Friday, 26 June 2015

Paintless Dent Repair

Know About Paintless Dent Repair

With paintless dent repair, many of the dents and dings in your vehicle can be removed while keeping the original paint in place. Paintless dent repair (also known as paintless dent removal, or PDR) is a relatively new process, but one which has undergone considerable refinement since its introduction in the 1990s. What began as a few hobbyists tinkering with special tools has today become a full-blown industry—one which saves drivers coast to coast over a million dollars a year.

If you’ve been putting off a trip to the body repair shop because you’re dreading that exorbitant estimate, then you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices associated with paintless dent repair.

How Does Paintless Dent Repair Work?
The metal that makes up most of your vehicle is quite pliant, which is why it is susceptible to denting in the first place. In addition, the paint on your car or truck is probably a polymer color or a powder coat that is resistant to cracking, peeling, and corrosion.

If you look closely at a dent in your car, you will likely notice that the color itself has not creased or ripped. That means with some specialized finishing tools and a lot of patience, a paintless dent repair professional can work the metal back into its original shape from behind. Even panels that do not allow for easy access can usually be serviced by removing trim and getting inside the chassis itself.

Typically, the PDR technician slowly massages the metal around the outside of the dent back into its original position. As the technician works inward, the dent grows progressively smaller until it eventually blends with the texture of the paint. PDR works well on dents up to the size of a football, making it particularly effective for hail damage.

Paintless dent removal might not be a hundred percent effective in all cases. If your vehicle was manufactured before 1990, it might lack the resilient paint finish necessary for the process to work. You may also see less than optimum results if the paint has been cracked or broken, if the dent is near the edge of the panel, or if the panel has been repaired previously. But even if the dent can’t be removed completely, paintless dent repair can often make the damage almost unnoticeable.

Most paintless dent repairs can be completed in just an hour or two. In fact, most repair shops will dispatch a technician to your home or workplace to do the work there, saving you a trip. PDR is much less expensive than traditional body repair techniques; the exact price will vary depending on the location of the damage and the complexity of the paintless dent repair.

Fixing Car Scratches Will Protect Your Car

How To Protect Your Car From Scratches

Car scratches can make your car look old and hurt your car’s trade-in or resale value, and they can even cause severe problems like rust or corrosion if left untreated. Fixing car scratches as soon as possible is important to keep your car looking and running its best. Depending on how severe your car scratches are, there are several methods for fixing car scratches available to you.

Scratch removing waxes – Several different waxes and polishes are great for fixing light car scratches and very fine swirl marks. These products will fill the scratches instead of just coloring them in. Waxes and polishes work with any color paint, so you don’t have to worry about matching the color to your vehicle. All you have to do is apply the scratch removing wax to the affected area, wipe away the excess and buff.
Color match scratch repair – For fixing car scratches that go a little bit deeper, a color match scratch repair kit can get your car looking like new again. With these paint fills and color match products you do have to find the exact shade to match your car color. Once you have the right shade, apply the paint or coloring directly to the scratch with either the tip of the tube or with a syringe if the scratch is too small for the tip.
Paint and body repair center – If the scratches are very deep or just really extensive, fixing your own car scratches is probably not an option. Instead, you will to go to a paint and body repair center. For repairing car scratches that run all the way to the metal panel, the technician will have to strip the affected panel, prime it and paint it. A paint and body center will have the ability to exactly match the color of your vehicle.
No matter how severe your scratch is, you have several different methods available to you for repairing car scratches. Repairing car scratches is important, not only for looks and aesthetics, but also to protect the physical integrity of your vehicle from rust and corrosion.

Find The Right Import Car Repair Center

How To Locate  Right Import Car Repair Center

No matter where you drive, it’s easy to find a mix of domestic cars and import cars on the road. Most import cars are Japanese, including an array of vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Nissan and others, designed to be practical and economical. Other imports include European cars, many of which are high-end luxury cars. All cars, domestic and imports alike, require the same maintenance and repair. Where you go for import car repair depends on what type of import car you drive.

European car repair
The majority of European imports are luxury sedans like BMW and Mercedes from Germany and high-performance sports cars such as Porsches, also German, and Ferraris and Lamborghinis from Italy. These cars are assembled in their country of origin with parts made specifically for these high-end vehicles.

Most local repair centers will not carry the right parts for European import car repair, even large chain service centers. The dealerships for these European cars may have a service center on the premises, especially BMW and Mercedes. They aren’t sold in the same high volume as Japanese imports, but there are quite a few of these on the road. If a dealership service center is not an option, a European import car repair center is the best choice. A European import car repair center will usually be able to cover all the maintenance and repair work for any European car, rather than specializing in only German cars or only Italian cars.

Japanese car repair
While Japanese cars are technically considered imports, they are often assembled in the U.S. with a lot of U.S.-made parts. From a mechanical standpoint, there is not a great deal of difference between a Japanese import and a comparable American car.

Japanese import car repair is not a difficult or complicated thing. Car dealer service centers for Japanese cars are easy to find. Even if the dealership that you bought your Japanese car from does not have one, there will be one nearby. A local service center is also perfectly suited to handling routine maintenance and repair work for a Japanese import.

If you drive one of the many common Japanese cars, then your import car repair needs won’t be any different from American auto repair work. Less common European cars, particularly European luxury models, will require an import car repair center that specializes in European cars.

Using Car Paint Scratch Remover

How To Use  Car Paint Scratch Remover

Car scratch paint remover is designed to eliminate scratches on your vehicle without the need to sand, prime and paint. If a hailstorm, flying road debris or fender bender has left you with an unsightly scratch, then you may be curious as to whether or not these inexpensive retail products actually work. Learn the basics of car scratch remover products and what types of scratches they can effectively remove.

What Are Car Scratch Repair Kits?

Paint scratch kits are products that can be found at many automotive retail shops. The most important item in these kits is a repairing paste that incorporates plastic deformation chemicals. When rubbed onto your vehicle’s surface, these chemicals cause the paint to distort and deform. As a result, the paint surrounding a scratch is altered in such a way that it can cover up the scratched area. Typically, scratch repair kits only require one to three minutes of buffing.

Which Car Scratches Can be Removed?

Unfortunately, car scratch removers have a very limited range of effectiveness. In general, only the smallest of scratches can be effectively buffed out with the use of such products. As a good rule of thumb, if you can feel the scratch when you rub your fingernail over the area, then chances are a paint scratch remover won’t do an adequate job. However, if the scratch has only penetrated the top clear coat of paint, then it may serve as an affordable alternative to professional paint repair.
Be aware, however, that using such products may cause additional damage to your paint job. If you buff too hard or too long, then hazing or swirling of the surrounding paint job can occur. As such, you may want to try testing the remover on an inconspicuous spot before moving on to the more visible scratch location.

Professional Car Scratch Repair

For the majority of scratches that are not good candidates for car scratch paint remover, it is recommended that you simply take the repair to your trusted auto body shop. Technicians at these garages have access to sophisticated tools such as compressed air guns and paint-mixing technologies that ensure a quality repair. While you may end up paying more in the long run, chances are the superior results will be well worth the money.

Vehicle Repair Advice

Tips And Know How For Vehicle Repair

One of the downsides to car ownership is the occasional need for vehicle repair. You have numerous repair options available, depending on the type of vehicle repair you need. Many high volume car dealers have their own service centers. There are also local service centers that can perform most common repair work and specialty service centers that service one particular system, such as brakes or transmissions.

Car dealer service centers
The mechanics and technicians at a car dealer service center are trained specifically to work on one particular make of car, Fords or Hondas, for example. They will know your car backwards and forwards, which is very handy for complex vehicle repair issues. In the event that you need a part replaced, car dealer service centers also have easy access to factory original parts, as opposed to the after market parts you would get from a local service center.

Local service centers
For convenience and price local service centers are great for most repairs and general maintenance. Labor is the largest vehicle repair cost, and the technicians at local service centers usually charge less than technicians at car dealer service centers. General maintenance from local service centers, such as regular oil changes, keeps your car running its best. The technicians also often identify and repair small problems that can lead to major car repair issues later if they aren’t addressed.

Specialty service centers
For complex problems with one particular part of your car, a specialty service center might be a good option. The technicians at specialty service centers are trained to deal exclusively on one are of a car, such as the transmission or muffler and exhaust system. A specialty service center might be your best option for an unusual or particularly difficult vehicle repair in one of these areas. Many of these kinds of car repairs will be covered under a factory warranty. If the car repair is covered any repair center will honor the warranty, not just a car dealer service center.

Auto body repair centers
If you are involved in an accident or suffer external damage to your car from hail or debris then an auto body repair center can restore your vehicle to its previous condition. These places handle dent removal and repainting and can replace an entire panel if necessary.

Knowing what type of vehicle repair you need will help you determine where to take it for repair.

Windshield Scratch Repair

Windshield Scratch Repair

From time to time, people get chips and small cracks in their car windshield, usually from a small rock being thrown up off the road or some other type of debris. When this happens it is important to fix the damage as soon as possible by either calling a windshield scratch repair company or repairing the scratch yourself.

A windshield scratch is not only cosmetic damage, it can also become a driving hazard. A small scratch can impair your vision while driving if the scratch happens to be in the right place. If your windshield scratch is not repaired, then it can become a much larger crack or expand in a spider web pattern. Not only do large scratches and cracks pose a driving hazard, they will also cause you to have to replace the entire windshield instead of making a simple repair.

If your windshield gets a small crack or scratch, you have a few windshield scratch repair options: using a scratch repair company or performing a simple fix yourself. There are advantages to using both.

Windshield scratch repair company

Mobility – Repairing a small windshield scratch or crack is usually an easy job that requires few, if any, tools. This makes it very easy for windshield scratch repair companies to come directly to your car to make the repair, either at your home or at your place of employment.
Insurance – Windshield scratches and cracks often fall under the comprehensive coverage portion of your car insurance. Most insurance companies will even waive your deductible if you get a small crack repaired before it requires a whole windshield replacement. Usually, the scratch repair company will simply bill your insurance company directly with no out-of-pocket expense to you.
Do-it-yourself repair

Cost – If you don’t have the necessary insurance coverage to get your windshield scratch repair made for free, then you can make the repairs yourself with a windshield and glass sealer. These sealers are available at most auto parts stores for less than $10. Simply spray or brush the sealer into the crack and wipe away the excess.
Convenience – If you do a lot of driving on unpaved roads or anywhere else where windshield cracks and scratches are likely to occur, then you can just keep a bottle of windshield repair sealer in your car to immediately repair any cracks.
By taking care of minor windshield cracks and scratches early, you can save yourself time and money.

Some Simple DIY Car Repair Procedures

 DIY Car Repair Procedures

Getting your car repaired can expensive very quickly. Labor costs for the specialized skills and training of certified technicians usually starts at $60 an hour. Add in the mark-up for any replacement parts, and costs can spiral in a hurry. Some people like to avoid those expenses whenever possible with DIY car repair.

If you are not a certified mechanic, the most important thing to have before beginning any do-it-yourself car repair is the correct auto repair manual. Even if you are a mechanic, it’s still a good idea to have an auto repair manual on hand. A repair manual will have instructions and diagrams to help people with some mechanical aptitude make simple car repairs.

Car repairs are not one-size-fits-all, so if you have a 2007 Chevy Malibu, then you need the manual for a 2007 Chevy Malibu. The manual to a comparable Ford or Honda will not help. Even a manual to the same car for a different model year may not be as useful because of changes made to the car from one year to the next.

Another key part of DIY car repair is keeping accurate service records. When you get your oil changed at a service station they put a sticker on your windshield telling you when you will need your next oil change. If you do your own oil changes that sticker won’t be there. Your owner’s manual should tell you how often to replace different parts and when to have various maintenance procedures done. Replacing parts too often can get expensive and defeat the purpose of DIY car repair. Not replacing parts often enough can lead to engine troubles. Poor maintenance can even void the warranty if something goes wrong, so keeping accurate records is a must.

Finally, make sure you are using the right replacement parts when you do your own car repairs. This includes getting the right oil for your oil changes. You also need to dispose of used oil and dead batteries properly. Many service centers will take them for a small disposal fee.

There is nothing wrong with taking your vehicle to a certified technician for auto repairs and maintenance, especially for major repairs. But you can also save money with DIY car repair work if you take care to do everything correctly and on time.

Top 10 Car Repair Costs

Expensive Car Repair Costs

  1. Engine: This repair can take thousands of dollars and there are several pieces of the puzzle, such as the carburetor. No matter how involved the damage, it is very important to get engine issues fixed as soon as possible to reduce car repair costs.
  2. Brakes: These wear down over time, and it’s important to get the wear and tear addressed. For minor repairs, you can basically go into any shop with a certified ASE mechanic. For more complex issues, be sure to shop around for the best matching auto repair shop.
  3. Tires: From air checks to flat repairs, replacements, rotations and balancing, tire centers have the very important tasks of keeping your safe and your car in the best shape with tire repair.
  4. Electrical Issues: These issues involve your battery, your computer and all of the wiring involved. Certified technicians (and usually a pretty penny) will make these problems go away. Or it might just be a six-dollar spark plug replacement, or equally benign car repair costs.
  5. Heating and Cooling: You car overheating is no fun, and it can cause extensive damage such as completely crippling your car. Air conditioning is an expensive repair and can leave you in a lurch during the summer months.
  6. Transmission: This is could involve many car fixes—such as car parts repair and replacements—that may reach thousands of dollars in car repair costs. Maintenance of your transmission is of the utmost importance, and finding the parts to fix or replace your transmission can be tricky.
  7. Running Gear: These include axles, drive shafts and other pieces that factor into making your car go. Often these parts have extended warranties. Finding a reputable auto repair shop with smoothen this repair process.
  8. Tune-Ups: This important part of car maintenance commonly included ensuring clean fuel travel, and spark plus inspections and replacements.
  9. Oil Changes: Keeping your engine in shape with the right and right amount of oil is intrinsic to the performance of your engine; neglecting this piece of the puzzle can be very damaging.
  10. Body Work: From dent and major collision repair to repainting, body shops take care of the exterior of your vehicle. These car repair costs range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

Car Tire Repair

How To Repair Car Tire 

A flat tire on your car will cause a great deal of aggravation, but it does not have to be an overly costly issue. There are ways to make temporary and permanent car tire repairs to small punctures that can extend the life of your tire without the cost of replacing one or more tires.
In the event that you sustain a large gash in the tire, you will need to replace it. Keep a spare tire and a jack in your car for these situations. And depending on the amount of wear on the remaining tires, you may need to replace both the damaged tire and the one next to it (both front tires or both rear tires) for even handling.
Tire Sealant
A good car tire repair product to have on hand is a can of tire sealant. In the event of a small puncture or slow leak, you can use a tire sealant to inject a liquid polymer directly into the tire that stops the air leak and lets you continue driving. You can find cans of tire sealant at virtually any auto parts store or tire shop. They are very inexpensive and a great way to keep your tires intact.
Tire Patches and Tire Plugs
Tire patches and plugs are another effective car tire repair method that will repair minor damages to your tires for just a few dollars. Tire patches are placed on the inside of the tire over the damaged area. The tire patch is then heated until it melts to the inside of the tire and becomes part of the tire. This method of car tire repair takes longer because the tire must be removed, but it is effective on small, irregular-shaped cuts in the tire. Tire plugs are better for round tire punctures, such as one that would be caused by a nail. Plugs are inserted into the damaged area and melt into the tire once they heat up while driving.
New tires start around $60 each, and high-end tires for passenger vehicles can be more than $200 each. That does not include mounting, balancing and disposing of your old tires. With tires costing so much, it only makes sense that you would want them to last as long as possible. Car tire repair kits such as tire sealant, tire patches and tire plugs make that possible.

It’s Easy to Repair a Scratched Windshield

How To Repair A Windshield

That chip in your windshield might be just an unsightly nuisance now, but it can become a major problem if it is not fixed quickly. Windshield scratch repair kits and companies can fix chips and small cracks that, if left untreated, can easily turn into very large cracks that will require an expensive replacement of the entire windshield.

The nice thing about repairing a scratched windshield is that there are plenty of mobile car windshield repair companies that will come to you in the event you sustain some minor damage to your windshield. If a truck kicks a small rock into your windshield on your way to work in the morning, you can call a car windshield repair company to come to your place of employment to repair your scratched windshield in the parking lot. It will only take a few minutes to have your windshield repaired.

An even nicer thing about windshield repair is that, depending on your insurance coverage, you can repair a scratched windshield at no cost to you. A cracked windshield will usually fall under the comprehensive portion of your car insurance. Insurance companies will often waive your deductible, the amount you must pay first before your insurance company pays the remainder, if your windshield can be repaired rather than replaced. That’s another incentive to get any small cracks repaired quickly instead of waiting until they become major issues. The windshield repair company will even handle all the paperwork involved in repairing your windshield and billing your insurance company.

For people who prefer to repair a scratched windshield on their own, most auto parts stores will stock windshield and glass sealers. These penetrate into the crack, even into small hidden cracks, and fill them with a durable seal that is resistant to weather. These tubes of sealant are very inexpensive and good for anyone who frequently drives around construction sites or unpaved roads.

Chips and cracks in your car windshield can be repaired quickly and easily at little or no cost to you. Whether you choose to repair a scratched windshield yourself or have a professional do it, getting the repairs done as soon as possible is important to prevent any further and more expensive damage.

Using A How‐To Car Repair Manual

 How‐To Use A Car Repair Manual

Car repairs and maintenance can be a very expensive. Labor charges can run anywhere from $60-120 per hour, and there are also high mark-ups on replacement parts, various disposal fees and other costs for visiting a repair shop. Some people choose to reduce their maintenance and repair costs by doing some of their own car repair and maintenance work. With the right car manual as a how-to guide for car repair, many people can save hundreds of dollars a year on car repairs.

Before you begin making your own car repairs, you must make sure you have the right how-to car repair manual for your vehicle. Manuals are specific to the make, model and year, so you must make sure to have the right one. A 2004 manual for a Honda Accord will not be of much use if you have a 2008 Accord. Similarly, if you have a 2008 Accord, an auto manual from a comparable Chevrolet vehicle will not give you the right how-to information for your car repair.

Once you have the right how-to manual for your car you can begin performing various maintenance and repair procedures on your car. For an oil change and the basic maintenance steps that go with it, a how-to car repair guide can give you written instructions and diagrams to help you drain the oil and replace it. The diagrams will also help you locate all the different fluid reservoirs that need to be checked from time to time, such as your transmission fluid, coolant and windshield wiper fluid.

A how-to manual for your car repair can also help you with replacing certain parts, such as your oil filter, air filter and spark plugs. If you do choose to make certain car repairs yourself, make sure to keep thorough and accurate records of everything you do. If you don’t replace parts that need to be replaced you run the risk of damaging your engine. Not properly maintaining your car could even void your warranty.

While many people prefer the convenience and expertise of professional certified mechanics, some people like to save some money on their own repairs. A good how-to car repair manual, along with accurate maintenance records, can help you reduce your car maintenance costs.

Benefits of Auto Mechanic Schools

Auto Mechanic Schools Help & Benefits

Auto mechanic schools prepare students for an exciting career in the auto repair industry. While these auto schools are not a requirement for entry-level job placement, there are several advantages that come with completing an accredited program. Even if you have a solid foundation in automotive repair, it may be worth the extra time and tuition to attend an auto mechanic school. Some of the main benefits of a post-graduate vocational education include:

State-of-the-Art Training

If you’re interested in becoming a mechanic, then it’s likely you’ve spent a good amount of time under the hood of a car. However, all the do-it-yourself car repair in the world pales in comparison to training in an actual repair shop. Auto mechanic schools offer hands-on training with state-of-the-art equipment that includes car lifts, diagnostic equipment and other expensive repair tools. Given the rapid increase in vehicle technology over the past several years, employers consider it a major benefit if you have experience with all the latest repair procedures.

Standing Out From the Competition

The auto repair industry is a highly competitive field. As such, the vast majority of employers require completion of some sort of auto training program. While individuals may be able to land an entry-level job without attending school, program graduates are likely to start out with higher salaries. Additionally, promotion opportunities are more likely to be offered to those who attended an auto mechanic school.

Preparation for ASE Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a 3rd-party organization that is dedicated to maintaining a certain level of expertise and professionalism in the auto industry. Virtually all top employers in the auto service industry require employees to be certified by the ASE. In order to become certified, a mechanic must pass a standardized test. Many mechanic schools help students prepare for this test so that they may achieve ASE certification immediately upon graduation.

Help With Job Placement

Most auto mechanic schools feature job placement programs that help graduates find employment within the industry. Partnerships and connections with local repair shops often result in students landing jobs right after program completion. Prior to enrolling at a specific auto mechanic school, you may want to review the job placement opportunities provided by each prospective school.

Common Auto Air Conditioner Repair Problems

Car A/C Problems And Troubleshooting

Auto air conditioner repair is an inconvenience that no one wants to experience. Unfortunately, the uncomfortable feeling of driving to work during the summer with a broken AC unit is all too common. If your car’s air conditioner is causing you to feel the heat, then there are a number of possible root causes. Some of the most common types of vehicle AC repairs are listed below:
Leaking Coolant
Coolant is the liquid in your engine that produces cold air. As this liquid is pumped through a series of tubes and hoses via an AC compressor, it passes through an expansion valve that causes the coolant gas to expand and cool. If insufficient levels of this coolant are present in the AC system, then the result will be inadequate cooling. The most common cause of low coolant levels is a puncture or leak in the AC system.
Rubber hoses and connections are prone to punctures, and will result in a loss of coolant as it flows through the system. An easy way to spot a leak is by looking for a puddle of coolant that collects under your vehicle after it has been parked.
Faulty Cooling Fan
Proper air flow is necessary to properly cool Freon. Much of this critical air flow falls on the shoulders of an electric cooling fan that resides near the AC condenser. If the electric cooling fan has stopped turning, or is turning insufficiently, then it will likely be the focus of your auto air conditioner repair.
Other issues that can result in insufficient Freon cooling include a blown fuse, broken compressor or improperly working magnetic clutch.
Sometimes, an inefficient air conditioning system is the secondary result of a more serious matter. Specifically, an overheating engine can result in a number of issues, including an improperly working AC system. This is because the high temperatures caused in the engine lower the ability of the coolant to properly flow and be cooled. If your vehicle is experiencing overheating, there may be a problem with the radiator or electric cooling fan.
Electrical Problems
Faulty wiring or an electrical malfunction can cause AC issues on newer vehicles. For example, many cars feature a temperature sensor that regulates the interior atmosphere of the vehicle. If this sensor is inaccurate, then an auto air conditioner repair may be necessary.

What Makes a Good Auto Repair Business?

How To Start A  Good Auto Repair Business

Car shop owners have a lot to juggle when it comes to running an auto repair business. As a customer, an improperly run repair shop can lead to inflated pricing, extended turnaround times and faulty work. While the majority of auto shops these days have a good handle on balancing servicing and pricing, it’s always good to know what to look for when it comes to identifying a well-run auto repair business.

Customer-Friendly Auto Repair Policies

The best auto repair shops strive to exceed the service expectations of the average customer. As such, finding a shop that happily offers customer-friendly policies is a great way to minimize the chances for reduced customer service or unsavory business practices. For example, most reliable shops these days offer free vehicle inspections that result in a comprehensive price estimate. This estimate allows customers to review pricing structures and compare potential costs against rival companies. If an auto shop offers competitive pricing and is confident about their repair skills, then a free price estimate should only serve them favorably in the eyes of potential customers.
Other customer-friendly policies may include loyalty discounts, money-back guarantees and guaranteed turnaround times.

Auto Repair Business Recommendations

Good auto repair shops know that word of mouth is an important tool when it comes to operating a profitable business. Because of this, the best shops go above and beyond to make sure each and every one of their customers are happy. As such, asking friends, family or co-workers for recommendations on repair shops will likely yield several trustworthy and reliable car shops in your area. When talking with your friends, be sure to ask for details on why they liked or did not like a particular shop. This will help you make a more informed decision when faced with recommendations for several different shops.

Experience and Longevity of the Auto Repair Business

Has that auto repair business around the corner from your house been in the neighborhood for decades? If so, then this may be a good sign. An auto shop that has been in business for years indicates that they satisfy the needs of customers in such a way that they want to keep coming back. Of course, that’s not to say that new shops are not to be trusted. Within the shop itself, experience level of the mechanics themselves is just as important. Asking questions about ASE certification and training specializations can help identify the most qualified shops for your specific repair.

Towing After a Wreck: What to Do if Your Car Is Totaled

Car Towing Tips

The moments after a serious car accident are stressful and confusing. If your car is in bad enough shape that it can’t be driven, you know you’ll have to get it towed — but how does that work? Are there other steps you should be taking? Below are some important things to keep in mind after a major wreck.

Towing After a Wreck- What to Do When Your Car is Totaled

  1. Safety is the first and foremost concern. In the case of any injuries, call 911 immediately. If there are no injuries and the vehicles can be moved, get them off the road to a safe place, then call local or state police to report the accident. While you wait for the police to arrive, exchange information (license, registration, and insurance) with the other driver.
  2. There’s no way to know at this point who will be deemed at fault for the accident, which means you don’t know whose insurance company will be paying for towing (or whether it will be covered by insurance at all). Don’t worry about this, since there’s nothing you can do about it. The important thing is to get the car towed, and then the details can be sorted out later.
  3. Most auto insurance covers a reasonable cost of towing over a reasonable distance. This means that you may have to cover some of the costs yourself if you want your car towed a long way. If you suspect that it’s totaled, it’s generally smarter to have the car towed to a close location and then figure out your next move when you have more information.
  4. You may or may not be able to call your preferred towing company (although they must be licensed in the region in which the accident took place to be considered at all). In some cases, the local police department might have a contract with a towing company that they’ll call in, or they might put out a general call for the closest tow truck in the area. Make sure to make any preferences known as soon as possible, because the towing company has the right to demand payment for their services as soon as the car is on the tow truck.
  5. Once your vehicle is on the tow truck, you have several options. If you don’t specify a location, the car will be taken to an impound lot that the tow company works with. Alternately, you can tell them the name of a repair shop. If you don’t know any repair shops in the area, your insurance company can tell you which shop they prefer or the tow company can recommend a reputable one.
  6. After your car arrives at its destination, let the insurance company know where it is. That way they can send out an adjuster who can determine whether the car is totaled and tell you what to do next. Make sure to keep your receipts for towing and any storage costs. Your insurance company will need them to reimburse you.

5 Towing Situations that Require a Flatbed

What Towing Situations that Require a Flatbed

A standard (dolly) tow truck lifts the front or back wheels of your vehicle onto a short trailer that’s attached to the truck, leaving the other set of wheels to roll along the ground. While this type of truck works well for certain situations, there are others where it isn’t the best option. In the following cases, it’s better to go with a flatbed truck that lifts the vehicle entirely off the ground.

5 Towing Situations that Require a Flatbed

  1. Towing across long distances. Because two of the vehicle’s wheels are on the ground during a standard tow, this can translate into a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle if you’re moving the car any great distance. A flatbed truck holds its cargo above the road surface, so it’s a better choice for cross-country or other long tows.
  2. When you have an expensive car. While a dolly tow is generally less expensive than a flatbed, that doesn’t mean much if your prized vintage or sports car hits a pothole during the tow and gets damaged. Flatbed tow trucks are much safer, since the vehicles they carry are kept above any road hazards. If you have an expensive car, it’s worth the extra money for the peace of mind.
  3. Your vehicle has all-wheel-drive. Front wheel drive cars have back tires that aren’t connected to the drive shaft, so it’s all right to let the back ones spin freely on the road when towing with a dolly. Most SUVs, trucks, and four wheel drive cars, however, shouldn’t be towed in this way, because this can cause transmission damage. Even if your vehicle’s manufacturer’s tow specifications allow for towing with two wheels on the ground, keep in mind that this will register miles on your odometer.
  4. Your vehicle has been lowered. A car, truck, or SUV with low clearance being towed on a dolly is vulnerable to damage to its undercarriage, bumpers, oil pan, and exhaust. When you have it towed on a flatbed instead, you don’t need to worry every time the truck goes over a bump or up or down an incline.
  5. You have a heavy vehicle like an SUV, minivan, or large truck. Regardless of other damage concerns, dollies have a physical limitation in that they can’t carry more than a certain amount of weight. The actual maximum number depends on the type of dolly, but it’s a good bet that you’ll need a flatbed if your vehicle is particularly heavy.
Knowing what type of tow truck you need to transport your vehicle is important, because it allows you to make the best decisions for the safety and security of your automobile.

A Quick Guide to Roadside Towing Services

 Roadside Towing Services And Help Guide

Nobody plans on having something go wrong with their car and being stranded on the side of the road. You can, however, be prepared for the unexpected before you hit the road. Modern cellular networks makes this easier than ever, since you can locate roadside assistance and call them from the safety of your car.

A Quick Guide to Roadside Towing Services

Organization Roadside Coverage

One of the most common roadside services is the coverage that you get through a company or organization. Usually this is auto clubs and insurance companies, but it’s also offered by car manufacturers. In fact, you may have currently have roadside assistance coverage and not even know it. And if not, it’s easy enough to add to any existing account.
The exact nature of the coverage will change with each company and coverage. Some will cover your towing fee and unlimited miles. Some will only cover a certain number of tows per year, or a certain number of miles. It’s always a good idea to check out the terms beforehand so you’re less frantic when the time comes.

Finding Roadside Service When You Need It

Even if you don’t have roadside coverage, you can still track down reliable towing services on your own. The only difference is that you’ll have to do it based on where you are when you need the tow. If you’re in town, then you can do your research ahead of time, but road trips can make things a little trickier. When you are on a road trip, smartphones and cell phones are a great tool to help you compare multiple companies and prices before you order a tow truck.
Not sure how to tell if it’s a good company? Reviews are a great place to start. Remember that even the best business will have dissatisfied customers, so don’t let a single bad review sway you too much. You should also check out their prices, which many companies post online.
Most importantly, however, you need to make sure that they’re upfront with you about all charges before you sign anything. Find out where they’re taking your car and how far away it is. Ask them about any storage fees or other additional fees that may be involved. Good companies will be able to answer these questions immediately.

More Than Just Towing

When we think about roadside assistance, most of us think about towing. Today’s towing vehicles are mobile workshops, and can provide other services to get out back on the road, like:
Basic Mechanical Repairs: This is usually limited to adjusting or changing minor things that don’t involves parts or supplies, such as reconnecting hoses or switching out fuses. Anything more complicated than that and they’ll usually tow you to a repair shop.
Battery Service: A jumpstart is just the beginning. Many services can do things like recharge your battery, refill the fluid, test the battery, and even switch out the battery with a new one.
Flat Tire Service: Depending on the service, you may not even have to limp along on a spare. Many services can get the right tire size from your VIN or license number, and can bring a brand new full-size tire out to replace the flat one.
Locksmiths: Locking yourself out of your car is annoying. Fortunately, many roadside services will be able to unlock your car or, if that fails, tow the car to a shop where it can be unlocked.

Chip Tuning, Remapping, ECU: Glossary to Your Car Computer

Know About Chip Tuning, Remapping, ECU

Looking to modify the computers in your car to get more power or efficiency? A quick Google search can be incredibly confusing. If you’re having trouble telling the different ECUs apart or comparing chip tuning vs. remapping, this quick guide can help you understand what they are.

Chip Tuning, Remapping, ECU- Glossary to Your Car Computer

Chip Tuning:

Early engine computers were first introduced in the 1980s and changed the way that engines were tuned up. Suddenly tune-ups were no longer about adjusting parts like a carburetor. In order to change key engine parameters, the chip had to be physically removed and replaced with a new chip. This was the original chip tuning, where the tune-up involved switching out the chip.
This term gets a little murky as technology evolved. The introduction of diagnostic ports meant chips didn’t have to be removed to be changed. The diagnostic ports allowed direct software access, so the chips could be reprogrammed without being removed. Today, chip tuning can refer to either replacing the chip completely or reprogramming the chip. But technically, it’s when the chip is removed and replaced with a customized chip.

Engine Remapping:

Remapping happens when the software in the chip is changed without changing the chip itself. The existing engine map is coded into the software of the engine’s computer. This software is then overwritten with a new engine map, or remapped.
If this sounds like modern chip tuning, that’s because many people will call it chip tuning, but technically it’s not chip tuning. A good way to remember the difference is that chip tuning involves changing the chip, while remapping involves changing the software.

Electronic Control Unit:

These are the actual computers in your car, also known simply as ECUs. The name refers to the entire unit itself, which consists of a computer board inside a casing with ports to connect it to the car. There are a wide variety of different ECUs scattered around your car, controlling things like your in-dash system, power steering, anti-lock brakes, engine, and more. Any time anything electronic is run, there’s an ECU behind it.


Here’s yet another common place for confusion. The Electronic Control Unit that controls how the engine works is know as either the Engine Control Module (ECM) or the Engine Control Unit (ECU). This is the specific computer unit that controls engine settings like the timing, fuel injectors, etc.

Powertrain Control Module:

Just to make things even more interesting, there are also Powertrain Control Modules, or PCMs. These control both the engine and the transmission settings, and are more common in cars from the 1990s to early 2000s. Modern cars, however, have a separate ECU/ECM just for the engine controls.

Performance Chip:

These are the aftermarket chips designed to replace the manufacturer’s chips or software. There are a couple different types. Control modules are permanently installed between the sensors and the ECU, while power programmers are temporarily used to change settings through a diagnostic port. Both of these are widely available options, but don’t offer the customization of a professional chip tuning or remapping.

What Is Engine Chip Tuning?

Engine Chip Tuning Details

Have you ever worked on a classic car? Even if you personally haven’t done the work, you’ve probably known someone who spent hours and hours making tiny changes to the carburetor valves, tweaking the camshaft position, or adjusting the spark plugs. If everything went correctly, the arrangement of these parts would lead to a dramatic increase in horsepower, fuel efficiency, and other traits.
Back then, these factors were controlled by mechanical means. Today they’re controlled by computers, and those careful tune ups have changed from mechanical to digital, and that’s engine chip tuning.

What Is Engine Chip Tuning?

Electronic Control Units

Usually these are known simply by their acronym: ECU. An electronic control unit is the generic term for any of the electronic modules or systems that are scattered around modern cars. And there are a lot of them. In fact, a modern car can have well over eighty different ECUs scattered around the vehicles that control everything from the engine to the brakes to the dash console.
All of the ECUs can be tweaked or replaced by people with the right knowledge and equipment, which is usually professional mechanics. But when it comes to getting the most out of your engine, you’re only concerned with one kind of ECU.

The Engine Control Module a.k.a. the Engine Control Unit

A quick search of acronyms might confuse you, and with good reason. The computer that controls your vehicle’s engine can be known by both the Engine Control Module (ECM) or the Engine Control Unit (ECU)—the same acronym that’s used for Electronic Control Units.
Whatever you call it, that computer controls how well your engine works. Fuel/air mixture, timing, speed governing systems, and more are all managed by the software in the module. As long as the various engine components, such as the fuel injector, are hooked up correctly, adjustments to the computer change how those components work.

Engine Chip Tuning

Manufacturer installed software is made to run the engine conservatively. This helps give the engine a certain amount of wiggle room to account for infrequent service, poor quality fuel, and the engine variations between various vehicles.
Engine chip tuning adds new software into the mix. Chip tuners are installed into your existing system and allow the settings to be changed. The right adjustments can increase the power, fuel efficiency, produce cleaner emissions, and more. These software tweaks are made to specifically fit your engine and are unique to the vehicle, especially if you’ve customized the engine at all.
As a note, remember that engine chip tuning can cause major changes to how your car runs. While other car customization's can sometimes be done in your own garage, engine chip tuning is best left to the pros. Your engine may also need to be more frequently serviced afterwards, so make sure you take that into account.

Chip Tuning vs. Performance Tuning

Chip Tuning vs. Performance Tuning

When it comes to getting more out of your engine, two of your big options are chip tuning and performance tuning. These are both types of engine tuning, each with their own benefits, and their own costs.

Chip Tuning vs. Performance Tuning

Chip Tuning

Originally, chip tuning meant that the chips in the ECU (Engine Control Unit) were removed and replaced with chips that had different software. The introduction of diagnostic ports to car computer systems opened the door for engine remapping, or rewriting the software without having to replace the chip. When a lot of people refer to chip tuning today, they actually mean remapping.
On the low end, you can simply buy a chip module that plugs into the diagnostic port to change the programming. This can have unpredictable results, since the module isn’t specifically made for your car and driving conditions. For the best results, chip tuning should be done by a professional. After installing a high quality chip, they’ll often put your car on a rolling road. They’ll run a series of diagnostic tests using precise machinery while the car’s running, then adjust the software accordingly.

Performance Tuning

While chip tuning deals exclusively with the software, performance tuning mostly concentrates on the physical parts of the engine. The vast majority of these hardware modifications or improvements concentrate on the powertrain, such as the cylinders, exhaust, transmission, and more. Performance tuning is almost always focused on getting more power out of the engine.
Performance tuning can be done by car owners in their garages, but they really have to know what they’re doing. Actions like boring out the pistons, installing a custom exhaust system and changing the compression chamber size are very complicated procedures that have to be done to very narrow margins. Owners will often find that they get the best results when they have the performance tuning done by a professional shop.

Combine the Tunings

If you really want to get the most performance possible out of your car’s engine, then you’ll probably want to combine both performance tuning and chip tuning. Performance tuning will allow you to switch out parts and tweak engine parameters to get as much as possible out of the engine.
Once you’ve got all of the physical parts fine-tuned, chip tuning will allow you to make sure that the software is lined up to get you the best response possible out of your upgraded engine. In fact, many of the pro shops that can help with performance tuning can also help with any chip tuning or remapping that needs to be done.

More Benefits of Engine Chip Tuning

Benefits of Engine Chip Tuning

If you’re into upgrading or customizing your car, then you’ve probably heard about engine chip tuning. Whether the ECU is changed, the engine is remapped, or a performance chip is added, the change in the software can make a big difference in how your vehicle functions.

6 Benefits of Engine Chip Tuning

1. You Get More Horsepower

When the ECU comes from the factory it comes with conservative software settings, and that includes power settings. These help the car be more stable under a variety of different conditions, but it also means there’s some power left behind. Chip tuning can change the fuel/air ratio and timing to give your car extra power and torque.

2. You Get More Fuel Efficiency

For a long time, engine chip tuning was almost exclusively used to get more power out of vehicles. However, the recent emphasis on fuel efficiency and environmentalism has changed that. The right chip tuning can make a substantial difference in your fuel economy. It may be at the sacrifice of horsepower, but many cars have a lot more power than they need for everyday driving.

3. They’re Affordable Upgrades

There are plenty of upgrades that can increase your horsepower or improve your fuel efficiency. For example, a custom exhaust system can make a big difference. But these cost a lot to have made, and require a lot of labor to install correctly. Chip tuning, on the other hand, is a much more affordable option. Even if you pay extra to get the tuning done by a pro shop, it’s still cheaper than other options.

4. They’re Easy to Install

A big part of that affordability comes from the ease of installation. Universal diagnostic ports make it easy to plug new engine chips or chip management units into the existing system without having to take apart the ECU. This cuts down on the necessary labor immensely. This makes it extra affordable to have the chip tuning done by a pro, since the labor costs are low.

5. They’re Tuned to Fit Your Driving

Manufacturers set the software to fit a variety of conditions, everything from the high elevation cold of the northern Rockies to the humid heat of south Florida. They’re also made to work with a wide variety of gasoline grades for versatility. Unless you’re road tripping across the country on a regular basis, you don’t need that versatility. Chip tuning allows you to make sure that your car is specifically made to work at its best in the conditions where you drive it.

6. They Give You a Cleaner Burn

There are a wide variety of different technologies that need to work together to get the most out of your fuel, including the timing, fuel/air ratio, injection, transmission, and more. The cleaner the burn, the more efficiency, more power, and less build-up you’ll have. This kind of fine tuning means that you’ll have to be much more selective in your gas choices, but it can pay off in a big way.

A Basic Guide to the Computer in Your Car

Computer Operating Guide  in Your Car

Did you know that modern cars can have over 80 different computers scattered around the car? These control everything from your automatic windows to your stereo to the brake system to your engine. The computers are all hidden behind body panels, in the engine compartment, and dozens of other places. In fact, the only sign of computers most drivers will ever see is the console interface.

A Basic Guide to the Computer in Your Car

Emissions Standards:  The Birth of Car Microprocessors

Car computers really got their start with the introduction of the catalytic convertor and electronic fuel injector. Before these systems, the fuel/air ratio was controlled by the carburetor, which could be more than a little imprecise. A catalytic convertor requires a precise fuel/air ratio (1:14.7) in order to be effective in eliminating emissions. As emission standards got more and more strict, more control was needed.
Enter the first car microprocessors. The chips were nowhere near as powerful as the ones in personal computer, but they didn’t have to be. After all, they have to process a lot less data and programs. These chips made it possible for the fuel/air mixture to be constantly monitored and adjusted to make sure it had the right ratio. As technology got more advanced, the uses for auto computers multiplied.


As more and more computers were added to cars, something had to be added to tie them all together. This is where the Controller Area Network, or CAN, comes in. The CAN creates a complex network that connects all of the computers throughout the car. The modern CAN design doesn’t even have a central hub or router. All of the individual Electronic Control Units (ECUs) are linked to the network, allowing them to interact seamlessly.

Parts of an ECU

That network would be nothing without the ECUs. These are the actual workhorses of your car’s computer system. On the outside they tend to look like boxes, but inside the housing is a circuitboard with several different components, including:

Analog-Digital Converters:

Many of the sensors throughout the car are analog, but the chip can only deal with digital data. The converters turn those analog signals into 1’s and 0’s so the chip can use them.

High-Level Digital Outputs:

That digital signal hits the processor, which runs it through programming. Depending on how the programming reacts, the chip will send signals through the outputs to operate things like fuel injector, spark plugs, and more.

Digital to Analog Converters:

Like the sensors, most of the parts in a car are mechanical, meaning they need analog signals to run. The convertors take the digital signal and make it into the voltage that’s needed to power the mechanical parts.

Signal Conditioners:

Sometimes that voltage needs to be adjusted to work with certain parts. These conditioners are circuits that make any necessary voltage changes, and are the last link in the ECU chain.

Diagnostic Ports

There are various ports built into the ECUs and the CAN that allow access to the system. Mechanics will use these to connect diagnostic computers to aid them in finding problems with the engine. They also make it easy to switch out faulty ECUs or parts of the CAN without a lot of network splicing.
But they have another common use. Mechanics and car owners can use these diagnostic ports to connect to the engine control module. That connection can then be used to remap the computer, add performance chips, or tune the software.

Costs and Benefits: The Numbers Behind Chip Tuning

Costs and Benefits Of Chip Tuning

When you’re considering engine chip tuning or remapping, it’s easy to run into conflicting and confusing information. It can be tough to track down concrete numbers for what it can and can’t do for your car. Believe it or not, there’s actually a good reason for that.

Costs and Benefits: The Numbers Behind Chip Tuning

So Why the Ambiguity?

There are a couple reasons why chip tuning doesn’t always get the same results. The first is the variation of cars out there. For example, a 1997 Honda Civic has little in common with a 2007 Ford F-150 4×4. There’s also a large variety of environments where the cars are driven. Chip tuning for a steadily hot environment can give much more stable results than chip tuning for an environment that swings from cold and dry to hot and humid.
The other big reason is the chip tuners themselves. There’s a wide variety of ways to change your car computer’s software, everything from a cheap “plug and play” external chip module to having a professional remap the software or switch out the engine chip. As you can imagine, this produces a wide range of results.

By the Numbers

All of that being said, there are a few numbers that can be thrown out there. With upgrades like this, it’s a good idea to look at the upper ranges of what you can accomplish. Then you can adjust downwards depending on your budget or abilities.

Tuning for Performance:
Up to 30% more power and up to 25% more torque

To get these results, your best bet is to go to a professional. They’ll perform complete diagnostics and tuning with the car on a rolling road. Be prepared to answer questions about your driving habits, and be honest. A pro will tune the software to specifically give you the most power for those driving conditions, so the more accurate you are, the more power you’ll get.

Tuning for Efficiency:
Lower fuel consumption by up to 16%

This doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing engine power. In fact, many software remaps can actually increase your power and lower your fuel consumption at the same time. Again, the key here is to have the chip tuned to specifically fit your car, your driving conditions, and to have consistent driving behavior.

The Costs of Chip Tuning

This is another area where it can be tough to track down numbers, but here are a few rough ranges:

Performance Chips: $300-$700

This is for a chip or module that you plug into the diagnostic ports yourself. Performance chips or modules are the cheaper option, and pretty easy to install. That being said, they’re also not going to give you the best results. That cheaper price tag might only give you a tiny fraction of what you could get.

Professional Chip Tuning or Remapping: $400-$900

This price is really an incredibly broad estimate, since every situation is different. The more precisely you want the engine tuned, the more time it’s going to take, which means the more it’s going to cost. This also varies depending on the car. Some cars are capable of a lot more fine-tuning than others, and a pro can help you get the most out of them.

Additional Costs:

Chip tuning changes how your engine runs, and you should be prepared for a change in how you use your car. A great example is fuel costs. Chip tuning focuses your engine to the point where you have to be a lot more choosy when it comes to the gas you use. This can lead to increased fuel costs. That being said, those increase costs could be easily offset by the increase fuel economy.
Ultimately, chip tuning is like any other car upgrade: The more you put into the improvements, the more you’ll get out of them.