collision repairs are completed. The same holds true for the vehicle’s airbag system, whether it deployed or not.

Experienced technicians realize that failing to conduct a thorough recalibration on these ultra-sensitive electronic systems could jeopardize the safety of occupants later on. To ensure that doesn’t happen, there are several recalibration steps involved using special diagnostic equipment once your vehicle arrives at the shop. As a driver you also need to be educated on what should be done when your vehicle is undergoing repairs. With that in mind here are some important points about electronic recalibrations that could someday save your life, or that of another.

Electronic System Recalibrations Require These Steps

Electronic safety systems operate when a signal is sent from a sensor or camera to an onboard computer. Like most electrical systems in your car, the airbag deployment and collision avoidance ones have dash warning lights to alert you when communication is interrupted. But sometimes after an accident these lights don’t come on when they should. And even when a system is not disconnected during repairs that doesn’t necessarily mean it will perform optimally. Additionally, merely reading diagnostic test codes won’t always reveal that there’s a problem. As a result, your car’s sensitive electronic safety systems need to be tested and recalibrated using these 3 vital steps:

• Scanning the vehicle-specific codes for error messages through the OBD port
• Clearing those diagnostic codes
• Recalibrating or “resetting” the sensors according to the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure they are not misaligned or out of focus

A simple OBD port scan cannot determine if the system’s sensors, which typically use laser, radar or camera technology, are aimed correctly. Special diagnostic and calibration equipment is needed in most cases, and not all body shops have that. To assist in system recalibrations there exist outside specialty companies that will come to the shop, or sometimes the car is taken to a certified local dealership to get the reprogramming done. When recalibrating your electronic systems, trained technicians use online websites like I-CAR, ALLDATA or OEM to access the correct reprogramming specifications set forth by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Routine Collision Repairs Can Disrupt Electronic Signals

In addition to damage from the accident itself, there are several routinely-done collision repairs that can disrupt your vehicle’s sensitive onboard electronic systems including:

• Windshield replacements
• Disconnecting the battery wires and/or electrical rewiring
• Bumper repairs and replacements
• Grill assembly repairs and replacements
• Painting plastic bumpers and other body panels

Most safety sensors are covertly located on the front or rear of your car. If a bumper or grill assembly is not correctly reinstalled during repairs it can cause a sensor misalignment or even signal disruption interference. Any freshly-painted surfaces that cover sensors, for example a plastic bumper, must have a specified maximum paint thickness, measured in “mils”, over those sensors to ensure they work properly.

 

If you’ve been in an accident it’s important to have scans and recalibrations done – call the members of Your Hometown Body Shop to make sure your car is fixed properly the first time.

 

Information provided by Carwise 

car accident | auto body shop michigan

Rear End Collision Damage

Being involved in a rear-end collision is never fun. If your vehicle has been rear-ended, there are a few things you should check before getting back on the road.

Hidden Body Damage

In a rear-end collision, there is often damage behind the bumper cover that you may not be able to see just looking at the vehicle.  Most modern vehicles use plastic bumper covers that don’t provide a lot of protection between the frame of your vehicle and another, even if it’s a small car that caused the impact. In short, you can’t always rely on the visual appearance to be sure there’s no damage. Always check.

 Alignment Issues

If you notice changes in the way your car handles after a rear-end collision, your alignment is probably off. The most obvious symptom of an alignment issue is uneven driving or steering wobble where the wheel pulls to one side. You may also notice vibrations while driving. Improper alignment issues can cause serious safety hazards to your vehicle or others when driving. If you notice alignment issues, call a member of Your Hometown Body Shop immediately to get your vehicle looked at.

Rear Trunk Problems 

Your vehicle’s trunk should open and close smoothly. If it does not after a rear-end collision, that means that there could be some damage to rear cabin components. This won’t impact your driving, but could create a safety hazard if the trunk lid suddenly opens while you’re driving.

If your vehicle has been involved in a rear end accident, it’s a good idea to take it to a professional. The members of Your Hometown Body Shop can be reached for an inspection or damage estimate. Let us help you get safely back on the road.

1 2