Preventing and Addressing Swirl Marks in Auto Paint

If you’re protective of your car’s paint job, you probably find swirl marks irritating to no end. These microscopic marks are formed by small actions like wiping dust off of your car with a dry towel or improperly washing and drying it, because particles like dirt and fibers can get stuck in your car cleaning materials and can scratch off the upper clear layer of your car’s paint job. That’s why dark cars generally have more visible paint swirls — and while they may not look like much at first, they can collect together over time to diminish your car’s polished exterior.

Preventing Swirl Marks

If you’re worried about this being an issue for your car, how can you prevent getting swirl marks, and if you do end up with them, what can you do to fix the problem?

To start, know which cleaning methods to avoid. Swirl marks are most commonly caused by using polishers or buffers with a wrong pad, as well as harsh polishing compounds and cleaners that leave tiny marks in the surface of your auto paint. Make sure that you always get your car polished by an operator who knows what they’re doing and uses the right cleaners for your particular paint type.

You should also avoid using a towel with polyester threads, dirty chamois or dry towels to clean your car, as these materials can pick up microscopic particles that will leave scratches on your car. Stay away from dirty car dusters and car covers, and always make sure that you rinse your car wash mitt or sponge before washing or drying. When washing your car, always remember to avoid automated car washes with large brushes or wipers.

Addressing Swirl Marks That Are Already There

But say you were unaware of these tips and unfortunately have swirl marks in your car’s paint. What now? Thankfully, there are several ways to address this issue after the fact.

The first is to try polishing your car, which can sometimes remove swirl marks that are very shallow. If this doesn’t work, use a scratch remover that takes away the clear layer on top of your paint, removing the swirl marks in the process. However, you’ll need to touch up the area with new paint afterwards, as well as another clear coat and some buffing.

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Dude, Where Is My Car Wax?

More and more in today’s society we seem to produce things that are inexpensive, expendable, throw-away items. This isn’t surprising given the concentration on planned obsolescence among manufacturers. One side effect has been that people have lost the impulse of caring for their possessions effectively. This can result in spending more money to replace something that could have just been adequately cared for and used for years.  Certainly one of those areas where maintenance can make a huge difference in durability is your car – one of the larger purchases you make in life.

 Caring For Your Car

No car is going to last forever as wear and tear will eventually increase your costs. However the life of your car can be significantly extended with proper care. One of the biggest reasons people trade in old cars for new ones, beyond style changes, is the appearance of the car. As a car is used over the years, it picks up damage to the body from road debris, dings in parking lots, and weather. This damage can result in breakdowns in the protection the paint and coatings provide to the body and frame of the vehicle.

 Wax Beautifies And Protects

One simple way to preserve your car, and spend less money, is the simple application of wax to the paint on a regular basis. Not only will wax give you a “new car” shine, which is what we all associate with wax, but it will protect your car from airborne hazards like insects and acidic rain. The wax can avoid those tiny paint chips that happen from road debris (rocks, etc.) from highway driving at 60 to 70 miles per hour. Was coats the sealant and paint and makes the surface slick so that things slide off the paint instead of damaging it.

 Healing Wax

Wax will also fill in scratches in your paint. It won’t remove scratches, but by filling them in, they aren’t as noticeable and the wax prevents further damage to the paint. By preserving the clear coat sealant and paint with wax, those dings and scratches won’t compromise the body of the car and cause rust spots.

 

To protect your car, keep it looking good, and get years of additional use – make sure to wax it on a regular basis after a thorough wash. Oh, and in addition, wax makes the car easier to clean when you wash it! So, here is to preserving that relationship with the car you fell in love with on the lot and keeping it looking good so you can be proud!

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5 Places To Visit Around Sonoma County This Fall

Now that fall is approaching Sonoma County again, many people are gearing up for the meandering scenic drives. The beauty of watching the leaves change from shades of green to rich amber, gold, and vibrant red is a delight for families and couples. If you live around Sonoma County, then check out any of these five places during your road trip this fall.

Up & Away Ballooning

See an aerial view of the gorgeous countryside as you ascend in a huge hot air balloon. Find your adventuresome side, and be one with the sky. The Up & Away Ballooning company offers a unique way to enjoy fall’s beauty. The ballooning is located at Sonoma County Airport in Windsor.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Take a relaxing ride out to the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse. Located in the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, the site has much to offer in natural beauty and wildlife. When you arrive and park, there is a hiking trail to reach the lighthouse. Stop in at the Lighthouse Visitor Center and view exhibits of sea creatures and the history of Point Reyes Lighthouse. Catch a glimpse of a whale or any of the various bird species when you reach the observation deck. Finally, make your way down the long set of steps where you will find the preserved lighthouse with original clockworks.

 Chanslor Ranch

If you are in the mood to saddle up, then head over to the Chanslor Ranch located in Bodega Bay. This gorgeous property sets on 378 acres of land and is surrounded by thousands of acres of parks and protected land. Plenty of activities are available to keep you and your loved ones stimulated. Go horseback riding or let the kids ride a pony. Hiking, camping, and kayaking will fill your day with adventure.

 Quarryhill Botanical Garden

Lose yourself in the fragrant beauty of this rare botanical garden located in Glen Ellen. This lovely garden hosts some of the wild plants and flowers found in East Asia. The twenty-five acre garden protects rare flora of Asia. Stroll along the lush landscape and take in fall’s beauty.

 Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Take a drive back in time when visiting the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park. This grist mill was constructed in 1846 and is completely powered by water. Watch the old mill crank out fine meal on the weekends when they host demonstrations. While you’re there, take a hike from the mill over to the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park which is about a two-mile round trip.

With the moderate temperatures and gorgeous land, it’s the perfect time to take a drive around town. Discover the beauty of Sonoma County and enjoy relaxing with the wonders of nature.

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The Mechanics Of Car Insurance And Body Work

If you have been in an auto accident that damaged your car, it is normal to worry about repairing bodywork. Even if the damage is only cosmetic, you still want to get it fixed and back to its original glory. There is no shame in wanting to keep your car looking like new, free of scratches and dents. It’s also best for performance and structural integrity.

Your car insurance will work with you to get the damage fixed as soon as possible. They will contact the responsible insurance, if applicable. If there is not another at-fault person or that person lacks insurance, your car insurance will work directly with you to ensure the bodywork is repaired.

Other At-fault Driver

If there is another at-fault driver responsible for the car accident, their insurance should cover your damages. Your insurance company can contact the other party’s insurance on your behalf. If the person does not have insurance, there are scenarios that would still hold them accountable for the damage. If for whatever reason they cannot pay for your damages, your insurance will work with you to get the bodywork of your car fixed.

Working with Insurance

If you are forced to file a claim with your own insurance due to lack of insurance of others, the company will work with you. They will need to collect all of the relevant information. They may need to collect specific evidence, but they should work on your behalf to get your car fixed.

If you were responsible for the car accident and you have the proper coverage, your insurance will work with you to get your vehicle fixed. Usually, you will pay the deductible and your insurance company will cover the rest.

Your insurance will send an inspector to look at the car. It is helpful to have pictures of the car for your own records, but the inspector will take his or her own pictures for the insurance company’s records. It is important to know that this person inspecting your car for damage works for the insurance company. They will ensure that the damage is related to the insurance claim.

Accidents are traumatic. After you ensure that everyone is safe, it is natural to worry about your car. We cannot stand to see damage done to our vehicles, but wen you have applicable insurance, they will cover bodywork. You will need to file a claim, but once the insurance company has all of the information they need, you will be on your way to having your vehicle’s bodywork complete.

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What Is A Loaner Car? Are They A Real Thing?

You may have heard about loaner cars (there are plenty of options in Rohnert Park, CA) and vehicles when you are getting work completed on your vehicle, but it may seem too good to be true. Do mechanics and body shops really offer loaner cars, and are they a good deal? We’ll answer that for you.

What Is A Loaner Car?

A loaner car is a car that many dealerships, mechanics, and body shops offer as a convenience when you bring in your car to get serviced or have maintenance performed on your vehicle. If it is going to be multiple hours or days before your car is fixed, the mechanic can offer you a loaner car at no cost, as long as you present proof of insurance. That way, you can make sure that you still have transportation while your car is getting serviced.

Some small businesses may offer to drive you home or to your business and pick you up when your car is ready. Many other big and small businesses keep one to a wide selection of loaner cars available. If they have multiples, they will typically give you a car that is most similar to yours. Dealerships may put you in a car that is newer and has more features than the one you currently own to entice you to purchase a new vehicle.

Are Loaner Cars A Good Deal?

Since they can quite likely be free, they are an excellent deal. For instance, we at Downtown Auto Body offer loaner cars at no cost, whether your insurance covers it or not.  Many people do include rental car coverage in their insurance, so you have a double guarantee of a no cost loaner car.

Are Loaner Cars For Everyone?

If you don’t have up-to-date car insurance, we can’t give you a loaner car. Also, many businesses who offer loaner cars can’t give them to drivers under the age of 25. Some can, including Downtown Auto Body.

Loaner cars are definitely a viable option to help you get the work you need done without having to take time off work or wait hours in a mechanic shop. If you want to know what kind of vehicle options a shop has or if they can serve your individual needs, don’t hesitate to call shops in your area to find out who offers what you need.

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Why You Should Consider Bus Renovation

When it comes to the wonderful world of RVing and the rise in popularity of tiny homes, sticker shock can be a real thing. Purchasing a top end tiny home or RV can set you back considerably. One excellent alternative for crafty Do-it-Yourselfers or people willing to do some of the work on your own on a budget, is bus renovation.

Everything You Want For Less Cost

A bus can be found surprisingly cheap, if you are willing to put a little work into them. One of the biggest advantages of bus renovation is the freedom to create your own design or choose from a number of existing layouts. Everything from the inside to the outside of buses can be renovated to your tastes. The end results can be breathtaking living spaces that are both unique and affordable.

Interior Renovation

There are a few decisions to make after you have torn out the seats and given yourself plenty of room to work with. One of your major choices will be to choose to keep the windows or panel them in. This is an important decision as it will have an great impact on the interior layout of your renovation. Leaving the windows open has the advantage of flooding your bus with natural lighting. Paneling over some of all of your bus windows provides you with better insulation and potential storage space.

Exterior Renovation

No matter the type of bus that you decide to renovate you will have to decide how much alteration you wish to do to the outside. The sky’s the limit in this area as you can choose to leave the bus as is or personalize your house on wheels to your heart’s content. If you choose to give your bus more than a sparse paint job, it is highly recommended that you take your bus to a professional service for paint. Painting a bus is not cheap, but it is beneficial for more reasons than looking sharp. A fresh coat of paint will help defend your renovated bus against surface rust, prolonging the integrity of the body of your bus for many years to come.

The Driver’s Area

One major renovation that is often overlooked is the driver’s area. The driver’s seat itself is likely something that you are going to wish to replace. If you are going to be driving for hours on end, you want a seat that is comfortable as well as serviceable. Updating of fans and dashcams are also a good afterthought as well.

The best part of renovating a bus is that, when the project is finished, it is a reflection of yourself. Starting from scratch can be a long process, and along the way you may have doubts, but the end reward is something you can be very proud of.

 

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ASE Certification and your Automobile

Just in case you aren’t familiar with ASE, it stands for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. They are a non-profit certifying organization, and their mission is to train, test, and certify automotive professionals.

What They Do as an Organization?

 ASE has trained, tested, and certified almost 300,000 automotive technicians and service professionals around the country. These experts are working in every part of the automotive industry. Keep in mind that this organization does not certify auto-shops, only service professionals as individuals.

Why The ASE Was Created?

 This organization and its certification was created for the benefit of the automotive industry, shop owners, technicians and automotive experts, and customers. The ASE certification indicates to the customer that you are working with a professional technician that has completed their program and test successfully. It is the stamp of approval that you have someone who is totally qualified to work on and service your vehicle.

 What do Technicians Need to Get Certified?

 As with any certifying organization, each ASE certified technician needs to meet a set of standards in order to complete the certification process. Each of these certified technicians and automotive experts has not only passed the certification test, but have also had either two years of on the job training, or one year of on the job training plus a two year degree from a professional automotive repair school. The testing process is thorough and rigorous. Only two-thirds of the technicians who take the test the first time, pass it. To make sure that each technician is kept up to ASE standards and continuing to learn and progress as a professional in the automotive repair industry, every certified ASE technician must retest every 5 years.

 Why it is Important to Get Car Care from an ASE Professional

 An ASE certification should matter to you as a future customer and car owner, because working with a technician or automotive expert who has an ASE certification has gone above and beyond. These are working professionals who have shown their ambition, prowess, and dedication to bettering their craft for improving their industry, their shop, and making sure that you, the customer, are taken care of to the best of their abilities.

If you want the best care when going in for your next automotive service, make sure that you find a service center or shop that only hires ASE certified automotive technicians and experts. That should give you peace of mind in knowing that you are in good hands of a qualified and educated professional.

 

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Weird Things That May Go Wrong With Your RV

When it comes to RV living there is not a lot that can compare to waking up to a different view every morning. You have the freedom to change your environment that is only limited by you pulling up stakes and moving to another location. When you dive your house around, you get proficient in making standard auto maintenance and repair tasks, but sometimes you have to deal with things that just are not your standard auto related problems. Here are a few things that might go wrong with your RV that are outside your normal auto issue.

 Mold & Mildew

When you think about RV life and things that can go wrong, mold is not one of the things that you would expect. Few things can prove to be more frustrating than discovering you have a mold problem in your RV. Water leaks can go unnoticed until mold begins to spread. Be sure your RV’s bathroom is well ventilated as well as that the toilet is in proper working order. Also occasionally check the seals around your windows, sinks, and all of your plumbing lines.

Standing water from plumbing or window seal leaks should be cleaned up as soon as you discover them. Water that sits for more than a few days can be very dangerous and will promote mold growth. Carpet that has been soaked in water for more than a few days may need to be removed, if not cleaned and totally dried.

Mice

It may sound crazy but mice and other rodents can potentially be a real problem in an RV. Unlike a normal auto, your RV will have many tempting things about it that will attract the invasion of mice.  They will chew on everything, including your wires! One pesky mouse in the walls chewing on your wiring could result in time-consuming expensive repairs to get at the source of their damage.

If you see mice in your RV, you will need to remove them much as you would in your home. Just clear up any loose foods attracting them and set a trap. Once they are removed, you should look for entrances to your RV and seal them

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Why I-CAR Certification Matters

You may have noticed some information about I-CAR certification at your auto repair service. And you should. I-CAR certification matters when choosing a provider of auto body repair.

Proof of Quality

While many car repair and auto collision repair shops promote their quality service, it does not mean that their team of technicians is properly trained to repair and restore your vehicle. Qualifications matter, and I-CAR certification is a simple means of knowing that the auto technician you select to work on your car or truck has verified and current training and qualifications. I-CAR certification is one of the best ways for you to confirm that your vehicle’s repair or body work is getting done correctly.

I-CAR Certification

I-CAR certification sets the industry standard in the field of auto body collision repair. Established in 1979, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) is an education and training resource for auto collision repair shops and technicians. The organization is the industry standard for excellence. As technology and materials change, so does the need to understand and properly care and repair for vehicles. That’s why I-CAR provides training classes and tools for repair technicians, auto body shops, manufacturers and insurance companies. These resources help individuals and companies maintain their knowledge base on the technology and techniques of today, as well as the latest safety standards.

When you see an I-CAR certification logo on your auto collision repair shop, it means that the company and the auto body technicians have achieved the industry standard for auto collision repair training and skill. Technicians who are Platinum-certified hold the highest level of I-CAR training. To keep this status level, technicians are required to complete continuing education courses to stay in tune with the latest safety features, new techniques and technological advancements. When you see a Gold Class Professional certification on an auto collision repair shop, you’ll know that several of their technicians have attained the Platinum-certified level of I-CAR. Materials in their shop and on their website will reflect this highest level of I-CAR certification.

For the highest quality auto body collision repair and vehicle painting service in Sonoma County, California, Downtown Autobody is honored to display its I-CAR certification and have I-CAR certified auto body technicians. We live and work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and would be happy to help you with your collision repair service. Contact us today for an estimate or to schedule your repair.

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Laminated Safety Glass Can Save Your Life

The windows in your vehicle are an often overlooked aspect of your vehicles overall safety design. We are usually just thankful they keep bugs out and air conditioning in, but they are actually very important for other reasons as well. In most vehicles, the windows are made from two distinct types of glass, laminated and tempered, each designed with a specific safety feature in mind, and its important to know the difference between the two.

Laminated Safety Glass

Unless your vehicle predates 1966, your windshield is made from laminated safety glass which can withstand impact at a rate of over three times that of un-laminated glass. Comprised of an interlayer bonded with two outer layers, this glass is designed to withstand impacts from rocks and to protect passengers from being ejected through the windshield during a collision. Also, its composition causes the window to crack upon impact rather than shatter into pieces. It is engineered, in the event of your vehicle rolling over, to hold fixed the rigidity of the roof, which allows the side airbags to successfully deploy. Another benefit of laminated safety glass is that it enhances visibility and is capable of filtering out up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays.

Tempered Safety Glass

Created by a process of heating and then cooling glass, tempered glass is found on the side and rear windows of vehicles. Tempered glass is extremely strong, and impact causes tempered glass to break into small, pebble-like pieces and helps to protect passengers from sustaining cuts to their body. Unlike laminated safety glass, tempered glass does not filter out UV rays so you may want to check with your auto body shop to have laminated UV protection applied to rear and side windows.

Replacing Windows in Your Vehicle

Unfortunately, in the event of a collision, you may find that one or more of your vehicle’s windows need to be replaced. As with other auto body needs, it is imperative that you utilize the services of a shop with a reputation for the utmost in professionalism and reliability. 

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