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Category: Car lovers

Whether or not you have a spare pool noodle lying around your garage, these foam tubes can be great for more than fun in the pool. We have a couple of ways to use them for your car.

Protect your paint

Photo shows a car door opened against a pool noodle, cut in half and placed on the wall.
Protect your car doors from hitting the garage wall with strategically placed pool noodles.

When you pull your car in the garage, it can sometimes be a tight fit. To prevent hitting your car door on a hard wall, cut the noodles in half and adhere a few horizontally against the wall of your garage. When your door swings open, they’ll provide a soft bumper between your door and the wall.

You can also put some at the front end of your garage, and you’ll never have to worry about accidentally hitting the wall in front of the car.

For the kid’s seat

Do you have a small child who still requires a car seat? If so, this hack is perfect for you.

Photo shows a rear-facing car seat secured in the backseat with pink pool noodles wedged between the seats.
Use a pool noodle or two to fill the gap between baby’s seat and the backseat.

For rear-facing car seats, most parents struggle with filling that gap between the baby’s seat and the backseat. This gap can cause the seat to wobble which is unsafe for the baby. Some car manuals suggest you use a rolled-up towel, but sometimes the towel does not fill the space tightly enough to secure the seat.

Instead, take two or three pool noodles (depending on the size of your car seats’ gap) and cut them to the width of the base of your car seat. Be sure to reference your baby’s seat manual because some car seats ask specifically ask that you don’t use the noodles.

For more tips like these, visit our AMM Collision social media pages @Ammcollision.

Photo shows the back of a hatchback car open, showing a fully-packed interior.
Before you pack up the car, take the time to do some regular maintenance checks.

Are you planning a weekend getaway, or visiting your family for the holidays? It can get just to load the car up with the family just to go to the movies, let alone a long drive. And when you have a long drive, there are other concerns to address before hitting the road other than music and snacks.

This list is meant to cover all the ordinary checks you’ll want to do before an extended drive, to make sure you and your family are driving safe.

1. Check your dash and lights

Make sure there aren’t any warning lights on your dashboard. If there are, take your car to a mechanic to will check the on-board diagnostics with a scanning device. It works like a computer and reads if there’s anything wrong with the vehicle. This step will help you find out the causes behind the warning lights and how they can be fixed.

Check your headlights too. Turn them on and off to make sure they are all working. If not, head to your local auto parts store to buy some new bulbs. Being visible to other drivers is a key safety issue, and drivers who use their headlights all day have a decreased risk of being in an accident.

Also, if you haven’t driven the car recently, take it for a test drive on the freeway, listen for noises, feel for shakes, and watch for trouble signs in the gauges.

2. Tire Pressure and Tread

One hand holds a pressure dial while the other holds the other end into a car tire.
Tires are a major safety concern. Check tire pressure and tread before taking an extended drive.

Look in your car’s manual for the recommended tire pressure. People often think the numbers on the tire is pressure, but it’s the maximum amount the tire can hold. Overfilling the tire combined with hot weather can lead to a blowout.

Be sure to add the correct amount of air to your tires. Inspect the tread on your tires. Balding tires can increase your chance of a blowout and reduce traction.

3. Engine Oil and Coolant

Check your oil levels and the mileage you’re due for an oil change. If you’re nearing your mileage suggested for an oil change, go ahead and do so before you hit the road.

So be sure to check your coolant levels as well. You don’t want to be stranded with an overheated car.

4. Brakes 

Make sure to check your brake pads. If they squeal, or its been over 50,000 miles since you replaced your brakes, it’s a safe bet to just replace them before you get on the road.

You can also do a little at-home test looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel’s spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. There should be at least 1/4 inch of pad if you see less than that you may want to go ahead and replace them.

5. Transmission

A transmission is what changes the gear of an engine, and both your transmission and drive axle have their own lubricant. Check them before you get on the road. Look to your owner’s manual for guidance or take it to a local transmission shop for a quick refill.

6. Belt 

Most of cars have features that can’t run without the belt, like the alternator, water pump, power steering and even the air conditioning. You can easily check the belts by turning them sideways and making sure there are no rips or tears or by taking your car to a local auto parts store.

Get your belts changed out if the auto parts store recommends it. If you’re vehicle savvy, watch this video below on how to change them at home.

 

7. Battery

While it can be a bit difficult to spot if you have a good or bad battery, there are steps you can take to make sure there is a strong connection to the car’s electrical system.

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a clean container, use a toothbrush to clean your battery then wipe the mixture away.

8. Documents

Make sure your documents are up-to-date. Carry your insurance papers, registration, driver’s license, and any other vehicle information that might be helpful during your trip.

9. Emergency Kit

Image shows emergency kit items in front of yellow background, including a water bottle, gloves, and jumper cables.
An emergency kit can easily help you in what might be an otherwise dire situation. (Photo credit: Geico.com)

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Have an emergency kit with some essential items for if you get stranded or have car trouble.

A few things to think about include a few blankets, a bright flashlight, jumper cables, and some basic tools like a screwdriver or wrench.

Family road trips are a great way to bond and see parts of the world you’ve never been before. Make sure your car is ready to safely get you there and back. To find other great road trip tips follow us on Instagram @ammcollision.

A clean white sports car with black leather interior sits with the door open.
Detailing your vehicle doesn’t mean you need fancy solutions or a professional cleaner. Use these simple tips to get it clean in no time.

If you spend time in your car at all, chances are it will get dirty. The good news is that cleaning your car doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. You don’t need fancy cleaning products or an auto detailing to get your car looking the way you want.

AMM Collision has you covered with these simple clean car tricks. With simple household supplies, you can get your car cleaned in no time!

1. Bumper Stickers

Do you have faded or peeling bumper stickers? It may be time to peel them off. If you’ve ever tried, you know that it’s not always easy to get them off without damaging your paint or leaving traces.

What does the job? Hair Dryer.

Illustration of a hand holding a black hairdryer, pointed at a red sticker on the back windshield.
Applying heat to a bumper sticker can help it come off easier.

Hold the hair dryer few inches above the center area of the sticker. Slowly start moving the dryer to the corners of the sticker. Heat for about 45 seconds and the corners should peel up easily. Finally, use a credit card to peel it up from the corners. If you still have sticky residue, try spraying with WD-40, wait a minute, then wipe away. Your car will look clean and well-kept without those old pesky stickers.

2. Small Crevices

Not only do the smaller areas in our cars accumulate dust, but it can also get sticky and gross over time. Plus, your car won’t look nice and clean if you have dirty crevices.

What does the job? Q-tips or Flat Screwdriver

Wrap a cloth around the head of a flat screwdriver or use a Q-tip to reach into the tight and small crevices inside your car. You’ll get all the dirt and dust out of these areas in no time!

3. Dusty Interior

Dust causes allergies, and we have enough of them in Central Texas as it is. For the larger areas, you’ll want something more than a Q-tip.

What does the job? Coffee Filter or Sponge Brush

A hand swipes a white coffee filter over a dashboard, then shows the dirt it picked up.
Coffee filters make a great duster in a pinch.

Use the coffee filter to dust out larger areas and use the sponge brush to clean the vents and other tighter areas.

4. Stains

Who hasn’t taken their coffee on the road…in a flimsy to-go cup. We all have taken food or beverages with us when we’re in a rush, and some are messier than others. Getting a stain in your car doesn’t make for a great day. Having a constant reminder lingering in your upholstery is even worse.

What does the job? Hydrogen Peroxide

Illustration shows 2/3rds cup of water and a hydrogen peroxide bottle labeled 1/3 cup.
A mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide can lift upholstery stains.

Not only is it cost effective, this solution is simple. All you need is to fill a bottle with 1/3 hydrogen peroxide and 2/3 water. Spray and scrub away the stain. There’s no better feeling than getting rid of a stain and seeing clean carpet underneath.

**NOTE: If you have dark colored carpet, test an area with the hydrogen peroxide first since it can cause discoloration. If this is a problem, just add more water to dilute the solution.

5. Dashboard Love

Why stop at dusting when you can make your car shine? Dashboards are a visually-prominent part of any car and keeping it from cracking will keep it looking good.

What does the job? Vaseline

Pictures show a hand dabbing a cloth into a container of Vaseline, then rubbing cloth on a dashboard.
Keep your dashboard shiny using a small amount of Vaseline.

Wipe away the dust with Step 3. Once the area is dry, massage a tiny amount Vaseline onto the dashboard using a rag. This will help your dashboard look shiny and new, and prevent cracking.

We hope we saved you time and money with these car cleaning hacks! Comment below with your own car hacks or how these turned out. Keep up with everything AMM by following us on Facebook or Twitter @ammcollisionctr.

Jumper cable clamps attached to a red battery.
Knowing how to jump a car can save time and get you back on the road.

Jump starting a car is something all car owners have to do at some point in their lives. Whether we left our headlights on overnight, or just need a new battery, it’s important to know how to start your car when it dies.

The good news is that the jumping part is pretty easy. The hard part is (often) finding another car to jump your own. But once you do, just follow these easy steps.

What you need:

The stalled car, a car with a working battery, and jump cables

Directions:

Step 1: Make sure both cars are turned off: So the cables can reach, you want the engines of both cars near each other, but NOT touching.

Step 2: Connect one end of the red (positive) cable to the positive terminal (POS or +) on the car battery stalled. Do the same with the working battery.

Step 3: Connect the end of the black (negative) cable to the negative terminal (NEG or -) of the working battery.

Step 4: Connect the other end of the black (negative) cable to an unpainted metal surface on the car with the bad battery. Do not connect to the negative terminal of the car with the bad battery. This could result in the battery exploding.

Step 5: Start the car that has the good battery. Let the engine run for a few minutes before starting the car with the dead battery. If the car doesn’t start, let it run for a while longer. It may help to rev the engine of the good-battery car a bit to give it a boost.

Step 6: When it starts, remove the cables in reverse order and let the jumped car run for some time to give the battery a chance to properly recharge.

If your car does not start, you likely need a new battery.

A small portable battery charger with a cassette-sized battery and two small clamps.
Some portable battery jumpers are extremely compact.

For safety on the highway, we recommend you using a portable battery jumper. The process typically the same as mentioned above, except you won’t have to rely on another car for battery recharge power. This way, even if there is not another car available, or a safe place for another car to stop and help, you can get back on the road quickly.

A two-way country road surrounded by lush green trees and a rusted, short fence.
Driving can be a peaceful, enjoyable activity, but it helps to prep ahead of time for an alert, safe drive.

It’s been a full 8-hour workday and you’ve got to get to that family event back in your hometown tonight, several hours away. All you feel like doing is crashing on the couch with Netflix, but you brew yourself a fresh thermos of coffee and haul yourself into the driver’s seat. But with caffeine coursing through your veins and your favorite music blasting, you still feel your eyelids trying to close and your mind wandering from the road in front of you.

It’s not an unusual scenario, taking a trip after a long day, knowing you *probably* shouldn’t be driving? Sometimes it feels unavoidable, but we can, at the very least, do what we can ahead of time to make that trip safer and take care of our own well-being in the process.

And although long drives can be tough, the risk of falling asleep at the wheel can happen at any time, even in a 10 minute drive from work. Here are a few ways we can take care of ourselves to make sure we stay safe on the road.

  1. Sleep

This might be one of the most important factors of self-care driving.

Did you know that inadequate amount of sleep is equivalent to BAC of .08 or higher? Without proper rest, the areas in the brain responsible for concentration and memory are also affected. We start to have disconnected thoughts and become unaware of our surroundings.

Try to drive earlier in the day, or even take a nap midday, if you’re able. Even a short nap can make a big difference to your attentiveness. According to a NASA study, sleepy pilots who took a 40-minute nap experienced a 34% performance increase and a 100% increase in alertness.

  1. Eat and Stay Hydrated

Always stay hydrated! Long drives are an opportunity to make sure you stay hydrated, but being hydrated ahead of time is just as important.

We want to be able to focus while driving and hunger is a big distraction. In addition, if you haven’t eaten, you probably don’t have enough of the nutrients you need to stay focused for the drive ahead. Don’t eat anything too heavy though, a food coma won’t help your focus.

  1. Attentiveness

There are three types of distracted driving: Visual, manual, and cognitive.
Distractions are everywhere. Take time to limit them before you hit the road.

We want to avoid as many distractions as possible while driving, and part of that looking after your driving needs ahead of time. Part of your self-care can be to keep your snacks and water within reach, and open difficult packaging ahead of time. If you don’t already, get a pair of comfortable sunglasses that reduce glare. If you’re driving in the winter, you might take off your top coat layer for a long drive (since the heater is probably going to warm things up before long).

Your phone is also a distraction while driving. You might use the GPS feature on your phone a lot, but instead of having to keep picking it up and looking at it, use the air vent mount for cars. This is one of the best purchases for hands-free driving, since it is easy to take on and off the mount, and is within your line of sight so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

And for those other distractions on your phone, turn notifications off. If you have Bluetooth connectivity in your car, use it to pick up calls instead of holding the phone to your ear. Limit the things that make you take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. These self-care methods work to keep you safer and happier.

  1. Comfortable Driving

We want to feel comfortable while driving, especially during long drives.

Make sure you have comfortable clothes that don’t restrict your movement and shoes that are comfortable while operating the pedals. You don’t want to be in pain or feel like you can’t breathe or move freely. If this happens, we start to think about how uncomfortable we are, which means we are not focusing on the road 100%.

However, being too comfortable can have severe effects as well. We want to avoid creating an environment in our car where we just want to sleep instead of drive.

  1. Keep Your Worries Off the Road

Despite all the risks involved with driving, never forget that driving can also be really relaxing! It can be a time to focus on yourself: Self-care within itself. Listen to an audio book, podcast, or some music you enjoy. You can find a way to use this time to unwind from your long day. Putting yourself in a relaxed, but enjoyable head-space can also reduce stress and make you less likely to react/act negatively toward other drivers.

Put all your worries behind you and off the road. You’ll be more focused to your surroundings and have a safer (and relaxing) drive!

These self-care driving tips can help you in any driving situation, no matter the distance. We all have stories about driving, some fun and some scary, and we would love to hear yours! Share you story with us below or on Facebook @ammcollision.

Avoid a trip to the body shop this holiday season with safe travel tipsIt’s the season for family and friends to come together and enjoy time with one another. This can mean travelling by car, along with many others who will head out on the highways and roads. Increased traffic on the roads means greater chance of an accident. here are a few safety tips to stay on the road and out of the body shop.

Be patient

Always have patience in traffic. It helps to leave early for your destination so you don’t feel rushed. Speeding on the road increases your chance of an accident, and puts others in danger too. Take your time and enjoy the ride. Don’t make the experience of the road trip more stressful than necessary.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Never take a road trip while drowsy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 72,000 accidents nationwide are caused by drowsy drivers.

If you do travel overnight, consider traveling a short distance and then stopping for a rest break. Do not drive if you’re having trouble focusing on the road. If that is the case, pull over somewhere you feel safe and take a break. Well-lit grocery stores, shopping centers and even casinos often have lit and monitored parking lots where no one will bother you.

Monitor the Roads and Weather

A white SUV drives through snowy weather on a two-lane road. Snow is falling and is on the trees and ground.
Monitor the weather in the weeks before your trip. If there is predicted to be snow or hazardous driving weather, you may want to adjust your plans to make sure you get to your destination safely.

Prior to leaving for your road trip, take a look at the road and weather conditions to determine if you might encounter any hazardous weather. Pay attention to travel warnings, and if it is unsafe for driving, wait until the conditions improve. Follow this same step on the return home.

If you do not feel comfortable driving in specific weather condition, like snow, look for alternate methods of travel or different routes so you can avoid having an accident.

Watch Your Surroundings

Accidents can happen on residential roads, rural roads, and major freeways. No matter the time of day, pay close attention to everything around you while driving. If you are on a busy freeway, pay attention to other cars and anything on the road. When a route takes you down a wooded area, watch for animals that could dart in front of your car. Watch out for children riding bikes or playing on the road residential areas.

For more helpful info, visit AMM Collision on Facebook and Twitter.

eco-friendly car paintQuality has always been a top consideration for collision repair shops when purchasing paint. But recently, many have had a growing concern for the effects of our products on the environment.

Choosing a body shop that will provide quality and be friendly to the environment takes research. When it comes to paints, ask body shops if they use water-based, or waterborne, paints.

Using waterborne paint

Waterborne paints have benefits beyond being safer to the environment than lacquer-based paints. Waterborne paint has heavier viscosity which means it provides about three coats of coverage in nearly half a millimeter of thickness. This means less clear coat is needed to even out the surface, and less materials is better when it comes to using resources.

Only technicians trained to use waterborne paint should apply it to a vehicle, for a quality result. Imperfections are easier to spot with waterborne paint, and it is tricky to work with in humid conditions.

The difference of waterborne paint

Many auto body shops use solvent-based paints, despite harsh toxins. This type of paint has higher levels of organic solvents and when it dries it releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air. VOCs are known for being harsh on our health, as well as adding to smog conditions.

Water-based paints have improved over the years and are quickly replacing the use of solvent-based paint. Waterborne paints feature acrylic emulsions that now offer a faster drying time, similar to solvent paints. It also has less odor and greater durability.

Our team at AMM Collision is trained to provide an exceptional paint job to your vehicle using waterborne paints. Give us a call today for a free estimate.

For more content, visit AMM Collision on Facebook and Twitter.

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