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.


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.