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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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Before and After Front End Damage

Accidents happen. No matter the details, you’ll need to find an auto body shop you can trust to perform quality repairs. The team at Direct Paint & Collision performs such repairs each and everyday, and we’re happy to share photos of our work with our clients.

Both of the vehicles in this before and after post suffered some front end damage on the driver side. The first two photos are of a 2007 Honda Odyssey EXL, while the second two are of a 2008 Ford Explorer 4×4 Eddie Bauer.


Tips for a Safe Super Bowl Sunday

Super BowlNow that it’s officially Super Bowl weekend, you’re probably thinking about all of the great food, drinks, and football that will be at your party. Once you’ve got all of the essentials planned — like who’s bringing the wings, dip, hoagies, etc — you might also consider making a backup plan for those driving home.

Without a doubt, the Super Bowl is a time for celebration. There is no shame in celebrating a little too hard, as long as no one gets behind the wheel afterward. If you’re hosting this year’s get-together, here are some tips you can use to ensure your guests stay safe:

  • Take note of any designated drivers from the beginning of the night and make sure they’re the only ones with car keys
  • Offer food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • During the third quarter, throw on a pot of coffee and make sure there’s plenty of water available
  • Keep your Uber app and local cab numbers handy
  • Be prepared to set up the couch or air mattress for anyone who needs to sleep it off

If you’re the designated driver, be aware that not everyone on the road may be as responsible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 percent of all traffic fatalities that occur in the U.S. on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol-related. Be on the lookout for any cars that seem to be swerving or speeding, and always buckle up.