Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What's the Point Of An Oil Change?

The importance of routine maintenance should be clear and simple, but can often be pushed off due to everyday life getting in the way. Every morning you have a routine. You wash your face, brush your teeth, and perform general self-care. When those things are ignored, you feel bogged down and don’t navigate your day the same way you would otherwise. Your car works the same way.
Routine maintenance involves multiple steps, and there are many checklists out there for the average or even well versed vehicle owner to follow. Our focus in this post is going to be on the routinely forgotten oil change. Each vehicle has different guidelines on how often, what kind, how many miles and the other specs involved with oil changes. Most mechanics will recommend an oil change every 3,000 miles, while some manufacturers specify 5,000. There are some vehicles with synthetic oil, which can allow you to wait up to 10,000 miles per oil change. If you don’t know what kind of oil your vehicle takes, check the owner's manual or call your local go to lube technician.
Here are a few reasons you should change your oil regularly:
  1. Improve your gas mileage. It’s a good idea to regularly check and make sure you have enough clean oil in your vehicle, as dirty oil leads to poor engine lubrication. This will increase the gas consumption your vehicle uses in a trip, so keeping up on clean oil will decrease the amount you’re spending on gas.
  2. Promotes longer vehicle life span and resale value. Regularly maintained vehicles sell for a higher value, according to Kelley Blue Book. If you’re neglecting to change the oil in your vehicle the engine components work much harder and are more likely to malfunction without proper care. 
  3. Keeps the engine cool. Without proper lubrication the parts in your engine will generate friction, which creates heat. If you don’t get an oil change regularly, you run the risk of overheating your engine and the possibility of it seizing. 
  4. Keeps things clean and clear of particles. Dirt and corrosion build up can be deadly to an engine. Over time, these build up and decrease the lifespan of your engine. Old oil breaks down and becomes viscous, turning into a sludge which is inefficient for engines.
There are many reasons to maintain a clean engine, these are just a few. Just like with all of your other investments, you need to maintain proper care to ensure the longevity of them. Your vehicle is no different. It’s okay if you don’t always know what’s needed to keep a good car, running like a good car. There are plenty of professionals out there waiting to help you. The better you take care of your vehicle, the longer it’ll take care of you. Check your stickers, check your oil, and schedule the next oil change today. If you are looking for a good shop, we are always happy to give you a recommendation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Does That Accident Void Your Warranty

There are typically two types of warranties on a vehicle when purchasing, a bumper-to-bumper and a powertrain warranty. The powertrain on any vehicle is considered any car parts that allow the frame pieces to move or function, so things like the engine, transmission, and drivetrain are covered under this type of warranty. A bumper-to-bumper warranty is for essentially the rest of the vehicle, including tires, provided they have problems before they wear out. Each warranty is completely unique to the manufacturer, but more often powertrain warranties cover a longer duration than any bumper-to-bumper warranty would. Some manufacturers like Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep offer limited lifetime warranties on powertrains, while most others cover between 60,000-100,000 miles (or 4-6 years) while bumper-to-bumper covers 30,000-50,000 miles (generally between 3-5 years).
  • Everyday use typically won’t void your warranty, but the following could:
  • Off-roading, or racing a vehicle putting it through “extreme” usage
  • “Acts of God” otherwise known as damage caused by floods or earthquakes
  • Disregard for routine maintenance, things like oil changes, tire rotations, air filter replacement… you get the idea.
  • Any modification to the vehicle, especially the odometer
Modifying your vehicle can cover a broad spectrum of things, and in some cases that includes installing aftermarket parts. However, due to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, coverage cannot be denied unless the dealership can prove that the aftermarket part itself caused the damage. They cannot deny you coverage for simply using an aftermarket or recycled part, but if that part was installed incorrectly or was defective, and they can prove that it caused damage to other parts on your vehicle, they can deny coverage and require payment for repairs.

Long story short, being in a car accident will not void the warranty on your vehicle, unless your insurance company deems it a total loss. If you are in an accident that requires a salvage stamp on your title, the warranties on your vehicle will no longer be applicable. If you’re maintaining your vehicle, putting it through routine inspection and maintenance, your warranty shouldn’t be voided. Like with anything, make sure you’re reading the fine print and looking into all the aspects of your warranty before you purchase, and if possible avoid installing expensive suspension or lift kits unless you’re willing to risk your warranty.
At Oakdale Collision we do our best to return your vehicle to pre-accident condition. If you have any concerns while your vehicle is in the shop, we’re just a short phone call away!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Minor Scratches, Major Problems

When you first purchase your vehicle, you’re extremely conscious of how close you park to others, and every tiny knick in your paint job. As time goes on, you’re less likely to notice the small dings that appear on your car, but that’s not something to be taken lightly. There’s a number of reason to pay close attention to all minor and major things that affect your vehicle, but our main focus is rust.

A minor scratch can chip away and expose larger portions of metal that will oxidize when exposed to moisture. This often sneaks up on a vehicle owner, and before you know it your vehicle has depreciated at twice the normal rate due to a few unsupervised scratches. Our Minnesota winters are certainly not any help, the heavy wet snow can allow moisture to freeze against the paint metal causing the vehicle to rust faster. We heavily rely on salt to help avoid accidents, but can expedite the rust on your vehicle. Regular car washes can help reduce your chances of rust, especially during the winter months. The snow, ice, and constant fluctuation in temperatures will cause the moisture to continually expand and contract against your paint creating larger wedges between the metal and paint on your car.

Light scratches that only touch the surface can be buffed out and dealt with easily. In some cases, you can purchase touch up paint at your local auto parts store or dealership, but this quick repair is not always advised. You’ll need to take into account the year of your vehicle and if a repair is worth the cost for you. In most older vehicles, the first places you’ll see rust are the wheel wells, fenders, and rocker panels. In some cases, when the paint is removed there is additional rust found underneath, the moisture has seeped in between the paint and metal and began eating away at the foundation of your vehicle. This occurs when the clear coat sealant in your paint has begun to fade or chip away due to wear, and can be unavoidable in older models of cars.

Rust is something that more often than not, cannot be repaired. It will generally require the technician to completely replace the portion of your vehicle that has been affected. If the affected area is a quarter panel or a frame piece you’re facing a hefty repair bill, if it’s even repairable at all. The best way to avoid rust, is to pay close attention to all bare metal on your vehicle. Regularly check your car for new scratches or dings. If you notice a scratch in your vehicle that is down to the metal, bring your vehicle in today for an estimate on what can be done. A paint job can add up, but it’ll keep your vehicle rust free, and will cost less in the long run!

Friday, March 23, 2018

It's Road Trip Time

We’re all (not so) patiently awaiting summer, spending our days dreaming of all the great adventures we’re going to have. Whether it’s finally replacing the furnace in your house, or flying around the world, there has to be time for a little road trip somewhere in the middle. If you’re like me, you’re planning on packing as much in when the weather permits as possible. One of the best parts of living in the continental United States is the ability to take off for a couple days in your car, and not worry about where the road takes you.

In the spirit of summer, here is a list of things to look into before you venture out into the unknown.

  • Know the basics of your car. While this is advised for everyday life, it’s most important when you’re going to be in your vehicle for long periods of time. You should be well versed in the language of your car, from things like random noises the rear windshield wiper makes to what each dash light signifies, you want to be read up and ready for anything thrown your way.
  • Learn some road trip games. There are tons out there, from car bingo to 20 questions. Make something up if you have to, but try and keep yourself entertained while traveling from point A to point B. The more you’ve read up on, the more fun you’ll have.
  • Check out your tires! They need to be in good shape for this road trip, depending on how far your adventure takes you. Make sure that you have substantial tread and that the tire pressure is as stated in the manual.
  • Three things; first aid kit, tool kit, emergency contacts. Keep all of these in your vehicle for this trip, and preferably year round. You’ll need to make sure you have a list of your emergency contacts in case of an accident. The first aid kit and tool kit are pretty self explanatory, but keep them around because you never know when you’ll get a flat or need a band-aid!
  • Audiobooks, playlists and podcasts, oh my! The road can be long and boring if you’re not properly prepared. Keep you and your buddies in great spirits by supplying a fun and unique list of things to listen to throughout your adventure.
  • Last but not least, food. This is an important one, you’re going to be swayed into eating poorly while on the road. Gas stations offer all kinds of short term sugar pick me ups, but with every sugar rush, there’s an equally tough crash. Pack high protein and high fiber snacks so you can keep on truckin’.
Road trips are a great way to make long lasting memories with your family or friends. Don’t sweat the small stuff, there’s bound to be a convenience store between stops, but try to focus on what the whole point of this trip is about memories. So get out there and experience life on the road, even if it’s just for a little bit.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Perks of Detailing Your Vehicle

We all crave that new car smell and feel. When you pull a new one off the lot, and it’s pristine, no smells waft out of the seats when you plop down and there’s no ground in goldfish from your kids in the backseat… That new car feeling is desirable, so what if you can get that feeling with the car you already own? There are many benefits to having regular details done on your vehicle, from the mental benefit of feeling clean, to impressing your friends with your sweet ride. What if detailing your car could up the resale value? Guess what, it does. Regularly detailing your vehicle has tons of benefits, and so here’s a couple of reasons why:
  • Having your vehicle professionally detailed will clean out any excess salt from your wheels, undercarriage, wheel wells, engine compartment, and all the other nooks and crannies in your car. This prevents potential corrosion. 
  • Even small scratches in the paint can oxidize, and having those scratches buffed out and sealed protect your vehicle from rust. Professional detailing products contain UV protectant's that will help keep your paint from fading. 
  • The interior of your vehicle will fade from the sun, as well as absorb all kinds of random odors that are faint to you, but evident to others. A professional detailer can eliminate those odors and restore your interior with various products. 
  • They will clean out your engine compartment. You read that right, a lot of people will wash their vehicle and forget that the engine compartment also needs to be taken care of! When you’re selling or trading in your vehicle, a clean engine compartment will instill confidence in the potential buyer by showing them that you maintain your vehicle. 

Market experts say that detailing can up the value of your vehicle by 15%. That’s an incredible jump for any car, especially if you’re in the position to purchase a new vehicle. If you know that you’re going to be in the market for something new in the near future, or even if you’re planning on keeping your vehicle until the end of time, taking care of your belongings will make them last longer. Get your car professionally detailed today for the peace of mind, and to protect one of the larger investments in your life.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Help Us Help You

You know your car better than anybody else, you drive it each day, you know what weird kinks it has, and what new damage has occurred. Before you bring your car in for an estimate or repairs, look over each panel on your car and make sure everything you want fixed is being pointed out to your estimator. We will do our best to return your vehicle to its original pristine condition, but without your help, we can’t meet your expectations.

During the repair process, we aim to get everything accident related taken care of and approved by insurance, but there are times where damage can be overlooked and assumed to be unrelated prior damage. If you know that a dent was part of the accident, then bring it up during your initial drop off to make sure the damage is properly taken care of.

In some instances, there’s a scratch that you hate seeing every day. Let us know, and we can do our best to get it taken care of. If you’re looking for a more thorough fix, we can take care of the damage while your vehicle is in the shop. Getting everything sorted out prior to drop off will keep your time without your vehicle shorter, and will save you time in the long run. 

When you return to pick up your vehicle, make sure to do a thorough walk through with your estimator. If there’s damage that we missed, let us know so we can properly take care of you and your vehicle. There are many standards we have set for a repair, and want to make sure we’re doing the best we can for you. Let us know if anything was missed, or if you feel things were ignored.

Look over your car to make sure it’s been properly washed and vacuumed. We provide clean up to restore your vehicle to how it was dropped off, so make sure the panels are clear of salt or other road debris. Pay attention to any panel gaps, or non-matching painted panels, verify that your repair was properly completed and fits your expectations. Make sure to test that all your lights and electronics are working properly before leaving, so you can safely return home. If you make it home and find you’re unsatisfied with our repairs, give us a call so we can sort it out for you. Our goal is to return your vehicle to pre-
accident condition, and we plan to do the best we can for you.

Monday, December 18, 2017

How Serious Is That Check Engine Light

 Have you ever been in a rush, on your way to work and your dash suddenly lights up like Christmas? In today's vehicles, there are so many electronic pieces and sensors that we can’t always be prepared for whatever is flagging that check engine light. It’s hard to know if that light indicates a small problem, or a serious issue. Unless your car is smoking, it’s unlikely you’re in any extreme danger, but there could still be something wrong with your vehicle. The check engine light exists to keep you aware of engine irregularities and sensory malfunctions. The engine control unit in your car makes sure that the engine is running properly, but as that’s not always the case, what do you do when that frustrating light turns on?

It’s always best to bring your vehicle in to a professional. Best case scenario, the engine light is on due to a loose gas cap or something easily fixed on your own. If the engine light comes on and you haven’t noticed any extensive differences in how your car drives, you don’t need to seek immediate service. Ignoring the problem can further the issue and create a bigger backlash in the long run, so it’s best to get in to have the vehicle looked at upon your earliest convenience.

You likely don’t need to worry if your car is:
  • Behaving normally
  • Getting the same gas mileage
  • No smoking, no strange smells and no noises

There could be a more serious problem if:
  • You see smoke
  • Experience a huge decline in gas mileage
  • Strange smells or noises coming from the engine
  • There’s a major loss of power

Regardless of how the vehicle is doing, if the sensor has been triggered and you’re unsure at all of why, bringing your car in can give you peace of mind and ensure your safety.