Traveling for The Holidays: Driving Smooth

Driving Tips for The Winter

Travelers who prepare themselves and their vehicles well for winter trips expect minimum trouble and maximum enjoyment on their journeys. Since we’d expect millions of US travelers to hit the road in the coming cold days, we are sharing a list of ‘must-dos’ for your safe and successful winter travel.

Be sure you have your car checked for winter readiness. Inspect your tires, including your spares, the oil, timing belt, battery, lights, windshield wipers, among others. Pay particular attention to your headlights and taillights, as well as your defrosters. Keep windows, exhaust pipe and defrosters clean. Remove all snow build-up before you go.

Bring along some extra items in your car, like extra clothing and emergency items. These will be handy if you break down in cold weather. Have a basic kit including a pair of gloves, weather-resistant pants and/or coat, an old pair of boots, blanket, jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, and a windshield scraper. Toss in a few nutrition bars in, heavy with calories or other foods that won’t spoil. Important in cases of emergencies.

In bad weather conditions,  some SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles may have better traction when the vehicle is under way, but the four-wheel drive won’t help you stop any faster. Also, you may have the cruise control feature that may accelerate when you don’t need to, such as when you are climbing an icy bridge. So better skip the cruise control.  You can also put a bag of kitty litter in the trunk, both for added ballast to offer better traction, and to put under the wheels to get out of a slippery spot.

Stranded and you have to stay in your car? Run the engine for heat. Or if not, close the windows to keep heat in, and run the car for 10 minutes every hour, opening a front window when you do so.

Slow down by about 50% in bad weather as recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In case of slippery roads, always keep distance from the car in front. 

When available, always opt for indoor parking when you stay in hotels or other establishments.


Need to fix up your car?

So when you find yourself among the unfortunate many who will need to call upon a collision specialist, seek out the auto body professionals at Greenwood Collision.

Being Smart About the Sounds Your Car Makes

Strange Car Sounds

Most car owners bringing their vehicle in for repair will describe or imitate any noise they perceived the car made resulting to a malfunction or breakdown. Yet, however accurately the problem was described and how well it was understood by technicians in the first place, it may still result to unsuccessful repairs. You see, it’s all about context.

When the noise occurred, what was happening to your ride? It might be as important or more important than the noise itself. You have to give details like speed, road and weather conditions, if your car is loaded with passengers or cargo, plus whether or not you’re turning, braking or accelerating, etc. And can the exact location of the noise be pinpointed? It is a common confusion from incorrectly communicating whether it’s a noise heard or a vibration felt.

If it is a noise heard, can it be correctly described? Was it a grind or a groan, a clunk or thud, squeal or squawk, rap or bang? Even if you’re point-on, it’s still a question if it can be communicated correctly by your consultant to the technician or mechanic. You can always ask for a road test first but most shops won’t offer or consider that until at least one repair attempt has been made.

If you hear the noise or noises made by your car, unusual or funny as they are, you can become frustrated with your inability to accurately describe it, much less actually pinpoint the source. You think that if only you can be more specific, your troubles are half over. It may also save some valuable assessment and diagnosis time your technician will afford the trouble. You might not realize it, but an obvious solution is just right there in your pocket, or your purse.

Your smartphone! Most, if not all drivers, carry around their smartphone, and amazingly don’t use it to record their car’s strange noises. You can easily record the sound and dictate a few details, such as speed and conditions, then have your technician review it. You can open your hood and do a close-up recording of your engine sound or record any sound inside the vehicle. Can your smartphone diagnose your car troubles? This easy solution can do a lot for you and your tech, saving some valuable time for both.

Make sure you don’t use your mobile devices while you’re driving.


Visit our Seattle Auto Body Shop

So now you know that your smartphone recording can tell you what those strange car sounds are all about. Let us know to help your car get its proper fix. Here at your auto body shop in Seattle, we too, work smart.

Windshield Wipers: When Little Things Matter to Your Safety

Care Tips: Making Your Wipers Work for You

Windshield wipers are inexpensive and quite plain but they play a role in keeping you safe. Because they’re on the front line between you and the elements, it’s important to take care of your wipers and keep them in good shape .

Always check your wipers for damage. Periodically check your wipers, looking for damage especially the rubber on the blades. They may have tears, cracks or deformity from wear. The rubber is the part that wears down the fastest. You have to replace them as soon as possible if you note some damage, if any portion of rubber is missing from the blade, it’s time to replace them. or your wipers may not be able to do their function. Replace also if the edge of the blade have deformed, which can compromise the blade’s ability to make contact with the glass.

Never use your wipers if your windshield is dry. They are meant to be used on a wet surface. If they are used on dry surface they can cause a lot of friction and drag and cause them to wear down fast, as well as cause damage to the rubber. Spray wiper fluid first if you need to use the wipers to clear your windshield of pollen or some other debris.

If your windshield is dirty, don’t use them. Using wipers on a dirty windshield can damage the blades and may leave marks or scratches on the glass. Hardened debris and sticky spots can damage the blades. Scrub your windshield down with the squeegees at the gas station or a sponge at home to keep it clean.

If there’s ice or frost on the glass, don’t scrape it off with the wiper. It’s tempting but this can quickly and permanently damage the blades. Instead, use a ice scraper (or an old credit card) to remove the frost or ice, then you can use the wipers to sweep the remains away provided the glass is wet.

Routinely replace your wipers. Windshield wipers, like any other part on the car, will need to be replaced on a regular basis because they wear down over time and with use. Typically change them twice a year unless you put them through a lot of wear and tear. If there is streaking or they are making squeaking noises, then these are signs that you need a replacement.

Looking After Wipers in Seattle

Your windshield wipers make up a part of your car maintenance program at Greenwood Collision. We don’t neglect looking at the littlest of things when checking. Experience this in Seattle.

Your Car’s Most Important Maintenance Checks

The Checklist You Can’t Ignore

Basic car maintenance is so important, yet many car drivers are below par where it comes to conducting regular maintenance checks. Cars have so many moving parts, it’s hard to keep track of every single service item. Here’s a listing of service items that should not be ignored by car owners.

Oil and fluid changes. This is one of the most ignored maintenance checks. Yet your car can gain as much as 20 horsepower with a good oil change alone. This is more important especially if your vehicle is high-performing. Since every vehicle has a different oil change period depending on what type of oil it uses, your owner’s manual and other vehicle forums can tell you how long you should go between changes. Other fluids including transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid, even windshield wiper fluid are equally important to check.

The air filter. Checking the air filter also goes with your oil change. In most cases, these are very easy to swap out. Change your air filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles. However, if you live in a dusty climate or drive a high-performance car, it has to be changed more often.

Brake pads and rotors. Brakes should be in good order since they stop you when you have to, especially in an emergency. Different cars have varying levels of brake life, plus they last as long as they tolerate your driving style. It’s time for a replacement if you notice a pulsating feel from the brake pedal.

Tire replacement and rotation. It’s important to check tire wear and pressures regularly and change out tires when they are worn. Check tire tread depths as well to ensure they are not close to balding or you can lose road traction. Also, rotate your tires to ensure they wear evenly unless your car has different wheel sizes in the front and rear, which means you’ll need new tires more frequently.

The battery. Batteries generally last three to five years, so this is one important item that could be easily forgotten to check. Be sure to keep tabs on your battery in every one of your maintenance checks.

Hoses and belts. They need to be changed during the life of the car, and if they are forgotten, can drastically impede performance. The timing belt can sometimes last up to around 70,000 miles, and are one of the more significant items to forget to change.

Maintaining Services for Top Items in Seattle

Rest assured that under our care, your car’s top maintenance items are checked and documented carefully and prudently at Greenwood Collision, your auto body shop in Seattle.

Are Your Car Tires Holiday-Ready?

Tips for Car Tire-Ready Season

The winter months do not only bring chilling temperatures and jingle bells, but also tis’ the season to be car and car tire-ready. Can your car take on the Christmas rush, with all the shopping and the parties to do? Remember, the air is ice cold and the roads are slick with snow outside. Your car tires should be in tip-top shape and are responsible for safely getting you from point to point. All car drivers should take the responsibility of checking the condition of their tires.

Conducting tire maintenance is absolutely important. The tread should be in good shape and your tires are properly inflated. Well kept tires help increase traction on wet and icy roads, which is especially important during the fall to winter season. Check out these tips that should be top-of-mind all year round.

Do check your tire pressure once monthly at least. Make sure you’re using an accurate tire gauge and consulting the owner’s manual or that sticker on the driver’s door to ascertain proper tire pressure. Depending on the type of car you drive, the tire pressure level will vary. Especially when the tires are cold, or at least 4 hours after the car’s been driven, check the tire pressure. Correct tire pressure enhances vehicle performance, improves gas mileage, and decreases the risk of a blowout or a flat tire.

Do check your tread depth. Many states have laws requiring car tires to carry a minimum amount of tread depth to be legal on the road. That is because bald tires have a very hard time maintaining traction, especially in wet conditions. In short, they’re unsafe. Check your tread depth by placing a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread has worn down to the legal limit and you need to buy a new tire.

Do rotate your tires regularly. Why? Because rotating your tires regularly promotes even wear of the tread. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Periodical tire rotation keeps wear even and balanced. Cars with front-wheel drive typically have increased wear on the front tires. Even wear on tires helps the engine run more efficiently and allowing it to use less gas. Gas mileage also goes up when there is less tire pulling and road friction.

Do check your tire alignment at least once a year or sooner, especially if the vehicle is pulling to one side. This will help avoid uneven wear on tire tread. It also contributes to smoother driving, increases fuel efficiency, and extends the life of your tires. Tire balance should also be monitored.

Checking Tire Health When in Seattle

Over at Greenwood Collision in Seattle, we are your go-to place when your car needs repair or repaint. We check and maintain your car performance, and that includes tire care.

Ways in Keeping Your Car Rust-Free

Watching Out for Rust

Rust or rust buildup is the bane of anybody’s car; being that a huge percentage of a car’s body is made of steel. Rust is always a potential risk. While there’s been a lot of advances in the car manufacturing industry, the inherent characteristic of steel remains unchanged. Your car will have to be acquainted with rust sooner or later.

It’s a huge headache for any car owner. It can lead to mechanical and functional issues, not to mention aesthetics. As such, it can downgrade the vehicle’s value. Rust initiates when your car’s protective outer coating is compromised. Dust and moisture will destroy your car’s paint finish exposing the metal component. All it takes is a small nick, a chip, road debris, even hail to cause this very thin protective layer to become damaged. It is important to notice these areas as early as possible so you can prevent rust from ever starting.

Rust can be prevented and treated, though. Here are a few of the most important ways to keep your car always protected from rust.

Wash your vehicle once or twice a week depending on how often you use your car to prevent the accumulation of grime. If you live or often travel near the sea, have your undercarriage cleaned two to four times a year. The salty air has a way of speeding up the corrosion in your car’s metal parts.

Wax at least twice a year. Wax does more than make your vehicle shiny – it also adds a protective layer that shields paint from fading and damage. Use a wax product that helps repel water and reduce the chance of rust.

Deal with rust promptly. Treat immediately when you see any paint discoloration, wear in the clear coat, bulging paint surfaces, or actual rust, even small areas becoming visible along the seams. There are many aftermarket products for treating rust, repairing clear coats, and touching up paint.

It is always best to have your rust issues handled by a professional body and paint technician.

Fighting Rust: The Earlier The Better in Seattle

Got rust issues with your car? We treat all stages of rust problems here at Greenwood Collision, your auto body shop in Seattle. Remember, just a little vigilance reduces rust to no more of a problem than any other regular maintenance issue.

Why High-Tech Cars Are Costing More To Repair

A Price To Pay for Safety Technology

You find many new vehicles on the road these days that sport all kinds of high-tech safety features that should help avoid a crash. There’s automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, forward-collision warning, and so on. These advanced safety extras have the potential to reduce collision fatalities for driver, passengers and pedestrians alike. However, experts say that if these vehicles meet road accidents, the cost of repair to those cars will be quite huge.

According to some industry publications that provide vehicle repair cost estimate services, there was observed a 2% increase in average repair costs from 2016-17. It’s been rising beginning in 2010. When the electronic content in a vehicle increases – to address vehicle safety or convenience – you also add to the overall cost and complexity of repair. The more parts are added, additional labor is required for resetting, calibrating and scanning operations. Automakers need to understand recommended repair procedures.

What high-tech features are we talking about? There are sensitive safety components located in bumpers, side mirrors and fenders; if damaged, they need sensor calibration and repair. There’s advanced driver assistance system technology being placed on high-production, low-cost vehicles, not just in luxury cars. A case in point, if you have to remove the mirror from the car door to paint the door handles and everything, you may have to recalibrate the security system, the interlocking system, and the blind-spot monitoring. It’s a multilayered process. Also, the use of materials like high-strength steel, magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber in vehicles, and the use of crumple zones, can complicate the repair process.

Hence, the experts say, that when making repairs it is important to follow the automaker guidelines for vehicle repair, and paying the necessary price of safety.

Industry-Certified and Trustworthy in Seattle

When your car, whether high-tech or otherwise, needs repair and calibration, come to your trustworthy car repair shop this side of Seattle. We have the area’s best technicians, and we treat our customers right.

Car Care: Thinking of Your Car in Winter

Tips for Winter Car Care

Of all the seasons of the year in the US, the most demanding for car owners is winter time. Winters, especially in the northern United States and Canada, can be especially very cold, snowy and wet, and can a lot of damage to your car. From the car’s paint to the most interior metal components can be negatively affected if the vehicle is not maintained.

There are a few basic things, not too time-consuming or costly, that can protect your vehicle in winter. The first step is to keep the exterior as clean as possible. Winter is when your car gets the dirtiest, it gets ice melt and rock salt all over it and can quickly corrode the car’s paint and accelerate the rusting process if not washed away immediately. Get a professional car wash done, that which includes the undercarriage of the car, whenever the temperature goes above freezing.

Another tip that can save money in the long run is getting your car oil sprayed in the fall. A thick oil mixture sprayed onto the entire underbody of the car as a barrier between the car and the debris on the road. It can reduce the corrosive ice melt and salt from eating away at the car’s underside.

Check all the rubber components on the car – from window wipers to belts to the hoses around the engine. Did you know that rubber is particularly susceptible to damage from the cold. There may be rips, tears, or breaks in the rubber elements even before winter comes, and it’s important that they get checked and repaired to prevent winter car troubles.

Your car’s battery may be an old battery that can suddenly ran out of fluids in winter time, even if it might just be working fine in the fall. The best preventative measure is to test it before winter. Also check your gas tank. Fluids in the gas tank can freeze if it is really just too cold outside, so make sure to keep the tank more than half full to prevent this from happening.

Protect also the interior of your car. The easiest way to protect the carpeting is by using rubber floor mats, which are cheap to purchase, can be custom-cut to fit your flooring, and are easy to clean and maintain.

Helping Your Car to be Winter-Ready in Seattle

Be sure you bear in mind these tips for winter car care. It’s always best to practice prevention, saving you time and cost in caring for your car. Certainly, Greenwood Body Shop in Seattle is always around to help.

Signs That Say Your Car Needs An Oil Change

The Essentiality of Car Oil Changes

Some car owners don’t go for regular oil changes, for some reason, and that can be detrimental to engine life and overall performance of the vehicle. Most rely on the mileage reading on their odometer that will tell them it is time for a scheduled oil change. Usually, a newly bought car, that’s brand new, may benefit from such practice, say it’s first oil change may be after the first 6,000 miles reading or after 6 months, and so on. But you see, different vehicles have different oil change schedules. Consider it just a helpful guideline.

For most cars, there should be some tell-tale signs to indicate when you’re due for an oil change. Firstly, is your oil dark and dirty now? Clean oil, originally colored amber, collects dust, dirt, and other grime from engine use. It changes the oil’s color overtime and the grime it collects thickens the oil that can interfere with smooth engine function. Have your oil checked regularly, like monthly.

Do you hear some knocking noise underneath your hood?

Sometimes it gets louder over time. Must be your oil. Clean oil is thin and gets in between the engine parts providing lubrication, preventing metal-to- metal contact. Hence, it leads to a quieter, smoother drive. Otherwise, the fluid will start to break down, failing to lubricate the parts and you’ll soon be hearing loud knocking. It is time for a change.

If you’re low on oil, your oil change light will illuminate on your dashboard. Then go for that oil change as soon as you can. In some instances, a lighted oil change checker will mean your vehicle is at high risk of engine damage due to the lack of fluid.

Does your tailpipe emit smoke? In cold weather, it does belt out a translucent vapor. But do check your oil, because smoke out of your exhaust pipe can be a sign oil has leaked into the engine. It can also indicate faulty parts in the engine. So have your car checked.

Smell oil inside your car? That’s a warning sign. There’s a leak somewhere if the smell is strong. If it’s mixed with the smell of gasoline, it can mean your car is overheating and oil is burning into the exhaust area. It can ignite a fire. Once you detect the smell of oil inside your car, get an oil pronto..

Car Care Tips from Your Seattle Auto Shop

These are just some of the helps we extend our clients. We concern ourselves too with helping car owners know how to keep their car in top form for the long term. Know more about car care maintenance tips from your auto body shop in Seattle.

New Study: Many Americans Don’t Know About Car Care

Americans Lacking Maintenance Knowledge

A recently conducted study involving 2,000 American car owners found that many drivers, a quarter of them, know they take a risk driving their cars already in need of repair or are not in good running condition.
The study questioned the respondents about what they perceived is the state of their vehicles and what they know about car care basics.

Results showed that a good 68% of Americans know there’s at least one thing wrong with the car and could use a repair. When it comes to car care, 36% didn’t know what entails fixing a flat tire. Half of the respondents even said they’re not confident about changing car oils. One third aren’t even sure which correct oil would their vehicle need. A quarter wouldn’t know how to jump start a car should the situation arise. One in five think that using an air pressure gauge to check tire pressure is too much for them.

Now it gets complicated. Would you believe that 41% of Americans were unable to actually identify a car’s engine when presented with an image? That’s tough. So looking under the hood is not really going to help these guys. Being the case, they’d refrain from taking the car to a mechanic even when a new or strange noise is heard under the hood. But they will still raise the hood and look under even if they’ve not the slightest idea what’s wrong!

Why so? 54% of Americans seem to be intimidated by a car mechanic. Four in ten won’t do that because they’re afraid of the cost and any other additional work the mechanic finds that needs fixing. Only 19% feel very confident they’re paying a fair price when they take their car to one.

But as times change, people choose only what they want to know about their cars. Like, 83% percent of millennials could connect their phone to the car’s speakers and play music, 30% of those 66 and older cannot. On the other hand 71% of the oldies could drive a stick shift, only 51% of the 18-35 can. The 66 and older seem to be more knowledgeable about car maintenance. They know when their car is in need of oil change or need new tires, and so have those done in a timely manner.

While good car maintenance is important, today’s Americans should be more knowledgeable about simple ways to keep their vehicles in safe and good condition.

Learning Basic Car Care in Seattle

We at Greenwood Collision are always on hand to fill in our customers with bits of car care information. Car owners should be able to know the basics which is better for their cars. We’re just on hand to help along the way. Don’t hesitate to drop by.