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Play the “What-If” Game When You Drive

April 15th, 2021 Posted by Blog, body shop, tips No Comment yet

What if that oncoming Jeep swerved into your lane? What if the driver of the bus you’re following slammed on his brakes? What if a dog ran into the road ahead?

Is this pessimistic thinking? Not at all. Playing the “What-If” game is one of the most advanced defensive driving techniques you can use, keeping you alert for the occasional hazard that does threaten your safety. But more importantly, it changes the way you interact with traffic.

 

Have an escape plan

As you play the “What-If” game with potential road hazards, visualize how you would escape from them, and make sure to leave yourself escape options. Don’t get boxed in by other cars. Slow down, if you have to, to create more distance in front of you.

Try to leave your lane-change options open as much as possible. If another driver stays alongside you, speed up or slow down. Then if you need to suddenly change lanes, you’ll have somewhere to move.

Pay attention to the edge of the road. Is the shoulder wide enough to drive on, if you had to? Is it smooth or rough? Is it level or sloped? The shoulder can be one of your escape routes, as long as you’re moving at a speed that allows you to use it. Reduce your speed, if a rough or sloped shoulder is your only escape route in tight traffic.

If you don’t feel like you have enough places to move for any reason, speed up or slow down to give yourself more room. Create distance from other vehicles in every direction whenever possible, and it’s less likely you’ll be endangered by mistakes they make. Assume that they will make mistakes, and play the What-If game to predict what those mistakes may be. Prepare for the worst and have a plan to deal with it, moment to moment, mile after mile.

 

Never trust traffic lights

Most of us have seen someone run a red light; maybe we’ve inadvertently done it ourselves. It’s rare, but it happens. We’re human. Still, always check cross traffic both directions before driving through an green light, just in case this is “that one time.”

 

Avoid mental “auto pilot”

You probably already use these techniques to some extent; most people do it subconsciously. But consciously thinking through situations and planning escape routes brings you to a new level of driving focus. It turns driving into a full-time job, which is what it should be.

Safe travels!

Save Time and Money with Macks Direct Repair Program

March 3rd, 2021 Posted by body shop No Comment yet

Macks Auto Body is proud to participate in collision repair programs that make our customers’ lives easier. We partner with most major insurance providers to offer a direct repair program (DRP), which streamlines the collision repair process, saves money, and provides a lifetime guarantee on body work.

A DRP is an arrangement we have with the insurance provider that takes steps out of the estimating and repair processes by allowing Auto Craft personnel to perform the vehicle inspection according to criteria provided by the insurer. This means less hassle for the customer; you don’t have to coordinate paperwork, get multiple cost quotes and generally do more running around.

Does a DRP Give Me the Best Price on Auto Body Repair?

This is a common question, as DRPs don’t require you to gather competitive cost quotes for your auto body repair. The answer is a resounding “yes.” The insurance companies have established cost structures for these programs that include a best-price guarantee, thanks to their relationships with top body shops and parts suppliers. Basically, the work you would have done to find the repair price is paralleled in the way DRP programs function.

Will a DRP Force Me to Accept Aftermarket Parts for My Repair?

Work done under a direct repair program may include both aftermarket and OEM parts, but the fact is that this is true of any repair. Insurance companies frequently specify aftermarket parts, and will only pay for the parts they specify, so direct repair programs are not much different than other repairs.

What’s the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts?

Direct repair program or not, your estimate will clearly indicate which type of parts the insurer has approved, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting from Auto Craft under all circumstances. They also have to warrant in writing that the aftermarket parts are as good as the OEM parts, which is part of your standard lifetime guarantee on the work. You can switch to OEM parts in cases where aftermarket is specified, but you’ll probably have to pay the cost difference out of pocket, depending on your individual policy.

The good news is that direct repair programs save you time and money, repairs are completed faster, and you still have control over the process. It’s just a more streamlined process.

Are You Keeping the Insurance Money for Your Auto Collision Repair?

February 1st, 2021 Posted by Blog, body shop No Comment yet

Sometimes collision damage doesn’t look like it hurts the structure of a vehicle. And sometimes, the vehicle looks cosmetically fine, or close enough to fine that you think about keeping the insurance money rather than having it repaired. You’re free to do that, if you own the vehicle outright, and the insurance check is made out to you personally. Go for it; good for you.

Or is it?

The answer is “sometimes.” If the vehicle’s appearance is acceptable, and there is absolutely no damage that could come back to haunt you in the future, sure, take the money and pay off that student loan or buy your spouse something nice.

But minor structural damage can be difficult to detect, and even a collision repair expert can’t always predict problems that may crop up in the future. If they do crop up after you decide not to go through with the repair, the insurance company can deny coverage for future claims related to the same parts.

Getting the repair done also protects you if you’re ever in another accident, and some of the same parts are damaged. Again, the insurance company is within its rights to deny coverage if you previously opted not to repair any of the newly damaged parts.

Also important: if the vehicle is totaled, you won’t be able to keep both the money and the car. The insurance company will possess it as a condition of paying off the claim.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, it’s more important than ever to work with the best collision repair shop you can find. A good body shop will have trustworthy people with the experience to give you reliable information. If you’re looking for the top auto body shop in Hampton Roads, be sure to put Macks Auto Body on your short list. We’ll use the latest technology to give the best information we can.

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

January 10th, 2021 Posted by Autobody shop, Blog, tips No Comment yet

Deciding how often you should wash your car is dependent upon a lot of factors including the time of year, where you live, how often you drive, and so on. For instance, if it’s the dead of winter and you live somewhere with heavy amounts of snow, you’ll need to wash it more often than you will in the summer due to road salt. If you reside on the coast, snow won’t be much of a concern, but you’ll want to pay attention to how the salty ocean air affects the look of your vehicle. If you happen to live in a heavily-wooded area, you’ll be constantly dealing with pollen, leaves, tree sap, dirt, and bird droppings.

When pressed for an answer, most experts would tell you can’t go wrong washing your vehicle every 10 to 14 days under normal circumstances. More often than that (assuming it’s not getting extremely dirty in the interim) might be considered a bit overkill. But really, the best thing you can do to maintain your vehicle’s showroom look–and this isn’t complicated–is to just wash it whenever it looks like it needs to be washed. It’s as simple as that.

And speaking of washing your vehicle, did you know that regularly washing your car can actually help maintain its value in the long run? For instance, if you’re a buyer, you’ll certainly want your new car to look great from the outside. Fading paint or rust spots can be a good inclination that a vehicle’s owner has been less than meticulous about cleaning their vehicle. And if they’re not keeping up on maintaining the vehicle’s exterior, it’s often safe to assume that regular maintenance tasks and upkeep might have fallen by the wayside as well. In this case, it’s okay to judge a book by its cover.

Is It Bad to Wash Your Car Too Often?

Assuming you’re using the proper washing techniques and equipment–or going to a reputable automatic wash that won’t damage your car–there’s nothing wrong with washing your car as much as you want.

While some might view the act as a bit excessive, if you have the means and desire to grab the hose and sponges every day, then by all means have at it!

Will Salt Damage My Vehicle’s Paint?

Yes, it will. If you live in a region that gets a lot of ice and snow in the winter, you’re surely used to seeing the plows and salt trucks working diligently to keep the roads clear and safe when winter storms are in the forecast. Unfortunately, this salt and sand mixture will almost always mix with the moisture in the air and become adhered to your vehicle. And while it won’t happen overnight, that grimy substance will, if left untouched long enough, eat away at your vehicle’s paint job. So as soon as the storms have passed and the roads are back to normal, you’ll want to get that gunk washed off.

Should I Hand Wash or Use An Automatic Wash?

While running through the automatic machine is definitely more convenient for washing the mud and sludge away, it might not be the best choice when it comes to maintaining the longevity of your vehicle’s paint job. If you must use an automatic wash, try to find a touchless option as opposed to the kind with the giant, spinning or swinging brushes. With as much grime as these brushes see in a given day, they probably won’t be the cleanest or gentlest on your vehicle’s exterior. Touchless washes that spray sudsy soap and water at your vehicle are a better choice, but still not ideal as the jets can just scrape your vehicle’s gunk across its surface. And remember, if the vehicle in front of you in line is absolutely caked in mud or grime, give up your spot and come back later (all that gunk has got to go somewhere). As far as the coin or paid options go, the do-it-yourself stalls are certainly your best bet, but still nothing beats a good old fashioned wash by hand. Just remember to always wash your towels, sponges, and mits and keep them stored where they won’t get dirty before their next use.

There are many good tools and cleaning solutions on the market that can keep your car’s finish looking great and lasting a long time. Your local hardware, auto parts, or department store should have plenty of options to choose from. Your vehicle is a big investment and it’s in your best interest to do all you can to preserve it for as long as you can.

What Should You Do If Your Car Gets Hail Damage?

December 1st, 2020 Posted by Blog, Chesapeake Auto Body Paint, Suffolk Auto Body Paint, winter car maintenance No Comment yet

Weather is oftentimes unpredictable and hail can show up out of nowhere. Frozen precipitation falls and it can come down at varying speeds, shapes, and sizes which in turn can create unique damage on an uncovered vehicle. When the hail is over and you can safely inspect your vehicle it is recommended to a professional body shop to asses the damage. They will look for the following hail damage indications:
– Dents or dings in the hood, doors, and sides of the car, or trunk.
– Cracked or broken windshield, backglass, windows, or mirrors.
– Missing or misaligned mirrors.

If you feel there is any chance you have hail damage, you can call a local repair shop to do an inspection for you. Thinking chips in a windshield are caused by hail is a common misconception. Hail will not chip the glass, it will break it. If you have small chips, they were likely caused by rocks or road debris and had gone unnoticed. Since hail has so many variables, damages could look very different on one car compared to a car one or two subdivisions over. Due to storm and wind patterns, typically one side of the vehicle is left heavily damaged and the other may be very lightly damaged. The roof is almost always as badly damaged as the heaviest side. Hail damage can range from very minor damage resulting in as little as a few dings to massive damage resulting in panel and glass replacements. A vehicle may even be deemed a total loss due to severity.

Should I Turn in a Claim for Hail Damage to My Car?

It depends on the severity of the hail damage and your deductible amount. Some hail can be repaired with PDR (Paintless Dent Removal) and that can be more cost-effective than conventional body repairs with paint. If the damage is light the repair cost may be near or below your deductible amount. Any reputable repair shop can take a quick look at your vehicle and ballpark if it will be near or above your deductible to help you make the decision. You don’t have to make a claim the day it hails if you are unsure if you should make a claim or not. Just document the day and time so when, or if, you have to make a claim you can provide the date and time details of the storm that damaged your vehicle.

Will a Hail Claim Increase My Premiums?

Coverage for hail and its effects on premiums will vary based on the carrier and state laws. Generally speaking, acts of nature are filed under the comprehensive portion of the policy and wouldn’t have a negative impact on your insurance rates. Even though your rates may not raise due to a hail claim, the number of claims made against your policy can still affect your rates if you are calculated to be a higher risk due to the number of claims or frequency of claims. It is always best to speak with your agent or insurance provider for the best answers.

Do I Have Hail Coverage on My Insurance Policy?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle you should be covered for hail damage. Comprehensive coverage can also be referred to as “other than collision”, covering nature caused incidents as well as vandalism and theft. It is always best to discuss any insurance-related questions with your agent and carrier to make sure you have the right coverage for your needs.

How to Avoid Hail Damage

As we mentioned, hail can be unpredictable and come in quick with little warning. Here are some steps to help prevent hail damage:
– Turn the alerts on for your weather app to get alerts when bad weather is coming.
– If you anticipate bad weather, try to park in a garage or covered parking area. If you are driving, stop under an overpass or pull into a covered gas station.
– If you don’t have shelter, consider investing in a hail protection blanket. This may not be 100% effective but will reduce the damage. A quick substitute is to use your vehicle’s floor mats, which can be especially helpful for protecting the windshield.

How Is Hail Damage Repaired?

As mentioned above, sometimes hail (or other dents) can be repaired using PDR. This method is effective for dents and dings that have not broken the paint on the vehicle, are not positioned on a body line (manufacturer crease), and are not too sharp/deep. PDR requires a special molded tool that’s used to massage the metal from the backside forward reshaping the metal, leaving the paint undisturbed. For damage too severe to qualify for PDR, a conventional body repair method is used to reshape the metal, fill, prime, and refinish the damaged area. A reputable repair facility can recommend the best repair method for your damages.

Time To Get Ready For Winter Driving

November 27th, 2020 Posted by Autobody shop, tires, winter car maintenance No Comment yet

“Put on Your Big, Ugly, Winter Driving Hat”

Big ol’ wool hat that keeps you warm, but is all raggedy.

My winter driving hat is one of those big, furry things that makes people want to swing a broom at my head because they think it’s an animal attacking. I don’t care. It’s not how you look that matters; it’s what you do to get ready for winter driving, and the hat is my first line of defense in case of emergency. There’s more …

Prepare for everything

Have your antifreeze checked or buy a dip tester and check it yourself. It isn’t hard. Add antifreeze or water, as necessary.
Keep a window scraper and windshield brush in the car for ice and snow removal. A rubber squeegee can also come in handy.
Pack an emergency kit with blankets, extra clothes, gloves, packaged snacks, jumper cables, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and of course, your big, ugly, winter driving hat.
Keep your gas tank full as much as possible.
Make sure your cell phone is charged before you get on the road. Better yet, buy a car charger for $5 or $10 and keep it plugged into the cigarette lighter.
Keep an eye on your tires. Cold weather can reduce tire pressure.
For longer trips, tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive. Check the forecast before driving into isolated areas.

Drive differently

Morists navigate a city street in white out conditions.

Keep an extra sharp eye out for slippery road conditions and reduce your speed appropriately. Especially watch for black ice, which is so thin that it can be nearly invisible. Don’t make sudden changes with the gas and brake pedals, to make sure you keep traction and give yourself extra stopping distance.

If you get stuck in the weather …

Stay with your vehicle. You’ll be warmer, and it makes you easier to find. More people than you might think get lost and hurt in snowstorms after their vehicles become immobilized.
Tie a colorful piece of cloth to the antenna as a distress signal. Keep the dome light on at night, so you can be spotted more easily. It doesn’t use much juice, and your battery should be fine.
Run the engine only when necessary. No car is perfectly air tight, and toxic exhaust fumes can get in. If you do run the engine, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow and mud.
Wrap yourself with anything you can find for warmth; newspaper, floor mats, etc.

Wear your big, ugly, winter-driving hat. You know you want to.

What’s More Important, Your Safety Or Facebook?

October 13th, 2020 Posted by Cars for Sale No Comment yet

Let’s be clear: this article is not talking about you. You’re a special driver with extraordinary talents, so texting behind the wheel comes easy to you. No safety risk whatsoever when you pull out an Android at 75 miles per hour. No, sir.

No, we’re talking about everyone else when we say that the steady increase in traffic fatalities since 2005 has been correlated to texting. Fatalities increased 10 percent in the first six months of 2016, and it’s steadily getting worse. The numbers clearly demonstrate that, although a lot of people think they can text and drive safely, they really can’t.

Except you, of course. Your brain responds with supernatural speed no matter how many things you’re doing at the same time. You’re like Jackie Chan in that one movie, like ballet and Kung Fu all mixed together. You’re awesome.

But for everyone else, AAA measured the brain activity of normal people while texting and driving in several types of vehicles, and the results were conclusive: The brain’s ability to safely control a car is dramatically reduced while using electronic devices—even hands-free.

Of course, we’re leaving you out of this discussion because you’re a special case. Your brain can do what science has proven the human brain cannot. You’re some kind of supernatural driving ninja. You are truly a superhuman.

But everyone else should stop using computers while they drive, and save some lives. To those millions of drivers with ordinary human brains—and to them alone—we say: please stop texting while you drive. Please focus entirely on keeping everyone around you safe on the road. After all, you’re not that superhuman ninja guy; you’re only human.

Top Reasons You Should Choose Mobile Windshield Replacement

September 8th, 2020 Posted by Autobody shop, Blog No Comment yet

Having to get your car or truck windshield replaced is no fun, but having to drive to the windshield repair shop and waiting for the work to be done can make it even more of a pain. With mobile windshield repair, the technician brings tools and equipment to your location and does the work there. Here are the top six reasons why mobile windshield replacement is a great option for many people. 

  1. Mobile Windshield Replacement is Quick and Easy

In our day and age, everything is go-go-go, and it’s a drag to have slow down. That’s why mobile replacement fits into so many lifestyles. Windshield damage can literally stop you in your tracks, but it doesn’t have put your day on hold while you sit in a waiting room. With the mobile option, a repair technician comes to you with all the tools and equipment needed to replace the windshield.

In-shop replacement is fine, too; it typically takes only an hour or two, but when you go to the shop, the schedule can get sketchier because you’re competing with other customers for staff time. When the mobile technician comes to you, they concentrate their entire energy on your vehicle and get the job done quickly.

Mobile windshield repair service appointments usually take closer to one hour than two, unless the windshield frame needs extra work or you drive a very unusual vehicle that makes the process more time consuming.

The technician can even do the repair on a rainy day, as long as you have a covered area for them to work. You’ll need to keep your vehicle out of the rain before your appointment and be sure to keep it covered for at least one hour afterward to allow for proper drying and setting of the adhesives.

  1. Mobile Auto Glass Repair Cost is the Same as In-Shop

There has to be a catch right? No, there’s no catch. Most windshield shops don’t charge extra for coming to you (we don’t). They don’t skimp on tools, and they use exactly the same processes they would in the shop. You save gas money by having the technician come to you, so mobile auto glass repair actually turns out to be a little cheaper.

The average cost of windshield repair is between $100 and $400, but bear in mind that not all windshield damage requires replacement. If your damage is light enough, you may be able to have the windshield repaired—rather than replaced—for as little as $50. If you think you’re a candidate for repair, it’s best to take the vehicle to the nearest Auto Craft location and have it evaluated. In many cases,when repair is an option, your insurance company will pick up the tab. And in some instances, if the cost of the windshield is extremely high, you can make an insurance claim under the comprehensive portion of your policy, which usually carries a lower deductible

  1. You Can Watch the Work Being Done

You should never have to worry about what a reputable windshield repair shop is doing to your car, but it can be reassuring to be able to watch the technician work. And if you have questions, you can ask. Think of it as having a personal chef rather than eating at a restaurant.

If you have a passion for mechanical things, it can actually be pretty interesting watching an auto glass replacement technician work. They have to consider several aspects of the windshield’s purpose when performing a replacement, not all of which are as simple as shielding passengers from the wind and rain. You car’s windshield is considered part of the vehicle’s structural safety system, as it supports the roof and helps protect you from injury in case of a vehicle rollover. A good auto glass technician evaluates any damage to the windshield frame that could compromise that protection. The windshield is then mounted with an automotive-grade urethane adhesive that makes the upper part of the vehicle stronger while sealing out the elements.

  1. The Auto Glass Replacement is Done on Your Schedule, Wherever You Are

Whether you run a business on the go, work from home or drive to a job every day, mobile glass replacement can bring the service to you at a time that’s convenient. If you have a long meeting at a client’s office, set the appointment there, and the tech will work in the parking lot while you take care of business. If your vehicle typically sits in your employer’s parking lot all day, set the appointment for a time when it’s convenient for the technician to connect with you and get your key. If you can’t—or don’t want to—be onsite for the repair, no problem. Of course, we’ll still need your vehicle key, but you’re free to go about your schedule.

  1. It’s Safe

Safety is the most important reason to have your windshield replaced, as it compromises your vehicle’s mechanical integrity and often limits driving visibility. You should never drive your car or truck if visibility is compromised. This, alone, is enough reason to opt for mobile repair rather than in-shop auto glass replacement.

But again, the windshield is so integral to your vehicle’s safety system, that it’s always best to get the repair done sooner rather than later.

  1. Mobile Glass Replacement is Guaranteed

In terms of quality, mobile replacement is every bit as effective as in-shop replacement, so of course, you get the same quality, processes and warranty in either case. But it’s on your schedule, at whatever location you choose.

Learn more or schedule an appointment by calling 757-488-5108

How Much Should You Pay For A Small Dent Repair?

August 13th, 2020 Posted by Autobody shop, Blog No Comment yet

We all know what happens when there’s a big bada boom. Calculators are brought out, seemingly endless forms are filled out, rental cars are deployed, and all the auto body technicians go to work, pulling out the big guns to rescue your vehicle from the brink of oblivion.

But what about the little dings? The ones that bruise your ego and patience more than your car? That’s where this neat technique called PDR comes in. Minor dent repair cost is significantly cheaper than full-on auto body work and – yeah, we have to admit – it’s pretty cool.

You perked right up when you heard “cheaper” didn’t you? But how do you know if it’s the right tactic for your car’s current injuries? Glad you asked. Here’s the thing – we’re experts in collision repair, but this is something different. When we talk about Paintless Dent Repair (PDR), it’s not for the kind of accident that typically brings you to our front door. It’s for the little things.

PDR employs a number of very cool, very scientific techniques that can inexpensively repair damage from day-to-day foibles like parking lot dings and dents from car doors or runaway shopping carts. It can even fix up some of those shallow craters left behind in the wake of unpredictable Kansas storms. Essentially, for any vehicular injury that doesn’t fold metal or require paint to repair, PDR might be the best choice for you.

Think of it like a soothing massage for your car. PDR technicians are trained to relieve and release the minor knots and bumps that your car acquires over time. And many times, this technique can be offered as a same-day service to get your vehicle back on the road and looking as good as new in no time. Sounds like magic? Maybe! But it’s just one more tool in the mighty arsenal of a well-trained auto body technician.

On top of all that, PDR maintains your car’s value. If you’re dreading the call to your insurance company to discuss getting rid of that elbow-shaped reminder of a late night out with Loud Cousin Larry, fret no more. If PDR is right for you and your vehicle, we can restore the body of your car without affecting your factory paint finish or the resale value of your car.

So, how much can you save? The easy answer is “a lot,” but the first step is to give us a call or use our online cost estimator to get started. Whether it’s a door ding, hail dents or some other unsightly cosmetic damage, PDR might be the cost-saving option you’re looking for to restore your car to its former glory. Now just try to stay away from any BIG bada booms.

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