Maintenance Tips for College Drivers

driverAs parents, many of us get into the habit of catering to our college-age children while they are home. This might mean doing their laundry, cleaning their dishes, or even performing regular maintenance on their cars. While this is a very kind gesture, you need to make sure your son or daughter is capable of performing these maintenance tasks while they are on their own. According to AAA, the following are great tips for before classes start:

  • Make sure they know how to check tire pressure, inflate tires, and identify any tire abnormalities that could signify something dangerous.
  • Refresh on basic maintenance skills to keep the car running in the best condition and avoid high repair costs.
  • Go over the owner’s manual with your college student. Show them where to find the maintenance schedule and discuss the importance of following that schedule.
  • After you’ve toured all of the dorms and cafeterias, try and find a local repair shop with some good reviews. This way, both you and your child can rest assured that there is a trustworthy mechanic in the area if needed.
  • Stock up the car with all of the emergency essentials. These include a snow shovel, windshield scraper, empty fuel container, jumper cables, flash light, road flares, as well as a first aid kit.

At the very least, following this advice will bring you peace of mind while your baby is away. For more information on how to prepare for cars at college, check out our previous post on common mistakes made by college students.

How to Get Sand Out of Your Car

Sandy Sandals

When most of us think of bringing back a souvenir from the beach, sandy floor mats aren’t what we have in mind.

But sandy shoes, towels, and feet can leave your car’s interior looking a little worse for wear. When you return from your ocean getaway, you’re faced with the task of removing sand from your car.

Luckily, Direct Paint has put together this list of helpful methods for cleaning out your car, so the sand can return to the outside of your car where it belongs.

Tips for Removing Sand From Your Vehicle

  1. Move Quickly: For best results, get to work as soon as you can. The longer sand sits on the interior, the better chance it has of becoming ground into the carpet and upholstery, making it more difficult to remove.
  2. Just Beat It: Remove your floor mats and suspend them from a clothesline or  over a railing. Take the end of a broom and hit the mats to get the loose sand to fall off.
  3. Comb it Over: Take a wire bristle brush and rake it over the areas where the sand has set in. This will help release any more stubborn particles.
  4. Bring Out the Vacuum: Now, it’s time to whip out the trusty vacuum. As you vacuum, continue using your wire brush to bring out more sand. Keep going this way until all the sand is gone.

We hope our tips help you to leave the sand behind and finish out the rest of the summer with a clean car!

We Service a Variety of Manufacturers

In the wake of an accident, the most important thing to do is choose an auto body shop you trust.

A common misconception is that you can only use a body shop that your insurance recommends. This is not the case, the choice is yours. Click here to learn more.

Direct Paint is certified to repair a number of vehicle manufacturers, including Nissan. Click here to see the full list of auto makes we service.

Lexus RX 330 Rear Damage

Accidents are always stressful. Luckily, Direct Paint specializes in quality repair on any type of car. We do our job thoroughly the first time around.

In the photos below, you can get a more detailed look on a recent job we completed. This Lexus RX 330 AWD had suffered collision damage on the rear. By the time we finished with it, it looked like new.

Chevrolet Equinox Back Driver’s Side Damage

DPC recently had the opportunity to update this 2015 Chevrolet Equinox LT1 AWD.

A collision resulted in damage to this vehicles back driver side. We were able to restore the SUV back to its original condition. Check out the before and after photos below to get a close look at our work.

Four Driving Myths, Debunked

holding wheel at 10 and 2When it comes to safe driving, there are many voices of authority. While they usually mean well, they aren’t always right.

Certain myths about driving have been around for years and continue to be believed today. We are here to set the record straight.

Four Bogus Driving Rules

  1. Hands Free Headsets Are Safe: Conversations are what kill, not the physical act of holding a phone. While hands-free devices are safer, phone conversations are a serious distraction that makes you four times more likely to crash.
  2. You Need to be Driving 10 MPH Over the Speed Limit to Get a Ticket: The fact is, even if you exceed the speed limit by 1 mile per hour, there is a chance that you will get a speeding ticket. This is a good thing, though. Research shows that as speed limits increase, so do fatalities. Also, when speed limits are well-enforced, the number of crashes subsides.
  3. Keep Your Hands at 10 and 2 O’Clock: Experts actually recommend keeping your hands at 9 and 3. While 10 and 2 was once touted as the safest position, this makes you likely to smack yourself in the face if your airbags are ever deployed.
  4. Red Cars Have Higher Insurance Rates: Many insurance companies don’t even ask for your car’s color. There is another common misconception that says red cars get more speeding tickets than other colors, but that simply isn’t true. Anyone who speeds is susceptible to being ticketed.

At Direct Paint and Collision, we’re happy to debunk these myths, especially since some perpetuate dangerous habits.

Insurance Company Preferred Shops and OEM Parts

VolvoYour car is one of your largest investments. Accidents are stressful, and when you need repairs on your car, deciding which body shop to use can be enough to put you over the edge.

The insurance company will show you a list of preferred or recommended auto body repair shops. These shops have been approved by the insurance company to make estimates and repairs on their own. This ideally means you get fixed faster. It might also mean the repair shop is looking out for the insurance company more than you. You do NOT have to use any of these shops, it is the LAW that you have freedom of choice. If you have a local shop you can use them instead of the insurance company’s chosen shop.

The Preferred Body Shop Is Not Your Only Option

The fact is, customers can choose to get their cars repaired by the body shop they choose. It’s important to note that when an insurance company marks a body shop as preferred, that shop may be under pressure to keep repair costs low. Unfortunately, some shops turn to questionable measures, like using inferior parts.

When body shops refuse to comply with these types of tactics, they are removed from the insurance company’s preferred list. This practice, called insurance steering, is the subject of a lawsuit that is currently underway. More than 500 auto body shops across 36 states are suing State Farm, the largest share auto insurer in the country, for deceptive practices.

CNN reported on the incident:

Quality Replacement Parts

OEM PartsIn the industry people generally refer to three different types of parts. OEM parts are Original Equipment Manufacturer parts which mean they are new replacement parts built by the original marker to the original specifications. LKQ (Like Kind and Quality) parts refers to used, recycled, or rebuilt OEM parts. Aftermarket parts are made by a third party manufacturer and may or may not be built to the same specifications as the OEM part.

Depending on the make, style, and condition of your vehicle you should be concerned which type of parts are used. If you have a car only a year or two old you should make sure OEM parts are used because the parts being replaced were pretty new. Also if you have a luxury, import, or exotic car using OEM parts will protect the value. LKQ parts might be fine for most other vehicles but you should be discussing this with your repair shop. Aftermarket parts also have their use but you should be wary of using these especially if the repair shop is against it.

Trust Direct Paint to Do the Job Right

Don’t be fooled–just because your insurance company says that an auto body shop is preferred, doesn’t mean it’s where you have to go. At Direct Paint, we do everything in our power to make sure every car that leaves our shop is repaired safely and correctly. We have experience working with all insurance companies, including Progressive, Allstate, Geico, Nationwide, and State Farm.

Insurance steering is the reason why we recommend our customers to get post-repair inspections.

Heading to the Jersey Shore? Here are Five Tips For Pleasant Travels

traffic jamSummer is almost here! That means it’s time to pack up the car and head down to The Jersey Shore.

Sounds like a fun, relaxing time to spend with friends and family. But there’s just one thing standing in your way–traffic.

There’s no need to get worked up over a little beach traffic. We’ve put together a list of suggestions to make your ride a more pleasant one.

Five Tips For a Stress-Free Trip From Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore

  1. Get the Timing Right: Planning to leave at 10 AM on Saturday? Guess who else is? Everyone. Waking up at 4 in the morning may be a pain, but leaving early in the morning will help you miss a ton of congestion. If you’re the daring type, you can sneak down under the cover of nightfall. After 10 PM, there is very little traffic heading to the beach.
  2. Fill Up Beforehand: If you have children, bathroom stops may be inevitable, but you can still cut down on pit-stops. Make sure your gas tank and bellies are full before you depart, and pack snacks for you and the little ones. Reducing the number of stops you make could save hours in the long-run.
  3. Use Your Smart Phone to Your Advantage: Don’t forget about apps like Google Maps and Waze. These can give you a heads-up when you’re approaching traffic. This is the kind of information you can use to plan an alternate route. Just don’t take your eyes off the road! Designate one of your passengers as the navigator and have them advise you during your travels.
  4. Don’t Sweat It: Traffic is a fact of life. There are tricks to avoid it, but there’s only so much you can do. The sooner you accept that you may hit traffic, the sooner after your arrival you can begin to really de-stress and enjoy your vacation.
  5. Make the Most of Your Drive: You could follow all our tips and still hit major traffic (see previous tip). Make the car ride enjoyable for everyone by creating a fun audio playlist with books on tape, music, or stand-up comedy. Come up with fun games to play in the car, and make sure the kids have activity books and crayons.

Enjoy your time at the shore!

Buick Enclave Back End Damage

Even minor body damage can put a damper on your day. Unfortunately, even those little dimples can have a big impact on your car’s appearance.  Luckily, you can depend on Direct Paint & Collision to restore your car and have it looking like new in no time.

After this Buick Enclave suffered damage to the trunk, we restored it to its original condition. Check out the before and after photos below.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Car

Toy Car in Spring LawnIs your car covered in white residue from road salt? Are there stray gloves, candy wrappers, and other pieces of debris scattered across your back seat?

Spring cleaning typically refers to cleaning your home, but it’s a good idea to give your car the same love. A clean car will make for a comfy ride on all your summer road trips.

Tips for Refreshing Your Vehicle For Spring

1. Wipe Down Your Windows: After all that winter driving, your windows could use some TLC. Thoroughly wipe them down with glass cleaner so they are clear and shiny. Wipe down your mirrors and lights too, while you’re at it.

2. Clean Carpeting and Upholstery: These can soak up a ton of dirt and dust. With spring allergies in full swing, the last thing you need is more irritants in the mix. Wipe down the seats using a damp towel or a carpet-cleaning machine.

3. Eyes on the Exterior: Most often, a thorough wash of your vehicle’s exterior is a must after the winter season. Make sure to clear out any leftover winter debris from cracks and crevices.

4. Don’t Forget the Hood and Trunk: Leaves and other debris tend to collect underneath the openings.

5. Get Your Wipers Replaced: Road salt can wreak havoc on your poor wiper blades. It’s likely time for a new set.

Sound Like Too Much Work?

A best practice is to leave the deep cleaning to the professionals. To schedule a full detail at Direct Paint, fill out our online form or give us a call at (610) 449-9162.