Are You Still Idling Your Car on Cold Mornings? Don’t Believe the Myth.

Automobile_exhaust_gasFor many, winter mornings begin by letting the car warm up while they finish breakfast. While this time does allow for the cab to get toasty warm, are you aware that there is no actual need for that idling? In fact, unnecessary idling could be hurting your health and wallet.

Before the 1980’s, idling was a necessary practice for American drivers. Back then, carburetors needed time to warm up in order to get the right mix of fuel and air to start. However, automakers began swapping carburetors for fuel injector systems in the ’80’s. Modern fuel injector systems regulate the air to fuel ratio using oxygen sensors. The 1990 Subaru Justy was the last car sold with a carburetor. If you’re driving a post-1990 model car, your vehicle is ready to drive in just 30 seconds.

Here are some additional reasons you may want to give up idling for good:

  • A car idling for five minutes can increase fuel consumption by 7 to 14 percent, wasting gas and money.
  • Over time, idling reduces the engine’s performance and mileage.
  • Your car releases 1 pound of carbon dioxide for every ten seconds it runs. Idling greatly contributes to your carbon footprint.
  • Breathing too much car exhaust can increase your risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, and asthma.

We hope these tips are enough to convince you to quit idling. For more reasons, check out this article from the Havertown Patch.

Winter Driving Awareness Week

Econ_Salt_SpreaderAfter the first bad winter commute of 2015, PennDOT announced Winter Driving Awareness Week (Jan. 11-17) and supplied safety tips for PA drivers.

PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch reminded drivers that it is our own responsibility to ensure that our vehicles are prepared for winter driving before we hit the road. Schoch recommends having vehicles serviced by a trained mechanic, who can check the condition of the battery, cooling system, wiper blades, hoses, and tires.

PennDOT also warned to be extra cautious when driving around snow removal equipment. The following tips came from a PennDot news release:

  • Stay at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the main plow is wider than the truck.
  • Be alert since plow trucks generally travel much more slowly than other traffic.
  • When a plow truck is traveling toward you, move as far away from the center of the road as is safely possible, and remember that snow can obscure the actual snow plow width.
  • Never try to pass or get between several trucks plowing side by side in a “plow train.” The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for nearby vehicles.
  • Never travel next to a plow truck since there are blind spots where the operator can’t see and they can occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or heavy snowpack.
  • Keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Also remember that under Pennsylvania state law, vehicle lights must be on every time a vehicle’s wipers are on due to inclement weather.

For more winter driving tips, check out this article from the Havertown Patch.

Senior Drivers Support Tougher Driving Laws for Themselves

Grandpa's_first_car,_Model_T_coupe,with_artillery_wheels_Edward_a_O'DIt’s well known that, statistically, senior drivers tend to support stricter laws against texting while driving and driving under the influence. A lesser known fact recently revealed by the AAA Foundation is that more than seven out of ten drivers 65 and older favor a more thorough license renewal process for seniors over the age of 75.

Additionally, the AAA Foundation report found:

  • Nearly 80 percent of drivers over age 75 favor medical screenings for drivers ages 75 and older

  • Nearly 90 percent of older drivers (65 and older) reported no crashes in the last two years

  • Similarly, 90 percent of older drivers reported no moving violations

  • 65 percent of drivers age 75 and older reported never using a cell phone while driving compared to only 48 percent of the younger “older” drivers (those age 65-69) who never use a phone when behind the wheel

Earlier this year, the AAA Foundation also released the Understanding Older Drivers: an Examination of Medical Conditions, Medication Use and Travel Behaviors report that found:

  • 86 percent of those age 65 and older still drive
  • 84 percent of Americans age 65 and older hold a driver’s license compared to barely half in the early 1970s
  • 68 percent of drivers age 85 plus report driving five or more days a week

It seems that the generation who gets arguably the worst reputation as drivers is actually pretty hard on themselves. Also, these senior drivers may not have earned such infamy.

This information was gained from a AAA press release. For more information, visit this site.

Gifts to Give Your Car this Holiday

giftOur cars take a beating throughout the year — especially in winter. While you’re out getting gifts to spoil others this season, don’t forget that your car needs love too. We’ve put together a list of gift ideas for the vehicle (or vehicle lover) in your life.

1. All-Season Floor Mats

One of the worst things about driving in the winter is when snow and rain make their way inside your car. Not only will your floor end up soaked, often it stains and begins to grow mold. Rubber floor mats will protect your carpet from the weather, as well as any other spills that might occur.

2. New Tires

We often fail to check the condition of our tires until there is a serious problem. However, we have to seriously rely on our tires when driving in bad weather. As winter approaches, be sure to check the condition of your tires and replace them if the tread is too bare. Head into the snow with your best defense.

3. An Auto Detail

Sleet. Sludge. Salt. All of these things take a toll on your vehicle. If not properly taken care of, they could cause some serious damage. It’s especially inconvenient to perform a thorough cleaning yourself in the winter, so you might consider purchasing a professional detail.  At DPC, our detailing services include carpet vacuuming and shampooing, wheel and rim polishing, paint touch ups, and buffing.

4. New Windshield Wipers

Even if it never rains, windshield wipers only last six months to a year. Don’t wait until you’re squinting through a snowstorm to decide its time to replace yours. Your car deserves better than deteriorating bits of rubber, and so does its driver.

5.  Auto Care Kit

Of course, another great gift is the catch-all kit of odds and ends you’re bound to need at some point during your travels. This might include road flares or an empty gasoline container, or things to keep it clean like a new microfiber cloth and cleaning solution.

When you’re loading your car with gifts this holiday, don’t forget your vehicle may deserve a few of its own.

Havertown Annual Reindeer Romp

reindeer-306490_640This Sunday, December 14, Havertown streets will be filled with runners taking part in the 17th annual Reindeer Romp!

This 5k was started 17 years ago by local Havertown family the Lakes, in honor of their son Brandon who lost his fight with leukemia at the age of 3. All of the proceeds from the Reindeer Romp go to the American Cancer Society. Throughout its history, the Reindeer Romp has raised over $300,000.

Registration for the event is $25 for adults and $10 for children, and participants must register through the event website. It is expected to sell out and there won’t be registration on race day. Volunteers are also needed for set up and clean up. The race starts at 3 pm this Sunday at Oakmont Elementary School. It will take place rain, shine, or snow.

After the race, everyone is invited back to the Nolan Painting Offices for an awards ceremony. In addition to first, second, and third place awards in each category, Brandon Lake’s family gives an award called Brandon’s Cup to the fastest child runner.

The annual Reindeer Romp is a great, festive family event in Havertown. At this time of year most of the homes are decorated for the holidays, which makes running and walking through the streets very pleasant. Additionally, Santa Claus and Christmas carolers will be present.

For more information, check out the full article on Philly.com.

Black Friday Driving Tips

If you’re brave enough to tackle the shopping holiday of the year, then you 1) are probably insane and 2) are in need of some safe driving tips.

black friday

First off, a fun fact —the name Black Friday originated in our very own Philadelphia, where it was originally used to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the day after Thanksgiving.

Now, I don’t blame you for putting your life in danger of anxious, overly-caffeinated shoppers running on nothing more than 0 hours of sleep and a belly full of turkey, because I have also participated in the madness. Who doesn’t love great deals and the not-so-subtle unwrapping of the holiday spirit in the form of bright lights and giant Christmas trees?

The truth is that the most terrifying part of Black Friday is the driving, especially those parking lots.  It’s hard not to sweat just thinking about the havoc.

That’s why we are bringing you Direct Paint & Collision’s Black Friday Driving Tips.

On the Road

  • Stay alert. Many other drivers are going off little to no sleep, so pay attention and drive defensively. Don’t position yourself near an erratic driver.

    Philly traffic Patch

    Photo Credit: Greater Philadelphia Patch

  • Put the phone down. Of course you want to use all your deal-hunting apps while simultaneously sending a text to your kids, but don’t do it. Distractions can wait.
  • Maintain a distance. You also might be tired yourself, so leave extra room between you and the car in front of you.

In the Parking Lot

  • Park at the side entrance. Many malls and bigger stores have side entrances that are less crowded. It will be easier to get in and out without running into problems.
  • Walk off the side dishes. Don’t wait around for the best spot in the parking lot. Parking a little farther away may mean more walking, but the spots will be less crowded and easier to manage.
  • Use your headlights. Even during the daytime, keeping your headlights on reduces your crash risk.

Be safe and take our advice. You could just avoid the day altogether and buy yourself (or your loved ones) a new auto paint job from Direct Paint.

If you do end up with a Black Friday accident, call Direct Paint & Collision.

Protect Yourself from Drunk Drivers this Holiday Season

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s no secret that drunk driving becomes a big issue beginning the night before Thanksgiving and ending on New Years Day. So much traveling and an abundance of holiday parties often leads to more drivers on the road who may have had one too many drinks. While police presence is usually puffed up during these times, they may not necessarily be able to catch all of those drivers before you encounter one.

In this post, we’d like to help you detect drunk drivers before it’s too late and provide some tips on how to avoid them. Of course, you should call the police and report the driver as soon as you are out of harm’s way.

Drunk Driver Warning Signs

While on the road, beware of drivers exhibiting the following behaviors:

  • Driving too slow or too fast for conditions
  • Swerving and drifting between traffic lanes
  • Driving without headlights on at night
  • Accelerating and braking abruptly
  • Reacting too slowly to traffic signals

Preventative Actions You Can Take

Of course, the best action you take is to avoid the roads at night and especially on holidays. However, that’s not always plausible. If you do have to drive on a big drinking night, follow these tips:

  • Stay to the right of your lane. Drunk drivers often have difficulty staying within their lane. When they are in opposing traffic, they could very well drift to your side of the road. Leaving a little breathing room could save you from collision.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Just because a driver has a turn signal on doesn’t necessarily mean they will turn, in that direction, at the next cross street. It’s hard to anticipate a drunk driver’s actions, so it’s always better for you to err on the side of caution.
  • Avoid rural roads. Country roads are often dimly lit and winding, making for poor visibility. This is exactly what you don’t want when potentially sharing the road with drunk drivers. Try to stick to major roadways.

The holidays are a time for celebration, so we hope this information allows you to enjoy them safely. At Direct Paint & Collision, we’re wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

PennDOT Releases ‘Winter Operations’ Video for Safe Driving

As you’ve probably already noticed, winter is well on its way. With temperatures quickly dropping, it won’t be long until we’re making our daily commutes on powdered roads. That being said, PennDOT recently released a video to educate PA drivers about their work during winter maintenance and provide some safe driving tips. You can find that video embedded in this post.

Last winter, PennDOT used more than 1.2 million tons of salt on PA roads. So far, they’ve stocked 639,000 tons and are still accepting deliveries. Motorists are able to check the conditions of roads, traffic alerts, and weather forecasts at www.511PA.com 24 hours a day.

We’ve summarized some of PennDOT’s most important winter safety tips as follows:

  • Store an emergency kit in your vehicle complete with water, blanket, phone charger, first aid supplies, and small shovel.
  • Keep in mind that major roadways will receive the most resources in major winter storms. Smaller roads may have more accumulation.
  • Slow down and increase following distance on icy or snowy roads. Last year, there were 427 crashes in winter conditions caused by aggressive driving behavior.

For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, visit the department’s “Ready for Winter” website at www.dot.state.pa.us/winter.

The Most Stolen Cars in Philly [Infographic]

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds. The question is, could the car you drive affect your chances of having your car stolen?

According to the Bureau’s Hot Wheels report, it could. The Bureau recently released its annual report and found that the most nationally stolen car was the Honda Accord, with almost 54,000 total thefts in 2013.

The Bureau released lists for each state, and the following infographic depicts the most stolen cars in Pennsylvania.

Stolen-Cars-in-Philly

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Please note that this infographic covers all of PA, but Philly experiences the highest level of vehicle theft. In fact, according to watchyourcar.org, the theft rate in Philadelphia is 6 times more than the state’s theft rate.

Here in Delaware County in 2013, 690 of 401,714 registered vehicles were reported stolen.

Tips for Keeping Your Car Safe

Having your car stolen is far from fun, and taking a few extra precautions could help you.

Follow the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s layered approach to keeping your vehicle safe.

1) Use common sense. Lock your car and take your keys with you. Close your windows and park in a well-lit area. Even if you’ll just be gone for a few minutes, don’t take any chances.

2) Use a warning device. Most cars come with a visible or audible device that warns of thieves. This may include audible alarms, brake locks, wheel locks, theft deterrent decals, and more.

3) Use an immobilizing device. Many new cars have a device which prevents thieve from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring your vehicle. These devices may come in the form of smart keys, kill switches, starter disablers, wireless authentication, and more.

4) Use a tracking device. A tracking device can emit a signal directly to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. This is a very effective way to help authorities recover stolen vehicles.

Have you had any experiences having your car stolen? What tips can you share with others?

 

Direct Paint Receives a Best of Delco Award

The Delco Times recently named Direct Paint and Collision as a recipient of its 2014 Best of Delco Awards for our collision repair services. We are very proud of this accomplishment, and would like to thank the Delco Times for acknowledging our commitment to quality service. We hope to make you proud!

At Direct Paint and Collision, we have over 30 years of auto body experience and make the collision repair process as simple as possible. We offer towing and rental cars in addition to repairs so we’re able to support our customers beginning at the moment of an accident. If you’re in need of a tow or repair in the tri-state area, be sure to contact us!

 

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