tire blowout

Preventing Tire Blowout and Collisions

It can happen to anyone. You’re driving along on the road and unexpectedly you hit a deep pothole, bump the curb, or run over a nail, and suddenly you are faced with tire blowout. You try to steer through it and pull off the road without losing control. Unfortunately, not everyone escapes collision when a tire blows out – and not everyone escapes injury.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates around 400 fatalities every year may be attributed to tire failure. Tire blowouts are said to cause tens of thousands of collisions annually. That’s why it’s vital to check your tires regularly and replace them when warranted to help prevent an unexpected breakdown or even a devastating collision.

Not only does replacing your tires regularly help avoid breakdowns and crashes, according to the NHTSA, tires in good condition also help improve vehicle handling and fuel economy.

Take note of manufacturers recommendation for safety

While guidelines for vehicles and tires may vary, most vehicle manufacturers recommend tires be replaced every six years, regardless of how many miles have been driven on them. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.

While it might be tempting to keep old tires that otherwise look fine to the eye, be aware of the possibility of dry rot. Even in storage, tires can degrade over time as the oils and chemicals in the rubber compound break down or evaporate as the result of UV exposure. Tires in warm climates and coastal areas also have a reduced life span. Reduced flexibility can lead to cracking, which can lead to tire failure. It’s very dangerous when the tread begins to separate from the tire and can lead to loss of vehicle control.

Complete regular safety checks

It only takes a few minutes each month to check the condition of your tires. While tire life is often dependent on the tire manufacturer and the environment in which they are used, there are general steps the NHTSA recommends you follow every month to ensure safety:

  • Check the tire pressure of all four tires, including the spare
  • Inspect tires for uneven wear patterns on the tread
  • Check for cracks, foreign objects, or other signs of wear or trauma
  • Remove bits of glass and other foreign objects wedged in the tread
  • Make sure your tire valves have valve caps
  • Check the tire information placard or owner’s manual for the maximum recommended load for the vehicle
  • If you are towing a trailer, remember that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle

How do I check my tires for safety?

Tires have built-in treadwear indicators that signify when it is time to replace your tires. Here are some helpful hints from the NHTSA on how to check your tire for uneven wear or worn treads:

  • Check out the raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves known as the treadwear indicators. You know it’s time to replace your tires when they appear even with the outside of the tread.
  • You can also check your wear by inserting a Lincoln penny (head pointing down) into the tread. You will know it’s time to replace your tires if the tread doesn’t cover Lincoln’s head.

If you need any work done, or existing damage repaired, contact the Collision Center of Andover at (316) 733-9310, and we will get you back on the road.

pesky pollen

Pesky Pollen: How to Protect Your Car’s Finish

Finally, it’s Spring! It feels great to get outdoors again, do some gardening and perhaps take a drive around town with your car windows down.

Unfortunately, as the trees, plants and flowers begin to bloom, a powdery substance called pollen is released into the atmosphere. In addition to being a nuisance for allergy sufferers, this yellow substance settles on the surface of everything, including your car.

While a single pollen grain is microscopic, it can wreak havoc on your car’s paint – ultimately causing substantial damage to its finish. Because of its tendency to stick to surfaces as part of the pollination process, pollen needs to be physically removed from your car surface before the natural acids cause damage.  A simple rain shower rinse cannot fully prevent staining or premature oxidation.

Can I just rinse pollen off my vehicle?

It may be tempting to just give your car a quick rinse with the hose or use a soft brush to remove the annoying yellow powder from your car, but experts agree this has the potential for long-term damage by scratching the paint. While you may have rinsed some pollen away, a substantial amount of damaging pollen will remain and merely spraying it can activate some of its acidic qualities. This is most often the case with pine pollen because even a rain shower has the tendency to activate the pollen’s acidity.

How to remove pollen

To ensure a bright and shiny finish, it’s recommended you wash your vehicle thoroughly with soap to fully encapsulate the pollen and rinse it away. It is also vital to wax your car regularly to further protect the finish.

Steps to effectively removing pollen:

  1. Rinse your car to soften the pollen
  2. Fill large bucket with water and foamy car soap
  3. Scrub the car from front to back in small sections using a sponge or brush that won’t scratch paint
  4. Rinse car thoroughly
  5. Dry car thoroughly with a chamois or soft cloth
  6. Apply car wax according to manufacturer’s instructions and buff well

While pollen has the potential of ruining your car’s finish, a simple soapy hand wash and wax a few times a week during the peak of Spring should protect your car from long-term damage. While hand-washing your car can seem time-consuming, you are potentially adding years and value to your investment.

If you need any work done, or existing damage repaired, contact the Collision Center of Andover at (316) 733-9310, and we will get you back on the road.

Retaining the Value of your Car through Paintless Dent Repair

Whether you own a family van or a sports car, your vehicle is an important asset. And no matter how well you take care of it with regular oil changes, frequent washing, waxing and interior cleanings, your vehicle always runs the risk of losing value because of a few unrepaired dents or dings.

It doesn’t take much to alter your vehicle’s worth. Perhaps the truck in front of you on the highway dropped some gravel or some debris kicked up from the road. Maybe when you were in the grocery store a careless person knocked into your vehicle with a car door or a grocery cart went astray. Regardless of how your vehicle acquired damage, it’s most likely will cost a bit to repair. With the cost of traditional body shop repair and painting, it’s understandable vehicle owners often try to avoid repairing minor dents and dings for as long as possible.

The paintless dent removal method

Over the past decade, a repair method called paintless dent removal (PDR) has become widely used by car dealers, rental agencies and resale businesses to help prepare slightly-damaged cars for resale. As long as the paint was not compromised when the damage occurred, PDR can be used to repair some dents as large as a football.  In the past few years, auto body repair shops have begun offering this convenient and cost-effective option to its customers.

PDR is different in that it approaches the damaged areas from the inside. Using specialized tools, technicians gently push back the metal from behind the dent. Access to the damage is usually gained through windows or by removing inner panels and trim pieces.

This method is unique because it can restore your vehicle’s body to its original appearance at a fraction of the cost of traditional body repair. The process includes the use of fabricated tools and techniques to safely remove dents and dings from most vehicle body panels.

Advantages include:

  • Cost is much lower than traditional body repair
  • No body filler
  • No sanding
  • No repainting
  • No risk of color matching
  • Turnaround time usually fast

Maintaining the value of your vehicle so important — whether you plan to keep your car for many years, or want to sell it someday for top dollar. Experts say a vehicle with its original paint retains a higher value than one that has been repainted.

If you have the damaged location repainted, no matter how small, it can suggest to a buyer and/or a trained appraiser that the vehicle has a history of collision. Any type of collision can significantly reduce the resale value of your vehicle.

While numerous auto dealerships and auto body repair shops now offer this unique and cost-effective service, be sure you rely on a reputable shop with plenty of PDR work experience before trusting them with your repair.

If you need any work done, or existing damage repaired, contact the Collision Center of Andover at (316) 733-9310, and we will get you back on the road.

survive rollover

Tips on How to Prevent and Survive a Vehicle Rollover

The scenario is all too familiar. You’re driving along enjoying the scenery and you begin to list a little toward the right side of the road. Your tire suddenly clips some debris, and you feel the steeling wheel jerk. You panic as you think you are about to have a collision and you attempt to steer fast to the left until you realize there’s an oncoming car so you quickly steer to the right again. And then, you flip your car. You could end up in the hospital and your vehicle will have to be repaired at an auto body shop. Think about the damage to your body, your car, and your wallet.

It’s all too easy, no matter how fast you are driving, to cause your car to roll over. While taller, more narrow vehicles such as pickup trucks, vans and SUVs are considered more likely to roll because of a higher center of gravity and their top-heavy stature, given the right conditions, any vehicle can roll over. How you prepare yourself and how you learn to maneuver in such an emergency, however, can greatly influence a positive outcome.

What may cause a vehicle rollover:

  • When a vehicle rounds a sudden curve, the gravity shifts greatly to one side which has a substantial effect on the vehicle’s balance, ultimately leading in a rollover
  • When a driver makes too sharp a turn one way and panics and overcorrects, a pendulum effect is created and the vehicle can roll over.

Avoiding and surviving rollovers:

  • Wear your safety belt so you are not ejected from the vehicle during a rollover crash. About 50 percent of rollover fatalities happen when a person is thrown from a vehicle and approximately 75 percent ejected die as a result.
  • Ensure your tires are in excellent shape and are properly inflated according to manufacturer’s specifications. This will help prevent blowout and loss of control.
  • Avoid overloading your vehicle as it decreases its stability. Never place the heaviest load on the roof as this changes the balance, and in the event of a sharp turn, you are more likely to flip the vehicle.
  • Keep your eye on the speedometer because speed can affect your vehicle’s tendency to roll over.
  • Remain extra vigilant when driving on rural roads as nearly 75 percent of fatal rollovers are said to occur on undivided, two-way roads or divided roads with no barriers where the speed limit is 55 mph or above.
  • Don’t panic! A substantial number of rollovers needlessly occur when drivers overcorrect their steering in an emergency and lose control.
  • Since vehicle manufacturers have worked diligently over the years on improving vehicle stability, performance and safety systems, vehicle and body shop experts agree newer vehicles are most often better when it comes to preventing and surviving a roll over.

What to do during loss of vehicle control?

While the government has not yet created standards that involve vehicle rollover prevention, there are vehicle performance standards to help protect occupants in the event of such an emergency.

With revised roof-crush rules and the advancements in computerized technology such as electronic stability program (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC), it is estimated a substantial number of rollovers occur as the result of general loss of control. When you panic during an emergency situation, you are more likely to overcorrect steering which can cause you to lose control. When a vehicle begins to slide sideways due to a sharp turn, it will most likely roll over. Most experts agree, if your vehicle begins to leave the roadway, it is best to reduce your speed until it is safe to re enter the roadway.

If you need any work done or existing damage repaired by a trusted body shop that serves Andover and Wichita, KS areas, contact the Collision Center of Andover at (316) 733-9310, and we will get you back on the road.

Protecting Your Car’s Finish All Year

Every vehicle has a finish over the paint as a protective layer. This finish helps prevent the paint from being damaged due to weather or other issues. There are number of ways to protect this finish coating from being damaged and leaving your paint vulnerable.

10 Ways To Protect Your Car’s Finish

  1. Keep it clean – washing your vehicle will prevent dirt from building up. Professional, hands-free washes are gentler than doing it yourself.
  2. Wax – using a wax after washing your vehicle helps add an extra protective layer over your sealant.
  3. Drying “hidden” areas – drying areas such as inside the doors and inside the trunk lid is important. Those areas also have finishes, and if they start to chip it, can quickly spread.
  4. Park in a garage – this helps keep your car out of the weather which could damage your finish.
  5. Winter paint sealant – if you live in a cold winter climate, using a paint sealant solution before winter comes can prevent the salt and other chemicals from eating at your finish (see number 1, above).
  6. Car covers – these help protect your vehicle from the weather.
  7. Park away from busy roads – parking where there is less traffic helps avoid rocks or other debris from hitting your car and chipping away at your finish.
  8. Don’t touch your car! – consciously pay attention to how often you touch your paint. This can cause tiny scratches from dirt particles. Make an effort to stop!
  9. Re-apply a clear coat – if you have a car that has some years on it, the finish may be worn out. Have a new one applied.
  10. Repair scratches or dents – these leave way for chipping which can progress rapidly. Make sure to repair damage immediately.

Is your finish or paint already less than perfect? Do you have scratches? Would you like to have it repaired and back to new condition? Give Collision Center of Andover a call today to restore your vehicles look to off-the-lot quality!