download (24)You’ve been in an accident. You’ve traded insurance information with the other person and got everything sorted out except for who’s going to do your repairs. It might seem like your best option is to pick the cheapest auto body repair shop you can find. That isn’t actually a great idea if you only want the work done once. You might save money at first by going with a cheap collision shop; however, when you have to take it to a different shop to fix those cheap repairs, you’ll end up losing money. It’s best to get it right the first time. Here are some things to look for.

1. Car

Formally known as the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, I-Car is a nonprofit organization that trains specialists in different techniques. I-Car programs are not the only way to learn these techniques, but they are a great way to ensure that the person you’re hiring knows what he or she is doing. If you’re looking for a new technician, go with one who is I-Car-certified.

2. Water-Based Paint

Depending on your jurisdiction, water-based paint might be mandated by governmental regulations. Traditional car paint was made with volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are chemicals that evaporate quickly into the atmosphere. Recent research has indicated that VOCs are detrimental to the atmosphere. Many auto body repair shops have moved to water-based paints that are much friendlier to the environment to remedy this. As an added bonus, they also provide better coverage than the older kinds of paint.

3. Free Pickup and Delivery

You’ve already been in an accident, and you’re about to pay for a mechanic. You shouldn’t have to drive your car to and from the shop as well. If you’re busy or if you just don’t feel like driving to the shop, certain shops will offer you pickup and delivery for free.

4. Lifetime Warranty

You only want to pay for your repairs once. You want them done and done right the first time. However, there are certain situations that might require multiple attempts at a solution. Certain complicated jobs might require a little bit of trial and error. That’s a natural part of the process, and the best shops acknowledge that. That’s why you should pick an auto body repair shop that offers a lifetime warranty on its work. Don’t pay for the same work over and over.

5. Direct Communication With Insurance Companies

Dealing with your insurance company is stressful and difficult, especially after you’ve been in an accident. If you can find one, some of the best auto body repair professionals will deal directly with your insurance company.

These features can be the difference between a massive headache and quick, efficient service. If you know what you’re looking for, you can get your car back to its pre-accident state with few hassles.

images (8)While no one every wishes for accidents to occur, they are inevitable really – a bad bit of luck, a moment of carelessness or any other number of unforeseen factors can and do lead to road accidents. And while most involve a dented fender or some other part, some can be serious enough to warrant a towing of the vehicle. And if such a case arises then proper towing as well as recovery safety are pivotal; besides law enforcement and ambulatory services, towing companies are part of the first response teams and upon arrival are expected to secure the area in addition to providing vehicle and passenger safety. This article will discuss some of the safety protocol which should be followed by the towing personnel.

The Proper Gear

Safety is the foremost concern in any matter of emergency, and the first step is the proper gear. The tow truck operator (and any accompanying personnel) should arrive in the proper gear which is recommended for such situations. They should be clearly visible to other drivers whilst they work to tow the vehicle away, Federal Law (in most cases) requires them to wear clothing which has high visibility. All roadway and emergency workers are required by the Federal Highway Administration to wear a fluorescent safety vest (either green, yellow or orange) that meets a set of proper standards of the American National Standards Institute. It is also advisable that – besides the vest – they also wear a reflective helmet.

Arriving on Scene

Depending on the accident in question, the situation could be dire; especially if said accident occurred on a busy interstate highway so it is essential that the proper measures are taken to ensure further harm does not come to the rest of the traffic.

The operator should announce his arrival through the emergency lights, and he will need to monitor the area around the accident for signs of other traffic. For obvious reasons, oncoming traffic on the road needs to be cautioned about the incident which has taken place and this can quickly be done through the deployment of flares, cones, barricades, flashing lights and warning signs – a reasonable stretch of road should be cut off and traffic diverted for the time being.

As part of the team cordons, the remaining members must quickly do a check of the area especially for any sort of fluid which might be spilling onto the road, or the soil near the road. Other details such as the overall damage to the immediate environment must be assessed and reported to the proper authority. If there is a fire then a safe distance must be established around the source to protect workers as well as onlookers.

The Loading

Proper procedures must be followed as the operator loads the car in the truck, attachment to the vehicle must be done at an appropriate point to ensure it doesn’t present any sort of issues during the towing. And the fastening should also be double checked.

 

download (23)In this technological age, cars are advanced and have a lot of modern parts that involve electronics as well as the standard parts. While considering all the advantages of a new or used car purchase, you should at some point think about the long-term maintenance costs that will arise if you choose to keep the vehicle.

According to a variety of auto manufacturers, ranging from Chevrolet to Mercedes-Benz, there are some auto repairs that are more likely than others. Some of these auto repairs are costly, so it is better to slowly save for these eventual repair instead of being caught off-guard.

Common Fixes That You May Encounter

Tires – Yes, tires do have to be replaced on occasion, and they can be quite expensive. The average set of tires last two to four years, so you will actually replace them more often than any other car component. A good set of tires can cost anywhere from $400 to $600, with larger tires or truck tires costing more. Damaged rims from potholes or hitting curbs are also common, and they are not a cheap replacement either.

Brakes – Brakes are an essential part of your vehicle and do require periodic replacement. Replacing front and rear brakes can cost several hundred dollars, depending on the vehicle, it can even reach into the thousands. If you can do it yourself, you’ll save you a lot of money.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – Like any advanced technology TPMS can be helpful. But it can also be a thorn in your side. If the light comes on for no reason, it is usually a sensor problem. The sensor itself can cost $100 or more, especially if you order the part from a dealer.

Timing Belts – While they don’t require frequent changes, they are expensive replacements. The part doesn’t cost much, but the cost of labor often hurts.

Suspension components – While they don’t require frequent replacements, they can wear out after tens of thousands of miles or after absorbing many potholes or bumps while traveling. Your suspension does not involve just shocks or struts. It also consists of several smaller pieces that can break or wear out, including bushings, tie-rod ends, and bearings. The kind of vehicle you have often impacts the lifespan of these parts.

Getting these items repaired at a dealership service center usually raises the price of the repair significantly. If possible, check a local repair shop for pricing. Lastly, don’t feed into the myth that your vehicle’s warranty is voided if a repair is made by an independent shop. Instead, read the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

 

download (22)Maintenance is an inevitable part of car ownership, which means dealing with mechanics is necessary whenever your car requires some sort of repair or tune-up. However, many people end up getting overcharged or receiving low-quality service that damages their car or shortens its lifespan when they take their automobile to a mechanic simply because they don’t know how to ask the right questions. There are several important questions you should always ask your mechanic when experiencing car trouble or are in need of maintenance before you leave your car in their service to ensure the quality and legitimacy of the service you are receiving.

1. What is the Problem with my Car?

Even if you fancy yourself to be an amateur mechanic with sufficient knowledge about how cars function and the basics of what’s going on when your car acts funny, never try to tell a mechanic what is wrong with your car. It’s important to let the mechanic figure out the problem themselves rather than just try to fix whatever you declare is wrong in order to ensure that your car receives a thorough check rather than just a sloppy fix that may or may not solve the real problem.

2. Are you Certified?

Trusted auto repair companies and official car manufacturers such as Honda approve thousands of auto shops throughout the nation that are up to their standards of quality. If you want to make sure your car is serviced by an experienced mechanic that will provide thorough, high-quality car care, ask if the shop they work at is certified or the manufacturer of your car.

3. What Credentials do you Have?

Inquiring about the credentials your mechanic and other mechanics that work in the shop have is a perfectly legitimate question to ask before leaving your car for service at an auto shop. Not all mechanics are experienced, professional, or have gone through sufficient education to provide the service they do. In order to ensure that this is not the case with your mechanic, ask about credentials.

4. What Kind of Warranty do you Provide?

Your mechanic should offer a warranty on all services and parts that extends beyond a basic one to three-month period. Before you get your car serviced, ask your mechanic about the warranty they offer on the specific service your car is getting, and make sure it extends to at least one year or ten thousand miles.

5. Do you Use New or Used Parts?

Many mechanics install used parts into cars they service in order to save on money. These used parts can significantly shorten the length of your car’s lifespan. Before you hire a mechanic, ask if they use new or used parts, and if they use both depending on the situation. Also, ask if they provide an option so you can ensure that quality parts are being installed in your car.