Posts in winter car maintenance

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.

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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