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Pollen Season Has Arrived

Around here, March is usually the month where we notice the days getting warmer and the flowers prepare for bloom. It’s also when we start to notice that thick blanket of yellow dust, pollen, covering every surface we set eyes on! And not to mention the spike in extreme allergies.

Obviously it’s a pest for those that suffer allergies, but it’s a pest to our vehicles as well. Usually people will run their cars through the carwash or do a quick rinse to get rid of the pollen, but there’s more to taking care of your car during pollen season than that.

If this isn’t news to you, just let it be a reminder, but for those who are not aware — pollen can actually damage the surface of your vehicle if not taken care of properly. Here’s what you should know:

The acidity within the pollen grain, when activated by rain or a rinse with the hose, can lead to oxidation and eventually stain the paint.  Not only that, it can also hide in crevices and underneath your car, and enter into the cabin of the vehicle. There are simple ways to make sure your car is protected before the season begins, and also ways to safely and effectively remove the pollen without damaging the paint.

For the exterior:

  • If you’re at home or a self-service carwash, give it a good, solid wash using soapy water and a gentle rag. After, you’ll want to be sure to wax. The soap will capture the pollen, allowing it to loosen its grip on the paint.
  • Your best bet, though, is to let the pros handle it. Take it to get detailed, and they’ll be sure to handle your vehicle with care and adding the appropriate wax and protectants.

For the interior:

  • Consider getting the interior of your vehicle detailed, having them disinfect the ventilation system. This will help with those allergies big time!

Lucky for you, at John Harris Paint and Body, we offer auto body paint and other great services. Whether you’re wanting to get ahead of the game and get your vehicle pollen season-ready, or needing to get your vehicle’s paint touched up from previous stains or rust, we have experts ready and willing to help you!

 

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When Can I Wash my Car?

If you’ve recently been in a wreck, you might be wondering, “when can I wash my car after it’s had body work done?”

That’s a good question, because there are definitely some dos and don’ts about caring for your car if it’s recently been worked on, at least during the first 90 after picking it up. You wouldn’t want to ruin a brand new paint job just because you didn’t know not to take it to the car wash!

During the first 30 days after you’ve had body work done, follow these recommendations and precautions:

DO:

  • Wash the vehicle by hand with cool water and a very mild car wash solution using a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Always use clean fresh water.
  • Wash your vehicle in the shade.

DON’T:

  • Do not use a commercial car wash. Stiff brushes or sponges could mar the finish and damage the surface.
  • Do not “dry wipe” your vehicle. Dry wiping can scratch the finish.
  • Do not drive on gravel roads. Chipping the finish is easily done in the first 30 days.
  • Avoid parking under trees and utility lines which are likely to attract birds. Bird droppings have a high acid content and will damage a freshly painted surface. Also, tree sap can mar or spot a freshly painted surface.
  • Do not spill gasoline, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or windshield solvent on the new finish.
  • Do not scrape ice or snow from the newly painted surface.

After 90 days there’s really only one precaution:

DON’T:

  • Do not wax or polish the vehicle. This will allow the finish to dry and harden completely.

Follow these instructions and your car will be looking so good you’ll forget it’s ever had body work done on it.

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South Carolina Day Trips – Part I

Need to get away for a day or a quick overnighter?  Check out these quick South Carolina day trips to find some hidden Carolina gems:

Sands Beach Port Royal, SC

Sands Beach is a drive on beach where the Battery Creek meets the Beaufort River in Port Royal.  Back up near the water and set up shop for a day in the sun.  Oyster shells abound so you’ll want to keep those flip-flops on if you decide to take a dip. Finish the day off with a nice seafood meal in nearby Beaufort.

Botany Bay Edisto Island, SC

Botany Bay is a barrier island located on the way into Edisto Beach. Hidden off a long dirt road covered by mossy oak trees to the water’s edge.  The island is connected by a causeway, which you must traverse on foot.  The scenery is breathtaking.  There are an abundance of conchs and others shells that you will not find anywhere else. Don’t be tempted to pick one up for a souvenir, however, it’s forbidden.  While on the property, be sure to check out the plantation ruins, as well. Be a castaway for a day at Botany Bay!

Falls Park Greenville, SC

Falls Park is one of the most beautiful slices of nature in a downtown area that I’ve ever seen.  Cascading water from the Reedy River and an awesome pedestrian suspension bridge make this a great spot to spend a few hours.  When you’ve had your fill, there are ton of shops and restaurants within walking distance.

Jones Gap State Park Cleveland, SC

South Carolina day trips
photo credit: www.southcarolinaparks.com

Jones Gap is about as rugged and beautiful a mountain wilderness as you will find in SC.  I recommend a backpack, some rations and a tent for the best experience. Jones Gap contains miles and miles of breathtaking nature trails with lush vegetation and even a couple of nice waterfalls.  The air up there is the freshest around and the mist from the rushing waters of the Middle Saluda will keep you cool in the summer.

Pick any one of these quick South Carolina day trips and you’ll get a taste of the natural beauty our state has to offer. Better yet, get out your calendar and plan to hit them all!

 

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Tips for Purchasing a Used Car

I was recently in the market for a pre-owned vehicle and was shocked at the number of vehicles that had prior collision repairs even though they had a “clean history”.  Follow my tips for purchasing a used car, so you won’t get fooled. What some folks may not know is that you can avoid these collision damage reporting agencies by simply paying for repairs out of pocket. We at the body shop don’t report losses – your secret is safe with us. These losses are reported somewhere else down the line in the claims process.

Before you even set foot on a used car lot, do a little research online using a site like Cars.com or Edmunds. Once you’ve found a couple of cars that rate well and meet your needs, then it’s time to go shopping.

When I set out to find a vehicle, I had no intention of choosing one that was clear of collision damage. I am confident in the abilities of modern collision repair methods. What I didn’t expect to find was 7 of the 8 cars I looked at had poor-quality repairs. My experience spanned two evenings following work so I was viewing cars in poor lighting – not the best idea but unavoidable sometimes for those of us with busy schedules.

Front-end damage is the easiest to spot since there are more parts to deal with than a side or rear impact. I handled my inspection like I would a pre-delivery inspection at the shop. I cranked the vehicle, turned on all the lights, the A/C and the radio, rolled windows up and down, locked and unlocked the doors. I checked the instrument panel after a few seconds to make sure no trouble lights stayed on and then I exit the vehicle. If you are paying attention, you will notice I didn’t pop the hood or the trunk. This can be done before entering the vehicle but I like to give it time to warm up so I will get everything running first. Next I walk around the vehicle paying special attention to hood/fender/front bumper/headlamp gaps at the front end and trunk/quarter panel/tail lamp/rear bumper gaps at the rear. Once I am satisfied, I open the front door again and pop the hood and the trunk, once again checking to make sure that no dash warnings have appeared. The A/C should be blowing cold by now so I switch to heat. I open and secure the hood prop rod (if equipped) and check the headlamp mounting areas as well as the back of the headlamps (if accessible). I’m looking to make sure the headlamps are secure and that if there are any decals, they indicate that they are the same brand as the vehicle. If they have a different manufacture name or say “Made in China or Taiwan” they could be aftermarket, which means they have been replaced – likely to collision damage. Using the flashlight on my phone I shine into the dark crevices to look for leaks or fluids that are puddling.  Look for broken paint on edges or kinks and you any bare metal or welds on structural pieces. There are a hundred and one things I am looking for but primarily I am comparing one side to the next, looking for things that don’t belong. Is something in the engine compartment shinier or duller than its surrounding components? How does the engine sound inside the compartment? When I am satisfied, I close the hood and return to the driver seat. The inside of the car should be an oven by now. I am preparing to check out the rear so I once again inspect for warning lamps and shut the vehicle down. I don’t want to be sucking on exhaust fumes during my inspection of the rear.

I pop the trunk, which should release nicely, some trunks simply release, some swing open. Lift the floor mat and you should see a nice, clean bead of seam sealer where the rear floor meets the rear body panel. Rarely should you find brush marks or lumpiness here, definitely no hammer marks. Satisfied, I return the spare cover and move on.  ost vehicles will have fasteners holding a panel covering the inside of the tail lamp. If you cannot remove this yourself, ask the salesman to have someone remove this cover. It will expose an area commonly damaged in a rear impact. Again, it should have clean, round holes for mounting the tail lamp and have nice, clean seam sealer applied. Reamed out holes, and bare welds are signs of improper repairs. After checking both sides, if I am satisfied I gently close the trunk which should secure easily. If I am confident that I can get back up, I now lay on my back and wedge my noggin up under the bumper to inspect the rear frame rails and the exhaust. Another idea here would be to ask the salesman to have the vehicle placed on a lift for inspection. Being the strapping young lad I am, I wallow on the asphalt and inspect. It is very important now that the vehicle be turned off as it may impair me from ever returning to the world of the upright. Frame rails can be covered by exhaust components or splash shields but are visible on most vehicles. Again, you may have to ask the salesman to have someone remove some plastic shields (most easily done on a lift).

Lastly, I walk around the vehicle once more letting the light hit body lines. Check door gaps, open and close them. Grab the edge of the door and shake it, you shouldn’t hear anything rattle. If you’ve made it this far, the prospects are good. I wont get into the test drive, it’s a whole other can of worms, but after moving the vehicle, stop and get out. Check the ground for fluids. You shouldn’t find anything more than say a puddle of water from condensation. If you do notice a puddle, dip your finger in it. It should be colorless and odorless.

Best advice – have a vehicle inspected by a mechanic before purchasing. If you must – try your own inspection. Happy hunting!

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FAQs

The easiest and most convenient way to pay for your portion of the repairs to your vehicle is to endorse your insurance claim check and submit it to the shop. Of course, cash and checks are always welcome. Credit cards may also be used. We accept Visa, Master Card and Discover. For more information, please see our Payment Policy.

If your deductible is not waived, it will be your responsibility to pay us when you pick up your vehicle. If you aren’t sure about your deductible, you can call your agent and he can tell you whether your insurance company has waived your deductible or whether it will be your responsibility.

Claim numbers are issued by your insurance company at the time you report your accident. Just jot it down and bring it in with you when you come in to begin the repair process, we will do the rest.

You will be notified by phone when your vehicle is ready to be picked up. You can also check this website. You will see a message next to the last picture of your vehicle telling you that your vehicle is ready to be picked up. Feel free to call or e-mail your advisor during the repair process if you have questions or concerns.

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