Friday, December 16, 2016

Preparing for Your Winter Road Trip


The key to having a safe and enjoyable winter road trip lies in the preparation. Being prepared for any situation will give you confidence that your family will be safe throughout the trip, allowing you and your loved ones to relax, kick back, and enjoy the ride.
Car maintenance is a critical step in preparation and safety. Things to check up on could be any of the following:
  • Oil change
  • Tire rotation (or tire change)
  • Check antifreeze level and fill if necessary
  • Test your car battery (especially if it’s older)
  • Make sure your gas level remains above a half tank; the more gas there is, the less condensation in the tank, which leads to an easier start
  • Have a spare tire on hand

You can become stressed if you don’t have your trip planned out ahead of time. Important things to have planned before the trip are:
  • Have an updated, tangible map of your route (in case your phone dies)
  • Let someone know where you should be and when
  • Anticipate the weather conditions during your trip
  • Book hotel rooms ahead of time if possible

Your phone is going to be your best friend on the trip (this does not mean distracted driving!), your phone could potentially be your lifeline if you get stranded or in a crash. Be sure to have a charging cable with you, two to be safe. Along with this, keep your phone at a high charge at all times.

Many people like to keep “survival kits” in their cars, in the event of an emergency. A few appropriate items to keep in your survival kit are:
  • A First-Aid kit
  • Non-perishable foods (nuts, granola bars, etc)
  • Bottled water
  • Blankets
  • Warm clothes
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • An ice scraper


We hope you travel safe this winter and enjoy your road trip.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Asked and Answered: What to Look for When Buying a New Car

This month, we're posting a little differently. We wanted to talk about what people might think about when looking to buy a new car, specifically young people.  We enlisted the help of a young woman who's name is Catey C. and we were pleased with the well thought out questions she came up: 

Hi, I’m Catey, your friendly Millennial who’s in the market for a new car, and I have a few questions, besides which shade of pink should I pick. I’ve put my Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte down long enough to research them, so here’s my three top questions about cars from a Millennial.
  • What’s the best feature(s) should I be looking for in a car? This is going to vary from person to person, obviously. I don’t really like taking selfies and posting them on Instagram all that much, therefore interior wifi isn’t a huge concern for me. However heated seats and backup cameras are a must for me. I live in Minnesota (I don’t think that needs any further explanation). Also, I have the wonderful skill of managing to hit either a tree or the only car in the parking lot. I completely joking, I’m not that bad of a driver. Overall, the features that are going to keep you safe and not bumping into trees are going to be your best bet. If you can afford the leather seats and the massage feature, go for it. Otherwise focus on what's going to be more practical and what’s going to pay off in the long run. 
  • Which car is more fuel-efficient? Bankrate.com has a list of the most fuel-efficient cars in their category. Once again, it depends on what you’re in the market. For me, I’m leaning towards a compact SUV, because I like bigger cars, but I don’t want to become an Uber for my sister and her friends. Bankrate.com suggests the Toyota RAV4, it 23 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. It also has 176 hp and it’s starting price is $24,350. Just because the RAV4 was suggested by one website, doesn’t mean that is the car I’m going to chose. I probably pick which ever car is going to get me to Canada the fastest after the election. 
  • Should I Lease or Buy? Here’s the thing for me. It would be more cost effective for me to lease a car, however I can’t surpass the set mileage. I mentioned before that I have a younger sister who has a tendency to make spontaneous plans that usually involves quite a bit of mileage, and guess who my parents are going to send to drive her all over the place. However, I really don’t have the funds to purchase a car, and I would like to avoid taking out a loan. It would be easier to buy a car since I have the tendency to bump into things (Once again, I’m joking). Overall, I will be leasing a car, because it’s more cost effective for my situation at the moment. Yes, the limited miles is going to be a pain, but I would rather be able to drive a newer car every few years than being stuck in the same car. Because what may have been cool seven years ago, will be outdated and impractical. 

You made it through all my jabber! If I could give you a cookie, I would! I don’t speak for everybody, especially for Millennials. I’m just a kid in the market for with a couple of questions. I hope you all can take something away from this, or at the very least, enjoyed my ramblings. Thank you for reading.


If you were in the market for a new car, what are some of the questions you would want answered? 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Newly Installed- Jollift In Ground Car Lift

It's finally arrived...our brand new Jollift from FI.TIM. 

What is a Jollfit exactly? It's an in-floor lift system to help our technicians work more efficiently and the lift doesn't take up extra room in the shop because it's installed into the floor. 

We are one of only a few people in the Midwest to try out the new lift system. We hope you enjoy the pictures of the delivery, installation, and us trying out the lift. 
The new lift being delivered

We had to cut holes in the concrete of the shop. 
Installing the lift into the floor. 

So shiny and new! 

Making sure it rises and lowers properly.

We had to put a vehicle on it to see how well it works. 

Another picture testing it out. 

OK, last one testing it out...we promise!



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Car Recalls: Are They That Important?


Yes, the recalls you receive about your car are very important, don’t ignore them. Recalls can vary from a minor thing to something catching on fire. The reason those recalls are in place are not only for your safety, but of those around you as well.

If any of you have flown or watched the news in the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard about the recall on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 with the battery that has a tendency to burst into flames. Bursting into flames is a pretty safety concern, which is why they are being recalled.

Here’s the question to ask yourself, “What could happen if I don’t address the recall properly?” The main concern is that you could be potentially putting people in danger. Vehicles are safer today than they have ever been, but that doesn't mean they're perfect.

You should always be mindful of recalls, you may or may not receive a letter detailing of a recall, but there are various online sources to see if your vehicle has a pending recall.

What should you do if your car has a recall? Simple- get it fixed. Don’t panic, and run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Just take it to the dealership for the repair. Even if it’s a minor recall that doesn’t impose any immediate danger, it’s still important to have it looked at. The cost is also covered by the dealership, so it shouldn’t cost you anything.

Here’s the bottom line; pay attention to the recalls, even if it’s a minor thing, just get it fixed. It will pay off in the long run, especially when everyone’s safety is at risk.


Monday, August 29, 2016

The Five Commandments of Driving in the Fall


1. Thou Shalt Leave the House Earlier

Hallelujah! It’s fall and that means that the kids are finally going back to school. Before you breakout the celebratory mimosas, remember that also means more congestion on the roads. More school buses and mini vans clogging up the roads. Not to mention all the kids walking to school, probably not paying attention to the road because they’re too busy playing Pok√©mon GO. Now, your kids probably won’t mind being late, but let’s avoid a phone call from the school.

2. Thou Shalt Mind the Weather

As a Minnesotan, you know that fall is one of those seasons where the weather drastically changes from day to day. One day, it's nice and warm and you’re still wearing your shorts, and the next day you’re wrapped up in every scarf, glove, and hat you can find. The three major weather players in fall are: fog, frost, and rain. Fog causes drops in the visibility. Frost is not only a pain to scrape off in the morning, but some areas of road may develop ice patches. Rain makes the roadway slippery; they make the leaves slippery causing even more trouble if you're not paying attention.

3. Thou Shalt Mind the Leaves


Ah, yes, fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The leaves are changing and falling to the earth below. Unfortunately, those leaves can cover lane lines on the road and parking space lines. And, if it rains, those little suckers make the road pretty slippery. Also, remember that people are going to flock to get pictures of those leaves and will stop in the blink of an eye to capture the moment.

4. Thou Shalt Leave Space Between You and Other Cars

Speaking of pictures, there are a few of us out there who would stop in their tracks to capture the perfect picture. Yes, some people will suddenly pull of the side of the road to take pictures. Either way, you should always keep space between you and the car in front of you. Remember what I mentioned about the changing weather? Keep that space and hopefully you won't end up in someone's trunk.

5. Thou Shalt Mind the Deer

Deer are interesting creatures, it seems they have their own set of rules. Have you ever heard the phrase "Flight or Fight"?  To a deer that phrase is "fight, flight, or freeze in the middle of road". This can be a very bad thing for your car that's heading down the road.  Always keep an eye out, especially as it gets dark.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What Do You Know About Your Wiper Blades?

The summer season is in full swing, but we know that fall is right around the corner. While you’re either preparing your kids for the new school year, or preparing the garden for the chiller months, what are you doing about your windshield wipers?

Despite being one the toughest parts of your car, wiper blades deteriorate overtime. The question is: how often should we replace those wipers? Most people would say you should change them when you notice streaking or skipping marks on the window. When the time come to replace them, you’ll know it. However, mechanics suggest that those blades are switched out every six months, specifically in the spring and fall.

Think about it; during the winter your blades are scraping ice and snow off your window. In the summer, the heat bears down on the rubber and causes it to warp and crack. While many of us rather wait to replace the blades until they’re hanging in there by a thread, we should never take for granted what those little wipers do.

Remember, wiper blades are as important as the engine. Without them, we would probably be driving into a ditch. Drive safe, my friends!



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Here's to Oakdale Minnesota

In this month's blog post, we wanted to share a little bit about our shop and what makes us tick! We also wanted to talk a little bit about the town we call home and why it's so awesome. 

Oakdale Collision Center has been in Oakdale, Minnesota for more than 12 years and we love being a part of the community. There are so many things to do and to be a part of. Our shop is right in the middle of a great area. Just across the parking lot is Precision Auto Repair (definitely check them out for your next oil change, brake services, or auto maintenance) and Catrina's Mexican Restaurant. which is one of our favorite places to frequent for lunch.  

Not only do we have our business here, but the owners (Michelle and Don) grew up in Oakdale and live here currently. 

Oakdale is such a great place to be! There are plenty of community events to participate in from the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce's Golf Tournament to helping pack food for Feed My Starving Children.

One of the things that we are proud of is giving back to the community we love. We are even a drop off spot for food donations for the Christian Cupboard and often take donations to help homeless pets.  
 
We love that our clients become like family because they are our number one priority. Our personable, friendly staff will always take time out of their day to make sure that you have everything you need. 

Thanks for stopping by to get to us know us a little bit! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Do You Have to Use the Collision Repair Shop Your Insurance Company Recommends?


No! You most certainly do not have to use the repair shop your insurance company recommends. The choice of where you get your car repaired is yours. Don’t let the insurance company strong arm you into making a decision you are not comfortable with. Getting a trustworthy repair estimate (or even a few estimates) is one of the first steps toward getting your vehicle fixed right and back on the road after a car accident.

One of the great things about our shop is that we can help you manage the repair with your insurance company. We can take the headache out of it and work directly with your insurance so you don’t need to worry about how much it’s going to cost and what they will cover!

Make sure whatever shop you work with, that you get a fair estimate that will cover the amount of the damage. Beware of low ball estimates.

Also, be wary of used parts. You have the right to new OEM parts. Non-OEM parts may be cheaper, but many can be inferior or junk parts. Neither the insurance company nor the repair shop should insist on non-OEM parts for the repair work.

A lot of insurance companies have repair contracts with certain body shops. Choosing the insurance companies shop can have benefits, but it doesn’t make it a requirement to use them.

Remember, the most important thing is that you choose a repair shop that you have confidence in.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dents! Who Needs Em!


Door dings, bumper scratches, and paint chips are part of life when you own a car. Whether you come out of the grocery store to find a shopping cart has dented your car door or someone “tapped” your back bumper in the parking garage at the mall, you can bet it’s going to happen at some point in your cars life.

Can it be avoided? To some degree, you can avoid dings. Can we help? You bet. Here are six common ways cars get dents and even a few ways you can try to avoid them. And remember, if avoiding them doesn’t work, we can always fix them.

  1. Hail Damage: Hail is a natural and unpredictable occurrence. A sudden hail storm could leave your car with multiple dents. 
  2. Sports Accidents: We’re talking recreational sports accidents here. A fly ball at a neighborhood baseball game, a rogue Frisbee or soccer ball could potentially bounce off the roof of your car. 
  3. Car Wash: Ah, you thought the car wash was safe. Your car may leave nice and clean, but you could get an accidental bump or scrape while on the conveyor. 
  4. Low Speed Fender Benders: Most of us have experienced a low speed fender bender. It doesn’t just have to be another car hitting your front fender. It could also be a runaway grocery cart in the parking lot that slams right into your door. Any way you slice it, a minor collision can still cause damage. 
  5. Car Door Ding: You know the drill. You walk out of the gas station and someone has parked to close to your car. You inspect it for dings and scratches and sure enough, there’s a small dent from the impact of their car door. 
  6. Rocks: Rocks can be tossed at your car while on the freeway or even a side street. They chip paint or cause dents. 

While all of these common ways your car can get dented, dinged or scratched, some of them can be avoided.

Here are a few steps to avoiding those needles dents:
  • Park away from other cars at the grocery store, a ball game, or a restaurant. Sure it means you might have walk a little further, but imagine the all the door dings you won’t get.
  • Open Your Door slowly- if you think you’re too close to the car next to you or maybe you parked too close to a railing, open that car door slowly. It will make sure everyone’s doors are safe and sound. 
  • Protecting your car from hail damage if it has to be left outside can be a little trickier. You could try covering it to protect it from damage. 
  • Invest in comprehensive coverage! If you don’t have it already, get it. Comprehensive coverage can take care of a lot of the items we’ve covered in this post. Check with you insurance agency to see what you your policy covers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Welcome to the Oakdale Collision Paint Shop

Ben Nelson
Our paint department is a big part of our collision business. Once a car has been repaired, it often needs repainting. A big part of paint matching lies in the hands of the painter. The paint, with all of the precise measurements, color chips, lighting, and matching the color comes right down to having a good eye. We're lucky that our Paint Technician has over 20 years of experience. 

Ben Nelson has been with Oakdale Collision for 10 years. He started as a detailer in 1993 and was painting cars by 1995. He came to work with us in 2003 as our Paint Technician. Ben still enjoys painting each car he gets in to his booth and you better believe he brings his 21 years of experience with him to every job. 

In addition to having a technician we can trust doing a great job, it's also important to use the best materials possible. That's why we use Spies Hecker Waterborne paint. Spies Hecker is a German based paint company that was established in 1882 (yep, that's right!). Their waterborne line launched in 1994 and has transformed the way we paint cars. 
Car door getting painted

Waterborne paint is environmentally friendly. It produces less VOC's and less waste which is good for all of us (especially Ben who does the painting). The paint also has a one coat application process that dries fast!


As part of our state of the art technology, we use special color chips to help make sure the color is accurate every time. We get a complete overview of the OEM colors and their variations- all 53,000 color formulas so we can match virtually all OEM and custom paint  finishes. That makes for a perfect match every time. 





Monday, February 22, 2016

I-CAR Professional Development Program


Did you know that our auto body technicians take part in the I-CAR Professional Development Program? As an auto body repair facility, we are committed to repairing your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. We require all of our technicians to stay up-to-date in all faucets of the repair process. That includes I-Car, which is an international organization dedicated to providing the necessary information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs. Their focus is to provide collision repair shops with access to high-quality, industry-recognized training solutions.

We want to make sure our collision repair technicians have the most up to date training and knowledge available in the industry to keep you as safe as possible. The I-Car collision repair training is designed to give all of our repair technicians the knowledge they need to perform safe, complete, and quality repairs- every time, all the time!

As new technology emerges, it’s important to stay on top of training and make sure our shop can handle whatever gets thrown our way. In addition to the initial training, we attend yearly refresher courses to make sure we are up to speed with everything out there. I-CAR training gives our staff the up-to-date knowledge and skills to maintain a competitive edge and to stay proficient in today's fast-changing collision repair techniques.

You can read more about I-Car,  by visiting their website

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Before and After Photos

What better way to show you some of the jobs we've encountered and some of the work we've done than with before and after photos! 

From small dents in a side door to full blown fender benders, we have seen a lot! We can take your car from damaged to driving in no time at all, and make it seem like your accident never happened. 


Before

After
Before

After
During

And here are just a few that are in progress of being repaired.