Posts in body shop

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.

Top Tips For Teen Drivers

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

Ahem. Hey parents. We need a minute alone with the young adults in the family. You can come back later, but this Very Special Episode is just for them. If you don’t leave the room, they may not stop rolling their eyes long enough to read this whole article. We all want to prevent every possible teenage accident, right? So…bye Felicia. Old folks gone? Great. Let’s get to it.

Before you find yourself hashtagging #FML with an Instagram of your banged-up starter car, we’ve got a few pretty excellent tips on how to navigate your first years behind the wheel. Look, we know you’re a mature, responsible high schooler with just the one B-plus in Trigonometry and a part-time job at the local coffeeshop. But absolutely every driver is at-risk for accidents, especially less-experienced drivers. The last thing you need is another reason for your parents to lecture you, so we’re here to share the rookie mistakes you need to avoid.

Step 1: Get the right ride
Whether it’s a hand-me-down clunker, a junkyard rescue, or you’ve saved up enough holiday cash from Grandma over the last 15 birthdays to procure your own sweet ride, it’s vital to have a car you can rely on to be safe and dependable. Luckily there are plenty of smart people compiling safety ratings on the best car for teenagers and sharing their wisdom with the rest of us. So, before you settle on the car of your dreams, check the list to see if it also meets the top criteria for teen safety:

  1. Avoid High Horsepower
  2. Big, Heavy Car
  3. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  4. Great Safety Rating

Step 2: Put the phone down
It’s your direct connection to everything. Fine. But every text, like, comment or snap will still be there when you get to where you’re going. And, let’s be honest – if you let all the cyber-attention accumulate for more than six minutes, your double-digit notifications are going to really make you feel special when you finally sit down to review them all. The truth is this, though: Not only is it dangerous, it’s against the law. If you need to map your destination, plug in the coordinates before you ever turn the key and keep your hands free. There’s no text that’s ever important enough to risk your life. We can quote research about the average length of distraction and how that connects to increased risk all day long. But you’ve heard that all before. So, just do yourself a favor – turn the sounds off and set the phone down.

Step 3: Get smarter
Maybe the last thing you think you want to do is sit at another desk in another classroom. Voluntarily. But seriously, the last thing you actually want is to total your primary source of transportation because you just didn’t have the tools you needed to be a safer driver. So consider taking some accident prevention courses through the Virginia Insurance Department. You’ll be smarter, safer and heck, the potential discount on your car insurance ain’t half bad either.

Step 4: Slow down
When you’re on the road, it’s easy enough to recognize you’re cruising past the speed limit. It might be fun, but you know it’s not safe. But truly, more speed-related incidents occur where posted limits aren’t as obvious: parking lots and private property. They’re like a hornet’s nest of inattentive drivers, pedestrians and tightly packed obstacles.  All it takes a little bit of a lead foot to earn your first fender bender badge. And when it comes to parking lot accidents, there’s a high likelihood that a term called comparative negligence will rear its ugly head. All that means is that with nobody to blame, your insurance bill takes the hit.

Step 5: Stay focused
Whether it’s the radio dial, a cellphone, a car full of friends or hazardous visits from unexpected woodland creatures, a distracted teen driver is a dangerous teen driver. Focus on the road and ride solo as often as possible. Risk for accident increases considerably for every teen passenger in a car with a teen behind the wheel.

These tips are no guarantee you’ll be 100 percent safe in your first years of driving. But they’re a great place to start. Now, go tell your parents they can come back inside. It’s hot out there.

car body paint bleeding

Car Body Paint Bleeding Tips

October 22nd, 2019 Posted by auto body paint, Autobody shop, body shop, car paint, car paint maintenance, Chesapeake Auto Body Paint, chesapeake body shop, Portsmouth Auto Body Paint, portsmouth body shop, Suffolk Auto Body Paint, suffolk body shop No Comment yet

As an autobody shop serving Chesapeake and Portsmouth our goal is generally to get your car, truck, or suv looking good. That usually means things like removing dents, fixing cosmetic damage, and of course restoring car body paint. In the auto body painting realm, there are a number of issues that may need repair on your cars surface. One major issue we will address here is auto body paint bleeding.

A Review Of Autobody Shop Paint Bleeding

If you have not read our article on what auto body paint bleeding is, check it out for a quick review. Bleeding is a cosmetic condition that obscures the top layer of auto paint. It is an eyesore but can be fixed. Whether or not you are a do it yourself auto body repair aficionado, or you just want to be an informed customer, I put some resources here to help you.

Autobody Paint Resources For Bleeding Issues

Here are some links to some comprehensive lists of car or truck paint bleeding issues.

What Is Involved In Repairing Car Paint Bleed?

Here is a link to an article that goes into the steps you need to take to prep and repair your car’s finish. It looks like something a do it yourselfer could do. It is also something your local body shop, like Mack’s, can take care of pretty easily.

Repairing Car Paint Bleed

Car Paint Bleeding Article For The Pro

I saw an article on paint bleeding that is intended for the body shop professional. While technical, it is a good read for anyone curious about this car body shop issue.

Car body paint bleeding article

Bleeding And Blending Car Paint

This article is another technical article on blending different paint together. It seems more technical than just a simple do it yourself auto boy repair task. The link is below.

Auto body paint bleeding article

 

battery maintence summer

Summertime Car Battery Care

July 1st, 2019 Posted by battery maintenance, body shop, car sun damage, tips No Comment yet

Summertime is a time of great weather, fun, and travel. Summertime can be fun but it can be tough on your car. One part of your car that you may not realize feels the full brunt of that heat is your battery. In fact your battery is more likely to die due to extreme heat exposure than cold exposure.

This goes against one myth that the cold weather is the biggest threat to your battery. That is one myth that has been busted wide open. Science shows that it is heat that will do the most damage. And by damage, something that could leave you stranded by the road.

Steps To Protect That Car Battery In Summer

Check it Out

The number one thing you can do is be aware of that battery. By being aware, I mean inspecting it on regular intervals. Two intervals you must absolutely do are at the beginning of the summer season and vacation.

Beginning of Season Battery Inspectionbattery sun damage

As the warm season begins you want to get that battery inspected. As simple as this may seem it often gets overlooked. Many people don’t think to do it, until they are stranded on the side of the road. Set a reminder and go do it as soon as the warm season hits.

Before Vacation

There is no worse time to find out your battery has gone kaput, or was about to go kaput, than when you are 700 miles from home. Worse you are in a place you don’t know, along a stretch of highway. That is not the time to find out your battery is bad. Make sure ANY vacation, especially summer vacation, starts with a full battery inspection.

And The Simplest Habit For Your Battery…

Avoid the heat. Keep your car in a cool place whenever you can. Park in the shade and garages to reduce the temperature under the hood. Also using sunshades can be effective as well.

Drive Safe


Sources

TOP 7 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR CAR BATTERY FROM THE SUMMER HEAT. – THE DAILY BOOST
In-text: (“Top 7 Ways To Protect Your Car Battery From The Summer Heat. – The Daily Boost”)
Your Bibliography: “Top 7 Ways To Protect Your Car Battery From The Summer Heat. – The Daily Boost”. The Daily Boost, 2019, https://blog.caasco.com/automotive/ways-to-protect-your-car-from-summer-heat/.

auto body shop winter weather

Winter Car Care Tips From The Auto Body Shop

January 3rd, 2019 Posted by auto body paint, body shop, car paint, car paint maintenance, chesapeake body shop, portsmouth body shop, suffolk body shop, tips No Comment yet

The iceman cometh and your car’s body will suffer

As a body shop there is nothing like the look of someone’s face when there beloved truck, car or suv has been restored. It is a great feeling redoing the paint job or getting dents out after a wreck. And as much as we love to do it, we want you to avoid situations that can damage that paint or exterior.

body shop winter tips

Bring on the Winter…

The Winter months pose a threat to that car body in a lot of different ways. Some are seemingly innocent. You go outside after a snowfall and your car is covered in powdery snow and ice. Naturally you go to remove the snow. Guess what, do it wrong and you can damage the paint.

Winter Deicing And Snow Removal Without Car Body Damage Tips

Here are pitfalls you want to avoid. If you deice or scrape your car wrong, you are going to look pretty scratched and dinged up come Spring. Here are some situations to avoid:

The Car Is Covered In Snow…

You come outside and your vehicle is covered in lots of puffy snow…So you grab the snow shovel to dust that car off. You may remove the snow but that shovel will scratch the paint. Shovels have sharp metal edges that can destroy your paint job.

The Solution:

Make sure to a get a tool that says it will not scratch your car or auto body paint. What is the point of removing snow if you cost yourself thousands in repairs. You could even use your hand but make sure to avoid things with sharp edges.

Not So Nice..Ice

Say you come out and your car has a layer of ice coating the doors, hood, and just about everywhere else. You grab the ice scraper tool and scrape the windows.. Once done you decide to use the scraper tool on the car body. But before you do keep in mind, it will damage the paint.

The Solution:

Scraper tools are designed for windows, not paint. A better way is to let the car heat up and let ice melt away  independently of the scraper tool. Then use your hands to pick pieces of ice away.

Salt: Double Threat

Salt can pose two big threats.  One, it can corrode your vehicle’s body if left there for a long time. Two, if you try to rub it off it can scratch and degrade your automobile’s finish.

The Solution: Wash It Off

When you can, wash that salt off and let the water remove it from the vehicle’s body


And when you need Auto body or car body work done..Come See Us At Mack’s. We can work with your insurance carrier.

And as always..Be Safe This Winter

auto bodyshop winter weather car care tips

 


References

How to Protect Your Car from Snow and Ice Damage. (2015, December 8). Retrieved from https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-protect-your-car-snow-and-ice-damage.htm

Winter Tires

Caring For Your Car Body In Winter, Starting With Tires

November 8th, 2018 Posted by body shop, tips, tires, tires, winter car maintenance No Comment yet

Regardless of the season, there are always things you need to do to care for your car’s body, paint, and overall condition. No season tests that principle to the limit…like winter. Waiting until the first patch of black ice or the first snowfall is not the time to address winter erosion for your car, truck, or suv. Even here in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Virginia winter precipitation can wreak havoc on your car’s appearance.

But before you can even think about protecting the appearance I would focus on safety. First and foremost I would get a checklist of key items to review. Here is a link to a couple of reputable checklists.

AAA

Good old Triple A has winter tips to get you started at this auto blog link

ASE

If you have ever heard the term ASE certified than you probably recognize this acronym. It stands for automotive service excellence and offers a great auto checklist at this tire maintenance link.

Fall Tire Maintenance

Start Early..Maintain Your Car Often

There is no time when you can really ever neglect your car. The key is to be aware of it and stay on a schedule. Seasonal weather changes are great reminders that there are things you must do. Try to get in this habit and do not risk falling behind on your maintenance.

Let Us Start With Tires..

If there is one area where you really want to watch closely with your car, it is your car’s tires. While not as aesthetically stunning as a beautiful paint job, it can be the very difference between something that can mess up that paint job or auto body, if it fails to do what it is supposed to do.

Tire maintenance is as good as any area to begin your automotive winter maintenance preparation plan. And in that tire maintenance let us start with a simple but often overlooked factor, proper tire tread depth. To be on the road as it gets colder, wetter, icier and slipperier, depending on the undependable is not a wise choice.

winter tire maintenance
Tire Tread Depth

Worn out or inadequate tire treads can be a recipe for disaster. I have read about different tire tread depth tests. One involved using a coin to see if your tires are deep enough. This is great but I say take it in to your auto shop and have the professionals look at the tires on your Fall or pre winter oil change. Don’t take chances and make sure the tires are in working condition.

Tire Inflation

So let us say you have past the tire tread test and your tires have a safe amount of tread. At that point turn your focus to the air levels in the tires. This one may be trickier than you think. As weather gets cooler your tire pressure will drop naturally. With no leaks in your tire, your inflation levels may not be enough to allow you to stop safely on the road. Make sure your car care professional has checked and inflated your tires to the proper winter levels.

Naturally I cannot go over every area you need to focus on. This is a good start though, in tandem with a through winter maintenance car checklist from a reputable source.


References

Prepare Your Tires for Winter Weather – The Allstate Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blog.allstate.com/prepare-your-tires-for-winter-weather/

Preparing Your Tires for Winter | Plymouth Rock Assurance. (2017, December 4). Retrieved from https://blog.plymouthrock.com/preparing-tires-winter/

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