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.

Auto Accidents During COVID-19: What You Need to Know?

Today there seems to be a change on the roadways. People are remaining at home lessening the traffic. However, even though there are fewer vehicles on the road due to the COVID-19 crisis, commuters are still at risk of auto accidents. Getting into a collision is stressful enough on a normal day, but the coronavirus outbreak has created a more complex situation for drivers.

If you find yourself in an auto accident, follow these tips to ensure your car is tended to and you remain safe from possible health risks.

Car Accident 101

Simply, do what you would normally do in a car accident. Do not leave the scene until the situation is resolved. Exchange insurance and document the accident scene with detailed notes and photos of both cars. Most importantly, call for help if you or the other party is seriously injured.

Maintain Social Distancing Standards

Per CDC recommendations, stay 6 feet apart to reduce the chance of contamination. Although you might not realize it, everyone involved in the accident can stay a safe distance from each other. One strategy is to engage in social distancing and exchange the necessary information verbally or through text messages.

Get Appropriate Medical Attention (When Needed)

If you or the other party is injured in the auto accident, seek the appropriate medical care. Hospitals and other medical offices are prioritizing COVID-19 patients, therefore, call or email your doctor to evaluate your options beforehand. Consider non-critical care options as well, but if you’ve been seriously injured in the collision do not hesitate in getting medical attention. 

Call Ric’s Body & Paint

Ric’s Body & Paint has been repairing cars to their former glory since 1976. While we’ve never experienced anything quite like the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve taken precautions to protect our employees and you. If you’ve experienced an auto accident, contact us to learn how we can help you!

How to Become a Collision Repair Technician

auto body collision specialist buffing out fender

With so many cars and trucks on the road, accidents happen every day. When they do, collision repair technicians are there to assess the damage and bring the vehicle back to its original state. This type of work does not involve any engine repair, instead it focuses on the body of the vehicle. If you or somebody you know is interested in a career as a collision repair technician, there are several ways to get into the field.

What Does a Collision Repair Technician Do?

Collision repair technicians are trained to analyze, assess, and fix damaged vehicles. Their work can include repairing, replacing, and refinishing the outer body of the car but they can also be trained in fixing internal automotive structures. When they aren’t repairing collision damage, technicians may work on body customization or minor repairs, such as dents, scratches, or corrosion damage.

If you are interested in a rewarding a challenging career in auto body repair work check out these tips.

Some typical tasks include:

  • Pounding out dents
  • Straightening a vehicle’s frame
  • Using a welding torch to create high-strength bonds between metal
  • Replace damaged body panels, fenders, or doors
  • Applying the right paint color or performing touch ups using paint matching technology
What Education is Needed to Get Started?

While most auto body technicians only need a high school diploma and some training, enrolling in post-secondary programs and obtaining certifications only makes candidates more qualified to employers.  

There are several steps that can be taken in becoming a collision repair technician. By obtaining a certificate or an associate’s degree in automotive technology, as a respective tech you will improve you job opportunities in this field. Programs can be found in several institutions, such as community colleges and vocational schools.

Once you have completed a formal training program, you will need to seek on-the-job training to gain needed skills to advance their career. By gaining real world experience, you will soon be able to prepare for certification and open more job opportunities.

Stand Out Certifications

The Universal Technical Institute is a 54 week program designed to train students to become familiar with the tools, equipment, and technology used in collision repair centers across the U.S. They will also work closely with five industry-leading manufacturers including 3M, Audatex, Axalta, Chief Automotive Technologies, and Information Services Inc.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers in-depth training and certification exams for people seeking credentials as collision repair technicians. Only two out of three test-takers pass on their first attempt, but to be ASE certified is impressive to many reputable auto repair shops.

At Ric’s Body & Paint, we are proud to have six technicians on our team to ensure your car is road ready. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dent or a major collision repair job, we are happy to provide you with top-quality results with undeniable service. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your auto body needs.

The Anatomy of a Car Crush Zone

gray and red car in a collision

Collisions can happen to anyone and with new innovative technology car manufacturers are working to make their vehicles as safe as possible. One way they do this is by adapting their vehicles in the front and back with a series of crush zones, or crumple zones, that will help prevent any serious damage to the occupants inside. Auto engineers must consider many factors when designing safer cars, such as vehicle size and weight, frame stiffness, and any stresses the car will be subjected to in a crash.

What’s in a Crush Zone?

Specifics on what goes into a crush zone vary depending on the vehicle’s size and weight. Automakers must create a balance between having too much and too little impact resistance. Some designs can include frame segments that bend in areas or some that collapse into themselves. More innovative solutions use a variety of metals and materials that are engineered to take as much impact as possible to prevent harm to the passenger section.

Frontal Crush Zones

The main goal of frontal crush zones is to keep the shape of the cabin in order to protect the occupant’s space. Depending on the severity of the front-end accident, the car’s hood will experience the most damage. Cars have bumper reinforcements, that is what absorbs the energy of the impact. It is meant to absorb the impact and crumple, protecting the passengers inside and key mechanical components underneath the hood.

Rear Crush Zones

A rear collision is the most common type, making it clear that automakers must efficiently make this area an efficient crumple zone. To ensure the safety of the driver and everyone on the road, auto engineers will construct the rear bumpers with aluminum, steel, rubber, and plastic depending on the make and model of the vehicle. It’s crucial for the rear bumper to have bumper reinforcements as well to absorb the impact to keep it from damaging important elements of the car, such as the frame, as well as the vehicle’s occupants.

Avoid Collisions

Collisions are preventable and 80% of them are caused by simple driver distractions. That is why it is important to remember to put down that cell phone, pay attention to your surroundings, and to drive defensively. While crush zones can keep us safe, it is not a guarantee. Even so, the damage to repair can be costly and be a major pain to deal with.

Our experienced technicians at Ric’s Body & Paint are more than qualified to inspect your vehicle after your accident to efficiently and honestly restore your car back to its original shape. Contact us or visit our shop to learn how we can help!

Teen Driving Habits to Avoid Vehicle Collisions

Young man with silly face behind the wheel of a car

It is every teenager’s dream come true when they’re finally able to drive themselves to their favorite places. However, the excitement of this newfound freedom can be interrupted by a vehicle collision due to unsafe driving habits. This is why parents must find the time to discuss and teach their kids good driving habits that will lower their chances of getting into an accident.

Limit Cell Phone Usage on the Road

There’s no question that teens love their phones, therefore parents must set a zero-tolerance policy for using a cell phone while driving. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous driving habits a person can do, it’s just as unsafe as drinking and driving.  

Some ways to prevent your teen from using their phone while driving include turning it off completely while they’re behind the wheel or putting it inside the car’s glove box so it’s out of sight and out of mind.

Practice in Different Driving Conditions

By teaching your kids to drive in different conditions, they will gain a certain level of experience that will be necessary for their everyday lives. Don’t be afraid to put them behind the wheel in a rainy, snowy, or night-time setting. They need to be ready for any situation and it’s your job to guide them through these obstacles as they learn. By gaining experience in these conditions, they will become more confident when they occur, which will reduce the chance of any sort of vehicle collision.

Limit Passengers

We all know teens like to hang out with their friends, and if they’re one of the older ones in the group, people will likely use them for rides. In order to limit the driver’s distractions, the parent should not let their teen drive more than one friend around at a time for the first six months. This will help them focus on gaining driving experience and allows them to be cautious of their surroundings.

Respect the Law

One of the most important aspects of learning to drive is being aware of the laws of the road. These rules are put into place to keep everyone on the road safe. Everyone must wear their seat belts, always leave extra space between you and the car in front of yours, don’t drink and drive, and obey the speed limits.

At Ric’s Body & Paint, we understand some things are out of the driver’s hands. Our team can help repair any mild to severe vehicle collision damage to get your teen back on the road.
We offer free estimates to examine the vehicle and provide a detailed assessment of the damage and its cost to repair. Visit our website to check out the services we offer or contact us today!

Keeping Key Paperwork Organized In Case of A Collision

The moment after an auto collision can be a disorienting and confusing experience. The most important thing is to be prepared in these situations, which starts with having your paperwork organized. 

It’s no secret that maintaining the cleanliness and organization of your car can be tough. The key to keeping your paperwork organized is to have an “important documents folder.” Some call it an essential documents folder, while others coin it the “cop folder.” Regardless of what you call it, everyone should have one. Inside the folder, you should have an array of contents to support you through a collision and everyday life. 

Contents we recommend to have in your folder:

  1. Contact information – Just in case the folder that you spent time organizing gets misplaced, or falls out of the car, it is essential to have your contact information readily available so that it returns to you. 
  2. Registration – You should always have your registration present in your vehicle in case you get pulled over. However, it is essential to have handy in the event of a collision.
  3. Insurance details – Proof of insurance is important to be able to easily present in the event of a collision or when speaking to a police officer.
  4. Copy of driver’s license – While this is not an official replacement of your physical driver’s license, it is a good idea to have a copy in case of an emergency to identify yourself. 
  5. 4-5 notes with insurance details and contact information – This can be used to easily exchange your information in the event of a collision. They can double as a notepad to take down the other parties’ information. 
  6. Emergency contact information – If a collision occurs and you are not responsive, it is wise to provide emergency contact information that first responders can contact. 
  7. A pen – A pen is a good idea to leave in your folder for multiple reasons and events. However, if you need to take down a driver’s information, a pen would be useful. 

These tips are created to prepare you in the event a collision occurs to make your life easier. If your automobile has extensive auto body damage, Ric’s Body & Paint can assist in making your car as good as new! Let us assist you in any issues that collisions bring to your vehicle. For more auto tips and to contact us, visit our website to learn more!

Ding or Dent? What’s the Difference?

A worn-out fiat parked on the side of the road

You are walking out of the grocery store, preparing to load your bags into your car when you see it… the side of your car has damage on it from the person’s door next to you. This is a situation every car owner dreads. After spending a few seconds evaluating it, it becomes difficult to figure out if it’s a ding or a dent. 

If you find yourself in this position where you are not able to tell whether it’s a ding or dent, call Ric’s Body & Paint for all of your auto body needs. 

What is the Difference Between a Ding and a Dent?

“Ding’s” are usually classified as a mark lesser or equal to 1⁄2 inch in diameter of damage that did not damage the paint or leave any area exposed. This is normally only annoying, unsightly, and will most likely not critically damage your vehicle. 

More extensive damage to your vehicle are described as “Dents.” This is any damage that would require repainting, replacing or any type of metalwork. 

Should You Fix Dings and Dents?

If the ding appears to be merely cosmetic on your vehicle and is not affecting its performance, getting it fixed is not necessary unless you are leasing or planning to resell the car. If you are leasing your vehicle and the ding or dent looks to be anything more than normal wear and tear, you are running the risk of paying a fee when your lease is up. If you plan to sell your car, it will most likely lower its value.

Is Paintless Dent Repair an Option?

Ric’s Body & Paint offers paintless dent repair to vehicles that meet the right conditions. To start, it is important to determine if Paintless Dent Repair is the option for your damage. The premise of a Paintless Dent repair method is to restore a dented vehicle back to its original pre-damaged state. Basically, the easiest, and fastest way to get from point A to point B.

Even in largely damaged areas, dents and dings can possibly be repaired with painless techniques. The only obstacle that may arise, is if the paint is damaged. As the name suggests “Paintless Dent Repair” should not require repainting.

If your vehicle has any paint chipping, peeling, bubbling or lifting, cracking in a sharp dent – Paintless Dent Repair is not an option.

Is There No Paint Damage? Great!

There are a few factors that determine the cost of Paintless Dent Repair. Size and depth are the main factors. Dents can be dime-sized to half-dollar sized. Most of these are easy to repair.

Dents can be very shallow to very deep and misshapen, like from a vehicle collision. Asking Ric’s Body & Paint to remove the dent is your best option.

Our skilled dent repair team are like artists for auto-body work. It’s best to refer to auto-body repair professionals so your car won’t become further damaged.

Past the Point of Paintless Dent Repair As An Option?

At Ric’s Body & Paint, we specialize in all of your auto body collision repair needs to get your car back on the road in a timely manner. Our team can repair severe collision damage to get your vehicle back looking like showroom new. Our skilled auto-body technicians are also experienced in applying environmentally friendly paint, side-view mirror replacement, molding or window repairs. We offer free estimates with no appointment needed to examine your car and provide a detailed assessment of the collision and the cost to repair. Visit our website to review our other services and Contact Us today!

Top Tips To Know After a Collision

A truck is in a auto body shop for repair after a collision

Auto collisions can be a stressful and emotional experience. Many people prepare for the worst and drive defensively to prevent vehicle collisions, however, they still occur. 

As soon as a collision happens, many different thoughts and questions can flood into your mind. It’s important to remind yourself to stay calm in an accident. 
If you are involved in a car accident, follow these tips to minimize adverse outcomes and stay safe: 

  1. Make sure everyone is OK. Check with all parties involved to ensure that there are no injuries. If there are injuries, be sure to call 911 to seek medical attention. If everyone appears to be OK, move to the side of the road to stay safe. 
  2. Take photos of the accident scene. Assess damages and take photos for insurance purposes. 
  3. Exchange information with the other driver(s). Gather information such as Driver’s License number, name, address, telephone number, and swap insurance company information.  
  4. Tow the Vehicle.  If necessary, have the vehicle towed from the scene. 
  5. Call Ric’s Body & Paint. We are your collision experts when you need a body shop to come to. We bring quality auto body collision services since 1976.

Thinking about a certified collision repair center won’t be the first thing on your mind, we know. Stay safe and then remember Ric’s Body & Paint. As a family-owned shop, we want to make you feel like family. We understand your situation and want to get you back out on the road as quickly as possible. 

At Ric’s Body & Paint, we have been repairing cars in Scottsdale since 1976. We offer free estimates on all collisions and provide an itemized list of labor and parts that we will send to your insurance company with photos. All insurance claims require photos. We are your collision repair experts including I-CAR Gold Class-certified repair technicians. Our services include a lifetime warranty on repairs as long as your own the vehicle. We are able to perform computerized frame measurements and off-site alignment checks to manufacturer’s specs.

Have questions or want to schedule an estimate? Contact Us Today!