Monday, February 17, 2020

Should You Really Remove That Snow

Winter driving isn’t much fun, unless you’re in an empty parking lot whipping donuts out, right? Nobody likes waking up in the morning and getting stuck on the side of the road because your commute is featuring the inch thick ice you were dreading the night before. Winter is a risky time of the year in general, but the risk only gets worse when you’re driving around with a foot of snow on the roof of your car.

Driving with snow piled on top of your car is dangerous for many reasons, the first being it could fall within your line of visibility. Snow melts as your vehicle heats up, but it also could slowly slide down the front of your vehicle, or could abruptly shift and block your sight when driving. This is an issue for obvious reasons. Windshield wipers are great, but they’re made for rain. The best practice is to eliminate the snow from your roof, windows and mirrors before you drive anywhere.

As snow melts and refreezes on the roof of your vehicle, it creates small pieces of ice, that accumulate and become larger hunks. Imagine driving down the highway and having a missile launch from the vehicle in front of you. This can cause cosmetic damage to the vehicle behind you, or could potentially cause an accident to the unsuspecting driver. Even if your ice chunk doesn’t hit another vehicle, it could cause road obstruction which is just as dangerous. We’ve all seen sheets of snow fall off of a semi as they haul their loads down the freeway, so next time you leave, think about clearing off as much as you can to save your fellow commuters.

In the state of Minnesota, it is not illegal to drive with snow piled upon your vehicle. You could, however, be pulled over for driving with an obstructed view. You may also be held liable if for any damage caused by snow falling off of your vehicle onto one behind you, as it violates the Unsecured Load Law in Minnesota. State Patrol advises drivers that if their vehicles are damaged due to ice or snow falling off of a vehicle in front of you to attempt to capture the license plate and contact the police department to seek reparations for the damages. You as a driver should be responsible and remove the snow from your vehicle prior to utilizing your vehicle after a snowfall.

When in doubt, clean that snow off! Nobody wants to be stuck in the cold taking care of this annoying task, but the reality is that you are doing your due diligence as a licensed driver by ensuring you are operating your vehicle safely. Using a soft bristle snow brush should get the job done, and allowing your vehicle to heat up will warm the ice and snow on top of your vehicle, allowing it to slough off with your brush easily. Give yourself the extra five minutes in the morning, save yourself the fine, and potentially save somebody else's life.

Monday, January 20, 2020

It's Not Like The Old Days

Today in auto body, we are faced with more electronics and fluff than ever. Technology advancements have created safer modes of transportation, often edging into luxurious high-tech heaps of steel. This shows no signs of stopping, which has created a huge onslaught of misconceptions when it comes to a “typical bumper job.” There are no typical jobs anymore. Gone are the days of a one day turn around, dropping your car off in the morning for a little repair and picking it up that afternoon is no longer feasible.

Due to the intelligence we are faced with each passing year, we are required to update our repair process. The downside this has for our customers is that the length of repairs for even the smallest jobs has increased. After initial drop off, we need to perform a full disassembly of the vehicle. We remove all parts from the affected area, which often requires us to unplug sensors and other electronics. After the tear down is complete, we can create a complete blueprint of the damage to your vehicle and have a full assessment ready for you or your insurance. This process alone can take hours and is all dependent on the extent of the damage and the complexity of the systems in play.

Once we have your approval to begin repairs, we will assess mechanical requirements of the vehicle. This is when we note any sensors, cameras or other electronics that may require recalibration before being roadworthy. When we’ve established any items required, we get to the meat of the repair, the body work. We get the parts painted, straighten any frame damage and anything else required to get your vehicle back in shape.

When our technicians have completed the repair of parts, and all parts are painted, they reassemble the vehicle. We then put our information gathered during the blueprint for mechanical work to the test. We recalibrate any cameras, sensors, or other systems in the vehicle and scan for any possible code errors. This will tell us if any of the damage to your vehicle is still hiding within the electronic systems of your vehicle, which allows things like your airbags to deploy at the proper time. A step as important as this cannot be overlooked, and we attempt to do it in a quick efficient manner. Sometimes, computers get the best of us, too.

Our last step to a repair is to quality check your vehicle. We have staff check all aspects, things like the paint match, headlights, blinkers and windows are looked over now to ensure they’re in proper working condition. With each vehicle that comes through our doors, we take our time to ensure that all manufactured requirements are met. This means that we are combing over our work, the electric systems, paint match and so much more.

Our goal, as always, is to make sure your vehicle gets returned to you in the condition it was prior to your accident. Sometimes that requires us to take our time and can result in longer than anticipated repair times. We aim to make sure you are safe, and happy. Let us know if you have any questions about the repair process, or any time stipulations you may have, we do our best to accommodate all our customers!