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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3 Misconceptions About RV Body Work


If you have ever owned an RV before you or you currently own one now, you might think you know everything there is to know but the truth is that there are a lot of misconceptions about RVs, especially when it comes to bodywork and repairs. While you don’t need to know everything about RV maintenance, it can be helpful to understand most things including what some misconceptions might be. The following are some of the most popular misconceptions you’ve probably heard.

No Repairs When New

One of the most popular thoughts when it comes to buying a new RV or any car in general, is that because it is new, it will not need any repairs done for a while. Truth is, even within the first year of owning the RV, there are still chances that it will need repairs, and bodywork is not uncommon at all because owners will typically adjust and modify the RV to easily suit the needs of the owner.

RV Windshields Are The Same

You might be surprised to learn this, but not all windshields are created the same and the windshield you find in your RV is actually quite different than the windshield in your car. The fitting needs to be done by a professional or else the entire vehicle is going to be off balance. If you need any part of your RV fixed, especially the windshield, make sure you have a professional do it for you.

If A Tire Bursts, Only The Tire Is Damaged

A lot of people assume that when the tire blows on your vehicle, the only damage is going to be to the tire itself but unfortunately it can actually do a lot of damage to the RV itself because of the weight. If the blowout happens at high speed, you have a chance of really shredding and destroying the surrounding parts of your RV. If a tire blows, be sure to check out and inspect as much of your RV as you can to make sure you fully evaluate the damage.


Much like a car, there is a lot of work and effort that can go into repairing your RV and you want to make sure that you do everything the right way. While you might think you know everything, you might find that some of the things you thought you knew are simply not true. By following all of the information provided above, you’ll know everything there is to know when it comes to keeping your RV in the best shape.

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Saving the Earth, One Repair at a Time

You might not always think about it this way, but auto repair has the potential to make a big impact on the environment. Of course, there’s the obvious things like taking care of spills and the like when changing fluids, or disposing of batteries and other substances properly, but even doing basic repairs is a sort of environmental statement.

Take body work, for example: any time a car needs some sort of body work done, there are basically two options: fix what’s there, or replace it. When you simply decide to replace it, you’re putting a chain of events in motion that leads all the way back to the raw materials for that part being dug out of the ground. Along the way, energy is spent on manufacturing, testing, shipping, packaging, and storing that part. This means that one small part has, in effect, already affected the environment in some pretty significant ways, even before it’s ever taken out of the box and put on the vehicle.

Of course, choosing to repair instead does have an impact as well, but it’s a very different one. Instead of energy being spent going to building things, shipping them, and using a finite amount of resources along the way, much less energy is being spent in repair. Yeah, there are tools that require energy. And the lights. And the radio you play while you’re working. All of that happens. But there’s two big differences:

  1. That energy was going to be used already when replacing that part. So, in addition to the building and the shipping and everything else, there are still tools to power and lights to keep on.
  2. The energy that is required to power your tools and keep your lights on (and yes, keep the classic rock station on) can be refined and cleaned over the years as new technology comes on the market. This is happening even now. Meanwhile, shipping a part halfway across the country still takes a heck of a lot of fuel, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

So, the next time you’re faced with this choice, think about it from this perspective instead: if you have the choice between repairing a part and replacing it, which is better in the long run? Replacing might be quicker, but the consequences of that action could last for a while down the road!

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How to Achieve the Best Paint Job on Your Pickup Truck

When your goal is to get the best paint job on your pickup truck, there are a few important items to be aware of. You’ll need:

– some idea of what type of design you want your auto body professional to model

– to know how to select the best shop for your needs

– an idea of the costs involved

How to select the best auto body shop

The best pickup paint jobs are done in the right environment. Make sure your auto body professional will clean your truck, then sand it and finally prime it properly. The best shops have invested in climate controlled painting booths that are well-lit and keep dust to a minimum.

Your body shop should offer warranties on their work. Warranties depend on the type of job, the type of paint used, and the exact shop you choose to work with. Ask specific questions about what’s covered and what’s not covered. Warranties can often range from 6 months to 5 years. Lifetime warranties are available as well.

A simple way to judge your potential shop is to look at the pickups on their lot. How does the quality look to you? Ask them what type of paint job each truck is receiving.

Before you hire your shop, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed against them. Keep in mind that even the best auto body shops can experience unreasonable complaints. See how they dealt with those complaints. If you see the shop was more “in the right” than the complaining party, then let that slide.

Pickup truck paint jobs have a large range of costs, depending on what type of job is being completed. Costs can range from $300 to $20,000. Your shop will talk you through what your budget will allow.

How to get ideas for your next pickup paint job

– Look at the latest truck magazines.

– Attend the next truck show in your area.

– Go to the next cruise night that’s happening locally. Not only can you get ideas but you can ask who did the paint job on the trucks you like best.

– Take a look at online sites, such as Pinterest.

– Check out pictures from old car shows. Old trends come back into style every now and again.

– Go to a swap meet. Talk to the truck owners there about which shop they like to use.

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Don’t Try To Fix Dents Yourself

Your car has been dented, and you’re wondering whether to bother fixing it, and how. It’s yet another expense that you don’t need right now, and you’re sorely tempted to try and fix it yourself. Don’t.

First, let’s be honest here. If you already have experience fixing automotive dents, and you already have the appropriate tools for the job, then you can ignore this. You’re either working in a shop anyway, or you’re otherwise enough of a gearhead that you might as well be. If that’s not you, read on.

You may like cars and have some experience working on them, but don’t have the specific tools for it right now, or you might be mechanically inexperienced. You could buy some tools, and you suppose that it can’t be too hard to fix a dent.

Please don’t waste your time that way. If you don’t already have the right tools for the job, getting them is obviously going to cost some money. If you want to go that route, remember this: you get the quality you pay for.

If you buy cheap tools, you’re almost certainly going to end up disappointed. Higher-quality, more reliable tools will cost more, but they’ll do the job right. Considering that, you’ll still have to spend the time to actually remove the damaged body panels and work on them. It’s a fairly simple task, but it does take some time and effort.

That’s also where the matter of skill comes into play. If you don’t know how to effectively repair the dent already, you run the risk of further damaging your car and its resale value, including by doing an incomplete job. Severe enough dents can expose the metal body to the elements, and begin the cancerous process of rusting out the vehicle. If your car is already a clunker, this is less of an issue, but if you ever hope to get some good value out of the car when you eventually sell it, it becomes a major consideration.

Dent repair kit manufacturers will lead you to believe that you can easily repair your dents yourself, in an effort to get you to buy their products. We aren’t saying that they’re wrong, because depending on who you are, maybe it’s true. But if your car is important to you, and you don’t have the skill to fix it, or you don’t have good tools, you’ll probably be better off trusting the job to experts like us, who already have both! We will happily put in the time and labor for you, so bring your dented vehicle to a professional body shop.

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How To Drive Safely In Wet Weather

Safety is always the most important thing when on the road. These days, we place a lot of faith in our vehicles that they have the technology to keep us safe. But what about the person behind the wheel? Do you know what to do in various situations? By taking some time to learn how to be safe in different conditions, you can ensure a safe driving experience for you and your family, no matter where your trips take you. That’s why we’re going to talk a little today about driving in wet weather. Sure, we don’t always see a lot of wet weather, but if you’re on the road there’s a good chance at some point you’re going to run into some of the wet stuff. If that happens, what should you do?

1) Turn off the Cruise Control

Being safe means being in control, ready to react at a moment’s notice. When the cruise is on, your foot is off the gas, and you’ve added valuable seconds to your reaction time should something happen. In dry weather, that can be dangerous enough. When it’s wet, though,, and there’s the possibility of slipping and sliding? It gets even more hazardous.

2) Slow Down

A higher speed means more risk. Period. This is true in dry weather, and it’s equally (well, more) true in wet. The faster you go, the more chance of losing control, or losing seconds you might need to react to a situation.

3) Back off

Those precious seconds I mentioned before can be crucial. When it starts to rain (or, really, when the weather gets anything less than ideal) you want to back off and leave extra space between you and the car in front of you. That way, if they experience a problem, or if they have to slow down quickly for something in front of them, you have that extra time you need to respond.

4) Handle the Skids

If you find yourself skidding at some point, the natural reaction is to slam on the brakes. Don’t. Slamming on the brakes means your brakes can lock up, which makes you lose control. Instead, pump the brakes. This lets you slow down while maintaining traction. However, if your car is equipped with Anti-lock Brakes, then it’s actually okay to keep the brakes pedal down, since they will automatically do the pumping for you.

5) Drive Defensively

You probably had a driving instructor give you that old saying at some point, right? Well, there’s a reason this classic is still in style: it’s great advice. And nowhere is it more wise than in inclement weather. Even if you are doing everything right, you can’t assume the people around you are. So, stay alert, check your mirrors, and be ready to stop if you need to.

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3 Common Ideas About RV Travel That are Totally Wrong

A few popular misconceptions have sprouted up like cultural weeds around recreational vehicles, or RVs, but those wrong ideas can only get in the way of all the fun you could be having. Let’s set the record straight! Here are the three biggest misunderstandings about RV’s:

1. They’re Expensive!

Traveling in nearly any kind of RV is actually less pricey than any combination of flying or renting a car, and staying in a hotel room. RVs have gotten much more fuel efficient in recent years, and having an on-board kitchen makes it easy to save money on food instead of always being forced to go to restaurants.

You get the convenience of traveling with your own private rooms, with plenty of cargo space to bring lots of clothes and gear with you, at a better price than dealing with an airline that won’t let you bring more than 50 pounds of luggage without ripping you off. No comparison.

2. They’re Hard to Drive!

This is only true if you’re talking about a very big motorhome the size of a semi truck, but even then, it only takes a little getting used to. You don’t even need a special driver’s license for any but the very longest models, and that only in some states.

You can get fully comfortable driving most models of motorhome or trailer in less than half an hour on the road. You may want assistance when backing up, but other than that, it’s fairly intuitive. There’s also plenty of places to easily visit and park an RV comfortably.

3. They’re for Retirees!

This is a lie that ruins childhoods. As it turns out, many a kid’s fondest memories from growing up involve long road trips in an RV that Mom and Dad rented. Maybe the grandparents bought it, but most likely, they invited the rest of the family along.

Imagine seeing the true scale of your country laid out before you for hours, with ever-changing vistas. Imagine arriving and parking right by the shore of a pristine lake, surrounded by ancient forests, while still enjoying all the comforts and conveniences of home. Those are powerful and lasting impressions to make on a child’s mind.

Even if the long drives seem less than engaging, kids can fill in the time with table games and coloring books and other activities until they arrive. There’s also the matter of all the friends they’ll make among the many other kids that you can always find at RV parks. The RV lifestyle is exactly what so many kids (and adults) desperately need: time with family, in the outdoors, experiencing the world.

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