1. You can choose the body shopInsurance companies can refer you to shops that they work with, but ultimately you can choose who does the work. Most insurance-recommended body shops are reputable and perform high-quality repairs, but there are a few bad eggs out there that cut corners to get the job done faster and cheaper. These shops will entice insurance adjusters with lower repair costs, but that could result in a shoddy repair. Before agreeing to get your car fixed at an insurance-recommended shop, do some research online by searching Yelp or other sites with small business reviews.
2. Avoid aftermarket partsWhen you take your car in for repair in, you should inquire about the replacement parts that are being used by the body shop in Santa Barbara. Body shops may use new original parts, used parts or aftermarket parts. While used parts were made by your vehicle manufacturer and perform as well as new original parts, aftermarket parts are often cheap imitations with inferior quality. These parts can corrode, rattle and ultimately diminish your car’s value.
3. Carefully examine paint matchAll too often, you see cars on the road with body panels that don’t match in color. Matching a newly painted body panel to the rest of your car is a difficult challenge, and sometimes there can be a big, obvious difference in shade. When you pick up your car from a Santa Barbara body shop , ask which panels are original and which ones were painted. Step back ten feet from the car and see if there’s a difference in color. If there is, there may be additional paint work necessary to get a better match.
4. Check warning lightsAfter an accident, there are a number of warning lights that may turn on in your dashboard. These can include the airbag light, the low coolant light, the check engine light and others. When you pick up your finished car, make sure all of the problems have been corrected and none of the lights are illuminated. Illuminated lights can indicate that your car’s on-board computer may need to be reprogrammed, or that certain electrical components need replacement. Article sourced from AutoBlog.com
Engine Oil in the WinterThe outside temperature affects the internal temperature of your engine. Make sure to use the proper oil for the conditions. When it’s below freezing, which we have approached a couple of times, switch to thinner oil. “If you run a 10W-30 in the summer, for example, try moving to a 5W-30 when changing your oil in the fall or winter. If you are in doubt, refer to your manual or the manufacturer.”
Engine CoolantThe coolant system keeps the engine from overheating and also protects the engine from corrosion. Per the DMV, use a coolant with ethylene glycol to protect your engine. Refer to your owner’s manual or your service technician to find out the proper ratio of coolant to water.
Cold Weather and Battery CapacityMake sure your batter is in good condition. Cold weather affects the battery’s ability to start easily. Inspect the cables for cracks and breaks, the terminals should fit snugly, and the battery fluid level should be above the bottom of the cap. If it is below, refill it with distilled water. Additional note, check the date of your battery. Especially in the Santa Barbara heat, battery life spans are not as long as they would be in milder climates.
Proper TiresThe DMV recommends snow tires for those living in snowy conditions….ok so that’s not for us here in Santa Barbara. But we do have to deal with the bit of rain that we get which causes slick conditions on the roads. Make sure your tires are in good condition and that they are properly inflated. If you plan on taking a trip up to hit the ski and snowboard slopes, make sure to check the conditions of the roads where you will be driving to and have proper snow chains if required.
Windshield TreatmentAfter a long hot summer, there’s nothing like trying to turn on your windshield wipers to clear rain or fog only to find them crumble apart because they sat unused all summer and had dried out. Check that your windshield wipers are in good condition and that your fluid is the right type for colder weather. The DMV recommends a washer fluid with an antifreeze solution. Just make sure the fluid doesn’t damage your car’s paint.
Emergency KitRegardless of the weather, I recommend having an emergency kit in your vehicle. The DMV’s Emergency Kit list includes: – Flares – Blankets – Boots – Radio – Engine oil – Washer fluid – Coolant – Flashlight – First Aid Kit – Water – Food (protein bars and snacks in case you are stranded for a bit of time) – Emergency charger for your cell phone – Tool Kit – Coat – A spare pair of athletic shoes or boots and socks so that you aren’t stuck at a break down in your slippers or heels – Cleansing hand wipes – Paper towels For the full DMV article, click here Article sourced from Fox5 and dmv.org
Ditch Those Faded, Yellowed, Scratched and Pitted Headlights for Good
Today, I want to talk about an effective way to actually clean up plastic headlights that are seriously fogged. I’m not talking about a headlight that’s a little discolored at the top and has a few sand chips in it. I’m talking about a headlight that has massive amounts of UV damage and that has witnessed a zillion sandblasting road miles. I’m talking about a headlight that hasn’t been clear for years, a light that is brownish yellow in sunlight. Not only do headlights like these look terrible, they don’t perform well. You can lose a serious amount of candlepower to discolored headlight lenses. Imagine covering your flashlight with cheesecloth before you took a walk in the woods. Not so bright.
When it comes to a restoration kit that can truly and properly bring your faded, discolored, scratched plastic headlight lenses back to life. Sadly, you get what you pay for. To get your hands on a headlight kit that is the real deal, you will have to pony up better than twenty bucks. When experimenting, I started out cheap, trying to use basic cleaner waxes to clear things up, then some specialty products that were not only made for polishing plastics, but actually had pictures of repaired headlights on the label. None were even close to being a match for the amount of headlight damage on the 150,000 mile Volvo wagon (that was in desperate need for Auto Repair in Santa Barbara) we used as our headlight restoration test mule.
The answer is the Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit. Kits by be very gimmicky, and I usually shy away from such a pre-packaged solution. But after trying a number of simple polishes and methods, this kit is by far the best value. Even at $23, the results are worth it. And there is enough material in the kit to restore lots of headlight lenses.
Prep Your Headlights for the Polishing Process
Before you start to use all of the stuff that came in the box, you need to clean any grime or dirt off your headlights with soapy water or window cleaner. Dry them off. Now you need to protect any Car Paint Santa Barbara or plastic areas next to your lights with masking tape. You don’t want to have to do any paint touch up later. If your hood comes down right at the top of your headlights, you can raise the hood and save yourself some masking time.
Remove the Layer of Crust and Crud from Your Lights
Starting with a clean headlight, you’re ready to begin the renewal process. Attach the 1000 grit sanding disc to the holder. Wet the sandpaper (I repeatedly dipped it in a cup of water) and sand your entire headlight in a smooth side to side motion. Use moderate pressure without pressing too hard. Don’t worry about going too far with it because the rest of the kit is designed to pick up where the 1000 grit sanding left off. After about 5 minutes of sanding, wipe the headlight using the included towel and swap the sanding disc for the 3000 grit paper. This time you will sand in an up and down motion, making sure you over all of the headlight real estate. You’ll start to see things really smooth out now. Do this for about 5 minutes, keeping the sanding disc wet the whole time.
Polishing Your Headlights to a Brilliant Restored Shine
Wipe the headlight with the cloth again, and install the polishing pad on your drill. A corded drill works best if you have one, but cordless will do fine. Apply a nickel-sized blob of polish to the buffing pad, then press it to the headlight before you turn on the drill. Start polishing the headlight back and forth in sections. Don’t let the polish bake into the light in hot sun, wipe it away if you need to. There’s no limit to how much you can polish the lens. Keep going until you feel it’s shiny enough.
Behold Your Clear, Shiny, Restored Headlights!
You’ve successfully restored your faded, yellowed, ugly headlights. Not only can you now enjoy them, you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. Sit back, admire your work, and then show it off to your loved ones so they can shrug and wonder what all of the fuss is about.
Depending on the model, this is not always an easy job and if not done with extreme caution, damage to the vehicle or paint can be done. Remember to always seek a professional for Auto Repair Estimates in Santa Barbara.
Article Sourced By autorepair.about.com
Facelift Time: Should You Repaint or Replace Your Wheels?
Wheels to a car are like shoes to people. They are often the things you notice first, and when you do notice them, they say a lot about the wearer. Some people buy them because they will be comfortable and perform well. Or at least that’s what they tell you when they spend an exorbitant amount of money on shoes, or wheels. The fact is most wheel purchases are based on aesthetics. If you’ve been thinking of buying new wheels for your car or truck but aren’t sure you’re ready to drop the necessary wad of cash on the project, you might consider repainting your existing wheels.
There are a few real benefits to repainting your wheels. First, since they are already on the car and in use, you know that there will be no surprises concerning fitment or drivability. There’s nothing worse than gazing at your car sitting on beautiful new wheels only to discover there is a clearance issue or something else that will keep you from enjoying the ride. Second, if you repaint the wheels you are already using, you can definitely keep your tires. Often with new wheels you will need a different size tire to match. Or common sense will tell you that if you’re paying to have tires mounted and balanced it may be a good time to replace the tires, even if they have some life left in them.
Ready to paint your wheels? The procedure is the same whether you are going to use a professional grade wheel paint or you want to go with a more temporary solution like Plasti-Kote.
Preparing Your Wheels for Paint
The first step is to get your wheels very, very clean. If you are just painting the outside of the wheels, you can get away with leaving them installed on the vehicle through the whole process. Your wheels get very dirty with use. Road grime, grease, paint, tar — all of these things can coat your wheels. You’ll need to clean them first with soap and water, then again with something sure to cut through the goop like mineral spirits.
Once you have the wheels clean you need to prepare the surface to hold paint. If something is too smooth and shiny, paint won’t stick to it well. You’ll get a great paint job that starts to fall apart within a few weeks or months. No thanks! The glossy finish needs to be removed or at least compromised before you respray the wheels. The easiest way to do this is using steel wool. Steel wool allows you to break the surface of the old paint without the risk of adding any deep scratches or grooves that will show up through your new paint job. Scuff the entire area that you plan to paint. When you’re done, clean the wheels again.
Masking and Painting Your Wheels
With everything ready to go, you’ll need to protect your tires from the flying paint. Use masking tape to cover the entire tire. Be sure to get it as close to or underneath the lip of the metal rim so you don’t get any spray on your tires. With masking tape, small strips — 6 inches or less — overlapping each other seems to work well.
TIP: You never want to paint the area where the lug but contacts the wheel (known as the seat). To keep paint out, sit a set of lug nuts in the seat while you’re painting.
You’re ready to actually spray the paint on the wheels! The trick to painting is to spray many, many light coats rather than a soaking. You’ll know that you’re applying the right amount of paint because it will look like it’s going on smoothly, not pebbly or gloppy. Experiment with the speed of your strokes to control how much paint is going on. Put at least three coats on your wheels to be sure you get a lasting finish. When they’re dry, pull off the tape and enjoy!
Painting your tires can be an easy alternative to keeping your tires looking fresh. If you are looking for coat of Car Paint Santa Barbara to match those tires. Call today for Paint or Auto Repair Estimates in Santa Barbara.
Article Sources from autorepair.about.com