Posts Tagged ‘automotive repair shop’
Posted at: Friday, June 21st, 2013 auto body and repair
, auto repairs
, automotive repair
, be prepared
, safe driving
| No Comments »
It’s a typical Friday; Lauren gets into her vehicle, pulls out of the driveway, and heads to work. After entering the freeway, Lauren notices brake lights up ahead, and proceeds cautiously. Unfortunately, the car behind her isn’t so cautious, and rear ends her. They pull off the freeway, away from traffic, and exchange information. After the exchange, Lauren calls her insurance company to file a claim, and let them know she wants to drop off at the shop of her choice. Her insurance files the claim, and Lauren heads over to the auto body shop. Everything is going smoothly until Lauren wants to get a rental car. Since she is going through her insurance company, and not the other party, she must have rental car coverage on her policy in order to get a rental. Much to her surprise, Lauren does not have rental coverage. Upset, Lauren asks her insurance company why rental is not included in her full coverage policy, but by then it is too late to make changes, and Lauren feels deceived.
The situation above describes why DMV states, “The phrase ‘full coverage auto insurance’ is a bit misleading.” Lauren, our fictitious patron, is under the impression that rental is covered with a full coverage policy, but what she didn’t realize is full coverage has different meanings for each insurance company. While some may be all inclusive, others may not include everything you need. So, it is important to ask questions when purchasing, reviewing, or adding on to your insurance policy. Knowing the jargon related to auto insurance can clear up confusion you may have about your policy. Here are a few definitions we thought may come in handy…
This covers any damage to your vehicle caused by anything other than a collision(flood, fire, theft, vandalism, etc.).
Includes repair coverage for your vehicle when it is involved in an accident, also includes coverage if your vehicle is totaled out.
Property Damage Liability
Covers damage to the other party’s vehicle.
Rental Car Coverage
This is the type of coverage Lauren needs in order to get a rental vehicle. Covers the costs of a rental vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired.
Bodily Injury Liability
Covers any injuries sustained by the other party
Any damage absorbed by your vehicle, or persons, by an uninsured motorist, will be covered if you have this on your policy.
Will absorb any additional costs related to the collision, if the other party’s insurance limits are exceeded.
Although there are many more terms worth going through, we won’t bombard you. Reviewing your insurance policy, prior to any claims being opened, is crucial. When an accident happens, it is too late to change anything on your policy, so unless Lauren’s auto repair facility offers free loaners – like Eur-Asia Motors – she may have to incur out of pocket expenses, or go without the vehicle. Being in the know can eliminate any potential headache or heartache, when it comes to auto repair insurance.
By: Stefanie Almendares
Posted at: Thursday, April 4th, 2013 advice
, auto repairs
, automotive repair
, be prepared
, brake repair
| 8 Comments »
Although Peter Griffin sought out comedy when he said, “You know what really grinds my gears?” mechanics don’t see anything funny about grinding gears, or brakes in this case. Your brakes protect you, and prevent accidents; so if your brakes aren’t working properly, you are endangering more than just yourself. Brake maintenance is arguably one of the most important factors in vehicle upkeep, so being aware of the condition your brakes are in is crucial for safe driving.
Above is a picture of a worn brake pad set and rotor. The rotor is entirely rusted, and some of the surface is gone towards the middle. Notice, the only shiny part left is on the outer layer of the rotor, the rest is dull. The pads are worn as well, the pad layer is down to the metal, meaning the brake pad metal is grinding against the metal on the rotor, thus the phrase, “your brakes are metal to metal.” This creates an audible grinding noise which you should attend to right away. However, driving with the radio blaring will muffle this warning sound. This particular set is very rusted and worn, before the parts were down to bare metal they were probably making a squealing/screeching sound. This is another warning sound that should alert you to bring your vehicle to the shop. Furthermore, most newer car’s dashboards will have a brake maintenance light go on, so it’s a good idea to make your owner’s manual your friend.
Not all cars, but some, have visible brake rotors and pads, while other vehicles require wheel removal for brake inspection. Some vehicles, like mine, have brake drums which cover up your brake pads, making it rather difficult to perform a visual inspection. If your rotors and pads are visible, be aware of the condition they are in and anticipate maintenance. Brake pads with a layer of 1/8″ or less require maintenance immediately. Notice the brand new brake pads above, they have a nice, thick layer of ceramic, unlike the bare metal pads in the picture above. That layer works as a gripping agent to your rotor, it stops the shiny disc from its seemingly endless spin cycle. The pad applies pressure and friction to the rotor to get your vehicle to come to a halt. For small parts, they sure have a big job! For this reason, your brake pads and rotors go together like chips and salsa, meaning if you have to change one, you will most likely have to change the other as well. If you can see your rotors, they should have a smooth, shiny surface. They will have lines on them, which is caused by normal brake wear, and driving. Notice the brand new rotor below, has a shiny and smooth surface, in contrast to the old rotor which is rusted and dull.
If you do not feel comfortable inspecting your own brakes, do not be ashamed! Knowing your limitations in automotive repairs is important, because you do not want valuable components, like your brakes, compromised. Remember if your car is making a noise, it is probably saying, “Take me in for a check-up, please.” Keeping up with required maintenance on your vehicle will allow it to last long, and run smooth!
Mr. Griffin, we hope this article didn’t grind your gears…
By: Stefanie Almendares
Every store from San Francisco to New York is decked out in red and pink hearts – and has been for some time now – but you’re still frantically searching for your car lover honey. Last year, they were pretty content with the cards and sweets, but this year, your goal is something useful. No need to fear, even with less than a day left, we got your back! These 10 great gift ideas are sure to be a turn-on for your sweetie.
We know they aren’t the type to get lost, but in case they do: nothing says, “I love you” more than I never want you to feel lost.
2. Jumper Cables
Jump start your way into their heart, by giving them the gift that keeps them going.
3. Digital Tire Inflator
Help your honey kiss flat tires goodbye, with this nifty little device. It fits in any trunk space, and can even be bought at Target!
4. Bluetooth Headset
Perfect for the guy/gal on the go, because getting in touch should be risk (and hands) free.
5. Car Rental
Does your honey dream about driving a luxury vehicle? Rent them one for a day, and make their dream come true.
6. Car Care Kit
A good looking vehicle is probably a must for your sweetie, so get them some great cleaning supplies. Automotive shops, like O’Reilly’s, will have a wonderful selection to choose from.
7. Tool Set
There’s nothing worse than having the wrong tool! We’re positive, your love will think of you fondly each time he/she uses their tool set.
8. Customized Floor Mats
Make their car as unique as them, by customizing their floor mats. Whether you place their favorite team or cartoon character there, it will bring a smile to their face each time they get in their vehicle.
9. O’Reilly’s Giftcard
If you’re not too sure about the items they would like best, a gift card is the perfect present for your significant other. This way they will receive exactly what they need most.
10. Service Certificate
For the car lover that has it all, a service may be just what they need. Any service will do, but we highly recommend any of these: oil change, brake repair/inspection, full detail, tune-up, etc…
The list can keep on going, but these are some of our favorites. Whichever gift you decide on giving, your honey will be very grateful you picked something with him/her in mind. Hope you all have a Valentine’s filled with love, laughs, and happiness. Happy VDay!
By: Stefanie Almendares
Supply and Demand: You guys asked for it, so we worked hard to come up with more ways to be prepared in case of an auto collision. (In case you need a refresher of the initial 5, click here)
6. Know Your Policy Limits
This can make the difference between a headache and heartache. More often than not, people get into a little fender bender and find out they don’t have rental coverage, their deductible is too high or worse, they have liability only! It’s a good idea to thoroughly go over your policy before it gets sticky. Once the accident happens, it is too late to adjust/change your limits. Paying a little extra each month can save you in the long run.
7. Carry Emergency Contact Information
Yes, just like school! Make an emergency card to keep in your wallet or glove compartment. If you are injured, people will know who to call and notify.
8. Make an Allergies/Medications Log
If you’re seriously injured and need medical attention, you don’t want to be injected with something you’re allergic to, like penicillin, or not have the proper medication administered. Write down any allergy, medication or illness you have, to avoid hindering your health. The paramedics won’t know unless they are told, so have your bases covered and keep this log with your health card.
9. Annual Eye Exams
Get your eyes checked! If you wear glasses, like me, this comes as second nature every year, but for our 20/20 friends, it’s just as important! Great eyesight is necessary for safe driving, so if your seeing blurry, it may be time to see a doctor.
10. Share the Road
Don’t be a road hog; share the road with other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. They have the right to get to where they are going too! Although some streets are pretty narrow in San Francisco, staying in your lane and obeying traffic laws and regulations will likely prevent an accident.
As with all things, being prepared alleviates the stress and headache of the actual event. An accident will still be unnerving, but it doesn’t insue a panic attack if you are prepared.
By: Stefanie Almendares
Your alarm goes off and you put it on snooze. You went back to bed to nap some more. And then you wake up with a start, as you realize that you are almost late for work. You figure that if you move fast enough you might just make it there on time. On your way to work, you got into a collision car accident. After a day or two (or maybe more), an insurance appraiser shows up and appraised the damages to your vehicle. You ask yourself, “should I get my car repaired or should I just keep the money?”.
Nowadays, a lot of people keep the money instead of having their vehicle repaired by an auto collision repair shop. What most people don’t realize is that the initial estimate the appraiser prepares does not include any hidden damages caused by the accident. An appraiser cannot write something that is not visible to his/her eyes. That initial estimate is then submitted to the insurance adjuster. Once approved, the insurance will pay based on the initial estimate. The insurance will only pay any supplemental amount for any additional hidden damages found that is related to the accident while the vehicle is being repaired in a repair facility. A lot of people decide to keep the money instead of getting their vehicle repaired. The insurance company sends them a waiver form to sign with the release of liabilities and agreement that the customer have chosen to cash-out instead of repairing their vehicle. This means closing the claim. And once the claim is closed it is a done deal.
(picture of a damaged rear bumper reinforcement not visible without removing the rear bumper cover)
(picture of a damaged front end of a vehicle showing hidden frame and electrical damage not visible without proper teardown of other damaged components)
Most auto collision accident have hidden damages that will not be visible to the appraiser during the time of the initial estimate. And the only way to find out is by bringing your vehicle to an expert collision repair facility for further evaluation. This means to teardown some of the damaged component parts of the vehicle to inspect for further damages. The repair shop can only perform this if the owner of the vehicle so authorized it and that the insurance appraiser have already taken pictures and wrote an estimate for the initial damages.
Nobody wants to get involve in a collision accident. Sometimes, things like this happen when we least expect it. If you ever get involve in a collision accident, keeping the money may not be your best choice. Think about what will happen in the long run. Getting your vehicle repaired soon after an accident will save you time, money, and your vehicle’s lifetime.
Please Note: This article is a follow up to Accident Aftermath: What Happens Now? If you haven’t done so already, I recommend reading the first part.
The accident is over with, but the claim and repair process is just beginning. These two processes can be time consuming and tedious, so remember to keep calm, cool and collected.
Sorting through the claim. After filing the claim with your insurance, they will provide you with a claim number. Keep that number in a secure place, as it will be useful to the auto repair facility, rental company and you. While on the phone with your adjuster, ask any question you want or need answered.
Get an estimate. There are two options, one: take your vehicle to a repair facility of your choice. Two, let your insurance inspect the vehicle. If you choose to let your insurance inspect, they may send an adjuster out to you or have you bring your vehicle to one of their shops. Although this shop comes recommended, you are not obligated to take or leave your car there.
Get approval. Once there is an estimate for repair, it is turned into the insurance company for approval. The insurance may approve, deny, or declare the vehicle a total loss. But until that approval is obtained, the repair facility cannot touch your vehicle.
Getting a rental. If your insurance policy covers a rental, you may get into one once your coverage has been confirmed. Most insurance companies will set up a reservation for you, while others wait for you to do so when ready. No rental coverage? Ask the collision center if they have any loaner vehicles or discounted rental rates.
Begin repairs. When the estimate has been approved, and the repairs authorized by you, the repair facility may begin making repairs to the vehicle. They will let you know approximately how much time you can expect your vehicle to spend in the shop.
Paying for repairs. If your insurance company is paying for the repairs, they will send payment, in form of a check, to either the auto body shop or you. If they send the payment to you, you become responsible for this check. You have two options, you can bring the check into the shop and sign it over to them, or cover the cost on your own accord.
Picking up your vehicle. When the vehicle is ready, you will be contacted by the collision center with a time for pick-up. When you come to retrieve your vehicle, they will go over repairs and any questions you have. If you are unhappy with the work performed, tell the shop, they should try and correct the issue, or at least explain why they cannot. If you are happy, thank them and let them know before you zoom off in your car!
File your paperwork. The auto body shop will provide you with a copy of the repair bill, receipt of payment and warranty (if applicable). Put this paperwork with the rest of your vehicle’s paperwork, it is important to keep a record of maintenance and repair to your vehicle.
Now that your vehicle is back in your hands, you can breathe easy. Hopefully you won’t ever need collision repairs again, but if you do at least you have a shop to contact, and you know what to expect.
By: Stefanie Almendares
This post is a little different, but we wanted to place our student special somewhere everyone could gain access to it. We won’t be doing this often, but from time to time we have a really great offer that we don’t want you missing out on! It will never come in place of a blog, so no need to fear, you won’t be denied a good read. Be sure to check back Monday for a new post…
Thanks for reading and happy hump day!
Ever walk into a place and think, “Why did I come here?” If you have, that’s not the reaction you want when leaving your vehicle at an automotive repair facility. Best way to avoid this? Pick a collision center before you need one. I know, “I don’t know what to look for!” That’s okay! Here’s a few pointers:
Your friends, family, peers, co-workers, whoever! Chances are someone you know has needed automotive/collision repairs in the past. You trust them, so why not ask?!
Yes, Google it! Check the auto repair shop’s website, social media, even review sites! Browse their services, find out how long they’ve been in business, view photos of their auto repair facility, and work. Do they blog? Read an article (if you have time), see if it’s something that’s interesting and informative. Let’s face it, as much as you’d like to see these places: you’re a busy bee!
Pick out the shops that “wow” you, and give them a call. If their customer service is great it will resonate through the phone. Ask questions like, “Are estimates free?” “Do you need an appointment?” “How do I get to your facility?” This call is for screening, so if they impress you, ask for a tour.
If they are unwilling to give you a tour, it might be time to consider a different auto body shop. What’s the big secret, anyway? Most shops will gladly show off their operation! As an added bonus, you get to meet the staff and see how a collision repair center operates day to day. Look for I-CAR and ASE signs, see if they work with/for your auto insurance company, ask about warranty, discounts or customer rewards.
Nothing big, just a small one. If a small job goes smoothly, so will a major one. Hopefully you won’t ever need them, but if you do end up kissing that silver SUV during rush hour (you know the one that always slams on its brakes), at least you know who to call in your time of need.
After all, preparation is half the battle!
By: Stefanie Almendares
It’s Monday morning, bummed the weekend is long gone, you notice someone’s car practically kissing yours and think, “Wonderful, a tailgater!”
It comes as no surprise that tailgating is the reason behind most rear end collisions. So, how do we avoid falling victim to one?
Here’s a few tips:
Letting your emotions take over on the road is just as risky for you as it is for other drivers, so don’t get upset! Take in a deep breath of air, and know you have some options. Keep your cool, don’t make gestures or shout to this driver. Just take a deep breath, and…
Don’t slam on your brakes! Your tailgater won’t have enough space to brake without avoiding collision if you do, remember “At 55 mph, it takes about 400 feet to react and bring the vehicle to a complete stop.” But if you slow down, they will notice your vehicle moving progressively slower and react to it. In most cases they will get frustrated and pass you in the next lane, but if they don’t…
To avoid further agitation and road rage, indicate you will be switching lanes with your blinker and do so safely. The tailgater will pass, and you can continue on your way. If you are on a one lane road, you can attempt to pull over to the shoulder if safe. If that is not possible…
They will do everything to get your attention, and get you to move out of their way. Don’t make eye contact. Avoid letting their gestures, yelling, and honking get to you. Scan the road, and use defensive driver techniques to keep you, and other drivers, out of harm’s way.
At the end of the day, no matter how frustrated your tailgater is: it’s not your fault they are late.
By: Stefanie Almendares
No one likes accidents! In fact, they are a huge inconvenience, but, if handled well, the whole process can be less stressful.
Things to consider:
- Remain calm. Yes, it is frustrating! However, getting upset doesn’t help you. No matter who’s at fault, auto collisions can be nerve-racking.
- Is anyone hurt? Get immediate medical attention if someone is hurt, and be sure to document the name/contact information of the injured party for your auto insurance company.
- Are you out of harm’s way? Pull over if you’re blocking traffic, and put your hazard lights on to alert oncoming traffic that you’re stalled. If your vehicle won’t move, call for a tow (Eur-Asia offers 24/7 tow service).
- Do you have contact information? Give the other party your insurance, vehicle, driver’s license, and contact information in exchange for theirs.
- Take relevant pictures. Remember your car insurance company will also takes pictures, so try getting things they won’t see: the scene (streets), other vehicle damage, license plates, etc..
- Don’t place blame. Leave it to the insurance companies, document the information and take pictures instead of accusing each other.
- File a police report. If you easily obtained information and there were no injuries, leave the police out. However, if someone won’t cooperate, or you’re involved in a hit and run, file a report with the local police station.
- Open an auto insurance claim. Call your insurance after the collision, while the specific details are fresh. With an open claim, you can begin the collision repair process.
There is never a good time for an accident, but there are great ways to handle them. Remain calm, and know that accidents happen. Although they may be unexpected, your reaction doesn’t have to be.
By: Stefanie Almendares