Defensive Driving Tips for Owning Your Safety

Rear View MirrorTraffic laws exist to keep us safe, but in reality, it’s everyone for themselves out on the road. You are responsible for the safety of yourself and your passengers, so it’s important to take a proactive role.

At Direct Paint, we want our customers to stay safe during their travels. Keep reading for our top five defensive driving tips.

Five Tips for Practicing Defensive Driving

1. Avoid Distractions: Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. No using your cell phone, no eating, no applying makeup, and no holding pets or attending to children. Safe driving means no distractions.

2. Constant Vigilance: Sweep your eyes across the road in front of you and check your mirrors constantly. This way, you can see hazards before it’s too late.

3. Don’t Tailgate: If you’re not sure what a safe distance is, two seconds is a good rule of thumb. Identify a stationary object. After the car in front of you passes it, you should be able to count “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi” before you pass the same object.

4. Increase Visibility: Always use your turn signal and make sure your tail lights are in working order. Be aware of other drivers’ blind spots and make an effort to not linger where other drivers cannot see you.

5. No Road Rage Zone: Aggressive or rude drivers can set you on edge, but it’s important that you remain calm. Not only will retaliating with similar behavior put you and other drivers in danger, but it won’t change the rude driver’s attitude.

On behalf of the team at Direct Paint, we wish everyone safe driving for the rest of the winter season!


Keep Your Car Running Smoothly This Winter

car in winterWinter is a tough time for your car. The gritty salt on the road can damage your paint job. The cold temperatures are hard on your engine, slowing down fluids and causing rubber parts to shrink down.

It’s important to give your vehicle the extra upkeep it needs in the cold season. Our tips will prevent damage to your car and allow you to enjoy your vehicle, now and after the snow and ice has melted away.

Protect Your Car From Winter’s Wrath

  1. Keep your gas tank half full. Don’t let your tank empty out, especially when severe weather is on the way. When you find yourself stranded in the cold and have to wait for help to arrive, you’ll be thankful if you can run your engine. Add our number to your mobile contacts, while you’re at it. You never know when you might need to use our 24/7 towing services.
  2. Switch your tires. In southeast Pennsylvania, temperatures regularly fall below 45 degrees, the temperature range when special winterized tires are recommended. These tires will help you maintain traction on the road when you’re braking and turning.
  3. Shed some light. During the winter, we have less daylight. Many of us spend the colder months commuting home in the dark. Now is a good time to make sure your lights are in great shape and illuminating the road as well as possible.
  4. Washing your car? Be careful. Salt keeps us safe on the road, but it coats your vehicle in a grimy white layer that can corrode your paint. If you try and wash your car yourself, you run the risk of scraping your auto body. Automatic car washes are a bad idea this time of year, since lingering bits of salt from previous customers can scratch your paint job.  It’s better to leave things to the professionals and contact us for an appointment.
  5. Check tire pressure each week. For every ten degree temperature drop, tires lose about a pound of pressure. Driving on tires with too-low pressure can wear them down quickly.
  6. Keep windshield wipers in good shape. Don’t let your blades freeze to the windshield! Raise your wipers off the windshield when parking outdoors, and never use them to remove ice and snow from the windshield.

New Years Resolutions for Your Vehicle

Happy New Year2017 is right around the corner! You’ve likely made promises to improve your health and physical fitness, or maybe you’re looking to procrastinate less and save more money.

The new year is a great time to reflect on the way you’ve been caring for your vehicle. Are you keeping up with maintenance to ensure a comfortable and safe ride? We were inspired by this post on Green Living to create a list of potential new years resolutions for your car.

Make 2017 a Year of Great Driving

Get Your Auto Body into Shape- A common resolution is to work on physical fitness—but why not offer your vehicle the same attention? A great way to start the year is to take your car into Direct Paint for a detail or have that chipped paint refinished. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

Increase Your Fuel Efficiency- Speeding and driving aggressively can cause your vehicle to consume up to 35 percent more fuel. Besides, it’s unsafe and stresses you out. Try calming down behind the wheel, leaving a little earlier, and planning your routes ahead of time.

Hang up the Idling Habit- On cold days, you need to start your car 10 minutes before leaving home to warm up your engine, right? Wrong! Not only is this a practice that produces a quarter ton of carbon dioxide and may cost you more than $80 a year, it isn’t necessary. Research shows that, if your windows are defrosted, today’s engines allow you to safely drive 30 seconds after turning them on.

Keep Your Tire Pressure in Check- Cold weather has an impact on tires. Not only do you need extra grip on the slippery streets, but the pressure changes brought on by the cold can decrease pressure. Make a resolution to measure your tire pressure regularly, and pay special attention after a temperature drop.


Tips to Prevent Salt Damage to Your Car

Road SaltWinter weather brings more than just dangerous driving conditions. Soon, your car will be coated in that familiar, frustrating film of white salt residue.

Road salt has been in use since the 1930’s as an effective method for increasing safety on the road. Salt dissolves in water, changing its molecular structure in order to lower the freezing temperature. Plain water freezes at 32⁰F, but a 20 percent salt, 80 percent water solution freezes at 2⁰F.

While this is good news for the safety of everyone on the road, salt isn’t the best thing for your car. Not only is the white coating messy and unattractive, but it can also cause serious damage to your paint.

These tips will help you combat the damage:

1. Before the wet weather hits, take precautionary measures like getting your car detailed at Direct Paint! Getting your car waxed will protect it further by creating a barrier against the elements.

2. Rusting occurs when a metal surface is exposed to moisture and oxygen. Salt can corrode and speed the rusting process. The most damage occurs in temperatures from 5-32⁰F, so if temperatures in this range are forecasted, it’s time for a thorough cleaning.

3. Rust forms on metal, not paint. Before the cold weather hits, it’s important to get any chips in your paint repaired in order to protect your car.

Direct Paint can help! Call (610) 449-9162 to schedule an appointment today.


How to Get Ready for Tailgating Season

Eagles LogoIt’s football season. Are you ready to transform your vehicle into a mobile kitchen? Read below for our top tailgating tips and you will have your roaming roast in order before the next Eagles game!

Our Top Tailgating Tips

  1. Use a tool box to keep essentials organized. Fill one compartment with tongs, skewers, and other tools. Use another for barbecue sauce, ketchup, and spices. Make sure to include moist towelettes, rain ponchos, and bug spray!
  2. Take care of your prep-work beforehand so you can spend less time cooking, and more time having fun! Cut, skewer, and marinate your meat the night before. Shape burger patties and store them between sheets of waxed paper. Slice burger toppings while you’re at it. Keep them organized in a disposable casserole dish.
  3. When you’re drinking adult beverages and sweating over a hot grill, hydration is essential. Instead of ice, try using frozen water bottles in your cooler. That way, you’ll have cold drinking water when they melt.
  4. No one likes cleaning up, but there are tools you can bring that will make the process a breeze. Bring a large plastic tub. When you’re ready to clean up, line the tub with a garbage bag and pack in your dirty dishes. Be sure to have lots of extra trash bags so you can round up garbage as you go.
  5. Improvise an invisible table! Attach magnets to drink koozies so that you can hold them in place using the body of your car.

Removing Dead Insects From Your Car

insectsLong road trips can turn the hood of your car into an insect graveyard, and dead bugs don’t just look gross–they cause damage. The same enzymes that cause bug bodies to decompose can eat away at your car’s exterior. Since the decaying process is aggravated by heat, the summer sun isn’t doing your shiny paint job any favors.

When left to decay on your car, bugs and bird droppings can lead to permanent imprints in the finish, a nuisance known as etching.  Unfortunately, these little buggers require more than the standard elbow grease to remove.

Dead bugs have you mad as a hornet? Here’s what you can do.

  1. Get Proactive. Regular bumper waxes may cut down on the number of bugs that stick to your car. Since your bumper gets more exposure to the elements than other areas on your vehicle, it is important to take extra care here. The wax provides an extra layer of protection.
  2. Catch them early. The longer you wait, the more likely the bugs will be to create lasting damage. As soon as you notice a dead insect on your hood, side mirror or grill, try removing it with a microfiber cloth and a spray wax or quick detailer.
  3. Get a Paint Scratch and Ding Touch-Up at Direct Paint. If the insects have already hardened, trying to scrub them off may scratch your paint and cause further damage. At Direct Paint, we specialize in making your car look brand new, no matter what lands on it.

Stay Safe on the Road

It’s no secret that some common driving habits can quickly become dangerous. With Summer as the deadliest time of year for young drivers, we decided to review your driving knowledge. Check out our infographic below to gain some quality tips to improve your safety while driving!

Infographic


2015 Hyundai Elantra LTD

Collisions are never fun. Even if you’re lucky enough to walk away unharmed, it’s not usually the same outcome for your vehicle. When looking for collision repair, you want to find a shop that can get it done quickly, efficiently, and with honest pricing.

Direct Paint & Collision will have you back on the road in no time. We’ll make sure your car looks brand new, and that you won’t have to worry about ongoing safety issues after an accident. Just take a look at our reviews page to see what previous customers have said, or view the before and after photos in the gallery below.


Cost of Vehicle Ownership Falls to 6 Year Low

Accident on a roadThe annual cost to own and operate a vehicle is now the lowest it has been in six years, big part in thanks to the low fuel prices. According to AAA, the average cost of ownership in 2016 is $8,558. This breaks down to roughly 57 cents per mile driven.

The items that factor into the cost of ownership include fuel, insurance, maintenance, depreciation, license, registration, taxes, finance charges, and tires. You can find more specific information for each type of vehicle in the table below.

Based on 15,000 miles Small Sedan Medium Sedan Large Sedan Sedan Average SUV (4WD) Mini-van
Annual Total Cost $6,579 $8,604 $10,492 $8,558 $10,255 $9,262
Annual Cost Per Mile $0.439 $0.574 $0.699 $0.571 $0.684 $0.618

It’s interesting to note that it actually costs less to own minivan than a large sedan or SUV. This is something to consider, especially if you’re considering purchasing a new car. Minivans offer roughly the same cargo space and can carry more passengers.

To get an even clearer idea of what your car is costing you, check out these average annual prices for varying factors:

  • Fuel – 8.45 cents per mile/$1,267.50 per year
  • Insurance – $1,222 per year
  • Depreciation –  $3,759 per year
  • Maintenance – 5.28 cents per mile/$792 per year
  • License/Registration/Taxes – $687 per year
  • Finance Charges – $683 per year
  • Tires – 1 cent per mile/$150 per year

This information comes from AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study, which AAA has been publishing since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.


Five Tips for Your Spring Break Road Trip

road tripAccording to AAA Mid-Atlantic, many are choosing local destinations for Spring Break trips. This means that many will be driving for these trips rather than flying, and creating a surplus of Spring Break road trips. Some of the top driving destinations include:

  • Philadelphia
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Washington DC
  • Baltimore
  • Clearwater, FL
  • Virginia Beach

If you’re planning to travel to one of these destinations, make sure you’re ready for your time out on the road. Although some of these places are only a few hours away, you’ll still want to be as safe and as comfortable as possible. Here are our tips to prepare for your best Spring Break road trip:

  1. Check your tires, brakes, and windshield wipers before you leave. Be proactive with possible road troubles.
  2. Clean and vacuum the inside of your car. You may even stow a few blankets in the back seat so passengers can get comfortable.
  3. Pack a car charger for your cell phone.
  4. Have a backup plan in case of traffic. It might be a good idea to check out some back roads on your phone or GPS.
  5. Make sure all car documents, such as your registration and proof of insurance, are up to date and readily available.

Follow these tips to make your trip run just a little smoother. After all, no one likes a stressful vacation. For more information about vacation car maintenance, check out a previous blog post.