driving on winter roads

The 7 Sins Drivers Make in the Winter

Are you guilty of making these winter driving mistakes?

The winter season poses different challenges and issues for you on the road. But staying safe in the winter is more than just making sure your vehicle is ready for the harsh weather. Drivers need to be prepared as well. From how you maintain your vehicle to how you handle it on the road, there are common mistakes many drivers make during the winter.

Here is the checklist of the 7 things NOT to do as well as the tips to prevent avoidable problems.

  1. Warming the car too long. Letting your vehicle get warmed up for a couple of minutes is fine, but engines are not designed to idle for too long. This can cause build-up on the spark plugs and make them less efficient. Also, this can waste gas.
  2. Neglecting to change your windshield wipers. This is often an overlooked item as we tend to let the streaks get worse for a while before we get around to fixing the problem. You should change your windshield wipers as soon as they don’t clear the windshield well.
  3. Having low tire pressure. Cool weather makes the air compress inside your tires leaving you with low pressure. Be sure to check for the tire pressure warning light as temperatures begin to dip. In addition, make sure to do a visual check of your tires, especially when we encounter sudden significant drops in temperature.
  4. Having a nearly-empty gas tank. Even if you’re not at risk of running out of gas, you may face other problems if you allow your gas tank to get low during the winter. Moist air in a near-empty tank can freeze and crystallize leading to ice in the fuel lines.
  5. Using hot water to de-ice. You may be looking for a quick fix to clear your windows from frost, ice and snow in order to get right on the road but dumping a bucket of hot water on your vehicle is not the answer. This can cause your windshield to crack. Be sure your vehicle has a reliable scraper inside. Also keep one in your house if the ice is preventing you from opening your car doors.
  6. Even when the roads appear dry, there could exist problems you can’t see, such as black ice. Maintain a steady speed below the speed limit or as slow as conditions warrant. It’s not just a slippery road that could be a hazard, but also other drivers. Winter conditions may cause other people on the road to be overly cautious, or impatient by those who are going slow, so it’s best to give yourself plenty of room between cars to stay safe from those potential dangers. AAA advises that when driving on rainy and snowy roads, you should increase your following distance to 8 to 10 seconds.
  7. Slamming the brakes to avoid an accident. Hitting your brakes too hard can make your car spin out of control. When faced with your car suddenly sliding on wintry roads, the best thing to do is stay calm, gently turn the steering wheel INTO the direction you are sliding and then lightly tap the brake.

For more information on the best ways to protect you and your vehicle over the winter, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Winter Driving Tips.

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Collision Center of Andover provides fast, reliable collision repair. Check out our before-and-after examples to see how we can completely fix your dented car. From collision repair, paintless dent repair to mechanical repairs and more, count on the repair experts to get your vehicle running and back in shape.

car driving on a very snowy road in the winter

Winter is Coming: Is Your Vehicle Ready?

If you find yourself stranded in snow or ice, that is not the time to wonder if your car is sufficiently equipped. Take some basic steps before the first day of winter to ensure you and your family are prepared for problems you may encounter on wintry roads.  Once you pull your winter coat out of storage and start turning on your furnace, that’s also the time to take the necessary measures to make sure you’re in good shape before the worst of winter strikes.

Most of the ways you can get your car or truck ready for inclement weather can be done by yourself if you have some basic or moderate-level car maintenance know-how.

Check Your Fluids

  • Coolant: Be sure you have the coolant filled to the maximum line AND that you have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to keep your fluid from freezing. You can find a coolant tester at an auto parts store. Your owner’s manual will have the information on what your vehicle needs.
  • Oil: Some vehicles do best in freezing temperatures if you switch to a thinner oil. Check your owner’s manual or talk to a skilled mechanic.
  • Wiper Fluid: This is definitely a fluid you shouldn’t forget about. Before freezing temperatures hit, switch to a freeze-resistant wiper fluid so you’ll be sure to always have a clear view.

 Check Your Tires

More than just worrying about a flat, you also need to be sure your tires are giving you enough traction on slippery roads. Low air pressure and worn tires can reduce your tire’s traction.

  • Air Pressure: Check your owner’s manual for the recommended PSI for your vehicle. Use a tire gauge to know when you’ve put the correct amount in your tires.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Just as you should prepare an emergency kit in advance of tornadoes and dangerous spring storms, you should take a few minutes to gather together a winter kit of items that will prove very helpful if you find yourself stranded in the cold.

  • Phone Battery Charger: If your car breaks down and the engine won’t start, there goes your power source for your cell phone. Purchase a battery charger that you reserve for this winter kit so that it always remains fully charged and ready in case of an emergency.
  • Warm Coverings: You may find yourself waiting a couple hours for a tow truck without being able to use your car’s heater. Keep a hat, gloves and even a blanket in your vehicle. If you frequently travel with others (including pets), be mindful to keep enough extras for your regular passengers.
  • Kitty Litter: When you find your tires deep into a few feet of snow, you’re going to need some added traction to help you out. Kitty litter or sand can be poured onto the snow to help your tires get the necessary traction.
  • Ice Scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Small shovel

While this kit will be kept inside your vehicle, you should also have one more item that is kept OUTSIDE your vehicle. A De-Icer spray can help you make your way into a car that’s frozen shut, but only if it’s not trapped inside the vehicle. Consider keeping one at both your home and workplace so you’re never frozen out.

Protection from Salt Damage:

Give your vehicle a fresh coat of wax before the first snow and then wash it regularly during the winter. While rust isn’t the problem it once was with older vehicles, salt can build up in some areas. Have the wheel wells and underbody washed regularly to keep them clear from too much salt.

Let your Car Warm Up:

Just because you can start driving once you’ve started your car up doesn’t mean you should. Allowing your car to idle for a bit will give the oil a chance to heat up, thin out, and flow more smoothly. Start up your car before you tackle brushing off the snow and that should provide enough idle time.

Know your Towing Service:

Suffering a collision or being stranded with a dead vehicle isn’t the best time to worry about finding a reliable towing service who will get to you quickly. The Collision Center of Andover provides 24/7 full-service towing to Wichita and Andover, towing any passenger vehicle to any destination or the shop of your choice. Put our number, (316) 719-2100, in your contacts so you’ll be ready to call right away when you need us.

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Collision Center of Andover offers high-quality, reliable repair and towing service. Check out our before-and-after examples to see how we can completely fix your dented car. From collision repair, paintless dent repair to mechanical repairs and more, count on the repair experts to get your vehicle running and back in shape.

deer in grass. Fall is the time to be alert for possible deer collisions.

Oh deer! What happens AFTER I hit a deer?

It can happen in an instant. You see a blur, an object suddenly ahead of you on the road. There’s no time to avoid it. You’ve hit a deer. It happens to more than a million of us every year in the U.S. While there’s not much you can do to prevent it, there are some basic steps every driver needs to know to do if this startling situation happens to them.

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What’s the cost?

The average collision with a deer ends up costing each driver on average about $3000 – $4000. But some collisions can end up costing as much as $10,000 or higher.

When am I at the greatest risk for hitting a deer?

Watch out especially on your way to the pumpkin patch or out to Thanksgiving dinner. During the fall and early winter is when you face your biggest risk for hitting a deer. Dawn and dusk are the two times of day when deer are most active and most likely to run out on the road.

After I hit a deer, what do I do?

  1. Pull your vehicle off to the side of the road or other safe place. Be sure it’s at enough of a distance from other drivers. Chances are this accident happened at dawn or dusk, when the light isn’t great to see everything around you.
  2. Call the police. If the collision resulted in injury or damage to your vehicle or other property, you may need to fill out an official report. This report may be helpful for your insurance claim.
  3. Get out your cell phone’s camera. While now is not the time for a selfie, it is definitely the time to take photos. Be sure to get plenty:
    1. Damage to your vehicle
    2. Damage to any other property
    3. The roadway and your surroundings
    4. Injuries you or your passengers sustained

    Be sure you’re watching the road and your surroundings so that you are staying safe while you are taking these photos.

  1. Is the animal still alive? Steer clear of it. An injured and frightened deer could cause you damage with its legs and hooves.
  2. Take a pause before pulling back out on the road. Your car might not actually be safe to drive. Look for broken lights, leaking fluid, tire damage or other safety hazards. If anything seems off making it not safe to drive, call us for a tow. The Collision Center of Andover provides 24/7 quick, full-service towing to Wichita and Andover, towing any passenger vehicle to any destination or the shop of your choice. Call (316) 719-2100.
  3. Contact your auto insurance agent so they can start work immediately on your claim. Deer collision claims are usually covered under comprehensive insurance, not collision. Or to make things easier, when you call our shop just ask for Insurance Claims Assistance and we’ll work to help handle the process.

Animal collisions of any kind are unfortunate. The key to minimizing the damage is to follow the basic steps for your vehicle and others around you to make sure you aren’t put into any more danger. The best things you can do in advance is to check your insurance and see if you’re properly covered if you were to hit a deer. Also be sure to have a trusted repair shop ready to call if an accident happens to you. Better yet, find a repair shop that also will handle your towing!

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Collision Center of Andover offers high-quality, reliable repair and towing service. Check out our before-and-after examples to see how we can completely fix your dented car from a deer collision or other accident. From collision repair, paintless dent repair to mechanical repairs and more, count on the repair experts to get your vehicle running and back in shape.

Resources:

https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/safety/6-immediate-steps-to-take-if-you-hit-a-deer-with-your-car

https://www.carstar.com/blog/oh-deer-accidents-happen/

 

Paintless dent repair work. Collision Center of Andover technician working on the hood as part of our full service auto body and collision repair work. We handle restoration and glass replacement and more for the Wichita area.

What Makes Paintless Dent Repair So Great

Collision Center of Andover is proud of the work our skilled technicians can accomplish whenever they put the shaping hammer to the test with our paintless dent repair (PDR) techniques.

Through the life of your vehicle, you’ll most likely ding or dent it at least once, or maybe quite a few times. The temptation may be to just leave “well enough alone” because you don’t want to have to deal with the time or effort in repairing it, not to mention the cost.

You may be surprised to learn just how quick and painless paintless dent repair is. Our technicians can work magic with their shaping hammers in a relatively short time. With PDR, it’s more about the artistic touch than mechanical ingenuity, and our technicians have been honing their craft for years now.

The Cost is Low

The cost of repairing each individual ding or dent can be as low as $50, significantly cheaper than having the work done in the traditional “body shop” manner. So if you’ve got a few eyesores on your otherwise sleek ride, then consider bringing the vehicle into Collision Center of Andover, and we’ll be happy to discuss fixing it. We’ll typically have the work done on the same day, even while you’re waiting.

Putting the Paint in Paintless

PDR also won’t require us to redo the paint job on your vehicle; it’s one of the reasons the method is so quick and painless. Of course, this means that if the paint is chipped or scratch, a PDR repair won’t be able to fix that. This type of damage would require full body work. Paint damage doesn’t prevent us from performing a PDR, but we won’t be able to repair the scratch or chip without further work.

In addition to PDR techniques not being suited to fixing paint damage, plastic will also need a different type of repair. This is especially true for bumpers, since most bumpers these days are encased in plastic.

Paintless dent repair is for a specific kind of damage – small digs and dents that leave the paint otherwise unaffected.

It’s Most Definitely Worth It

Accidents happen. You can leave your vehicle out in the “boonies” of the parking lot, but a shopping cart may still find its way to it. Or if you have your vehicle in the garage, it’s not hard to imagine that someone might bump into a shelf, and something might fall onto your vehicle. For all of life’s little dings in dents, Collision Center of Andover’s paintless dent repair is a great path to take.

If you have any dings or dents that you’re dying to get rid of, then we’re is here to help! Just give us a call at 316-733-9310, or contact us today!

Collision Center of Andover technician working on an auto body repair to handle paintless dent repair on a gold truck.

Avoid DIY Paintless Dent Repair – Hire a Pro!

We’ve heard this story all too much. You’re carrying something out to your car, and it just gets away from you. Before you realize it, your beloved car has a modest dent that you’ll never live down.

Or maybe you’re in the parking lot and the shopping cart just happens to get away from you.

There are countless reasons your car may receive a ding or a dent, and countless DIY paintless dent repair kits that you can buy in an attempt to repair the damage. While these options may be tempting to any car owner out there, we at the Collision Center of Andover recommend that you avoid this route.

20180607 130546 495x400 - Avoid DIY Paintless Dent Repair – Hire a Pro!The Truth about Paintless Dent Repair Kits

The good DIY kits can be about as expensive as having the expert technicians here perform the repair, and you want to completely avoid the cheaper one.

Typically, the high-end DIY kits expect you to perform the repairs similar to how the pros like us would – from the inside. Most dents are best repaired by gently nudging the metal from behind.

As you might imagine, this requires that you gain access those panels by first removing any trim in the way. From there, it takes an expert (and a surprisingly artistic) touch to make everything look as good as new.

Ultimately, though, that’s the important part of dent repair. It’s less about tools and mechanical knowledge, and more about the touch. If you have a modest dent, it may seem like you can grab a shaping hammer and just give it a few light bumps to make it right as rain, but that’s rarely the case.

Shaping Metal is an Art

Metal won’t just pop back into place that easily. It tends to hold its shape. Meaning, no matter how simple the dent might seem, in order to repair it, you’ll be reshaping the material to match what it originally looked like. This can sometimes be a painstaking process, and messing it up in any way can only make the dent more difficult to repair.

The end result may not only be the cost of a DIY repair kit, but also the increased cost of having the professionals here at the Collision Center of Andover repair it back to its original splendor. At this point, it may not only be a matter of fixing the repair, but also hiding an obvious embarrassment.

If you’ve got a minor dent (or a few!) be sure to consider Collision Center of Andover’s paintless dent repair. It’s typically fast and relatively cheap.

If you are interested in finding out more about our paintless dent repair service or any of the other services that we offer, contact us today and see just how we can help you!