Car Maintenance Tips

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!


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.


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.

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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.


Beware of Potholes

PotholeAlthough it’s nice and sunny today, not too long ago snow blanketed the streets. We’re happy to see that cold weather go, but now we’re left with the annoying aftermath — potholes.

In March 2014, AAA responded to 27,639 tire-related calls and from the looks of things, this year could be just as treacherous. Actually, pothole damage cost our nation $6.4 billion last winter. In order to avoid damaged tires, bent axles, ruined wheel alignment, and costly repairs, AAA has a few tips for motorists:

  • Keep an eye on traffic patterns. Cars that slow down or move quickly to other lanes may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.
  • Beware of snow, ice or water that may be concealing a deep pothole.
  • Report major potholes or road damage to your state or local transportation department.
  • Avoid swerving. Swerving can cause a loss of vehicle control.
  • Slow down. Carefully avoid sharp impact with potholes.
  • Roll through. Rolling through the pothole is better than braking rapidly.
  • Inflate tires properly. Over inflated and under inflated tires increase risk of tire and wheel damage.

Be sure to take these tips seriously, but make sure you stop and think if your vehicle does get damaged as a result of a pothole. Remember that filing a claim with your insurance could affect your rates in the future. According to a survey by Trusted Choice® and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) , 65% respondents who needed repairs opted to pay for them out of pocket.

For more about pothole repair in our area, check out this article by CBS Philly.


Keeping Your Car Clean in the Winter

winter carIn the winter, it’s common to see cars driving around covered in road salt. This white dusting is unsightly, and often lasts long after the snow has melted. However, you don’t have to be stuck  with this corrosive coating all season. Here are some tips to keep your car clean even when the weather’s cold.

Invest in Rubber Floor Mats
Your slushy, salty wet shoes are bound to soak the carpet in your car. If you don’t want to be left with stains and a musty scent, it’s a good idea to lay down towels then place rubber mats on top. this way, you’re protecting your floor and can throw the towels in the wash if they get dirty.

Keep Up with Regular Washes
Most people are hesitant to wash their vehicles in the winter, but regular washes are really the only way to keep them clean. Whether doing it yourself or going to a car wash, be sure to do it in the daylight when the temperature is at least 40 degrees. Use warm soapy water, and a dash of baking soda may help to get rid of the salt.

Dry, Dry, Dry
We can’t stress this enough. After you wash your car, be sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid freezing. You’ll even want to leave the doors open while you dry so that water doesn’t pool in the crevices and freeze them shut.

Be Mindful of Where You Park
Instinct might tell you to park your car in a heated garage. However, these garages often cause slush to melt and corrode your car’s paint quicker. While parking on the street opens your car up to the elements, frozen salt may actually be the safer choice.


Winter Car FAQs

There are so many myths when it comes to proper car care in the winter that it’s pretty hard to keep them all straight. We often have customers ask us about the best ways to start their cars and get moving on cold mornings, so we decided to compile them all into one FAQ post.

Q. Should I let my car warm up before driving?

A. Unless your was built before 1990, the answer is no. Modern cars don’t have carburetors that need to warm up. Post-1990 vehicles should be ready to go in just 30 seconds. For more information, refer to a previous blog post.

Q. Should I start my car every day that it’s cold, even if it’s not being driven?

A. This is not necessary. In fact, there’s evidence that starting it without driving or taking short trips could cause damage to the vehicle. In any case, you’ll be needing more frequent oil changes.

Q. Do I need to drive around after getting a jump?

A. This one is true. After getting a jump, you should drive around for about 20 minutes to allow the battery to continue charging. Otherwise, you may have a hard time getting the car to start on your next errand.

We hope these answers put some family arguments to rest and allow you to operate your car confidently through what is left of winter. If you do get stuck out on the road, don’t forget to call Bob & Joe for a tow!

car in snow