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Tag: auto repair

A variety of car parts and tools sit on a black surface.
Not all car parts are created equal.

In collision repair, old parts that are damaged must be replaced with new ones. Customers generally prefer OEM parts, but don’t always know their options ahead of time.

There are three different kind of parts that can replace the damaged one.  Each one being used can really affect the quality of the repair. The three types are: 1. OEM 2. Aftermarket 3. LKQ.

OEM:

The first kind is Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM parts are created specifically for your vehicle by the original manufacturer of your vehicle. So, if you drive a Ford then the OEM part would come from Ford. Using OEM means that the part should function exactly as the part you are replacing, and provides a quality fit and function.

Aftermarket:

Aftermarket parts are made by anyone other than the car’s maker. They could be a direct replacement or something to change how the car performs or looks. There are a wide range of manufacturers for these parts, and therefore a wide range of quality. Non-profit organization CAPA (Certified Automotive Parts Association) tests and monitors aftermarket products. Aftermarket parts are the least expensive because they do not have to invest in research and development.

LKQ:

LKQ stands for Like, Kind, and Quality. These are recycled parts, and they vary greatly in quality and price. They are technically OEM, but can provide a lot of challenges due to previous damage or problems with paint matching.

Gloved hands work on a bare, lightly worn wheel hub.
Used parts can work just as well as parts from the car manufacturer, but some have problems with fit and functionality from one brand to another.

When choosing a part, technicians are concerned with the 3 F’s:

Fit: This concerns with how well the part will latch onto the car. Many parts must either click into place or be screwed in.

Function: The new part must do the same quality of work that the old part had before being damaged. A plus side is a new part can go above the quality of a new part if upgrading. The negative side of choosing a cheaper part might risk the quality of function.

Finish: This is to make sure that the part looks like it is a part of the car and not an added-on part that sticks out that sore thumb.

Most auto body professions prefer to work with OEM parts because they have met Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and, frankly, they fit better. But if price is an issue, your auto body professional will know trusted aftermarket manufacturers to help keep repairs in budget.

Your insurance company, on the other hand, may mandate that they will only pay for a certain kind of part. You may still have the option to pay the difference for OEM parts if they will only pay for aftermarket parts.

As a consumer, always be aware of your options, and ask questions.

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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 complicated 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.

auto body repairs regulation

Have you ever wondered who requires collision repair shops to be in compliance with regulations? The real answer is that there is not a comprehensive law in Texas that governs collision repair. However, there are still inspections and regulations shops must meet.

Any time you have an issue with auto body repairs made to your car, you should always speak with the management first. If this doesn’t resolve your situation, depending on the issue, there are state agencies and organizations that can assist.

Not What You Paid For

It’s always good practice to review your bill before paying and take a close look at the work that was completed. Contact the Texas Attorney General’s office if you believe you were over-charged or given repairs that weren’t needed,. They can determine if your circumstance falls under the Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act.

The body shop’s business practices need to be reviewed because it’s possible this may have happened to more than one customer.

Requirements for Body Shops

A body shop also has to follow environmental rules established by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

These rules focus on air quality, proper waste disposal, water, and other regulations having to do with the effect on the environment. The agency ensures businesses, including collision shops, follow these rules.

AMM Collision is here for any of our customers should they have a concern over their repairs or our procedures. We welcome feedback so we can continuously improve and provide customers the best quality collision repair.

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collision repair warranty

Anytime a car owner has work performed on his or her vehicle, it’s typically expected that the collision repair will last. Obviously, there’s not a 100 percent guarantee of that. This is why it is important to have the auto body repairs made at a local auto body shop that offers a lifetime warranty.

If a body shop offers lifetime warranty, this means the shop guarantees their work will be the best quality, and should anything go wrong with the repairs, the shop backs that promise.

The Benefits of Lifetime Warranty

A warranty is similar to the idea of insurance. It’s there should you need it. Typically, a lifetime warranty is good for as long as you own the vehicle. If a problem occurs with the repairs made months or years after, you can take it back to that body shop and the issue will be fixed with no cost to you.

We Get Better at What We Do

Man with protection goggles leans under the hood of a car, reaching into the car with one hand.
Our lifetime warranty pushes us to do our best work, and lets you feel confident in the quality of your repair.

The repair shop will pay out of pocket for warranty repair work. When shops lose money on repairs, they will likely review what went wrong  and learn how to correct it so the repairs will last in the future. That means that we not only want to produce our best work on your initial visit, but when a customer returns with insufficient repairs, we learn and adapt, better serving our customers every time.

Multiple Warranties

The best time to inquire about a lifetime warranty is when you get the estimate. Ask if there are different types offered. Some collision repair centers will offer more than one warranty, one for body work and a separate one for paint services. 

At AMM Collision, we stand behind the work we do on your car by offering a lifetime guarantee for body and paint work.

Give us a call for a free estimate and our friendly team will answer any questions you may have about the warranties we offer. Our goal is to provide the highest quality repairs that last.

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A green clipboard with a repair checklist, a hammer and measuring tape sit on a table next to a damaged white car.
Seemingly minor damage may be hiding more serious damage beneath the hood.

When a car has been damaged in a wreck, some of the damage will be obvious, such as a broken taillight or a dented door. What is not immediately noticeable, and may be invisible unless you are a trained auto body expert, is any damage that may be behind the body of the vehicle.

Technicians are trained inspect for damage in the operating parts and the computer system within a car. They know if there is further damage beyond the cosmetics of the vehicle. This is why it is important to get an expert to estimate your damage and recommend a repair plan.

A dent may not be just a dent

Never assume that if a collision is minor the damage is simply cosmetic. For example, if someone backs into your car and puts a dent in your door, there could be further damage inside the door, such as the power windows not operating properly.

If the dents are much larger and more caved in to the vehicle, a technician should inspect the car for safety reasons.

Review the estimate

When you bring your vehicle in to a body shop, the location should give you a repair estimate. Most repair shops provide free inspection estimates for customers. This estimate explains the cost for parts and the labor to repair the vehicle. Be sure to review the estimate and ask questions before the work begins so that you have a good understanding of what needs to be fixed and where the costs are going.

AMM Collision has a simple way to get the estimate process started. Visit our new Smartphone Estimating Tool and you will get a repair estimate within 24 hours of submitting photos. This estimate is preliminary to give you an initial idea of the cost because it is based on damage that is visible in the photos. Once a technician takes a close look at the vehicle, they can determine if there is further damage underneath the body of the car.

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A family of deer approach a road in a wooded area.
Deer are common in the Central Texas area. Use these tips to avoid hitting them on the road.

Annually across the country, there are more than one million deer-related accidents. The Central Texas area is no stranger to these types of collisions and as a local auto body shop, AMM Collision repairs dozens of cars involved in accidents with deer each year.

Any time you are driving, it is important to keep your eyes on the road. Pay close attention when driving in hilly and wooded areas where deer may suddenly come out and run toward cars. This is common in the Hill Country, especially in the evenings when animals are hard to spot outside your immediate line of sight.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid hitting a deer.

Pay attention

Deer typically roam more often during dusk or dawn, so pay attention if you are driving during these hours. If you are not familiar with the area where you are driving, look for caution signs that alert drivers to wildlife in the area.

Remember, if you see one deer there may be more nearby. They normally travel in packs.

Make a bright path

If the roads are not well lit and you do not have oncoming traffic, use high beams to create a brighter path and give you a better opportunity to see a deer before you come upon it.

Keep control

If you see a deer, slow down and brake firmly, but never swerve. Swerving can cause you to hit another car or lose control. Instead, brake and honk your horn loudly, which can potentially scare the animal away.

The deer may move, but since you won’t know what direction they may go, swerving can make the situation worse.

If you hit a deer…

Using extra caution can help to avoid an accident, but it still may not be enough. If you do hit a deer, call law enforcement and the local game warden.

Don’t touch the animal if it is injured as it could hurt you. It’s best to have trained professionals care for an injured deer. If the deer is dead, it is OK to move it off the road, but it is against the law in Texas to take it with you.

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A person in a suit uses their smart phone on a white surface.
Do your research before going with the collision repair your insurance recommends.

After an accident, your insurance company may recommend an auto body repair shop for your repairs. Some may feel obligated to use the recommended shop, but the choice is always yours on which collision center you want to use. Here are some pointers on how to decide where you want to go.

Choose Certified

As you choose a body shop, remember that you want certified collision repair. This means the technicians at that repair shop have been trained by the manufacturers to make repairs to your specific model of vehicle.

Insurance guarantee

Choosing your insurance’s repair shop recommendation could have benefits. Some insurance companies will guarantee the repairs for as long as you own the vehicle. If there is an issue with the repairs, they will be fixed at no cost to you. This could be beneficial in the long run and shows your insurance company has confidence in their chosen repair shop.

Deciding on the recommendation

Most insurance providers have a list of preferred repair shops. Remember, your agent can’t make you use a shop on their list. You have the right to choose where you want your vehicle repaired.

Preferred repair shops normally meet criteria set up by the insurance provider, such as meeting their quick deadlines for repair and providing the services at a low cost. Efficient repairs should still maintain quality, and faster does not always mean the work is performed correctly.

If you choose to use the insurance recommendation, ask if that shop uses less expensive parts or parts from the manufacturer. Manufacturer parts (or OEM parts) often fit and work better than aftermarket parts, and therefore have a better chance of having your repair last. Some shops may cut costs by using cheaper parts because of low payments from insurance companies.

AMM Collision is a preferred body shop with most insurance companies, but we work with any insurance provider. At all of our auto body repair shops, we use manufacturer recommended parts for the highest quality repairs. Contact our team for a free estimate or download our estimating tool on your smartphone for a quick and easy process that will get you back on the road.

 

 

Small round dents stand out on the roof of a dark blue car.
Hail damage is among one of the common causes of small dents.

If you have small dents on your car, it may be hard to bring yourself to get them repaired. The smaller dents may be the result of hail, or a minor accident, and is often cosmetic.

You may choose not to make the repairs on dents, especially if they cost more than the value of your vehicle. But paintless dent repair is quite affordable.

What is paintless dent repair?

Paintless dent repair, or PDR, is a process of removing dents from a vehicle without altering the finish on the vehicle. Technicians use specialized tools to remove small dents. PDR works best on vehicles when the paint is not damaged from the dent.

Auto body or paintless dent?

A 3-inch dent on the door of a red-orange car.
Sometimes damage that looks minor can affect the internal mechanisms of your car.

With damage from a major collision, the repairs must be made at an auto body shop. For smaller dents you have more options. Some repair shops that don’t specialize in body work will do PDR, but it’s important to ask for an opinion from a local body shop as well as others.

With any auto body repair, get several estimates to compare prices. You may decide to use paintless dent repair on your vehicle because it is cheaper, but listen to the recommendations from auto technicians. If more than one suggests collision repair over PDR, it may be because the damage is greater than it appears.

For example, a dent in a door may not look significant, but it could have caused damage to the mechanisms inside the door that can’t be seen. This type of damage that would be better off as an auto body repair.

After repair

Ask about guarantees and warranties with any work you have completed on your vehicle. Some shops offer lifetime guarantees on their work. Warranties will cover any problems you may encounter with that part later down the road (pun intended).

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