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.


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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Protecting Your Auto’s Exterior During Summer

Just as we take precautions to avoid sunburn on our skin, so should we take step to protect the exterior of our vehicles. By following a few simple recommendations we can help to ensure that our vehicles body is not damaged by overexposure from the sun and from excessive heat.

Find a Shady Spot to Park

To help avoid oxidization and faded paint due to excessive UV rays from the sun beating down upon your vehicles exterior, its probably a good idea to park in a shady spot whenever possible. This could be in a garage or an enclosed parking lot, or it might simply be under the shade of a tree. Though it may not always be convenient, and it might require you to have to park a little further from your destination than normal, it can pay off in big dividends in terms of helping to protect your vehicle’s body. If none of these options is available you might wish to consider purchasing a vehicle cover.

Dont Hesitate to Wash

When you combine the hot summer sun with an accumulation of dirt and debris, youre asking for potential damage to the top coat of your vehicle. The best remedy is to wash it and wash it often. Some people have a tendency to cut down on the frequency of car washes during summer, but this is the exact opposite of what you should do. If anything, you might want to increase the number of times you wash your vehicle during summer because a clean auto body is less prone to be impacted from damage from the sun.

Dont Forget the Wax

If there is any one step you can take to combat the summer suns effect on your vehicles exterior it is in the regular application of wax. The wax acts as a protective layer sitting atop the auto body, and its protection against harmful UV rays is unparalleled. In addition, a good coat of wax can help to stop dirt and debris from accumulating on your auto bodys surface.

If Needed, Visit the Experts

There are times when you may need some professional assistance in your efforts to protect your vehicles exterior from the hot summer sun. Contact us.

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How to Protect Your Vehicle’s Paint

Youve spent good money on a new paint job for your vehicle, and you worked with your auto body shop to color match the original paint or gain exactly the look you wanted. Now its up to you to protect your vehicles paint. Its not hard, but a review of the basics — including new technological advances — will help you.

What to Watch Out For

Even if youve paid for the protective sealer features of a clear coat finish there are still environmental factors that cause harm to your vehicles paint job. Heres a few of the most prominent.

Sunlight: You know you have to watch out for too much direct sunlight on your own skin. What you might not know is that the body of your vehicle reacts in much the same way.

Salty air: Here in Rohnert Park you’re less than an hour from the Pacific, and that means less than hour from salt air. Combine this with a sunny, windy day and youre vehicle can easily overdose on too much salt.

Shady trees mean bird droppings: Perhaps there is nothing worse than parking under the shade of a tree only to discover upon your return that a flock of birds have been treating your vehicle and its new paint job as a toilet.

How To Protect Your Vehicle’s Paint

There are remedies to the above hazards, and youd be wise to utilize them whenever possible.

Park inside: Whether this be in your own garage or an enclosed parking structure, or under a car cover, this should be your first line of defense against sunlight, salt and bird droppings.

Wax your car: This may sound like too simple of a solution, but if you cant park inside its the next best option.

Protecting the Shine

If youre serious about protecting your new paint job youre going to need a routine and a little elbow grease.

Wash your vehicle regularly.

Discuss which wax to use with your auto body shop.

Wax your vehicle at least once a month.

Address small scratches immediately with touch up paint.

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When is the Best Time to Paint Your Vehicle?

When it comes time for you to paint your vehicle, you want to make sure you do everything right and you follow all of the necessary steps in order to get the best results you want. Unless you’re just doing basic touch ups, it is important for you to take it to a professional who knows what they are doing in order to get the best results for your car. Of course, there are going to be some times that are much better to paint your car and you should try to time it with that as much as you can. The following information helps to detail when your car should be painted along with what tips and tricks you should follow in order to get the best look for your car.

What Time Is Best?

If you’re hoping to make your decision based strictly off of the calendar, then you will find that you want to do everything you can to avoid the winter months when it is cold and try to go for a springtime paint job right before it starts to warm up.

The reason for this has to do with the paint drying and hardening time. In general, you will find that the paint will dry in about 24 hours but it can take up to a month for the paint to fully harden and bond to your vehicle. If you get your car painted when it is warm out, the hardening process will accelerate due to the heat but it will take a lot longer to do so in the winter.

Other Tips

Of course, maybe you won’t be able to choose when you paint your car because it needs to be done for whatever reason. If you do paint your car in the winter, don’t worry! I recommend you try and keep the driving to a minimum so you don’t run the risk of ruining the paint, but either way it will be fine. No matter when you paint, it will eventually harden, it’s just a matter of how long it will take.


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How to Obtain the Best Paint Job for Your SUV

You’re at that point where you’re wanting a new look for your SUV — one only a quality paint job can provide. Before you jump in, here’s a few things that you should consider.

What is Your Vision for Your SUV?

If you’ve already decided that keeping the same design and color for your SUV is not for you, you’ll need to do a little research. Everyone’s taste is different. Some people are comfortable with a conservative look while others prefer something flashy.

• Spend time online viewing photos of SUVs painted with a color that stands out to you and reflects your taste.

• Go to automobile shows so you can see, first hand, paint jobs that you find attractive and talk to the owners to get an idea as to cost and where they had their SUV painted.

• Visit auto body shops in your area and ask them to show you photos of the SUVs they have painted.

What Auto Body Shop Should You Choose?

At this point you have a vision for the new look of your SUV, and now you need to find the best auto body shop to execute that vision. Here’s some qualities you should look for:

• Be realistic as to cost versus quality. Choose the best quality paint job you can comfortably afford.

• Make sure they thoroughly explain their painting process, including steps for prepping your vehicle. This should include a thorough cleaning, sanding and priming.

• Check out the facilities. Make sure your SUV will be painted in a climate-controlled environment with sufficient lighting and dust control processes.

• Don’t consider dealing with a shop that doesn’t provide an easily understood warranty based upon the type of job you are willing to pay for.

• Don’t settle for anything less than a top notch professional with a proven reputation. You should ascertain this from word-of-mouth referrals and from meeting face-to-face with the owner. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to see if there is a history of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

At Downtown Autobody the aim is to make customers comfortable with the quality repair work and painting they offer their customers, starting with a no-pressure estimate right on through to delivery of your vehicle. Their aim is nothing less than a 100 percent satisfaction with their work.

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Innovations In Auto Body: Frame, Plastic, & Paint

With significant advances in technology the field of auto body repair has vastly improved in recent years. It is the goal of Downtown Autobody to keep up with ever changing innovations and provide you with the highest quality auto body service. The goal of any auto body repair service is to seamlessly repair a damaged vehicle so that no one would ever notice your auto had suffered, and staying on top of the most recent innovations helps us do that better and more efficiently, providing monetary and environmental savings.

Kansas Jack World Rack 400L

One such innovation is in systems designed to fix frame damage, like the premiere Kansas Jack World Rack 400L which is the gold standard in frame straightening equipment. This system positions and secures vehicles with a precision so accurate that it allows for repairs to vehicles that many shops would not be able to address. For this reason, it is Downtown Autobody’s frame straightener of choice.

Hein Werner Shark

A straightened frame needs to not only look sound, but be structurally sound and that is why the Kansas Jack is backed up by a Hein Werner Shark. This sonar system will diagnose and measure the automobile’s frame. The Shark will detect any damage that might be missed by the naked eye.

3M plastic Repair System

Plastic part repair is one of the most common repairs that need to be done, but even common repairs benefit from being addressed with the most up to date methods. The 3M plastic Repair System is considered bar none the best method for our technicians to use in plastic repair. It can be used with all types of plastic and has the added benefit of a quick set time. Best of all, it is well suited for repairing cracks and can even be used to rebuild typically unrepairable parts.

Spies Hecker Waterborne Paint System

The difference between a quality paints and inferior ones is tremendous. Downtown Autobody accepts no substitutes and only uses the highest quality paints. A top notch repair deserves a high end paint job to give the repair its finishing look. All of this comes together in our Spies Hecker Waterborne Paint System. This way, your auto gets a lustrous paint job that will look fresh off the production line and is all done with environmentally friendly paints.

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