How to Protect Your Vehicle from Hail Damage (Without a Garage)

hood of car with dents after a hail stormAccording to Insurance.com, the state of Texas saw the most hail damage claims in 2016. While protecting your vehicle from the wrath of hail may be a simple task if you have a garage, it can feel like a helpless situation for drivers who do not. However, there are still some crucial tips you can follow to keep your car protected from hail.

Invest in a car cover or carport
These protective items come at a low price when the cost of devastating hail damage is considered. Car covers can be found at any local auto supply store and can be quite effective at protecting your vehicle from damage. Meanwhile, carports can be found at most stores that offer lawn and garden supplies, and are relatively easy to install.

Protect your windshield with floor mats
If you do not have a car cover at the time of a hailstorm, cover your windshield with your car’s floor mats. While they will not cover the entire vehicle, they can at least help to minimize the damage.

Park alongside a large building
If you are driving while a hailstorm hits and there are no garages or gas stations nearby where you can take cover, park your car alongside a large building, so it acts as a shield. For example, if a storm is coming from the south, park on the north side of the building.

If your car has been damaged due to hail, you can do away with the dents without the high expenses. For paintless dent removal in Arlington, TX, call our auto body shop today at (817) 332-4123.

Paintless Dent Removal: Should You Attempt it Yourself?

close up of damage on a silver vehicleToday, there are endless products and tutorials available with the purpose of helping people complete projects that would typically require a professional. Paintless dent repair is no exception, as commercial advertisements make the process of effectively removing a dent from your vehicle look so simple. However, it is important to know that taking the DIY approach to such a project can end up costing you more money in the long run.

While there are tools available on the market for paintless dent removal, merely buying a tool will not guarantee good results. It takes the proper skill and experience to know when a certain method or device should be used, as well as how to use it.

For example, a popular device for dent removal is a glue puller, which instructs the user to glue a tool to the dented surface of the vehicle and then twist or pull to pop out the dent. However, there are plenty of ways in which an amateur can use the tool incorrectly, resulting in the metal overstretching or cracking the paint.

To avoid potentially causing further damage to your vehicle and adding more costs to your repair bill, contact a professional when it comes to paintless dent removal in Weatherford, TX. Our expert technicians have the experience and tools to get the job done right the first time, and will make fast work of your repair.

What to Do When You Lock Your Keys in the Car

set of keys in vehicle ignitionWhat to Do When You Lock Your Keys in the CarAccording to AAA, about four million Americans lock their keys in their car every year. If you have been driving for some time, you may be familiar with the resulting frustration. If you find yourself locked out of your car in the future, follow these steps from the experts at our auto body shop in Fort Worth.

Observe your surroundings
Once you’ve realized you’ve locked your keys in your vehicle, you should become familiar with your surroundings. Is there a gas station within a safe walking distance? Gas station owners commonly have tools on-hand for opening locked vehicles. If no one is nearby to help or you are in a dangerous area (especially at nighttime), don’t hesitate to call 911 for help.

Take advantage of roadside assistance
The fastest way to find out if you have a roadside assistance policy is to call your insurance agent. If you find that you do not receive this coverage via your insurer, you may still be in luck; many newer cars come with roadside assistance during the basic warranty period. Assuming your owner’s manual is locked in your car as well, the number to call might be posted on a window decal, or you can try getting the details by calling your dealership.

Call a towing service
If no free options are available to you, most towing services provide a lock-out service. You can dial 411 for information on these services in your area.

Driving in Autumn: How Fallen Leaves Pose a Driving Hazard

fallen autumn leaves and rain puddleFor many of us, the arrival of autumn means excitement for some of our favorite traditions. We think of pumpkin picking, hay rides, and fresh apple cider. What we don’t typically think about, however, is the dangers that the new season may pose to unwary drivers.

As motorists, most of us know that an excess of rainwater can cause loss of control behind the wheel. However, not all drivers are aware of the dangers posed by wet leaves.

As we progress into the season, leaves fall off the trees in our neighborhood, often accumulating in our driveways and local roads. Leaves also have a waxy coating that prevents water from being absorbed. (Have you ever watered your plants and noticed that the water droplets sit atop the leaves rather than disappearing into them?) This means that water simply pools on top of leaves on the ground, leaving a thin layer of water that can create a hazard while you drive. A single layer of wet leaves can make braking, steering and stopping difficult.

Even when they are dry, fallen leaves can also pose a danger by hiding potholes or painted lines on the road.

When you get behind the wheel this fall, make sure to pay attention to fallen leaves, especially on those crisp and rainy days. Drive cautiously and leave adequate space between you and the motorist in front of you. If the worse happens and you find yourself with a dented fender or bumper, contact us for paintless dent removal in Arlington, TX. Our no-paint dent removal services can restore your vehicle to its original factory finish.

Six Items to Keep in Your Vehicle in Case of an Emergency

jumper cables and car batteryStop for a moment and consider if your next drive results in a flat tire, dead car battery, or a breakdown. Will you be prepared? The following is a list of items that should be kept in your vehicle if you happen to become stranded while driving.

First Aid Kit
Invest in a prepackaged first aid kit, or assemble your own with the necessities. Include bandages, antibiotic cream, gauze, cotton swabs, and hand sanitizer.

Jumper Cables
If you find yourself with a dead car battery, attach your cables to the positive and negative battery terminals of another person’s car.

Fuel Container
If you ever run out of gas, a small fuel container will provide you with just enough fuel to get your car to the nearest gas station.

Emergency Signs/Flares
Emergency signals are especially useful if you’ve broken down on a busy highway or beyond a blind curve. If your vehicle is damaged and in need of collision repair in Fort Worth, TX, an emergency sign, such as a reflective triangle, will ensure first responders or a tow truck driver will be able to locate you.

Car Escape Tool
These innovative tools can be the beacon of hope during an emergency. Car escape tools include a number of features such as a built-in flashlight, emergency window breaker, seatbelt cutter, and a red indicator light.

Water Bottles
In an emergency situation, a supply of water will do more than keep you hydrated. You can use it to pour into your radiator if your car overheats.

What to Do After Getting in a Car Accident

two vehicles after a collisionBeing involved in a car accident is stressful, and possibly even devastating. While accidents aren’t always avoidable, knowing what to do in the event of a collision will help you be prepared for when it happens.

Pull off the road
If the car accident is minor, move vehicles to a safe place and away from traffic. Shift into park, turn off your vehicle, and turn on the hazard lights.

Call 911
Immediately determine whether anyone is injured and call 911 to get an ambulance, if necessary. Even if no one is injured, still call the police if the damage is significant or if anyone involved is acting confrontational.

Call your insurance company
If possible, contact your insurance company while you’re still at the scene of the accident. The person you speak with will help you deal with both the police and the other driver. If the damage is serious, ask about having your vehicle towed to a shop for auto body repair in Granbury, TX.

Exchange information
Even if the other driver is opposed to getting their insurance company involved, you should still make a point to exchange the relevant information. This includes their name, address, phone number, and the name of their insurance company.

Get a police report
A police report is essential as it will be the proof of the accident and corroborate your claims. It will be needed for both insurance and legal proceedings. If it is safe to do so, you should also take photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved.

The Most Common Car Repairs During the Summer

modern highway with trafficDuring the summer months, many people take advantage of their vacation time and the nice weather by traveling. However, before you hit the road, you may want to consider scheduling automotive repair for your vehicle. While it’s partially the warm temperatures that make summer enjoyable, it’s these same temperatures that can contribute to a breakdown. Here are some of the most common car repairs experienced during the summer and what you can do to prevent them.

Overheated Engine
When temperatures are high, your vehicle has to work harder to keep the engine cool. The repair for an overheated engine is typically more coolant or a new thermostat. If the overheating becomes frequent despite these updates, more repairs work may be necessary.

Tire Problems
Rising temperatures mean rising tire pressures. If your tires remain over-inflated as you drive on hot roads, more stress is placed on them as they are forced to flex more. Thus, there are higher chances of having a blowout. It’s important to ensure your tires are properly inflated and that worn out tires are replaced.

Broken A/C
While defects in your air conditioning unit likely won’t be noticeable in the cooler months, a poorly performing unit is immediately noticeable during summer. Rather than finding that your A/C requires maintenance in the middle of a road trip, have it checked before the onset of summer at our auto body shop in Weatherford, TX.

Preparing Your Car for Long-Term Storage

sedan with weatherproof coverThere may be a time in your life when you need to place your car in long-term storage. Whether you drive a convertible in the summer or you’re leaving for an extended vacation, here are some important factors to consider as you prepare to store your vehicle.

Change the Oil
Used oil contains contaminants that may pose harm to the engine. If you’re storing your car for longer than one month, consider getting the oil changed beforehand.

Fill the Tank
If there’s a significant amount of air in your car’s fuel tank, moisture can accumulate inside and the seals may dry out. With a full tank of gas, there is a much lower risk of damage. You can also use a fuel stabilizer to help avoid ethanol buildup.

Keep it Covered
If you don’t have a garage, consider putting the car in public storage. If storing your vehicle indoors isn’t possible, use a weatherproof car cover to avoid a possible need for auto hail repair in Fort Worth.

Inflate the Tires
Ensuring your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure will help prevent flat spots from developing as your car sits in storage. If you will be away for over a month, consider asking a friend or family member to take the car for a drive every few weeks.

Protecting Your Car’s Paint from the Summer Sun

While you may not notice a difference in your car’s exterior after one hot day, harmful ultraviolet rays can cause cumulative damage to your automobile’s finish. Pigments absorb UV over time, making paint colors change or fade. Plastics and polymers also absorb UV and degrade, becoming brittle or changing shape. Keep reading for some easy steps to keep your car’s exterior in great condition throughout the summer. For even more information on how to protect your car’s paint from the sun, chat with an expert at your local auto body shop in Fort Worth, TX.

Park in the Shade
A vehicle parked in the shade can be up to 20 degrees cooler than a vehicle in sunlight. When possible, try to park in a garage or in the shade. If your home doesn’t have a garage, consider investing in a protective canopy for your driveway.

Keep it Clean
When messes such as bird droppings, tar or insects stick to your car after a drive, these contaminants can actually “bake” into paint the longer they are exposed to heat. If they stay on your car long enough, they could even etch into the finish.  You can effectively prevent this issue by cleaning your car regularly. For any contaminants that are already embedded, use a clay bar.

Use Wax
Wax is one of the best ways to preserve your car’s paint. Apply wax after washing, and reapply it periodically to maintain the layer of protection that it offers against UV damage.

Three Problems You’ll Avoid By Getting a Dent Repaired Fast

If the dent in your car is small enough, you may not be in a rush to get it fixed. However, failing to address it could lead to more issues for you and your car in the future. Here are just three reasons to have a dent repaired right away.

Paint Damage
A dent can create cracks in your vehicle’s paint, which will eventually start to peel off and flake away. If the dent is fixed as soon as possible, you can avoid peeling paint and other cosmetic issues. An auto body shop in Fort Worth, TX, can help you stop paint damage quickly and efficiently.

If the dent on your car does damage the paint, water can reach the metal of the car’s body – creating an ever-growing rust spot. If you have the dent fixed at an auto body shop before any rust appears, you can avoid what would be a more expensive repair later on.

Lower Resale Value
Cars don’t last a lifetime; at some point, you may want to sell or trade in your vehicle. Most appraisers will give your car a grade of excellent, good, fair, or poor. It’s important to know that a single dent can make the difference between a “good” and “fair” grade. If you want the highest grade possible (and a higher trade-in value), then it’s worth taking care of any dents your car may have.