Did you recently pimp your ride?
Outdated and wish-it-was-still-on TV show aside, getting a new paint job turns any car into your car.
It’s not cheap, so how do you care for your investment? You can’t just treat your brand new paint job with generic products and expect everything to be OK.
So how do you take care of it to prolong the new paint’s life and keep it looking shiny? You have to replace everything you know about car cleaning with the tips below.
No More Car Washes
We’re not recommending you never clean your car again, quite the opposite. But your life of paying a quick $10 at a gas station car wash is over.
Those care washes are meant to be effective – not necessarily gentle. Some of them use things like salt water to rinse with.
What are three things that don’t go well together? Salt, water, and metal. That’s rust city!
So, you’ll need to invest in cleaning products made for nice cars. We’re talking the kind they sell at auto shops, not whatever you find on the shelf at Walmart.
Look for wording on the packaging that says it won’t damage paint. If you can find it, look for a product that specifically says it protects paint jobs. If you can’t find that specific of a cleaner, get the best one they’ve got.
Products to Buy
Along with a high-quality soap product, you’ll want a conditioner and a wax. Paint conditioners deliver a coating of extra minerals to the paint while waxing seals all the good in and all the bad out.
Cleaning with clay is another option, car clay helps you get the dirt out of paint pores deeper than soap can. Think of it like a clay face mask. but for your car.
The way you apply your wax polish matters. It’s not Mr. Miyagi’s wax on wax off lesson here.
First thing first, read the directions on the wax product you bought. Each brand has slightly different instructions, so there’s not a one size fit all approach.
Wax Your Car
Once you’ve read the directions on your specific brand of wax, make sure your car is fully dry. That means having a microfiber cloth to go over a section you’re about to wax first.
Once the spot is dry, apply the wax with whatever material the bottle suggests. We like a classic buff wax, but that’s just us.
Make sure you don’t forget about places where cars gather the most dirt, like around wheel terminals (still on the body) and the bumper.
Use the Right Tire Cleaner
Tire cleaners are full of nasty chemicals. They have to be to get all that road gunk off, right? Well. . . yes, but try to find one that’s non-acidic.
When the tire gets wet and the product comes off, it can mist or splat particles of the tire cleaner onto your paint.
That’s like putting corrosive fluid right onto your brand new paint job, every time it rains or you hit a puddle.
Protect Your (Clean) Vehicle
When you’re out on the road, your car is exposed to bugs, mud, dust, rain, grease – you name it. Don’t leave it exposed to bird droppings, plant residue or anything else while it’s at home!
Home is your sanctuary from the world- it should be your car’s too. If you have a garage, always park the car with the new paint job in it.
If you don’t have a garage, can you build a carport? If you can’t, invest in a canvas car cover. You can find them on Amazon for most specific models.
Yes, they’re a pain to put on and off – but not nearly as painful as finding a piece of bird poop soaked into your new paint!’
If you don’t want to keep the cover in your car, get an outside bin – like something you find at home depot and stuff the cover in there. If you want it to blend in with your landscaping, look for a big terra-cotta looking plastic pot.
Keep a small to-go cleaning kit in your car for when you’re out and about. If you come back to your car to find a new dirt spot on it, you can grab your to-go kit and spot treat the dirty area.
This extends the amount of time between washes and makes sure things don’t get too stuck on for too long.
You don’t want to leave anything sticky on your car for extended periods of time, especially things like tree sap. It attracts more dirt and gets harder and harder to take off!
Treat The Inside Like the Outside
Even though you didn’t have a paint job done on the inside, keeping the interior clean maintains a sense of pride. When there isn’t junk thrown around the seats, the idea of cleaning won’t seem overwhelming.
Keep a small trash can in your car and make it a point to always take your trash out when you turn off the car.
Avoid Over-sized Items
If you try to get a bike or a couch in the back of a car and it’s a squeeze, you’re likely to scratch some paint on your way in. Borrow someone’s truck or something less brand new to haul large items.
Your New Paint Job
In the interest of maintaining your car’s paint and not wasting your money by ruining your investment, make sure you protect your new paint job. It’s easier than you think and it makes a big difference!
Don’t have a new paint job yet, but are ready for one? Check out our services.
We’ll get you looking good-as-new!Read More
If you drive a modern car, you’re sitting in a technological wonder.
When Karl Benz patented the first car in 1885, there’s no way he could have envisioned the features we enjoy today. Things such as video-assisted rear-view mirrors, adaptive steering, and now self-driving software make driving a more enjoyable experience.
There is one major disadvantage of this new technology. Collision repair specialists have a harder time diagnosing vehicles. Cars are so complex that even basic repairs require vehicle scanners.
One scanner, the asTech unit, rises above the competition and helps collision repair experts service your car. Read on to learn what the asTech diagnostics unit is, why it’s the best on the market, and why you should make sure your collision repair shop uses it.
How Shops Use asTech Vehicle Scanners
Once you take your car to a repair shop, the collision expert plugs the asTech unit into your vehicle’s OBD-II port. They then email your vehicle’s information to a team of diagnostic specialist at asTech’s headquarters.
Within 30 minutes, they’ll receive a report back within 30 minutes containing an itemized report of your vehicle. This gives technicians the information they need to diagnose your vehicle and fix whatever problems are there.
After repairs, technicians scan your vehicle again to make sure nothing happened to your car during the repair process.
Why Would Something Happen During Repairs?
Cars, newer models, in particular, are more complicated than they were 20 years ago. The electronic components of cars take up to 100 million lines of code; for comparison, all of Facebook has 60 million lines.
Even the slightest change could throw something off. It’s like the nervous system in humans. Unintended consequences happen in places collision specialists might not expect.
What The asTech Vehicle Scanners Mean For Customers
First, customers save time and money. It only takes 30 minutes for a scan to take place. Technicians don’t have to waste valuable time diagnosing problems. Customers benefit from lower labor costs and having their cars fixed right the first time.
Shops also save money with the asTech unit and pass those savings to customers. Many collision experts outsource cars to the dealership because of the costs of diagnosing problems.
The ASTec diagnostics unit gives dealers all the tools that the dealership has at a fraction of the cost. By avoiding dealerships, collision repair shops also shave days off of their cycle time and improve repair times. Freeing up space for more cars increases volume, which in turn lowers the amount they need to charge each customer.
You’re probably wondering how one device can do these things. Let’s look at what makes The ASTech scanner different.
What Makes The asTech Unit Different From Other Scanners?
When shopping for vehicle scanners, it’s undeniable that you have a broad range of options, including different models and brands. But several reasons make asTech a viable option for all your diagnostic scanning needs.
Lower Costs For The Shop, Lower Charges To Clients
When shops purchase vehicle scanners, they face huge up-front payments and monthly or yearly update fees. Often, one scanner isn’t enough. If a shop services Mercedes, for example, it could cost them $30,000 for the equipment they need.
When this happens, the only way for them to get a return-on-investment is charging more money to customers.
A collision shop with ASTech doesn’t have this problem. They pay an up-front cost of around $2500 with no yearly update charge. For this investment, they receive access to over $170,000 worth of OEM diagnostic scan tools.
Faster Updates Save Customers Time
Many of the OEM scanners roll out their updates to small shops later than national chains. Sometimes, it can take a full vehicle model year to receive updates, meaning that if you have a 2018 vehicle, your collision shop might have to send your car to a dealership.
This step could add days to the time it takes to get your vehicle up and running.
The asTech scanner works with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that owners of their scanner receive updates at the same time they do. A shop with this equipment can service your car faster and get you back on the road in no time.
The cost of OEM devices causes many shops to purchase after-market devices. Often, the devices register dash codes, but not other electrical components like door locks and Bluetooth.
For customers, the failure to read everything leads to incomplete work. If the job isn’t finished the first time, you’ll have to take your car back for more repairs. This costs you more money and keeps you off the road longer.
Long-term, incomplete repairs might lead to a total failure of your vehicle. Hidden damage caused by a collision or improperly working vehicle warning lights are dangerous to your car’s life.
How will you know if something is wrong if your service light doesn’t work? How do you know that the collision you were in didn’t lead to something worse than what was diagnosed the first time? With the asTech diagnostics unit, you’ll find out before leaving the collision repair shop.
If you are ever in an accident or need vehicle repairs, call shops and ask them if they have the asTech scanner. If the answer is no, keep looking. You’ll save money and time if the collision shop has the right equipment.Read More
Damaged windshields are no stranger to drivers and insurance companies alike. In fact, windshield damage is the top insurance claim in the U.S.
No matter how meticulous of a driver you are, sometimes windshield damage just happens. Pebbles can be kicked up by a passing car. A dump truck on the high way can lose some of its rock load.
If your windshield is seriously damaged, you may need windshield replacement Augusta GA.
Keep reading to learn about windshield damage and when you need to replace versus repair.
Windshield Damage Factors
Not all windshield chips are equal. The shape and size of the chip determines if the problem is repairable. If repair isn’t an option a full replacement is a must.
Another factor is the location of the chip. If the damage goes beyond the outer edge of the windshield, replacement is often required. Replacement is also required if:
- The chip is located in the driver’s primary line of sight
- The chip/crack spans the entire length of the windshield
Now that you know damage factors, let’s talk about the types of damage.
Types of Windshield Damage
Windshield damage comes in two forms: a chip or a crack.
A chip occurs when a piece of the windshield is missing. Chips are usually small.
A crack is a line that runs across the windshield.
There are six types of windshield damage. Each type has repair standards that you’ll want to know.
A crack is a single line across the windshield. Most cracks have an impact point.
Cracks can be fixed if they don’t impact the driver’s field of sight. Cracks less than 14 inches can also be repaired.
2. Surface Pit
A surface pit is a chip in the glass that doesn’t penetrate into the plastic interlayer. Surface pits can be repaired if the diameter is bigger than 1/8 inch.
Smaller surface pits don’t require repair.
3. Star Break
A star break looks like a star. There is an impact point that has many legs stemming from it. This can be fixed if the break isn’t longer than three inches.
This damage looks exactly as you would expect. There is a dark circle where the impact happened. Surrounding the circle is a cone-shaped outer layer.
A bullseye can be fixed if the:
- Damage isn’t in the driver’s line of sight
- Impact point doesn’t contain dirt or debris
- Diameter is less than an inch
5. Half Moon
A half moon is a partial bullseye. This damage can be fixed if the diameter is less than an inch.
Damage with many characteristics is known as a combination. The type of damage can be fixed if the diameter isn’t bigger than two inches.
If there is severe damage to your windshield, you’ll need professional help. Read on for tips for locating windshield replacement Augusta GA.
How to Find Windshield Replacement Augusta GA
The cost of replacing a windshield can range from $185-$1,000. You want to ensure your money is well spent, right?
When searching for windshield replacement Augusta GA, you want to find the highest quality company. Here are 5 tips for finding a dependable auto glass company.
1. Reputation Matters
The company you choose for windshield replacement Augusta GA needs to be reputable. Don’t put your car and your life at risk by settling for a sub-par company.
Before selecting a company, do some research! Determine how long the company has been in business. Companies with a history are more likely to be reputable.
Take the time to do some research. Use the internet to find information about the company including:
- An overview and history
- Testimonials from past clients
- Information about repair processes
2. Ensure Use of Quality Glass
Some auto glass companies manufacture their own glass. However, the best quality glass that can be used is dealer glass. This glass must meet quality standards before it can be used.
Dealer glass is also free of distortions. Distorted windshield glass makes driving dangerous!
Don’t let your money go to waste with a low-quality windshield replacement.
When choosing a company for windshield replacement Augusta GA, ensure dealer glass is the only option.
3. Determine Drive Away Time
After a windshield is replaced, it needs to cure. Driving the car before the windshield is cured can be dangerous.
In fact, an uncured windshield is more likely to break in the event of an accident.
Usually the safe drive away time is three hours. But, some companies can minimize the time to just an hour.
Ensure the company offers a reasonable time.
4. Ask About Certifications
A certified company is more likely to follow industry standards and best practices. When searching for windshield replacement Augusta GA, a certified company gives you peace of mind.
Before making a decision, be sure the company is certified by the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS). ARGRSS addresses education, procedures, and product performance.
A certified company follows all standards for auto glass replacement. You can also depend on the company to use the latest and greatest glass replacement procedures.
Other certifications include:
- Auto Glass Safety Council
- National Windshield Repair Association
- Auto Glass Technician
5. Service Guarantee
A quality auto repair company will stand by its work.
High quality work should be backed with a lifetime guarantee. With a guarantee, you can drive safely knowing that your windshield was replaced with top notch materials.
In the event that the windshield replacement doesn’t hold, you want to be protected.
Dependable Windshield Repair and Replacement
Looking for windshield replacement Augusta GA? If so, your search is over! John Harris Body Shops are your go-to car damage services.
We have years in car repair as well as customer service. You can count on us to provide you top notch service.
From dents to a cracked windshield, we’ve got you covered. Our mission is to restore all vehicles to manufacturer’s specifications.
Don’t suffer with a damaged windshield any longer! Contact our shop today to schedule an appointment.Read More
Getting hit by another vehicle can be the most frightening thing you go through.
When this happens and you breathe a sigh of relief realizing that you’re not injured, your immediate train of thought needs to focus on getting your vehicle fixed.
Choosing a top notch auto body shop will help you do this. This article teaches you the importance of finding a shop, in addition to some guidelines that’ll match you up with the right pros.
So take heed to the six tips below, in order to get your car back in order and to reap the benefits of their craftsmanship and experience.
6 Tips For Finding An Auto Body Shop
You have access to plenty of credible body shops no matter where you live. The six keys below are major when it comes to choosing wisely.
Tip #1: Be Aware of Their Location and Specialty
Location is everything when it comes to finding a great auto body shop.
Find a shop in close proximity to you lets you easily follow up in person. The shop’s geographical location also plays a role in your overhead costs.
In general, the cost of replacement parts won’t vary as much as labor costs. If you’re trying to save some money, steer clear of busy, big-box auto body shops in populated areas.
Try to snag a rental car in the interim. A rental lets you get around to and from work without issue.
If securing a rental is not a possibility, choosing a shop located close to work and home will save you a good deal of hassle.
Tip #2: Don’t Settle For One Price Quote
Many auto owners spend way too much money on bodywork because they didn’t shop around nearly enough.
Make sure to get no less than five different cost estimates.
Getting an estimate requires a shop to thoroughly inspect your car and prioritize both cosmetic and functionality.
For instance, you may need a realignment and bumper replacement for the car to drive properly, while fixing scratches and repainting could wait a bit. Either way, get total itemized estimates, in order to see how much the auto body work will cost you.
Be sure that the shop is technically skilled so that they can readjust airbag sensors and warning systems, in addition to replacing the parts.
The price you pay for this auto body work depends on the severity of the damage, the geographical location of the shop and the parts that you decide to use.
Tip #3: Contact Your Automobile Insurance Provider
Using your automobile insurance can be the difference between paying tremendous costs and getting a discount. For this reason, your first phone call after an accident should be to your insurance provider.
It’s important to know what coverage you’re entitled to under your auto insurance. You’ll need comprehensive or collision coverage to offset your auto body repairs.
Your auto insurance company will refer you to the closest affiliated auto body shop in your area. These shops have partnerships with your insurance company, so this streamlines the process of getting repairs.
While your insurance company will be helpful, don’t limit your search to their recommendations. Many auto body shops are willing to accept your insurance plan, so do your homework until you find the best fit.
Tip #4: Find A Shop That Focuses On The Finishing Touches
Cosmetic details separate the subpar autobody shop from the cream of the crop.
Take a few meetings with shops in your area to get photos and videos of their prior auto body work. Pay close attention to details that make the vehicle look completely new.
In many cases, these details boil down to the shop’s access to high-quality OEM parts.
Access to the highest quality paint also makes a huge difference. Factor in the cost of painting the vehicle after auto body work, to be sure you’re getting your car back on the road at its best.
On the low end, a vehicle paint job could cost upwards of $900, while a high end, show room quality paint job with various protective coatings could cost upwards of approximately $20,000.
The beauty of finding a qualified repair shop during an emergency is that you’ll be protected during non-emergencies. For instance, you can return to the shop to get assistance protecting your paint and body from pollen during the spring.
Tip #5: Only Do Business With Bonafide And Certified Shops
You should only leave your vehicle in the hands of an auto body shop that can back its claims with certifications.
Make sure that their license information is displayed prominently. Research the auto body shop to see their Better Business Bureau rank and find out if they have civil suits against them.
Shops that are accredited with organizations like the Auto Body Alliance hold themselves to higher standards.
Aside from professional certifications, you should pay attention to their reputation in the local area.
Customer service is everything during this process because it allows you to get your questions answered, and keeps you in the loop on every step of your auto body work.
Leaving your vehicle in the hands of a shop that operates by these standards lets you know that you’ll receive 5-Star work when you need it.
Tip #6: Make Sure To Ask About Auto Body Shop Warranties
Always get a warranty on your auto body work.
The warranty that you get for your vehicle will let you protect every last detail. This is crucial since you’re paying a great deal of money to get it fixed.
Lean toward an auto body shop that can sell you a warranty for the lifetime of the vehicle. This way, you’re covered against any defects and can get the parts switched out when necessary.
As you sit down with many different shops for consultations, ask them about the types of warranties they offer. Keep the paperwork for any auto body warranty that you buy, so that you’re able to exercise it when needed.
Use these six tips and contact a vehicle body shop that can serve you.Read More
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.Read More
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 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 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 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 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!
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!Read More