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.

Road Salt | Your Hometown Body Shop

Protect Your Car from the Effects of Road Salt

There are several benefits from the widespread use of road salt, including accident avoidance. However road salt can also cause severe damage to vehicles. Salt is spread out prior to a snow or ice storm and motorists venture out accumulating a thick coating of road salt mixed with slush throughout their vehicle’s undercarriages and wheel well. When the slush melts, it is the salt that is left behind, causing a slow attack on metal and rubber parts.

Brakes are especially susceptible as the rotors always present a fresh metallic surface for the salt to attack. Salt causes rust on the brackets that encase the brake pads and the extra layer of rust puts a squeeze on the pads over time. This can prevent them from applying fully or releasing completely.

Maintain Your Car’s Longevity

Road salt is unavoidable, so it’s best to get your car to a car was at least once a month when the roads are salted. Look for a car wash with an undercarriage cleaning!

If your car is in good shape underneath, you might also consider having a professionally applied rust-proofing treatment that concentrates on the brake lines, fuel lines, and other vulnerable areas.

If you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle, give one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop a call!

Parking Lot Accidents | Your Hometown Body Shop

Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lots seem to be a place that you’d think you would be safe from being involved in an auto accident. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, as these types of accidents typically occur as other drivers are entering or exiting the parking space(s) next to your car.

Accidents can include minor damage, i.e. from car doors as drivers enter and exit their vehicle or runaway shopping carts, or major damage, i.e. a driver miscalculating the distance they have as they are pulling into a parking spot. What do you do if you return to your vehicle to find damage? This depends on whether the other party is present.

Party Is Present

Be sure to get their full contact information including name, address, phone numbers, and any other information you feel will be necessary as well as their insurance information. You will want to verify that their insurance information is current. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the surroundings. If there are witnesses, you will want to get their statements and contact information as well. Document everything and get copies of the police report.

Party Is Not Present

In the event that the other party is not present, there is a high likelihood that no contact information will be left. Some people may not see these types of accidents as serious, and if the damage is minor they will assume you can, “buff that right out.”  So, unless someone else witnessed the accident, they may simply drive off as if nothing happened.

Just because no one is around the immediate area, does not mean that no one witnessed the accident.  Take a look around to see if anyone is in the area that might have witnessed the accident. If so, get their statement and contact information. You should also check to see if there are any video cameras in the area that may have recorded the incident.  Call the police to report the accident and give them as much information as you can.  You will still want to document everything with pictures of the damage; as well as the surrounding areas just as you would if the other party was present.  Call your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible.

If you have enough insurance coverage, your car will be repaired even if the other party is never identified.  Call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop to schedule an appointment to have your car repaired.  We can get you back on the road again quickly and safely!

Safe Driving Resolutions | Your Hometown Body Shop

Safe Driving Resolutions

In the US each year, there are over six million auto accidents reported. Some are minor, while others are major and far too often, the collisions result in extensive vehicle damage and serious injuries. Most often the cause of these accidents is due to driver error and risk miscalculations. Take control and make a few adjustments to your driving habits to reduce your crash risk.

Maintain and Utilize Your Lights

Your lights are crucial to properly signal turns, stops, and emergency moves, which means it’s imperative that they are all working well.  Check to make sure your light systems work and make sure the light housings are clear of damage and debris.

If there is damage, including standing water, you’ll want to get them repaired as soon as possible. Once you verify your lights are working properly, resolve to always us them to indicate your intentions while driving. And don’t forget to turn on your headlights during inclement weather and just before dusk to keep your vehicle visible to other drivers (and pedestrians).

Redirect Your Attention to the Road Ahead

Distracted driving is dangerous and injures over 400,000 people each year. This number is likely to increase unless drivers resolve and commit to redirecting their attention to the road ahead. Texting is the most common form of distraction, however there are several other forms of distraction including: eating, talking with others, changing radio stations, applying makeup, setting up navigation, watching movies, and reading.

Improve your safety while driving by pulling over to complete these actions. Don’t forget to signal and merge back into traffic to continue on your way.

Adhere to Safe Following Distances

Do you know how far back you should be behind the car in front of you? The three second rule is a great thing to utilize to ensure you have enough time to stop if a hazard appears in front of the vehicles in your path.

To check your following distance, pick a stationary object ahead and start counting when the vehicle in front of you passes it by. If you pass that object before three seconds have passed, you will need to briefly slow down to adjust your following distance. In hazardous weather, heavy traffic or other potentially risky driving situations, increase your following distance even further.

Resist the Urge to Speed

Your risk of getting into collision doubles with each 5 MPH increase in speed. While you might feel that speeding gets you to your destination faster, the reality is that even a 20 MPH increase in speed does very little for your arrival time.

Resolve to follow posted speed limits to minimize the risk of sustaining fatal injuries for you , your passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians.

Merge Safely

The zipper merge technique is the most efficient and safest way to combine two lanes of traffic. Instead of stopping short to merge into the continuing lane early, simply stay in the lane until arrows appear. Then, turn on your blinker and slow down to match your speed with the vehicles in the adjacent lane before smoothly merging over. If you are already in the continuing lane, move your vehicle forward at a steady, predictable pace and leave enough room for one car to zip in at the merge point.

Stay Right Unless Passing

Traveling in the right lane allows you to lessen the risks associated with speed differences between two or more vehicles. Left lane drivers will be able to pass you without weaving around vehicles, which will also help prevent your involvement in a collision. This practice will also help you stay out of legal trouble, as it is illegal in many areas to remain in the left lane continuously.

Even if you follow all these resolutions, you may still find yourself involved in an auto accident at some point. If, and when, an accident occurs, call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop for the necessary repairs.

Cleaning Your Car | Your Hometown Body Shop

Caring for Your Interior

Want to keep your vehicle’s interior in tip-top shape but aren’t always sure of the right steps to take to do so? Your Hometown Body Shop has you covered!

Vacuuming

Vacuuming your car is the best thing you can do to keep is clean and looking beautiful. Remember to remove the floor mats and use different accessories on the vacuum to reach those hard to get places.

Upholstery Care

If there is dirt on your vehicle’s upholstery (spoiler, you bring dirt into your car every day), you’ll want to use a carpet and upholstery cleaner specific for automotive care. Leaving dirt on your upholstery can cause discoloration over time. If there are stains you cannot remove, you can call any of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

Cleaning your Dashboard

Your dashboard collects a lot of dust. To clean it, you should begin by vacuuming and follow that with a microfiber cloth. You should avoid household cleaning products that are harsh on your vehicle’s interior. Cleaning the steering wheel is important, but be sure not to use a greasy or slippery product as they may affect your grip.

Clean Windows = Better Visibility

Use glass cleaners that won’t leave behind any streaks, especially when used with a newspaper. Keep in mind that some glass cleaners are not designed to work on tinted windows and can actually cause damage.

Professional Help

If you need vehicle maintenance in Standish, Midland, or Richville Michigan, call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop. We are experts in the proper way to care for the interior of your vehicle.

New Paint Job | Your Hometown Body Shop

Post Car Repair Do’s & Don’ts

You’ve been in a car accident, but fortunately you brought your vehicle to one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop in Michigan for the repairs. The members of Your Hometown Body Shop care greatly about getting you back on the road quickly and safely, so they’ve made the necessary repairs using state-of-the-art technology and your car looks and drives like new again.

Following a collision repair, your car needs some time to recoup after you bring it home from one of our shops. Mechanically and structurally, you will have no problems, however if your car was repainted, you’ll want to pay attention to that. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts you should follow to protect your newly repaired vehicle.

Do:

  1. Wash Your Vehicle by Hand – the new paint and finish needs a chance to dry and harden, so you should take care washing it for at least three months after a new paint job. Remember to use cool, clean water, not hot with a soft cloth or sponge.
  2. Wash Your Vehicle in the Shade – you’ll want to take care not to let the surface of your car dry out or get too hot by keeping it wet and washing it in the shade.
  3. Dry Your Car Thoroughly – water droplets that dry on the surface can be unsightly as well as permanent water marks that will damage the finish
  4. Keep Your Vehicle in the Garage – extreme heat or cold can cause weather-related damage to a newly painted vehicle.
  5. Get Your Vehicle Professionally Detailed – at least twice a year, let the professionals detail your car. You’ll want to inform them that your car was recently painted so they can take the necessary precautions and care.

Don’t:

  1. Wax or Polish Your Vehicle – you should wait at least three months before waxing and polishing your car so as to not damage the finish or discolor the paint.
  2. Dry Wipe your Vehicle – as tempting as it may be to take a dry cloth and wipe off the dust, you should refrain! Doing this can scratch the new paint.
  3. Go Through a Car Wash – often times, drive-through car washes use stiff brushes that can definitely scratch and damage a newly painted car.
  4. Park Under Trees or Power Lines – tree sap and bird droppings will do serious damage to your new paint job.
  5. Scrape Off Ice or Snow – a hard, plastic scraper is a sure way to damage the paint job. Try instead to use your hand or a soft brush to remove excess snow.
  6. Use Dish or Clothing Detergent – these types of soaps leave harmful residues and are too strong for your vehicle’s finish.
  7. Drive or Dirt or Gravel Roads – if you can avoid it (living or driving in rural areas can make this difficult) as these roads can make your car and its new paint job susceptible to chipping.

 

By following these do’s and don’ts, your car will continue to look and drive like new for many miles down the road. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

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