The History of Car Paint

The paint job is one of the first things people notice when looking at your car. Automobiles with bright color and high gloss topcoats are what draws people’s eyes. When a car looks faded, dull and lackluster, it will look old no matter how new or good of shape it is in. However, automotive paint, wasn’t always what it is today. History provides a very interesting understanding of the development of modern automotive painting processes. Take a look at how the different technologies of painting have changed through the generations below. 

THE ROARING 20’S

The discovery of chrome plating and paint guns- in the 1920s Ford Motor Company revolutionized the automotive paint industry and started using paints made from nitrocellulose lacquers on assembly lines, this formula dried significantly faster than the older varnishes making it the choice car varnish. 1924 was the year of the chrome plating and spray gun advancement. Colin Fink and Charles Eldridge of Colombia University discovered this process making it the most popular of its time.

The 1930’s

Spay on chrome was all the hype in the ’30s, these paints provided glossier shine and much faster drying times. Dr. William Peackock was the first to develop the silvering spray to silver mirrors. Originally, mirrors were extremely expensive because they were individually produced by master craftsmen. With Dr. Peacocks 1932 discovery, thousands of mirrors were being manufactured each day, lowering the cost and making them widely available.  

The Age of Acrylics: 1950’s and 60’s 

In 1955, General Motors started using a new paint technology that required a base layer of new acrylic paint to be applied followed by the car being baked to give the car a consistent finish. This process was still under development as the finish was not as glossy as the stoving enamels that were previously being used. In 1960, Ford Motor Co. changed the game and began using acrylic stoving enamels which gave the long-lasting tough finish with the same eye-catching shine as the earlier technology.

The 1980’s: POLYURETHANE AND URETHANE

The late 80s brought the usage of urethane and polyurethane paints on vehicles. Car manufactures deemed this the most practical of its time. After the application, multiple clear coats were then applied which resulted in durable ad highly glossy finishes. 

TODAY

As the technology of automotive painting continues to evolve, some car manufacturers now use a process called electrocoating. This process submerges vehicles into a primer bath using electric currents to bind the coating to the metal of the frame of the car.  Here at Ric’s Body and Paint, we specialize in collision repair. We use not only quality automotive paint but also environmentally safe paint. Our painters are certified by PPG to use Aquabase Plus, a waterborne basecoat paint.

From the times of chrome to present-day techniques, such as Aqueabse Plus, a lot has changed in the car paint world. At Ric’s Body and Paint, we find innovative ways to integrate new technology to provide precise color alignment to solid colors and metallic—including today’s tri-coat pearl and special effect colors. To learn more about Ric’s and getting your vehicle back to like “it never happened” condition contact us today.

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

You have probably frequently seen, on the road or even in your own neighborhood, driver’s texting while driving. While stopped at a red light, or passing someone on the street, you may have noticed the driver next to you staring down at their phone. Texting and driving can be as detrimental as drinking and driving. It has been well established, in controlled tests, that texting impairs driving to the same extent as alcohol. Many think that looking down to send a quick message, only for a few seconds, is harmless. However, a lot can happen in just a few seconds. These essential facts about texting and driving will hopefully show you how dangerous and life-changing something as simple as looking down for a few seconds can be. 

  • In America, 43 States have outlawed texting and driving in an effort to keep drivers safe
  • Around 9 people are killed on a daily basis in the U.S. due to distracted driving, according to the CDC
  • 18% of fatal crashes involve texting and driving
  • During daylight hours, across America, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving
  • Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey

What can we do to help?

Lead by example – Nobody should text and drive, regardless of your age. Be an example for others around you, if you need to take a call or answer a message, pull off to the side of the road to do it safely. If you are a parent, set rules for your teen regarding distracted driving. 

Be informed and be active –

Spread the word and tell your friends, family, and organizations about the importance of fully focused driving. 

Set clear rules –

Give new drivers in your life instructions and encouragement to practice safe and non-distracted driving. Discuss the fact that if they get distracted and take their eyes off the road, it could cost someone their life. 

It is important to understand that when you make the decision to text and drive, you are not only putting yourself in danger but also everyone around you. You are unfairly putting people at risk. There is plenty of time to talk, text, and tweet when you are not behind the wheel. 

We care about your driving safety, visit our website and contact us today for all of your car care needs.

Back to School Safety Driving Tips

Go slow, children at school. Back to school means sharing the road again. School days bring chaos with school buses picking up their passengers, kids on foot and bike hurrying to beat the first school bell, and parents rushing to drop their children off to make it to work on time. It is the season to slow down, pay attention, and be aware of your surroundings even after school hours. Ric’s Body and Paint would like to help you with your preparations by offering these simple safety tips. 

School Zone Tips:

  • Never use a cell phone unless it is completely hands-free while in a school zone
  • Slow down when entering a school zone and obey all traffic laws
  • Always stop for school buses that are unloading or loading students
  • Never pass other vehicles while in a school zone
  • Be aware and look out for school zone signs, signals, children, bus stops, and sidewalks
  • ALWAYS obey the speed limit

Sharing the Road with Pedestrians:

At Ric’s Body and Paint, we think it is important to educate the community to keep and raise awareness on transportation-related incidents. Below are a few precautions to let children get to school safely. 

  • Use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians no matter who has the right of way
  • Never block the crosswalk when at a red light or waiting to turn – this forces pedestrians to go around you, putting them in the path of moving traffic
  • Be aware of children in all areas, school zones, playgrounds, parks, and residential areas
  • Always stop for a crossing guard or school patrol officer holding up a stop sign
  • Never honk to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists:

Bicyclists have the same rules and responsibilities as vehicles, however, bicyclists are often hard to see. It is important to us that we keep the community safe and protect young children, especially on bikes.

  • Check all mirrors before opening your doors
  • Watch for bikes coming out of driveways or from blind-spots
  • Be aware when turning left – if a bicyclist is approaching, wait for the rider to pass
  • Take note when bike riders are turning in front of you without signaling

Ric’s Body and Paint supports families and safe driving habits. By taking an extra moment to be aware of your surroundings during the hustle and bustle of school mornings, pedestrians, and motorists can co-exist safely in school zones and the children in our community can make it to school on time and safely!

Tips on Car Care in the Midsummer Arizona Heat

Picture this: It’s the middle of July and the 115-degree weather is becoming a bit too intense for your preference, you decide to take a weekend getaway to California to escape the Arizona heat. You reach the halfway point between Calexico and Yuma when suddenly your relaxing weekend getaway turns into a disaster in seconds – your check engine light glows and you’re forced to pull over.

With proper attention, care, and vehicle maintenance, these situations can be avoided. Unfortunately, your engine is not the only thing that you have to worry about. It’s no wonder why Phoenix is nicknamed The Valley of the Sun- it often feels as though you are living on the surface of the sun. The harsh UV rays and extreme heat can deteriorate the paint and interior surfaces of your vehicle.

Ric’s Body and Paint can assist you in taking steps to protect your vehicle and preserve your ride from the harmful effects of the extreme heat that Phoenix brings that can prevent costly repairs in the future. Keep your vehicle looking good and driving better by keeping these tips in mind.

INTERIOR CARE


Put that Shield up


Have you ever gotten into your car and the heat of the interior almost takes your breath away? Have you noticed small cracks on your dashboard, steering wheel or center console since the summer months have hit? These can all be avoided or improved by the simple use of a windshield sunshade. Preserve your interior while improving the temperature, it’s a win-win!

Sunglasses! (for your car)


According to Bloomberg Business-week, properly tinting your windows can help reduce glare, UV exposure, and heat, however, be sure that they adhere to Arizona state laws on tinting application.

Crack ‘em


The 115-degree heat is pretty miserable especially when your car has been baking in it. Cracking your windows to relieve some of the built-up heat that can prevent it from turning into an oven. These high heat temperatures can cause the interior to fade and deteriorate

EXTERIOR CAR CARE

Scrub-a-dub-dub


Small pieces of dirt can easily scratch and damage the paint of your car. The infamous haboobs can also damage and leave water spots on the car paint. Regularly washing your vehicle can prevent damage to its topcoat, however, if it is permanently damaged, we provide services to make your ride look like new!

Wax, wax, wax


A simple coat of wax can protect your vehicle’s paint from dirt, sun damage, and water spots to make your car look shiny and brand new! Consumer reports recommend polishing your car in the spring and fall.

Don’t forget your Sunscreen!


If you don’t have the option to park in a garage or have other covered parking options, a car cover might be a good investment. Car covers are a great alternative to combat the heat, sun, and dirt from reaching your car. This weather-resistant car cover acts as SPF to your ride’s paint.

Look out for trees!


Finding a shady place to park will help keep the sun away and reduce your car’s interior temperature. If you have leather seats, you will thank us later when you don’t get your seat scorched when you sit down!

Keep up with your battery.


It is well known that the extreme desert heat depletes your vehicle’s battery. Make sure to regularly test your battery and keeping the top clean to preserve its lifespan.

The engine that could (not)


If heat affecting your car’s battery came as a surprise to you, then this may blow you away. High temperatures can hurt your engine. This is a common misconception because as long as you are driving, your engine is hot. But the engine itself is more apt to take a hit in the summer heat. The oil inside the engine oftentimes breaks down at extreme temperatures which can do a lot of damage. Regular oil changes are vital to your car’s health, at least every 3-5,000 miles.

Protecting your car from the Arizona heat will increase its longevity and keep it in better shape. Let us assist you in any issues that this extreme heat brings to your vehicle. For more auto tips and to contact us, visit our website to learn more!

Drive Safely in a Haboob

Ric’s Body & Paint reminds you that monsoons have returned to Arizona, and that means you might end up experiencing a haboob sometime this summer. The word haboob derives from an Arabic word, “habb,” which translates to “wind.” A haboob is an intense wall of dust, formed during a thunderstorm when the storm collapses and wind gusts outwards in a rush. Cold air quickly moves downward and is pushed forward by the front of a thunderstorm cell, gathering dust as it travels across the land, obstructing visibility and even blocking out the sun. While haboobs occur in the deserts of Arabia and North Africa, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Arizona experiences an average of three haboobs each year. 

Haboobs can be a sight to behold. Picture a wall of dust stretching 100 miles across, that starts at a height of around 1,500 feet, and can quickly double in height. The infamous haboob that hit Arizona in July, 2011 grew to an astounding 5,000 feet as it made its way across the Valley; to put that in context, the Empire State Building is “only” 1,454 feet tall! 

As you might imagine, you definitely don’t want to be caught on the road when the next haboob strikes the Valley, plunging you from daylight to total darkness within a minute. While you may never experience it for yourself, you should be prepared for how to deal with a haboob. Here are some tips that could potentially save your life if you find yourself driving into an approaching haboob.  

  • Slow down and assess traffic around you. Act quickly to scout a path away from impending danger. Immediately close open windows and air vents, to prevent as much dust as possible from getting into your car. 
  • Pull off the road as soon as possible. Do not stop in the emergency lane – other vehicles might end up there and run into you. 
  • Once you’ve safely stopped, immediately turn off all lights, including emergency lights – inside and outside your vehicle. While this may seem counter-intuitive, you’ll be greatly reducing the chances of another vehicle rear-ending you. Activate your emergency brake, take your foot off the brakes, and keep your safety belt buckled. 
  • Listen to the radio for updates on the haboob. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) regularly updates stations on hazardous conditions on our roadways, and keeps drivers updated via overhead message boards and social media.
  • Once you’ve determined the storm has passed, use caution when you return to the roadway. 

Of course, it’s always a good idea to check weather and road conditions before you head out to drive anywhere. The best way to not be caught in a haboob is to avoid it in the first place, and always make sure you have a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle.

If you’re unlucky enough to be caught in a haboob or your vehicle is damaged by any other type of storms this summer, contact Ric’s Body & Paint. For more than 40 years, we’ve been the Valley’s go-to shop for top-quality repairs and excellent service. At Ric’s, we make getting you back on the road as painless as possible.

Drive Away the Summertime Blues

Don’t let the heat get to you this summer. While temps may be triple digits here in the Valley, you live in one of the most beautiful states in the country. You’re only a car ride away from some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, sights that draw visitors from across the country, even from around the globe. Ric’s Body & Paint would like to tell you about a few of the destinations you should add to your summer “bucket list” of places to see in the Grand Canyon state.

The Grand Canyon.

It’s amazing that while Arizona is home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, many people who live here have never visited this National Park. It’s only a few hours north of the Valley and it’s worth the drive. While the Canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and more than a mile deep, the number of “oohs” and “aahs” this majestic, awe-inspiring natural wonder has launched is incalculable. 

Sedona.

On your way to the Grand Canyon, stop off in Sedona to experience for yourself the beautiful red rock formations that encompass one of Arizona’s most beloved cities. Visitors are drawn to this area for its natural beauty, peaceful atmosphere, hiking trails, and natural swimming pools. Sedona’s magnificent scenery will envelop you as you take it in from every angle.  

Flagstaff.

Between Sedona and the Grand Canyon, this lovely mountain town awaits you, with its laid-back vibe, natural wonders and a tangible sense of community. Flagstaff is home to the smallest of Arizona’s three state universities, Northern Arizona University, and you can enjoy the luscious scenery while basking in summer temperatures that are typically 30 to 40 degrees cooler than those in the Valley.

Lake Powell.

Nestled on the border of Arizona and Utah, this is one of the southwest’s most beautiful lakes. Its clean beaches, cooler temperatures and mix of outdoor activities – like swimming, fishing, and water skiing – make Lake Powell the cool getaway you not have thought of to escape the stifling heat of the Valley this summer.

Lake Havasu.

is another one of the landmarks that offer people a cooling mix of swimming, boating, and fishing opportunities. While temps can still reach 100 degrees this time of year, Lake Havasu still offers visitors an escape from the heat of the Valley. 

Monument Valley.

is another attraction right on the edge of Arizona and Utah. Monument Valley’s unique sandstone formations are iconic, having served as the backdrop for hundreds of Western movies filmed over the years. This area is part of the Navajo Nation and is home to the Navajo families who have lived there for generations. 

If you decide to drive to any of these or other Arizona destination this summer, make sure you – and your ride – are ready for the trip. Before you head out, check out these Summer Driving Tips compiled by Ric’s, and have a safe, fun and cool summer!

The Latest on Autonomous Cars

Despite encountering some missteps along the way, autonomous (self-driving) vehicles seem to be an inevitable part of our future. 

At its annual Elevate conference, held recently in Washington, D.C., the ride-sharing company Uber announced its partnership with Volvo is back on track, after being suspended last year. Uber developed the self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV in collaboration with the Swedish automaker and plans to put a fleet of the SUV’s on the road in greater numbers in 2020. Currently, they are being tested on public roads in Pittsburgh. The companies entered into a partnership in 2016 and 2017 and Volvo signed a “framework” agreement to sell Uber a fleet of vehicles between 2019 and 2021, to be deployed as self-driving cars in Uber’s network as an autonomous ridesharing service.

Volvo, which has long staked its reputation on safety, says this new partnership is a natural continuation of that commitment. “We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars, speaking at Elevate. “By the middle of the next decade, we expect one-third of all the cars we sell to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies,” he added.

While these vehicles may appear to be “normal” at first glance, they aren’t. “What it looks like from the outside isn’t much different, but what’s going on inside enables us to run our full autonomy system—things like 360 degrees of camera coverage, 360 degrees of LiDAR and radar,” said Eric Meyhofer, CEO  of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), adding, “These give the vehicle everything it needs in order to operate autonomously.” A key component of the XC90 is its comprehensive backup systems for both steering and braking. The battery system is also equipped with a backup to ensure it can come to an immediate and safe stop if any of the primary systems fail.

There are still legislative obstacles to overcome in the widespread adoption of autonomous cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are proposing the removal of what are considered unnecessary regulatory barriers to the introduction of automated driving systems (ADS) vehicles in the United States. The agencies are seeking public comments as they move ahead with proposed regulatory actions. “One of the department’s priorities is to prepare for the future by engaging with new technology while addressing legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy, without hampering innovation,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “Our mission is to protect Americans on our roads,” said Heidi King,  NHTSA Deputy Administrator, adding, “As automated driving systems develop, NHTSA will continue to adapt to make sure the agency is equipped to ensure public safety while encouraging innovation.”

At Ric’s Body & Paint, we’ll continue to keep an eye on what’s happening in the world of autonomous vehicles, as they play an ever-increasing role in our country’s transportation future. 

For now, we’re going to keep concentrating on providing top-shelf collision repair and general auto body repair services for the vehicles that are driven the old-fashioned way—by people!  

To learn more, please contact us today.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Convertible

Here in Arizona, as we say goodbye to the monsoons, welcome spring and gear up for another desert summer, you’ve probably noticed one thing as you drive around the Valley: as the temperatures go up, tops tend to go down.

More and more drivers are giving in to the urge to roll down their windows to feel the warm air blow through. Convertible owners are going a step further and dropping the top, to soak up the sun and allow the wind to blow through their hair. If you’re a bit envious of the carefree attitude displayed by convertible owners, you may have even thought about trading in your hardtop for a ragtop. If you’re considering that, here are some pros and cons to convertible ownership.

Pros:

Visibility.

Driving a vehicle without a roof and door frames will allow you to see more around you. It can also be easier to maneuver and park.

Versatility.

These days, convertibles can easily be transformed back into a coupe or sedan with just the push of a button. This allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds as you savor the wind in your hair and a roof over your head when the weather turns nasty.

Headroom.

Tall drivers who have trouble finding a car to suit their height enjoy the comfortable solution offered by convertibles.  

Style.

Many convertible owners love the classic, sporty look of driving with the top down, reminding them of the classic icons and movies of their childhoods.  

Cons:

A less comfortable ride.

Convertibles can ride a bit rougher than their counterparts. Without having a fixed roof, a vehicle loses a major part of its structural support system; this can lead to what is referred to as chassis shudder. Reinforcing a car’s undercarriage doesn’t always compensate for having no roof, which can cause a rough ride over bumps in the road.

Noise.

Even with their tops up, convertibles can be noticeably noisier than their hardtop brethren.

Leaks.

While technology and materials have improved, heavy rain and snow can still make a convertible susceptible to annoying leaks.  

Security.

An old-school convertible top can be an alluring invitation for a thief to break into a car, using nothing more than a knife. Of course, more modern metal tops are a way around this issue.

Interior aging.

The summer sun can take a toll on a convertible’s interior, causing its seats and dashboard, and other surfaces, to age prematurely.

Price.

Convertibles tend to be pricier than comparable coupes or sedans

Safety is another consideration if you’re thinking about a convertible. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has determined that, as a group, convertibles are not more likely to be involved in crashes but adds that some models are more associated with crashes than others. The IHS has an online tool you can use to assess a particular car’s insurance-risk score.

If you’re thinking about buying a convertible and have any questions about repair costs or anything else we can help you with, please contact Ric’s Body & Paint today!

TIRED of blowouts? We’ve got you.

As we mentioned in our last blog, summertime means more drivers on the road and, unfortunately, more car accidents. One of the most common things that can contribute to bad car accidents is your vehicle’s tires. Your tires are the only connection between your car and the blazing hot road. Checking your tires is extremely important, because higher temperatures mean a higher chance of blowouts. During these summer months, pay extra attention to your tires. This means monthly inspections and proper tire care. It’s a good habit to check your tires monthly, no matter the season, as this can ensure you get the most out of your tires.

Here are three things you should keep an eye on:

Tread is what gives your car traction. Even in hot Arizona weather, worn out treads will make driving dangerous on those wet monsoon roads. Use the penny test to determine the status of your treads. Place a penny head-down into several tread grooves across the tire. If you still see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, your tires are OK.

Pressure. Pull out your owner’s manual as that will give you the precise tire pressure to match your vehicle. Check your tire pressure using a pressure gauge, and make sure they are not under or over-inflated. Under or over-inflated tires can affect your car’s operation and stability.

Spare. Don’t underestimate the value of a spare. Make sure you also check the spare tire’s tread and pressure, so that you are ready in case of a flat tire or tire blowout.

Ric’s Body & Paint has been the Valley’s leading shop for collision and vehicle body repair for more than 40 years. We care about each one of our customers and want them to arrive at their destinations safely! Contact us for more summer car tips or to learn more about what we can do for you.