3 Tips When Getting An Estimate After An Auto Collision

A collision repair tech giving an estimate to a customer after a collision

Being involved in an auto collision can be a very stressful experience, from medical costs, vehicle damage, and not being able to have your own car. All of these factors can take a toll on an individual, and while getting a car estimate can seem overwhelming it is a crucial step to get you back on the road. 

Therefore, we’ve laid out three tips to make your search for car estimates is as smooth as possible to get you back on the road with the best quality service without any delays.

Research Body & Paint Shops

Before going out and getting estimates after an auto collision, the first thing you need to do is start researching for any reputable body and paint shops around you. Look at pictures and reviews online for their recent work and even ask around to find out what their reputation is like.  In today’s digital world, there’s a plethora of resources available that allow consumers to shop around for the right body shop for repair, such as Yelp or Angie’s List.

Ideally, you’ll want a body and paint shop that is I-CAR Gold certified. This certification comes from the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, which is the head of the collision repair industry. An I-CAR Gold certified shop shows that the work performed will be of the best quality by qualified technicians with the most up to date technology and knowledge.

Do Not Focus On Price Alone

While trying to save money can be tempting, focusing on price alone when choosing a car estimate might not be the best choice. High estimates do not necessarily mean you are being overcharged and low estimates can sometimes mean subpar quality. 

If your insurance company offers their own body and paint shop with a low estimate be cautious, as this might mean inferior service you might not end up happy with. Therefore instead of focusing on price alone compare estimates by the services provided along with the quality and reputation of the shop.

Avoid Online Estimators

While it is natural to look to Google for answers after experiencing an accident, commuters should proceed with caution. There are plenty of online estimators who are willing to give you an estimated cost to repair the vehicle, but their estimates tend to not be entirely accurate due to not inspecting the car in person. By taking your vehicle to a repair shop, they can accurately assess the damage incurred cosmetically and internally, and give you a more accurate number.  

Get Back On the Road With Ric’s Body & Paint

Whether you have minor dents and dings or full-on collision damage, our experienced technicians will carefully repair or replace all damaged parts, bringing your vehicle back to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Our collision repair services include I-CAR Gold Class–certified repair technicians, State-of-the-art equipment, computerized frame and alignment check to manufacturer’s specs, and a lifetime warranty on repairs as long as you own the vehicle.

Contact us today for a free estimate!

9 Driving Habits That Are Damaging Your Car

A male driver incorporating safe driving habits

While technology in vehicles has come a long way, there are still some driving habits that can severely affect your vehicle. This can lead to costly damage and shortening the overall lifespan of your car. Therefore, eradicating these bad driving habits will not only increase your vehicle’s life cycle but also save you from costly repairs and frequent maintenance visits. That is why we’ve highlighted a few driving habits to avoid to ensure your car is in good condition.

Shifting from Drive to Reverse While Still Moving

This habit is probably the most severe out of the rest and can be costlier. This driving habit takes a big toll on your transmission every time you shift from drive to reverse or vice versa without coming to a complete stop. Your vehicle’s transmission depends on your brakes to switch gears in a smooth transition, so not coming to a full stop and trying to switch gears can become a major problem.

Slamming On Your Brakes

While slamming on your brakes is sometimes necessary to avoid a collision, doing this regularly can have negative effects. This driving habit can cause your brake pads and discs to wear out much faster. Additionally, slamming on your brakes constantly can lead to tears and cracks in the hoses, leading to leaks, affecting the overall performance and potentially putting you and others at risk. Slamming on your brakes only when necessary can also save you money by conserving fuel.

Going Over Speed Bumps and Potholes at a High Speed

Accelerating through speed bumps can hurt your vehicle’s suspension and can cause misalignment, which will affect your steering. Doing this continuously can also affect the undercarriage of your car and can even cause leaks, which can lead to all kinds of problems and repairs.

While speed bumps are there for a reason and can be easy to spot, the same cannot be said for potholes. Try to keep a lookout for these, especially during the night and rainy conditions as they can be harder to see. Not paying attention and going over potholes at a high speed can also cause your tire to blow out while damaging your suspension, steering, and alignment. If you come across potholes or speed bumps, your best bet is to slow down.

Overloading Your Car

This is a common driving habit, especially when going on trips or moving. Although it might seem harmless, overloading your car can impact your car’s suspension and brakes. Furthermore, all the extra weight affects your vehicle’s performance when it comes to fuel efficiency and even exhaust emissions, harming the environment. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind what the recommended weight capacity for your vehicle is as you can find this in the owner’s manual. 

Revving a Cold Engine

Letting your car’s engine warm-up in the morning lets oil circulate throughout the engine. Revving your car while the engine is still “cold” can cause unnecessary wear and tear to parts in the engine that have not fully warmed up.

Riding the Clutch

This driving habit is strictly for those driving vehicles with manual transmissions. Resting your foot, or, “riding the clutch” can lead to wear and tear and severely shorten the lifespan of your clutch. By resting your foot on the pedal you cause unnecessary friction between the flywheel on the engine and the clutch. Get rid of this bad driving habit by only resting your foot on the clutch when necessary.

Ignoring Dashboard Warning Signs

Another common driving habit is to ignore those dashboard lights, but not paying attention to your vehicle’s warning signals can lead to costly repairs down the road and can lead you stranded in some cases. Therefore, it is best to familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s warning signs by checking the owner’s manual and learn what each means or at least recognize the most important ones. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Check Engine Light
  • Braking System
  • Battery Light
  • Airbag Light
  • Oil Light

Running On Fumes

Driving your car with a near-empty gas tank damages several parts of your vehicle. Fuel also acts as a lubricant for your engine, without it you risk damaging your fuel pump, fuel system, and catalytic converter. Therefore always try to fill up when your car has about a quarter tank left.

Accelerating While In a High Gear

This driving habit places unnecessary stress on your car’s engine, which can lead to malfunction down the road. Try changing down a gear, this allows the revs to rise, easing your engine’s strain before accelerating again.

Get Back On the Road With Ric’s Body & Paint

Breaking all of these bad driving habits will help extend your vehicle’s lifespan and also save you money on costly repairs and maintenance visits. But even with all these tips, we understand accidents happen on the road in mere seconds. Therefore if you’ve suffered a collision or need any auto repair Ric’s Body & Paint will take care of you and get you back on the road. 

With over 44 years of experience, we offer I-CAR Gold certified repair technicians, state-of-the-art equipment, and original equipment manufacturer, and high-quality parts. We focus on getting you and your car back to it’s best and on the road. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

5 Tips to Maintain Your Electric Vehicle

A blue electric vehicle tesla is driving along the highway

There are many benefits to owning an electric vehicle, including being better for the environment, saving you money when it comes to gas, and avoiding other gas engine related maintenance like oil changes. But even though electric vehicles might require less maintenance than traditional engine cars, this does not mean they don’t require any maintenance at all. 

Keeping up with these five aspects of maintenance will ensure that you can get the most out of your electric vehicle and save you from problems down the road. 

Battery

Arguably the most important component when it comes to electric vehicles, your car’s battery is the equivalent of a traditional car’s engine. Therefore it is crucial to maintain the battery as this can affect its performance, longevity, and residual value later on. 

While electric car batteries degrade over time just like engines do, there are some things drivers can do to help prevent the battery from degrading and extend its life lifecycle.

  • Do not drain your battery completely empty often, this can also be said for charging the battery to full capacity often as well. Charging your battery repeatedly and draining it to empty can degrade the battery over time. Instead, it is best to keep your battery between 80-20%. Road trips are an exception as you can take full advantage of your battery’s mileage range, but during everyday driving, it is best to avoid overcharging and draining the battery to empty.
  • When possible, avoid leaving your electric car in extreme temperatures as both hot and cold temperatures can negatively affect your battery’s performance. Try keeping your car in a shaded area during hot temperatures and in a garage during cold temperatures as this can help increase your battery’s range.

Brakes

Electric vehicles have a regenerative braking system that differs from traditional engine cars. This system uses the car’s battery resistance to slow the car down, minimizing the use of traditional friction brakes. Even though the regenerative braking system is doing most of the work when braking, electric cars still have friction brakes. Therefore keeping up with your brake pads and rotors, along with brake fluid, will ensure your brakes are always performing the way they were designed to.

Tires

Tire rotation and alignment are important aspects to maintain in all car types. While electric vehicle owners should follow the manufacturer’s maintenance timeline, it is important to routinely check tire pressure and tread as electric vehicles can wear down the tires faster. This is suspected because of the increased torque and weight of electric vehicles. Additionally, there are tire options specifically designed for electric vehicles that can help prolong any wear and tear.

Coolant

Maintaining your electric vehicle’s fluids is necessary to avoid overheating electrical components such as the charger, inverter, and battery. Additionally, air conditioning systems in electric vehicles will require coolant flushes that can range from 50k miles up to 150k miles. Drivers should consult with their owner’s manual and be aware of when and how often these procedures should take place.

Powertrain

Although rare, direct-drive or multi-speed transmissions of electric vehicles may need lubricant. This is usually a sealed system that does not need to be changed but that isn’t always the case. Drivers should consult with their owner’s manual and find out if and when these services are required for their electric vehicles.

Get Back On the Road With Ric’s Body & Paint

With over 44 years of experience, we provide exceptional quality and precision craftsmanship to every vehicle. Our team of technicians is proud to service all vehicles, whether they are electric or gas-powered. As of 2020, Ric’s Body & Paint is certified in repairing Tesla vehicles after a collision. Our experienced technicians continually update their training to meet I-CAR Gold Class and Automotive Service Association (ASA) certification standards, ensuring all work is done correctly and up to manufacturer standards. Contact us today and get your vehicle back to its best.

4 Tips to Avoid Airbag Injuries

The inside of a car after a collision with their airbag deployed

In the case of a collision, airbags are tasked to deploy in milliseconds in order to keep vehicle passengers safe. The airbag inflates in less than 1/20th of a second once they get a signal from the car that a crash has happened. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) both side and frontal airbags saved approximately 50,457 lives between 1987 and 2017. 

And while these safety mechanisms are undoubtedly here to protect us, sometimes these airbags can cause injuries. These injuries are especially severe for young passengers and pets. Injuries can include broken noses, ribs, lacerations to wrists, and some more serious injuries such as organ failure and internal bleeding.

Nonetheless, there are ways to avoid such injuries, minimizing the risk while keeping you and your loved ones safe in the case of an auto collision.

Avoiding Airbag Injuries

Wear Your Seatbelt

Make sure you and everyone in your vehicle wears their seatbelt. While airbags are safety measures to keep you safe in case of an accident, they are not a standalone feature. Airbags are a supplement to seatbelts, not a replacement. Wearing your seatbelt will reduce the risk of you jerking forward, hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, window, side door or even worse being ejected through the front window of the vehicle.

Scoot Your Seat As Far As Comfortable

Sitting as far back as it is possible will reduce the risk of injury to your face and chest areas. The NHTSA recommends a distance of 10-12 inches between the driver and the steering wheel, this will allow both the seatbelt to work and reduce the speed of impact with you and the airbag once it deploys.

Place Kids In the Back

All kids 12 years and younger should be seated in the backseat and in appropriate child seats according to their size. NEVER place infant seats in the front passenger seat as this can be fatal due to the injuries caused by the speed of airbag deployment. The NHTSA has produced a clear guideline for all car seats and booster seats to keep your children safe in the back of the vehicle.

Keep Your Hands In the 9 and 3 o’clock Positions

Try to maintain your hands in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions on the steering wheel while driving. This can reduce the risk of your wrist or arms flinging forcefully as the airbag deploys, causing painful injuries resulting in broken bones.

Auto Collision Repair With Ric’s Body & Paint

These tips can greatly reduce the risk of you and your loved ones being injured by airbags in case of a collision. We also know that accidents happen in milliseconds and things happen on the road that are out of your control. If you’ve suffered a collision, our expert technicians at Ric’s Body & Paint will work with you to restore your vehicle to its original condition. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!

Tips to Avoid Auto Collisions On Snowy Roads

A white toyota vehicle is driving in a snow storm

Driving in snowy conditions can be a very slippery subject. Even seasoned drivers who live in parts of the country with harsh winters can have a hard time driving on snowy surfaces. These less than desirable weather conditions cause slippery roads and are a factor in half a million crashes according to AAA

While staying at home would be the ideal scenario during these conditions, sometimes staying put is not an option. Thankfully, car technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Antilock Braking System (ABS) has been implemented over the years improving vehicle responsiveness and safety. With that technology in mind, here are some helpful tips to make sure you get to your destination safely next time you’re on the road in snowy conditions.

Get the Right Tires

Snow or winter tires will be your best friend when driving in inclement weather. Although not everyone needs winter tires, if you live in an area where snowy surfaces are common it will be your best bet. This is because winter tires are designed to cut through snow and better grip the road. Additionally, the tread is formulated to be softer and grabs the asphalt more effectively in cold weather, according to Wired.

Slow Down and Look Ahead

While this tip can be applied to anytime you’re on the road, it is especially important during snowy conditions. Look ahead to anticipate your next moves and not make sudden, jerky movements, which could make you lose control of your vehicle. According to Car and Driver, you should allow double the stopping distance when the road is wet, triple on snow, and even more on ice.

Make Use of Your ABS System

ABS systems have been included in every car since 2012 and this system will come in handy if you have to brake in snowy or icy conditions. To engage your ABS system all you have to do is press down on the pedal and do not let go. The great thing about this system is that the computer will adjust the braking force at each wheel to allow you to maneuver while simultaneously slowing down.

Do Not Rely On AWD

AWD’s primary role is to provide forward traction. It will not help when it comes to cornering or stopping since deceleration is much more difficult in harsh conditions. This leaves many drivers with a false sense of security thinking their AWD abilities exceed what it can actually accomplish.

Do Not Panic During Skids

Although easier said than done, try not to panic or make any movements that will make you lose further control of your car when skidding. Instead, try to follow these steps from Car and Driver

For a front-wheel skid, do not hit the brakes, instead, take your foot off the pedals and wait for the front tires to regain traction. Then steer your car in the direction you want to go in.

For a rear-wheel skid, again, do not hit the brakes but quickly steer in the direction your car is sliding too. Do not try to overcorrect and steer in the opposite direction.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Keep an emergency kit in your car with essentials (blankets, first aid kit, food, water, flashlights, etc.) in case you have to stay in your car on the side of the road until the storm passes 
  • Keep your headlights clear of snow to increase visibility
  • Make sure your wipers are in good condition
  • Check that snow is not blocking the exhaust as carbon monoxide can make it’s way back inside the car
  • If you can and are willing to, find an empty lot where you can practice your steering during skids and learn when and how to use your ABS systems. But always be safe

Ric’s Body & Paint Can Restore Your Car

If you’ve suffered a car collision while driving in harsh winter conditions, Ric’s Body & Paint is here for you. Whether it is minor dents or major damage, our experienced technicians will carefully repair or replace all damaged parts to the manufacturer’s specifications. Contact us today to learn more about our wide range of collision repair services.

9 Tips To Avoid Animal Collisions On The Road

A large deer standing in the middle of the road collisions

Coming across wildlife while driving is not uncommon, especially when driving close to the mountains, woods, or countryside. Drivers can come across all kinds of animals including deer, moose, elk, horses, cows, and even bears. Even though these events are not common, drivers should stay alert as these scary situations can develop in split seconds. Animal-related collisions can result in serious damage to your vehicle, but more importantly, injuries to yourself and passengers. Unfortunately, in some cases, these types of collisions can prove to be fatal. 

These tips will help you stay aware and remain calm while hopefully avoiding collisions the next time you come across any wildlife on the road.

Look Out For Signs

Look out for yellow traffic signs on the side of the road. These signs are placed in highly trafficked areas by wildlife and should be your first warning.

Look Ahead

Always stay alert of your surroundings, especially near the mountains or wood areas. Look ahead to avoid any sudden movements.

Slow Down

Always stay within the speed limit, especially if you’re in an area prone to wildlife. Slow down briefly while in the area to give yourself enough time to break if you come across an animal. This will also make your vehicle easier to maneuver. 

Stay Alert During Dusk and Dawn

Wildlife is more active during dusk and dawn, this is also the time with less visibility on the road so stay aware during these times. Use your brights to increase your visibility, but be courteous to other drivers and turn them off to nearby oncoming traffic.

Keep Time Of The Year In Mind

Wildlife is constantly on the move. During mating season, animals will track smells in search of a mate. This tends to last from October to January. It’s also important to look out during the springtime, as families are more likely to be moving around.

Watch For Herds

Speaking of families, animals usually travel in packs. If you come across an animal on the road there is more than likely another one close by. Wait a few seconds before proceeding to make sure no other animals are trailing behind.

Use Your Horn

If you spot an animal in the distance, slow down and honk your horn. This might scare the animal away from the road.

Use The Center Lane

If you are able, use the center lane of the road. This will give you a better chance to react to any wildlife entering from either side of the road.

Brake and Remain In Your Lane

If a collision is inevitable do not swerve out of the way. Even though trying to avoid hitting the animal might be a natural instinct, swerving out of the way might result in a worse outcome. Hitting another vehicle, losing control of your car, or hitting a tree will result in worse damage than hitting an animal most of the time. Hit your brakes firmly and reduce your speed as much as possible. Ease up on the brakes once you make contact in order to avoid having the animal go through your windshield.

Suffered a Collision?

Encountering wildlife on the road can be a scary and tense situation, therefore, staying aware of your surroundings is key in avoiding collisions. Some things are out of our control, and accidents can happen in a matter of seconds.If you’ve suffered a collision Ric’s Body & Paint will be there for you. Whether you have minor dents or major damage to your vehicle, our experienced technicians will carefully repair or replace all damaged parts back to the manufacturer’s specifications. Contact us today to learn more about our wide range of collision repair services.

Handling Bad Drivers on Arizona Highways

A driver is initating in safe driving and being cautious of bad drivers

In case you haven’t heard, Arizona was ranked 6th in the country for bad drivers by SmartAsset. Their report was corroborated by another study from The Road Information Program highlighting the state’s recorded 1.09 highway deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled on the state’s interstates in 2018. This is twice the national average of .58 deaths that same year.  

With so much wreckage occurring on our interstates, the question is why are they happening so often? What can we do as drivers to avoid collisions? That is why we’ve broken down a few possible causes and ways to avoid them. 

Tailgating

Getting too close to the car ahead of you considerably increases the chances of crashing into them. If they suddenly brake you will have no time to adequately maneuver around them or adjust your speed. Legally speaking, when you get into these accidents it would be your fault.

Avoid tailgating, it’s simple. Make it a habit to be at least 10 feet away per 10 mph between the car in front of you. For instance, If you are driving at a speed of 45 mph, you should remain 40 feet away from the car ahead of you. Another rule of thumb is the “three-second rule”, where once a car passes a certain point such as a road sign, count “one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi”. If you pass the same sign before the third Mississippi, you are too close. 

Failure to Use Turn Signals

It’s not only irritating when someone fails to use their turn signal, it can be extremely detrimental. We’re not psychic, we can’t guess what someone’s next move is going to be. By signaling, you are giving the drivers around you notice of your next move; decreasing your chances of a collision. 

Disrupting the Flow of Traffic

While it may seem like driving slower than the posted speed limit is safe, it can cause several problems. For one, nobody likes being stuck in traffic. A lot of the time this is caused by a car or two not flowing with traffic. Another reason motorists may drive slow is due to their level of confidence. They are not comfortable going the speed limit or above and will stick to a speed they’re okay with.

If you are uncomfortable with keeping up with traffic, let the drivers behind you pass by getting into the right lane. This way other commuters can safely go around you. 

Speeding

We’ve just recognized driving too slow can be dangerous, but going too fast can be equally unsafe. It’s no secret that many of us drive a little above the posted speed limit. It entirely depends on the road conditions, the driver’s skill set, and the other commuters in the area. 

The most important thing a driver must do is be aware of their surroundings and adjust their speed accordingly. A winding road or inclement weather are good reasons to slow down. Don’t stand out amongst the crowd, reduce your speed if you are driving faster than the other speed limit breakers around you. 

Got Into An Accident? Let Ric’s Body & Paint Help

You can be the safest driver on the road but sometimes accidents are unavoidable. When they happen you may require an auto body repair shop to restore your car to its original condition. At Ric’s Body & Paint, we’re happy to help. Our expert technicians can perform quality collision repair and paint matching services to restore your vehicle to its former glory. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get back on the road.

Does Size Matter in a Vehicle Collision?

glamour shot of FORD truck, size

Getting into a vehicle collision is never ideal. It can be a devastating experience financially, mentally, and physically. When people decide to purchase a car, they should take into account the size of a vehicle. The traditional line of thinking when it comes to car accidents is bigger is better. Is that true? Let’s take a look.

Momentum Impacts Vehicle Collision

As the weight of the car goes up, so will its momentum. Simply put,  when the vehicle is in the process of slowing down, it takes more time to happen. A collision  with a smaller vehicle the energy of the bigger car will transfer to the smaller one, creating more damage. The force impact can cause serious injury for passengers in the smaller car – such as whiplash.

How Vehicle Weight Factors into Auto Collisions

Size and weight play a massive role in the affects of force people feel inside the vehicle during an accident. In larger cars, the space from the front of the vehicle to the passenger compartment provides more protection in frontal crashes. With more distance, the better the frame can protect from serious injury.

Newer Cars Are Safest, Despite Size

Car manufacturers are always improving on their safety features to ensure commuters walk away from an accident without serious injury. Modern cars will come with several features, such as side, rear, and front airbags, back-up sensors and cameras, blind spot warnings, and electronic stability control. 

Does Size Matter in a Vehicle Collision?

The short answer is yes. It’s a matter of physics: bigger and heavier objects are likely to take less damage than smaller, lighter ones. Large vehicles weigh more and have longer hoods and crush zones to protect them against frontal crashes. However, this should not sway you from purchasing a smaller vehicle. With updated technology to prioritize commuter safety, drivers can feel confident in their car’s safety performance.

Visit Ric’s Body & Paint After a Vehicle Collision

It doesn’t matter if your car has experienced minor dents or a full-on collision, it needs proper auto body care. Our experienced technicians will carefully repair or replace damaged parts to bring your car back to its condition prior to your accident. Contact our shop today to let us know how we can assist with your repair needs!

How I-CAR Gold Class Repair Technicians Provide Top-Notch Service

Collision repair technician with sparks I-CAR Gold Certification

When you are in need of auto body repair, make sure the collision repair person working on your vehicle is qualified and properly trained. As a car owner, there is nothing more stressful than getting into an auto accident. Therefore, search for the right technician with first-class certifications, to fix your vehicle is essential. An I-Car certification is one way to make sure the shop you visit is trained in providing top-notch repair services.

What is I-CAR Certification?

The Inter-industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) provides in-depth training and continuing education in the auto collision industry. Firstly, the program helps keep shops and technicians up to date with the latest technology and techniques, ensuring that the customer’s vehicle repair needs are efficiently met.

I-CAR Gold Class Certification

This level of certification is a rigorous extension of the basic training that involves a deeper dive into a range of subjects, such as:

  • How to detect hidden damage
  • Which parts to repair and which to replace
  • How to make the right decisions for a safe, successful repair
  • The latest repair techniques and technologies

It is reported that only 20% of auto body repair shops are certified in I-CAR’s Gold Class. So when you find one, stick with the best!

Why Should You Choose an I-CAR Certified Shop?

See the Gold Class logo and you can rest assured that you have chosen a repair shop that has trained technicians to retain the safety and structural integrity of your vehicle. Choosing a Gold Class business can also mean a better service experience for you. Surveys show that Gold Class-rated businesses outperform other body shops by 47%. Car companies change the way they make their vehicles and incorporate new technologies into their design. Therefore, auto repair shops must adapt to these concepts to provide a high level of service for their customers. Use a shop with an I-CAR certified technician and you can expect a greater level of care for your repair needs. 

Ric’s Body & Paint Can Help

If you’ve recently been in an auto accident, it’s crucial that your car is evaluated and repaired by trained technicians. By visiting Ric’s Body & Paint, you can rest easy knowing that our I-CAR Gold Class repair shop is on the job.

Contact us today to learn how we can help!