The Best Kind of Repair Shop

Written by zeeblu on . Posted in Uncategorized

Often during Tom Torbjornsen’s radio show he gets the question, “Should I take my vehicle to a dealer, a local independent shop, or a specialist?” It’s a good question, but the answer depends on various factors.

Time To Head To The Dealer

The dealership is obviously the place to go when the vehicle is under warranty. It’s common sense to have repairs done that are under warranty. If you take your new car that’s under warranty for repairs to shops other than the dealership, problems can arise when it comes time for a warranty claim. In this scenario, warranty coverage can be denied if the shop used non-OEM (original equipment) parts or if accessories were installed which compromise the vehicle in a way that could void the warranty. If the vehicle is out of warranty then it’s a matter of where you are comfortable taking your car. Philosophy of old suggests that car dealers always charge more, but that’s not the case any more. Having experienced decreased profits from the sale of new and used cars in recent years, car dealers have stepped up their efforts on the service front. Thus, they are quite competitive in the retail repair business. Comparison-shopping reveals that automotive repair and general maintenance pricing are about the same at dealerships and independent shops. In addition, dealers commonly offer nationwide warranty coverage for their services, which is a big plus in their column. There are several reasons cited for why some people avoid the dealerships for repairs and maintenance: Perceived higher pricing, non-personal service and attention to customers, less recourse in the event of a problem, and technicians paid on a flat-rate basis. However, there are other considerations. For example, when there is a recall on your particular year, make, and model vehicle you may not be able to get coverage from anyone other than the dealership. Finally, consider the fact that the techs at dealerships work on the same makes every day and, more often than not, this enables the tech to diagnose the problem more efficiently because they see the same problems over and over, and become more proficient doing those repairs.

Seeking Out An Independent

Independent repair facilities tend to be woven into the fabric of a community. Oftentimes the owner comes from the neighborhood he or she lives in and knows many people in the community. This gives independents a high grade for the personal touch, generating feelings of trust and comfort with their customers. However, in the past there was a major problem with the independent shop. They didn’t have access to the tools, information, and technical training compared to the car dealers (not to mention the dealers’ access to “inside” information from the carmaker) and thus they weren’t able to maintain and repair current model vehicles as well. But this disadvantage no longer exists, as independent shops now have access to a number of information services, scan tools and software programs capable of accessing vehicular data, as well as factory-like automotive repair training available to technicians of independent shops. The caveat when selecting an independent repair facility? Making sure they actually have these tools, information, and trained technicians. Monikers and shingles to look for when selecting an independent shop are: AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility, ASA (Automotive Service Association), iATN (International Automotive Technicians Network), and ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence). Membership in these associations means that the business and technicians invest in up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment and repair information. Ask to see the training certificates from the techs. If they have the credentials, they are most likely keeping abreast with updated training. So when should you consider taking your vehicle to an independent repair shop? After the warranty on your new car has expired, if you feel more comfortable with the independent shop versus the dealer, go for it. Independent shops are often more convenient because they can turn a repair around faster than the dealer that might be backlogged a week or two. Maybe you want to experience the benefits of developing a personal relationship with your service provider, so that you feel like you are doing business with a friend. For many of us, that goes a long way. Shops that want to develop relationships with their customers will usually keep thorough records of your vehicle’s repair history, so that a repeat problem or other patterns can be diagnosed quickly and accurately.

The Specialist

Specialty automotive repair shops come in lots of flavors: transmission and drivetrain specialists, HVAC (heating, ventilation, & air conditioning), electronics & drivability, radiator and cooling systems, under car (brakes, front end, tires, wheels, steering/suspension), and foreign car repair. But why would you go to a specialty shop? Simple: When no one else can fix your specific problem. Specialists are recognized experts in their field and you want to take advantage of that expertise to get the best possible job done. Typically, specialists have the specialized tools, equipment, and knowledge to render an effective and accurate repair in the shortest time possible. Not only do they have the specific knowledge and training needed for the job, but they also deal with the same types of repairs over and over. They understand the idiosyncrasies of the vehicle and/or problem better than most other general repair professionals. Often these sorts of shops will actually work as subcontractors to general repair facilities, including dealers. Article sourced from

Four Auto Body Repair Tips To Keep In Mind

Written by zeeblu on . Posted in Uncategorized

Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. With millions of drivers on the road every day, many of them distracted by phone calls, messy burritos, bad weather or lack of sleep, crashes are inevitable. Luckily, most of these accidents are relatively minor and nobody gets injured. But a minor accident can seriously damage the outside your car. Areas like the fenders and doors are especially susceptible to damage. While it’s generally the insurance company’s job to get your car patched up and back on the road when this happens, there are a few things you should know in order to ensure that your car is properly fixed.

1. You can choose the body shop

Insurance 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 parts

When 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 match

All 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 lights

After 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

Cold Weather Care Tips for your Car

Written by Prestigious Autobody on . Posted in Uncategorized

Car-Snow-Covered Okay, let’s be honest we don’t really have “winter weather” in Santa Barbara. However, our vehicles still should get some TLC during the cold weather season and in preparation for those road trips that we Santa Barbarans love to take up to Big Bear, Mammoth, or Tahoe. What are some of the things we can do to maintain our cars when it’s cold outside? Per the DMV website, here are some tips:  

Engine Oil in the Winter

The 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 Coolant

The 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 Capacity

Make 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 Tires

The 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 Treatment

After 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 Kit

Regardless 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

The Final Word on Headlight Restoration Kits

Written by Prestigious Autobody on . Posted in Uncategorized

Car Repair Santa Barbara

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.

Car Repair Santa Barbara

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.

Car Paint Santa Barbara

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.

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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.

Car Repair Goleta

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.

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How to Repaint Car or Truck Wheels

Written by Prestigious Autobody on . Posted in Uncategorized

Car Paint Santa Barbara

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.

Car Paint Santa Barbara

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.

Car Paint Santa Barbara

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.

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