Archive for the ‘What to do After a Car Accident’ Category

Check Those Sensors

Posted on: May 2nd, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

car sensorCar Sensors – What to Do

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that today’s vehicles are basically giant computers on wheels. And with all that impressive and advanced circuitry, the days of popping open the hood and knowing exactly what to tweak to tune things up are long, long gone. In fact, when it comes to auto body repair, repairing sensor systems is critical and very specialized. This especially true when it comes to all the new self-guidance, blind spot, and lane departure systems. We take extra care making sure those are working, while other body shops overlook those. But…we digress…..with the number of sensors that can go off at any given time, it can get kind of confusing when one (or a few) go off on your dashboard. Making sure to keep an eye out for those sensors and knowing what to do when one goes off is an important part of owning and operating a vehicle, but no one said you had to guess at it alone. Here are some things to know before the lights go off.

What Those Sensors Are For

The sensors in your vehicle are there to let you know that something’s up. Though the issue typically isn’t dire unless paired with other symptoms, it is an indicator that you should get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. The reason behind a particular sensor going off can mean a wide range of things, but when a light pops on, it shouldn’t be ignored. Even if it’s nothing at all and the sensor itself malfunctioned, that’s better to know than assuming that’s the case and doing serious damage to your car in the long run.

How to Know What They Mean

We know this is every car owner’s least favorite sentence but: consult the owner’s manual. It’s the best place to start, and going there can help you start to unravel the mystery of what’s going on with your vehicle. The information you find there will give you a foundation to build upon, and help inform the conversations you have with your repair shop when you bring your vehicle in for a checkup.

Remain Calm

The sudden appearance of a check engine light can be very disconcerting, especially if you’re in the middle of a long trip or simply weren’t anticipating it at all. Really, the sudden appearance of any unexpected sensor light on your dashboard can be a bit of a shock, and googling it can lead o some pretty terrifying results sometimes. However, it’s our motto to remain calm and call your trusted auto body shop. Panicking won’t make the light go away, nor will it solve the problem. Instead, keep your cool and get to an auto body shop to get to the bottom of it.

It can be concerning when the sensors in your car go off, but the important thing is to know what they may mean and be informed when you take your vehicle in. Once you’re with a mechanic, you can work together to determine what’s going on and what needs to be done about it. Most auto repair shops will provide you with a range of options to choose from so you can decide on what fits your budget and situation best.

How to Handle Being Stuck in Winter Weather

Posted on: January 18th, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

Tips for Stuck Car in WinterTips for Stuck Car in Winter

Winter weather comes with a set of dangers that you don’t experience any other time of the year. With snow, cold temperatures, ice and more, there are risks you take when driving in winter weather that can sometimes leave you stuck. If you find yourself stuck in the dead of winter in the middle of a storm, don’t panic. Keep these things in mind and give yourself the best chance of getting out of the situation (relatively) unscathed.

Emergency Kit

This is a preparatory step that we recommend every single car owner takes well before winter weather gets wild (and keeping it in your car year-round can only benefit you, too). Put together a comprehensive emergency kit and store it in your trunk or the backseat of your car. What you might need will vary a little, but make sure you include a shovel, protein-rich food, water, blankets, batteries, flashlights, flares, blankets, extra layers of clothing, and anything else you can think of that you might truly need. Having all these things in your vehicle at all times means you’ll be as prepared as possible for being stuck for a while.

Assess the Situation

As soon as you realize you’re stuck, you need to suss out what’s going on. Get out of the car and determine where you are. Are you in an area near other buildings or a town within reasonable walking distance so you can go get help and/or shelter? Are there other cars stranded near you? Take stock of what’s happening and what your options may be. If you have service, use your phone (or the radio) to help you determine whether you should wait out the storm or try and find shelter. If you have service, call friends and family to let them know where you are and what’s going on.

Keep Your Exhaust Pipe Clear

This is where the shovel will come in handy. Not only do you have the option of digging yourself out of the situation if that’s a feasible option (and determining this should absolutely be part of the situation assessment), but you can ensure your exhaust pipe is clear. This is a necessity if you’re stuck and running your engine intermittently to keep you warm. A clogged pipe means you are susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning, which is lethal.

Make Yourself Visible

Flares and reflective markers are helpful here. However, you can make yourself more visible to workers or other cars passing, do it. The only thing we recommend against is flashing your brights. This might make you temporarily more visible, but it is also putting other drivers at risk. Brights are blinding in winter weather conditions, so it’s not your best option for safely getting the attention of someone who can help you out.

Keeping a cool head and being prepared are the keys to surviving being stuck in winter weather conditions. Having supplies makes a world of difference, and being able to objectively (not in a panic) analyze what the best course of action is to keep yourself and whoever else might be in your vehicle with you safe and sound. What are your best winter weather survival tips?

Where Do Car Dents Come From?

Posted on: May 19th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

car dentsHave you ever walked out to your car to discover dents and wondered where they came from? If you live in Colorado, you know that hail happens. In fact, we have more hail damage insurance claims than any other state. Whether it is the roof of your house or your car, chances are if you live here that you will experience hail repair. But, as your dent repair experts, we see a lot of car dents from causes other than hail. Some are memorable, such as when a kid used his Dad’s Toyota as a BB gun target, and others more common. We thought it would be fun to outline where car dents come from.

Learn more about our car dent repair services.

Common Causes of Car Dents

Parking Lot Mayhem

Cars do not like parking lots. They are a breeding ground for car dents much like ponds are for mosquitos. If you find a dent on the side of your car, look no further than that last trip to the grocery store. In parking lots, cars are simply packed too close together. Slots are never wide enough for giant sized SUVs. As a result, when the doors open, they impact your car.

Also, shopping carts are a big problem. People rarely take the time to put the cart in the corral or take it back up to the store. As a result, they sometimes shoot across the parking lot and do not stop until they hit your car.

Sports Games

Kids sports are a big deal here along the front range. Almost all of us go to soccer or baseball games. And believe it or not, we see the damage to the cars that park too close to the field. Especially with baseball season and foul balls that not only put a big dent in the car but also destroy windshields. Please ensure, when going to games, you avoid parking in foul ball territory. At soccer games, don’t park behind the goals.

But, it is not just baseball and soccer. Golf is another sport that doles out its fair share of car dents. Just because you are parked safely in front of the clubhouse, do not underestimate the talent of weekend hackers when it comes to slicing a shot off the 18th tee. Trust us, we have seen the damage!

Automatic Car Washes

Those car washes at the gas station seem convenient for that quick wash after getting fuel. But, beware. Those washes are not as well maintained as regular car washes. If a car before you goes in with a lot of dirt and debris on the car, it is possible for the bristles to lock in the little rocks. Then, when it is your turn in the wash, the rocks get propelled into your car.

Also, the washers that used a conveyor to pull your car through the wash, can result in some minor bumps. This usually happens when the person in front of you does not get their car into gear when they are done with the wash and just sits there, while the conveyor belt pulls you into the back of their car.

How to Use This Information

Dents are going to happen. Some of you can live with a little dent or two. But, for more severe dents, you will want to get it repaired. We are experts at dent repair and paintless dent repair. If dents should strike, call us at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

What Not to Do if in an Accident

Posted on: April 19th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

what not to do if in an accidentLet’s pretend for a moment that you have been in an auto accident. Nothing serious, no one injured. Would you know what to do? As your auto body repair experts, we have seen a lot of accidents so we definitely know what you should and should not do if you find yourself in an accident.

Don’t Drive Away

Again, the accident wasn’t bad. Only minor damage to both cars. No one was hurt. So, it should be OK to shake hands with the other driver and just leave, right?

Nope. Whether the wreck is serious or not, you a should check on the driver, exchange insurance information, and report the accident to law enforcement. If you do not, you could be violating the law as all accidents do need to be reported. We call this: stick, exchange, and report. Stick around and check on the other person involved, exchange insurance information, and report it.

You Must Report It

Many think that if no one is hurt, there is no need to call 911. However, that is a very bad idea.

The fact is one in seven drivers are not insured. Many uninsured drivers carry a fake or expired insurance card. So, if you have an agreement with the other driver to “let insurance handles things”, but do not report it to the police, you may find yourself up a creek without a paddle. Plus, the report is verification of the accident for insurance.

Keep You Cool

To say that car accidents are not emotionally charged would be an understatement. But, you need to try and keep calm and take in the situation. And, while you may want to lash out at the guy who ran the red light or rear ended you, you need to start with, “Are you alright?” Don’t start yelling and blaming them, as it is not going to fix the situation.  Instead, take some deep breaths so you can begin documenting the accident.

Don’t Admit Fault

At the accident scene, never tell people it was your fault. Legally speaking, you are admitting guilt and liability which could expose you to a lawsuit. But, if it is your fault, just be polite, make sure everyone is alright, and try not to say too much that could expose you.

Document the Scene

So far, so good. You have decided to stay at the scene, exchanged information, and not yelled at the other drivers. Now is the time to start documenting the scene. If you have a smartphone with a camera, get pictures of the cars, license plate, street names and more. If you don’t have a camera, try and write down as much information as possible. Also, take some time to recall events leading up to the accident, like what street were you on, what direction were you heading, the color of the other car, etc. You will likely need to give this account several times to the insurance company and police.

Register Your Claim Quickly

Make sure that you get your insurance claim filed quickly. Sometimes insurance companies have time limits. And, the sooner you can get the claim process started, the faster you will be back on the road.

How to Use This Information

Few people even mean to get into an accident. But, if you do, make sure that you stay at the scene, exchange information, report the accident, don’t admit fault, document, and get your claim filed. Other than that, let us take care of you with our collision repair team. Call 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

What is Paintless Dent Repair?

Posted on: March 23rd, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

paintless dent repair

Car Hail Dent Damage and Repair

As we approach Colorado’s hail season, we are sure that some of you will be in the market for dent repair. And, while we would never wish hail damage on anyone, we do want you to know that we are experts at paintless dent repair, which is a technique used to repair your vehicle from hail damage. That being said, we often get asked, what exactly is dent repair without paint.

Definition of Paintless Dent Repair

The best definition of paintless dent repair is a method of repair commonly used for minor dents in cases where the damage from the dent leaves the paint surface intact. It is common for hail damage to be repaired using paintless dent repair, but is can also be used to repair common door dings, large dent, or even bodyline damage.

Essentially, paintless dent repair is a precision repair where, but using metal rods, our technicians gently massage the dent out. We carefully push out the dents from the underside of the body panel and the blend high spots in order match your vehicle’s actual texture. Using a light board, we are able to see precisely where to place our tools to message out the dent and restore the surface to its original condition. It is, indeed, precision repair! But, there are limits and regular dent repair is required if:

  • The dent has created a fracture in the paint surface
  • The dent is an area such as under bracing of the hood or trunk
  • Or in situations where it is a large dent or creases where the sheet metal is stretched

How to Use this Information

We do hope that you escape hail season unscathed and dent-free. But, if you should encounter a ding or two, or have a bad day in a parking lot, we can help. We do more than just collision repair. Let us take care of those annoying dents.  Call 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Top Causes of Car Accidents

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

what causes the most accidentsWhat are the Top Causes of Car Accidents?

It was a sobering year when it came to traffic collisions and fatalities in Denver. Sadly, there was an 11 percent increase in deaths associated with traffic collisions on Colorado roadways in 2016 – far outpacing the increase in population. This accounts for 605 deaths, including 125 motorcyclist deaths and a 15-year high of 84 pedestrian fatalities. So, what causes the most accidents here in Colorado and the Denver area? As your auto body repair team, we have taken a look at some of the statistics to try and find an answer.

#1 Cause of Accidents – Distracted Driving

According to officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), what causes the most accidents, and is the culprit of our recent spike, is distracted driving. Depending on the data, distracted driving accounts for anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of all accidents. Despite making upgrades to intersections, such as putting in grade separated crossings and creating clear zones, those modifications cannot overcome driver behaviors when it comes to being distracted.

The increase of connected devices in vehicles, especially smartphones, creates the most distraction. And, while many phones are hands-free and Bluetooth connected, studies show that does not decrease distraction on the road. Also, new hands-free functions on smartphones do not decrease distraction. Lastly, more people are using their smartphones to stream music in their car. When they do, they become distracted as they sort through playlists and try to find what music to play.

Car Accident Causes: Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is also among the leading causes of accidents in Colorado. In fact, in 2015, 32 percent of fatal accidents involved alcohol use. Unfortunately, drunk driving continues to be a problem in Colorado, as we are among the top states when it comes to this statistic.

Causes of Car Accidents: Reckless Driving and Speeding

An estimated 34 percent of 2014 traffic deaths in Colorado were due to just driving too fast. And, this can increase during inclement weather. While accidents do increase in the snow and ice, they are rarely cited as the actual reason for the accident. Instead, it is likely driving too fast for the conditions, which is considered speeding or reckless driving.

How to Use this Information

When it comes to driving in Colorado, just be aware out there. Put away all the distractions while you are on the road and recognize that you are responsible for the life of other motorists and pedestrians. Also, CDOT officials say the number one thing that can reduce fatalities is simply using your seat belt. But, if you find yourself in need of body repair, give us a call at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Caring for Your Car’s New Paint Job

Posted on: January 10th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

Taking Care of New Paint Job

Painting Your Car? Here are a Few Paint Job Tips

When it comes to taking care of new paint job, there are several things to keep in mind. As your team of auto body repair experts, we do more than just collision repair. We are a leader for Denver car refinishing with factory trained specialists in color matching. While often collision repair requires new paint, a lot of paint work we perform is also due to the fact that we live in Colorado where vehicle paint can take a beating from high-intensity sun, hail as well as winter road treatments. Taking care of a new paint job is very important, especially in the first month.

Taking Care of New Paint Job –  The First 30 Days

Wash Car by Hand – During the first 30 days of a new paint job, try and avoid using a commercial car wash and, instead, wash your car by hand. Oftentimes, commercial car washes use stiff brushes that can mar the finish and cause damage to your new paint.  When washing your car, find a shady spot, and use a soft sponge and cool water.

No Dry Wiping – We know it is hard to resist the urge to just wipe off that fine layer of dust of pollen. However, dry wiping on a freshly painted car can cause scratches on the finish. If you have some fine dirt you wish to get rid of, simply rinse it off with clean water.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures – This can be easier said than done as we live in a state defined by extreme shifts in weather. But, you will want to try and avoid exposing your vehicles new paint to extreme cold or heat in the first 30 days. Try and park your car in the shade as this can help protect your car from such extremes.

Trees are Not Your Friend – When parking, stay away from parking under a tree. Find another source of shade as trees can drip sap on your car. Also, trees attract birds. And, for some reason, bird droppings are attracted to new paint jobs. Acid from bird droppings will eat through the new finish and damage the surface.

Rinse Spills Immediately – We know accidents happen. If you accidentally spill gasoline, oil, antifreeze, or wiper fluid on your new paint, immediately rinse it off with clean water. Again, do not simply wipe it off as it could create scratches on the finish.

Avoid Gravel – This should go without saying, but we have seen many paint jobs damaged due to driving over gravel surfaces. Gravel can easily get turned up by your tires and chip your paint.

Taking Care of a New Auto Paint Job –  The First 90 Days

No “Wax On” nor “Wax Off” – Do not listen to Mr. Miyagi! We know you will want to keep that shiny paint job looking fresh. But, in the first 90 days, avoid waxing and polishing your car. This will help the finish completely dry and harden.

How to Use This Information

If you just had a new paint job on your car, we hope this information helps. And, if you are considering new paint, our team can help get your car’s paint looking showroom new. Our factory trained technicians are among the top experts in refinishing and color matching. Call us at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Tis the Season for Cracked Windshields

Posted on: December 16th, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

preventing cracked windshieldsTips for Preventing Cracked Windshields

Next time you are driving around here in Colorado, take a look at the cars around you. In fact, pay particular attention to their windshields. We are willing to bet that you will see a lot of cracked windshields. And, as we get deeper into winter, they’ll be even more common. In fact, if you managed to escape last winter without a crack, you are very lucky as most cars over their lifespan go through a couple of windshield replacements. As your auto body repair experts, we put together some information on what causes cracks and preventing cracked windshields.

Common Causes of Cracked Windshields

Here in Colorado, the biggest culprit of cracked windshields is skiing.

Well, not skiing per se, but it is more about driving on roadways that get covered with gravel and sand to help increase traction during snowstorms. Sand and gravel mixtures are used a great deal in the high country, especially on mountain passes. The gravel easily gets caught in car tires and then gets slung out of the tread. And oftentimes that gravel and rock comes from the car in front of you and finds its mark on your windshield.

These deep impact marks on your windshield will, unfortunately, spread and expand into a crack. This occurs as temperatures change. And, here in Colorado, rapid temperature fluctuations are typical. Even having the car sit out at night and then later having it sit in direct sunlight, can create enough heating on the glass to create expansion. Or, if suddenly warm water is put on a cold windshield from; for example, a car wash, the divot will expand. Or, if it is hot and you suddenly blast the cool AC on the windshield, that can also create expansion and contraction.

Windshield Crack Prevention

Preventing windshield cracks are not easy. With our snow storms and use of gravel, you cannot make your windshield gravel proof. Adding a bug guard to the front of your hood can help as it can deflect rocks, but some will still find their way to your windshield.

The best way to prevent windshield cracks is to simply increase your following distance from the car in front of you, especially when driving on a road that has gravel and sand on it. This will give gravity a little more time to push the gravel down before it can collide into your windshield. Also, this is just good and common sense when driving in winter conditions.

Lastly, a lot of gravel kick up occurs when the car in front of you is accelerating from a stop, especially if it is a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. So, even when stopped, you will want to ensure there is more room between you and the car in front of you should their rear tires spin and kick up gravel.

How to Use This Information

We do hope this helps you when it comes to preventing windshield cracks. The best way to do this is keeping a little more distance from the car in front of you. And, it will help you avoid accidents. But, if you do happen to have an accident, we can help get your car looking and running like new.  If you find yourself in need of auto body repair, please give us a call at 303-344-2212 or schedule an estimate appointment online.

Photo credit: kpwerker via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

How to Tell if a Used Car was in an Accident

Posted on: November 18th, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

how to tell if used car was in an accidentWe wish that no one ever got into a car accident. But, as humans, we are prone to accidents as no one is ever perfect, especially on the road. Accidents happen. As your auto body repair Denver team of experts, we strive to make your car look like new. We also know that many people sell their cars. If you are buying one we have ways you can tell a used car was in an accident.

We should note, that even if you see these things in a used car, it doesn’t mean that it is a bad car. It could run well and it could be repaired to the highest standards imaginable! But, there are just a few little telling signs that you can use, especially if the person selling you the car is trying to pass it off as accident-free.

How to Tell Whether a Car Has Had Body Work

Color Test

One way to tell a used car was in an accident is by looking closely at the paint. While we have stringent factory color matching at Accurate Auto Body, other places do not. If you walk around a used car and notice that some panel colors don’t match or paint texture seems a little off, it could indicate that the car may have had some body damage and was repainted.

Reflection Test

Sometimes you can see if a car had body work by looking at the reflection. If you get a smooth reflection, it is good. But, if an area gives off a warped reflection, it is possible that area had some body work and they did not do a good job of reforming that panel.

Bolt Test

Under the hood, depending on the car, you will see bolts that attach the fender to the frame. But, if they are removed, those bolts will show wear and possible be stripped of their paint. The same is true of the bolts that hold the hood to the car. If those bolt heads show wear, it is likely that the hood was entirely removed and it could be a sign the car was in a wreck.

Panel and Door Alignment

Another way to tell if a used car was in an accident is by paying close attention to the alignment of doors, panels and the hood. All the gaps should be evenly spaced throughout the vehicle.

Look for Overspray

At the factory, a car is painted before anything is added to it. As a result, there is no paint on any plastic trim or wiring when it is brand new. If you see some hosing or wiring (especially on the inside of doors), it could be a sign the car was repainted at some point.

How to Use this Information

Again, many of these are only signs that the used car may have been in an accident. They are just some things to look for, especially of the seller seems to not be giving you the full story. Of course, you can always get a Carfax report and that should tell you if the car has been in an accident. But, even with these signs, it may not be an indicator they are trying to pass off a lemon. It could be that the car is perfectly OK and safe to drive if the repairs were done by a reputable repair shop (but you should not pay their full asking price). Speaking of which, if you have need of repair, call us at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Do You Have To Use Your Insurance Company’s Auto Body Repair Shop?

Posted on: October 25th, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

Auto Body Repair ShopCan I Choose My Own Auto Body Shop?

There are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to your choice of an auto body repair shop when going through your insurance company for collision repair. As your Aurora auto body repair experts, this is probably the number one question we get asked when people come to us for an estimate on their repairs. So, we thought we would address if you can choose your own auto body shop and clear up some misconceptions around that issue.

You are Allowed to Choose Your Own Auto Repair Shop

Without a doubt, you are allowed to use your own auto body facility to get your car repaired. Colorado house bill 03-1253 gives vehicle owners the right to choose where their vehicle gets repaired.

Insurance Company Misconceptions About Auto Repair

While it is required by law that you have the right to choose your own repair shop, insurance companies do have contracts with some auto body repair shops. Depending on those arrangements, the insurance company may have negotiated lower labor and material rates. Some insurance may try and sway you to use a shop where they already have such a contract. But the choice is always going to be yours. If you choose to go with someone not on their list of referral shops, they may claim it will take longer to get an adjuster to your shop so the repair could take longer. And they may even claim that the company will not warranty the repairs.

The truth of the matter is, all body shops have estimators that are familiar with all the major insurance companies’ claims processes and the local insurance adjusters. This makes it very efficient and easy to complete the estimate process regardless of the auto shop you choose. After all, auto repair facilities are interested in handling repairs efficiently and they typically offer warranties on their auto repairs. So, you can rest assured that if you choose your own shop, it is very unlikely there will be delays in process and, if they are a reputable shop, they will provide a warranty.

How to Use This Information

The bottom line is that you do have a choice when it comes to repairing your car after an accident. Most reputable insurance companies do leave it up to you where you would like to have repairs made and try not to pressure you into an approved list. The best way to find the right shop for you is by asking friends and family and do a little research to see who you would like to work with. The most important thing is to be comfortable with the shop doing the repairs.  If you have need of collision repair, call us 303-344-2212 or schedule an estimate appointment online.