9 Things to Consider Before Choosing an Auto Body Shop?

If you have been in a car accident, you may need extensive repairs on your auto. Even if you don’t need a lot of repairs, you will still need to have your car looked at by a professional to make sure that your car is safe to drive.

While most shops can do the mechanical work required to make your car road worthy again, not all auto body shops can repair damage to the body of the car. This may include things like matching the paint in the new parts with the rest of the car, matching the panels and trim, and aligning the car properly. Don’t forget about the fact that the shop will probably also need to restore the electrical wiring and the electronic devices in the car.

There actually is quite a lot to do to repair your vehicle to the way it was before the accident and it takes an experienced group of technicians to do the work.It is very common for cars to need extensive diagnostic services before the repairs can even be done. For example, your car may need to undergo a special computer diagnostic in order to determine how extensive the damage really is and what needs to be repaired.

In order to correctly perform the diagnostics, your car will need to be hooked up to a special machine which will evaluate all of your car’s main systems. This means that a shop will need special diagnostic equipment in order to run the tests. Of course, not all shops will have the necessary equipment.

You may not think that it is necessary to do such testing if the damage in the accident was not that bad. Remember, not all the damage to your vehicle will be immediately apparent! In most cases, you will need to go to an auto body shop in order to get such repairs done.

Your insurance company may give you several shops to choose from, or you may need to find a shop on your own. You may even need to take your car to a special shop to get a repair estimate before getting the repairs done. In order to find a good auto body shop, you may want to check with friends and family. No doubt they have been in an auto accident and have found a good local shop.

You can also look online for a shop. However, before deciding on a particular vendor, you should do a little bit of homework. Here are some things to consider.

  • Is the shop certified?
  • Are the mechanics and other staff members certified in their field of expertise?
  • Are their certificates of qualification displayed in the shop?
  • Does your insurance company work with the shop?
  • Is the shop a member of the Better Business Bureau or other organization?
  • Does the shop offer warranties and money back guarantees?
  • Does the shop use new parts or used parts to repair the damage?
  • Does the shop offer a courtesy van or rental car for your use while they are repairing the damage to your vehicle?
  • Is the shop close to your job or home?

Remember too that you often get what you pay for. Don’t choose a shop simply based on price. Instead, choose a shop that is qualified to do the repairs.

Budget Auto Repair: Should I Buy Used OEM or Aftermarket Parts?

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are factory installed parts. They are the original parts that came with your automobile when it was sent to the dealership to be placed in their new car inventory. One would think you would consider OEM parts to make repairs because they are new, but they are extremely expensive to purchase and depending on the age of your vehicle or the impact of the repair cost on your budget these parts may not be easy to come by or the most efficient choice. As your vehicle ages, automobile manufacturers are introducing new automobile models to the marketplace and may discontinue this option leaving you no choice but to find an alternative. Locating that alternative is easier than you think. Let’s take a look at an outstanding, favorable budget solution to fix your car or truck with a used part.

Used OEM parts can be an excellent choice in locating the best part selection for your automobile repair while securing the ideal budget friendly option. Used OEM auto parts are parts that are pulled from autos in which circumstances led for them to be submitted for salvage or recycling. Many salvage car parts have an extremely viable and productive life left and are readily available to be installed in your car. In general, because the part is a manufactured clone, the guarantee that it will be an exact match and the ideal fit leaves little room for error making for a smooth transition when making your repair. Used OEM auto parts are easily located for purchase online and many retailers have extensive inventory management systems like those incorporated by AutoPartSearch.com, an online recycled part marketplace. These retailers are able to will find your exact parts quickly and ship them promptly to your door. The cost associated with repairing or replacing non-functioning parts with a high-quality used OEM part can be 50% to 70% less than the purchase of new OEM parts. Used OEM parts are the right choice if you are looking for substantial savings on the cost of your repair and keeping manufacturer specifications intact in your automobile. Many salvage yards extend 30 to 90-day warranties on used OEM parts so the consumer is easily able to return or exchange a part if it does not meet their expectations. Concerns about the efficiency of the used OEM part is alleviated so that the customer can feel confident in what they are buying.

Purchasing used OEM parts for reuse is also an important way to contribute to environmental conservation and rehabilitation. The predominant goal of the Auto Salvage Industry is to recognize, treat and dispose of automotive waste and byproducts by encouraging the reuse of operable automotive parts, maintaining proper disposal of toxic fluids and eliminating waste piling up in landfills and decreasing air and water contaminants. According to the online article “Why Use Recycled Parts”, Automotive Recyclers Association, “Approximately 86 percent of a vehicle’s material content is recycled, reused or used for energy recovery.” The scrapping of steel reduces the need to acquire new iron ore and largely decreases the associated air and water pollutants born from the refinement of it in the automotive manufacturing industry. The consumer plays an extremely valuable part in this conservation effort when selecting and installing used OEM parts. Keeping the planet green for future generations to enjoy is a collaborative effort and both the automotive industry and the consumer can work together to take beneficial steps to accomplish this goal. Recycled OEM auto parts are a fine alternative for making factory specific repairs, however, when making custom or creative modifications on an automobile many customers may turn to Aftermarket Parts to fill the void.

Aftermarket Parts are made by outside manufacturers to be similar to the original part. This type of part seems to be the “middle of the road” option for most consumers and can be obtained easily for both new and used vehicles. They are fresh out of the box, but careful research may be needed when considering buying from an unfamiliar or unproven brand. In some cases, the Aftermarket part can be less expensive or will be sold at top dollar prices. They may feature specific refinements that may be put into place to allow it to perform better than the original, making them an attractive buy. Aftermarket choices can provide extremely positive results or a depressingly negative outcome for the consumer. The difference between the two seems to be in the quality of the part sold and paying particularly close attention to the quality evaluation and fit specifications of these parts. Aftermarket Parts are generally more expensive than used OEM but less expensive than new OEM parts. There are plenty of choices of manufacturers in the Aftermarket parts industry but not all are reliable sources and offer less or no warranty protection, unlike their counterparts. This can leave the customer holding onto a part that will not fit with no prospect of getting their money back. Aftermarket parts are popular when doing modifications that were not a part of the original manufacturer design, so if creative or advanced performance options are desired they may be the only option to perform these changes.

The automotive parts industry is diverse and the options for parts with which to make your repair seem to lie solely on what factors are important to you or are necessary to achieve the desired outcome. If budget repair is your top priority you would be well urged to buy high quality used OEM parts and take advantage of the associated warranties which make them an extremely attractive buy and contributes to the health of the environment. If this option fails to secure your desired result, the pursuit of Aftermarket parts may be the next best avenue for making repairs or replacements.

Auto Insurance Primer

What is auto insurance? Auto insurance (or car insurance, motor insurance) is insurance consumers can purchase for cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Its primary use is to provide protection against losses incurred. By buying auto insurance, depending on the type of coverage purchased, the consumer may be protected against:

* The cost of repairing the vehicle following an accident

* The cost of purchasing a new vehicle if it is stolen or damaged beyond economic repair

* Legal liability claims against the driver or owner of the vehicle following the vehicle causing damage or injury to a third party.

Liability insurance covers only the last point, while comprehensive insurance covers all three. Even comprehensive insurance, however, doesn’t fully cover the risk associated with buying a new car. Due to the sharp decline in value immediately following purchase, there is generally a period in which the remaining car payments exceed the compensation the insurer will pay for a “totaled” (destroyed, or written-off) vehicle. So-called GAP insurance was established in the early 1980’s to provide protection to consumers based upon buying and market trends. The escalating price of cars, extended term auto loans, and the increasing popularity of leasing gave birth to GAP protection. GAP waivers provide protection for consumers when a “gap” exists between the actual value of their vehicle and the amount of money owed to the bank or leasing company. In some countries including New Zealand and Australia market structures mean that people are more likely to buy a nearly new car than a new car so this is less of a problem.

In the United States, liability insurance covers claims against the policy holder and generally, any other operator of the insured’s vehicle, provided they do not live at the same address as the policy holder and are not specifically excluded on the policy. In the case of those living at the same address, they must specifically be covered on the policy. Thus it is necessary for example, when a family member comes of driving age they must be added on to the policy. Liability insurance generally does not protect the policy holder if they operate any vehicles other than their own. When you drive a vehicle owned by another party, you are covered under that party’s policy. Non-owners policies may be offered that would cover an insured on any vehicle they drive. This coverage is available only to those who do not own their own vehicle.

Generally, liability coverage does extend when you rent a car. However, in most cases only liability applies. Any additional coverage, such as comprehensive policies, i.e. “full coverage” may not apply. Full coverage premiums are based on, among other factors, the value of the insured’s vehicle. This coverage may not apply to rental cars because the insurance company does not want to assume responsibility for a claim greater than the value of the insured’s vehicle, assuming that a rental car may be worth more than the insured’s vehicle. Some states, such as Minnesota, may require that it extend to rental cars. Most rental car companies offer insurance to cover damage to the rental vehicle. In some regions, the costs associated with not having access to the vehicle (“Loss of Use”) is also covered.

Questions to Ask Before An Auto Insurance Purchase

Information about auto insurance companies and coverage options are available from multiple sources for examples the state’s department of insurance, magazines, and independent reviewers’ websites. Insurers operate within the scope of state’s regulations, so everyone will get more or less the same suggestions. There are laws that govern how insurance companies conduct their businesses. There is a clear boundary between legal and illegal practices, but customers still need to do their due diligence to not only avoid frauds but also purchase the right insurance policy that contains the right coverage from the right company.

Insurers have their own methods to determine price and coverage. Apart from company’s policy, customers’ personal data and previous DMV records, behaviors on the road are also essential. Two people who have the same car model and make can get different quotes because they have different records and preferences as well. Here are some questions policyholders must ask themselves before they decide to purchase coverage from any provider.

1. How Much Do They Drive?

More mileage per policy period means more expensive premium. A person who drives a car every day of the week to commute spends more time on the road, hence higher risk of accidents. Distance between home and workplace also helps determine auto insurance premium. Therefore, someone who drives short distance should pay less for auto insurance coverage. Some companies provide discounts for low mileage, too.

2. Do They Use Their Cars for Commercial Purposes?

There are two types of auto insurance policy: personal and commercial. Personal auto insurance is for those who drive for personal purposes for examples to their workplaces or leisure travels. All types of coverage in the policy protect the safety of the drivers and cars. Commercial auto insurance provides more complete protections such as for cargo or passengers (who are not from the same household). Financial protection for cargo means more expensive premium, but this is necessary from business point of view.

3. Do They Have Any Emotional Attachment with Their Cars?

People who love their cars very much need the best protections available from providers. In addition to minimum coverage requirement by the state, optional coverage is necessary to protect cars from wide range of potential dangers. Collision, Comprehensive, and Road Assistance are not mandatory, but they must purchase such coverage for better protections. Additional coverage increases premium rate.

4. Does Anybody Else Drive the Car?

Other drivers (for examples spouse, children, or anybody who lives in the same household) must put their names in the policy. Additional drivers mean more expensive premium, but it can be cheaper when the other driver is a teenager. Insurance companies tend to think of young drivers as high-risk, so it is best to list their names as secondary drivers to minimize cost.

5. What Type of Cars Do They Drive?

Cars with minimum safety features cost more to insure. Sports cars or luxurious models are expensive to repair, and this is why auto insurance providers charge higher premium.

6. Do They Own or Lease the Cars?

Full ownership of the car grants the right to choose any combination of insurance coverage available from provider. When the car is still under lease or finance agreement, the financial service that leases the vehicle often requires driver to include specific type of coverage as part of the deal. In this case, total cost for insurance is almost always more expensive than the amount full owners have to pay.

7. Where Do They Park?

Policyholders’ address is also an important thing to consider. People who park their cars in urban areas where crime rate is high tend to pay higher for auto insurance. There is higher risk of theft and vandalism in the area, so additional protection is necessary. Car owners who live in suburbs often pay less.

8. Do They Have Any Traffic Violation History?

Traffic law violations in the past affect the current premium rate. Records of DUI, involvement in major accidents, improper turn, and failure to produce driver license or insurance card affect premium. When an insurance company thinks that a driver is too risky to insure, the driver needs non-standard auto insurance. The term “non-standard” refers to coverage for high-risk drivers.

Tampa Bay Car Accident Statistics – Proof That Everyone Needs Auto Insurance

With the economy falling on hard times, many people are cutting expenditures in any way they can, including skimping on coverage for their car insurance. While it’s understandable that people must do what they can to put food on the table for their families and survive, many are making a horrible mistake – driving without auto insurance.

Florida law states that if you operate a motor vehicle in the state, you must purchase automobile insurance. Florida’s minimum coverage of insurance is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL).

Driving without auto insurance in the state of Florida is illegal. If you do not purchase auto insurance under the guidelines mentioned above, your drivers’ license can be revoked for up to three years.

If the legal consequences of driving without auto insurance don’t compel you to purchase car insurance, then perhaps these recent car accident statistics, provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will.

In 2010 there were 17,480 traffic accidents in Hillsborough County, which encompasses Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, Valrico, Fishhawk, Ruskin, and Sun City Center. In 2009, in the city of Tampa alone, there were 6,788 car accidents. Alcohol was involved in 7% of them (480).

In 2009, Pinellas County, which encompasses St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Palm Harbor, and the Gulf Beaches, had 13,669 accidents.

The city of Tampa ranks third in statewide traffic accidents, behind Miami and Jacksonville. This makes car insurance rates in Tampa higher than other cities in Florida. It also puts you at a tremendous risk should you opt to drive without car insurance and then be involved in an accident. The scary thing is – one in seven people throughout the country don’t have car insurance. In some states, it’s even as high as one in four!

If you’re involved in a car accident and do not have auto insurance, the consequences can be devastating physically and financially. You’ll need repairs on your car, or possibly a new one, if your vehicle is beyond repair. You could require medical care to cover injuries. Injuries sustained in car accidents can be soft tissue injuries such as whiplash, to more severe ones such as a concussion or broken bones.

If you’re hit by an uninsured motorist, it can be even worse. Considering auto insurance can be relatively cheap compared to the cost of actually purchasing a vehicle, there’s absolutely no reason anyone should be driving without it. Purchasing auto insurance may seem very precautionary and even unnecessary, but it will save you a lot of pain and suffering later on.

BMW Auto Repairs

When looking to repair your BMW you need to make sure you’re getting good legitimate service for your special car. Different companies give different levels of service for BMW repair needs.

Being certain that you are getting a certified BMW mechanic is tough. Lots of different car companies claim to have special training in the repair of this specific car brand. Generally, companies will have basic knowledge in cars and think that they are knowledgeable in BMW repairs but the truth is they’re not. BMW requires special services and knowledge.

You need to have higher standards for a higher standard car. If they are knowledgeable in other cars that is a plus because it means they have more experience with cars. Just make sure they know what they’re doing specifically with BMW repairs.

BMW mechanics should know the ins and outs of all models. They should have experience and training from within the company to make sure they are doing it the right way. Any problem they should be able to spot and call out. They should know exactly what to do to fix the problem.

Their facilities should be a place where your car is safe and in an area with lighting and surveillance around the clock. They should be able to take your car 24 hours a day every day and start as soon as their workers are available. They should take precious care of your vehicle and be able to get it done as quickly as possible. This type of car is expensive so you should be getting the best treatment for your car. Most repair places will take full insurance and provide you with a rental for your convenience.

Detailing is something that BMW repair places usually provide upon every service. They return the car in brand new shape. Everything should be fixed and also as clean as the day it was manufactured and put on the lot.

You can find places that can protect your warranty. They will also make sure you get original parts in your BMW to ensure that it works perfectly. The technicians should be trained on BMW and have years of experience doing it. You need to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. And you can get all of this at an affordable price if it’s not covered already by your BMW policy agreement.

If you find the right place, you can have your car in and out of there in one day. If it seems like a more serious problem you might want to be a little more patient but generally they’ll give you a reasonable time frame. BMW repair people care about you and your well being.

Choose a Good Auto Repair Shop to Keep Your Car Working Properly

Have you ever been out driving on the road without a care in the world and suddenly your car starts to make a funny noise? While you turn down the radio so you can hear the sound clearly, do you start to think about all of the things that could be wrong with your vehicle? Maybe you start thinking about the last time you took your vehicle in for repairs. No matter what you start to think about during that time, one thing you can’t ignore is the fact that your car needs to go to an auto repair facility.

Instead of taking any chances on the problem getting worse, you need to contact your local auto repair shop and find out when is a good time for you to bring your vehicle in for service. The longer you drive around ignoring the issue, the larger your repair bill will be. If you don’t have a good auto repair facility that you can take your car in too, it is time for you to start looking for one.

Any auto shop that you decide to take your vehicle to needs to be run and managed by state certified mechanics. You do have the option of choosing to have your vehicle serviced at the dealership or at an independent shop. You may want to check around and get some recommendations on where you should go so you don’t end up wasting a ton of time. Some places are pretty fast when it comes to repairing your vehicle and others may be a bit slower. Some places require that you leave your car with them and others will fix it while you wait.

Keep in mind that all auto repair shops aren’t the same. While many of their workers may hold the same credentials, the rate charge for service can differ greatly. Don’t be so quick to go with a facility that charges rock bottom prices, because you may not be happy with the end result. You need to make sure that any parts they are using on your vehicle are new unless you have specified otherwise.

Pay attention to how you are treated when you visit different auto repair facilities. No matter what type of vehicle you have or what type of work needs to be done on your car, you should be treated as if you are the best customer in the world. That means that any questions or concerns you have should be addressed promptly. You should be treated as if your time and patronage are very valuable. If there are going to be any delays or unexpected issues concerning your vehicle’s repairs you should be notified as soon as possible. A good shop is one that communicates with its customers every step of the way and charges them fair and competitive prices. The work they perform should be exceptional quality and they may even offer warranties with their work. The bottom line is you should end up a happy and satisfied customer after having your car worked on.

Choose The Right Auto Repair Services For Your Vehicle

If you are worried about the poor performance of your car lately, it is time to get it checked at a reliable auto repair services shop. Automotive repair is a regular maintenance practice which is required for longer lifespan of any automobile. It is also a big expense and with the increasing age of the automobile, the maintenance requirements also grow. There are various options for it in every area but choosing one depends on the type of vehicle owned as well as the proximity of the repair shop to your location.

Car repair is also dependent on seasons. For example during summer, the engine needs to be taken care of, especially if you are planning to undertake a road trip. Going in for a full service is a wise decision to make in such a situation to avoid any inconvenience during the trip. Every car owner should also be aware of certain minor problems related to their vehicle which can be easily fixed by themselves whenever required.

Tips For Choosing The Right Auto Repair Services:

It is advisable to start looking for an auto repair shop when you own a car because one never knows when the need might arise. Here are some tips to find reliable it services:

* One of the best and most reliable options of finding auto repair services is asking friends and colleagues for references. If they have the experience of getting good service regularly, it can be a great option to choose.

* The auto repair shop should have qualified professionals to carry out the repair and maintenance work with ease. A proof of high quality is the association of the repair shop with a, NAPA Autocare, ASP or Parts Plus. This association ensures that the repair shop has undergone high scrutiny of service and also has satisfied customers.

* The look and feel of a repair shop is also important. One can also take feedback from customers at the shop about the kind of service provided by the technicians and how satisfied they are.

* Find out if the shop has technicians with certification like ASP, Delco or certification from manufacturers like Toyota, Ford, and GM. This indicates how serious they are about their job and service provided. This also means that they are up-to-date with the latest technology which is actually a sign of excellence.

* Also, it is not necessary that a larger repair shop will be better than a smaller one. Always check for prices in every shop you research because prices are usually competitive in any area.

* Look for state-of-the-art equipment in the repair shop. Without a well equipped store, complete repair cannot be guaranteed. This becomes even more essential if you own the latest model of car.

Maintenance and it services are very important for any automobile. Although they may be difficult to afford at times, they are priceless when it comes to maintaining the good health of your vehicle. It is very important to make the right choice.

Auto Repair: Know When to Repair a Windshield

When thinking of different things that keep us safe during a drive, we rarely even think about the windshield. But the truth is – the windshield of your vehicle is more important than you think. Anyone who has been driving for a long time would have come across this situation: a dented or cracked windshield. Early drivers tend to ignore this because it does appear to be something that could cause any major damages to the vehicle or the driver. And you would postpone the repair until there is time and money to do this. But that time will never come. Getting your windshield fixed is an easy part of an auto repair. It is important and can be done even from home.

Cracked Windshield

The windshield is a two-layered laminated glass. This laminate is made of vinyl plastic which is very strong. The windshield accounts for nearly 20% of the strength of the car. It plays a major role in keeping you safe. With the advancement in technology, the process of placing the windshield has become a computer controlled process. It has been designed to work with the other safety devices in the car. For instance, the airbags need a strongly bonded windshield in order to work correctly. Thus, it is important to get even a tiny crack on the windshield repaired. Ignoring it may put the life of the driver in danger.

AUTO REPAIR:

The costs for replacing the entire windshield costs $300 and repairing a crack or a chip in the windshield could cost around $100 or lesser. There are also many kits available for you to repair the windshield yourself. These kits can be purchased from Amazon and in large stores that sell auto parts such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears, and AutoZone. The kit will consist of the adhesive seal, windscreen repair resin, curing film, pedestal and a safety razor. Once you have the kit, park your car in your garage or somewhere indoors. Use a pain to clear out any broken glass from the windshield and leave it to dry. The instructions on how to use the kit will be available with the package. If the directions are unclear, the best option is to take the car to an auto repair workshop.

Another consideration is your car insurance. If you carry comprehensive coverage, then windshield repair can be included in your coverage. Be sure to check your deductibles as this will be required to be paid first. In some states, there is no deductible for windshield damage, as it is considered a safety related repair.

At the end of the day, the important thing is that any windshield repairs are fixed immediately and you are no longer vulnerable to any potential accidents.

Does Auto Insurance Help If You Are a Victim of a Hit and Run Accident?

Unfortunately, the news about a hit and run is on the radar every so often. A pedestrian or a car driver is hit by a vehicle and the driver responsible for the accident speeds off without owning up to his actions by checking on the victims and providing his or her contact info to police.

What defines a hit and run accident?

A hit and run incident occurs when one driver crashes into a person or a car and intentionally drives on in order to avoid prosecution or accountability for resulting death, injury and/or damages.

Should you become victimized in a hit and run event, never pursue the fleeing car. You might find yourself in a road rage incident or the like. Leave the chasing to the cops who are trained in this type of thing. What you should do immediately following the crash is to alert the law enforcers.

For your best interest sake, gather as much information as you can about the event. This will help police catch the driver who collided into you. It will also add to the chances of your submitted insurance claim be processed to your advantage.

Here is what the insurance underwriters tell victims of hit and run accidents to do.

As said, the more information you gather about the case, the more chances of it ending to your benefit.

Tell authorities about facts by providing the following:

• The make and model of the other car or vehicle

• The license plate number of the other car

• How to get in touch with people who witnessed the accident

• The time and place when and where the accident occurred

• Images taken of your car immediately following the collision. (leftover paint of the other car on your vehicle will assist authorities in locating the other driver and pinning charges as it will help the insurance company determine a good outcome for your claim)

• Physician’s report about any injuries you or your passengers incurred as a result of the accident

If the driver who slammed into you and drove off without accepting liability is caught, you can submit an auto claim directly to his or her insurance company. But, should the other driver happen to be with insufficient insurance coverage or no coverage at all, you might want to resort to an attorney’s services.

Another avenue to pursue is your own insurance coverage. If the hit and run driver does not have proper insurance to cover your losses, you can file a claim with your insurance company. States differ in policy as far as the claims process goes, so you’ll have to do the research. Generally speaking, if you have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, you will be covered for medical bills and if you have uninsured motorist property damage insurance, you will be covered for related auto repair work.

Though there are various US states that do not cover you with these forms of insurance, they should cover you if you have personal injury protection coverage as well as medical payments insurance and collision coverage.

Of course, it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable independent insurance agent that has experience in this type of claim, so make sure you hook up with a reliable source!