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!

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

hand washing car with yellow rag

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.


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



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.

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.

Summer Driving Tips

Summer is almost here, and that means road trips, relaxation and family vacations. It also means more drivers on the road and more car accidents. School’s out, and young drivers are taking trips with their friends or going to summer jobs. Summer and fall are the most dangerous times of the year for drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Here are three tips to staying safe on the road this summer.

Avoid distracted driving.

Whether you’re on vacation or heading to work, there will be drivers who are more distracted than usual. Don’t be one of them. Pull up navigation before leaving your driveway and don’t check your phone while driving. Avoid arguing with any passengers and bring entertainment for the kids. Lastly, strap down any loose items so there isn’t anything flying around in the back seats.

Don’t drive when drowsy.

Driving for hours and hours is hard on just one driver. Switch drivers every few hours if you can or pull over and recharge. Even a short nap can do a lot of good, as we all know. Another thing you can do is eat something to give yourself energy. But don’t drive when you’re tired. It’s not worth the risk.

Prepare your vehicle.

Especially for longer road trips, you want to be sure your vehicle is ready to face the heat and long hours. Get an oil change, tire rotation, fluid refills, and AC service to make sure you’re ready to roll. Checking your tires is extremely important because higher temperatures mean a higher chance of blowouts.

Ric’s Body & Paint has been the Valley’s leading shop for collision and vehicle body repair since 1976. We care about our customers and want them to arrive at their destinations safely! Contact us for more summer driving tips or to learn more about what we can do for you.

Protect Your Car’s Paint Job

It may feel like summer in Arizona, but it’s still spring and there are plenty of things the season brings that can do damage to your car’s precious paint. Yes, cars are tough. But that colorful coat of paint? Not so much. Here are four things to watch for right now.


Pollen doesn’t help those with springtime allergies, and it doesn’t help your car either. Tiny pollen particles can sneak into the small pores in your car’s paint job and release acid. If this happens enough, the acid can cause permanent staining, fading, and oxidation (decay). Flying pollen is inevitable, but what you can do is give your car a thorough wash with soapy water, which will block out the acids.


Not only is acid found in pollen, it’s also found in bugs. We’ve all found bug splatters on our windshields or bumpers. Acids found in bug blood can permanently damage your car’s paint, so cleaning up all of those bug guts as soon as possible is the best thing to do.

Bird waste.

Birds become more active in the spring and can leave surprises on our vehicles, especially when we park under that only tree in the parking lot. In Arizona, the sun’s powerful rays can bake those bird droppings right into your paint finish, leaving ugly stains and uric acid that can eat into the paint coat. Remove the droppings with a damp cloth to prevent permanent damage.


On those hot spring (and summer) days here in the Valley, other cars can fling up tar from the asphalt onto your vehicle. Tar is difficult to get off and can take your car’s paint right with it if removed the wrong way. Removing tar from your vehicle requires a special product to separate it from the paint.

Ric’s Body & Paint has been the Valley’s leading shop for collision and vehicle body repair for more than 40 years. We love our customers and know how important it is to have a functioning vehicle. We want to get you back on the road as quickly and painlessly as possible. Contact us for more information on our services and how to best protect your car this season.

Getting Your Ride Ready for Summer

Right now, we’re in that “sweet” period when it comes to Valley weather. After record-setting snowfall (1.5 inches on the ground in Cave Creek!), flooding, and nights when we needed to cover our outdoor plants to ward off freezing, we are finally back to Chamber of Commerce weather, with spring training temps and brag-worthy views of trails clogged with shorts-clad hikers. But we all know that hotter temps are just around the corner – again.

It won’t be long before the heat, dust, and-stop-and-go traffic in 110-degree heat is the norm. That means it’s time again to think about making sure your car or truck is ready for another Arizona summer. Here are a few tips from Ric’s Body & Paint to make your ride is ready to go, whether you’ll be spending your summer driving around town or taking a road trip to escape the heat.

Check your air conditioning.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Have a skilled technician look your system over, checking to make sure it’s in fighting shape after several months of non-use. Make sure the coolant level is good and that your cabin air filter is working correctly.

The cooling system needs to be ready for the heat.

The leading cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. Your cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled at least every 24 months. Your overflow or radiator tank should be full, as well.

Make sure your tires are ready to roll.

Proper inflation assures the best possible contact between your tires and the road, so make sure you check your air pressure on a monthly basis. Examine your tires for uneven wearing, cupping, and tread life. Check the sidewalls for nicks and cuts.  

Inspect your brakes.

Make sure the brake fluid is topped off, and tell your mechanic if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. It’s vital to your safety that you correct minor brake problems promptly, so they don’t become major issues.

Make sure your oil is up to the task.

Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual and more often if you make frequent short trips or are planning a summer road trip, especially if you’ll be towing a trailer.

Check your wipers.

Inspect the blades and wiper fluid, especially if your wipers got a lot of use this past winter. Replace worn blades and make sure you have plenty of washer solvent.

Do an under-the-hood check of filters, belts, clamps, and hoses.

Make sure everything is tight and replace items which are showing signs of excessive wearing.  

Batteries need to be ready for the summer.

They can fail any time of year, but you definitely don’t want to be on the side of the road under a beating sun with a battery that’s not cranking. Make sure to remove all corrosion from posts and cable connections, clean all surfaces and re-tighten all connections. Don’t forget to check your battery’s fluid level.

Make sure your vehicle is looking its best.

If your car or truck got dinged up this winter or its paint looks the worse for wear, bring it to Ric’s for a no-obligation estimate. After all, now that you’ve made sure it’s ready for the summer on the inside, you want to have it looking its best on the outside.

Since 1976, Ric’s Body & Paint has been the Valley’s leading shop for collision and vehicle body repair. We’ve earned our reputation for treating customers the way we want to be treated and making getting you back on the road as painless as possible.  

Automotive Trends to Watch for in 2019

We’re only a couple of months into the new year and we’ve already spotted a few trends to keep your eye on in 2019.

Ride-hailing services won’t be going away anytime soon.

Last year, the top five companies in this sector – Uber, Lyft, DiDi, Grab and Go-Jek – were estimated to be worth more than $230 billion. This year, look for blockbuster IPOs (initial public offerings) from Uber, Lyft and DiDi, as they join the list of publicly-traded companies. This signals a seismic shift in the way we look at transportation, as the valuations are more than those of well-established automobile companies that have been around for more than 75 years.

Don’t buy or lease: subscribe.

Thanks to Millenials and Gen Zers (those born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s) the number of drivers who’d rather subscribe to a vehicle (think of it as a short-term lease) is increasing. Researchers estimate that by 2025 (just a few years from now) 10% of new vehicle sales will be subscription-based; that’s more than 16 million new and used vehicles.  

Silicon Valley meets Detroit.

Software technology companies are making further inroads into the automotive sector through services like basing insurance on vehicle usage and new finance and leasing services. Cars and the way we drive them are changing: redundant braking and steering systems are becoming more and more commonplace, and diagnostics and vehicle health monitoring are changing as well. The Internet Of Things (IoT, which is the network of devices like vehicles and home appliances that contain electronics that connect, interact and exchange data) – and AI (artificial intelligence) – are transforming the automotive sector, leading to way to self-driving cars and other things that seemed unimaginable just a generation ago.

Changes in the world stage have an impact.

After a decade of growth, the automotive market in China stumbled in 2018. This year, expect a slowing economy, the continued popularity of public transportation, and an increasingly saturated SUV market to slow things down even more. The uncertainties caused by Brexit and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement are likely to add to an unstable automotive market around the world, which might be offset by marginal growth in new car sales in emerging markets such as Mexico, India, and Brazil.

Whatever happens this year, automotive-wise, there’s still only one place to go if you’ve been involved in a collision or your vehicle needs general auto body repair. Since 1976, Ric’s Body & Paint has been the Valley’s leader in getting your ride back on track after a mishap. Contact Ric’s today!

This Valentine’s Day, Show Your Ride Some Love

February 14 is almost here, and you know what that means: expressing your love to that special someone in your life.

Ric’s Body & Paint reminds you that cars and trucks need love, too. If your significant other has a special place in their hearts for their car or truck, we have some suggestions on sharing the love this Valentine’s Day.

Get your ride looking like a million bucks without dropping that kind of dough.

Give your partner a gift certificate for a complete auto detail. Driving a ride that looks refreshed and rejuvenated will make them look – or at least – feel years younger.

A car wash kit will help keep their vehicle looking good on a consistent basis.

You can also give a gift certificate to your favorite local car wash, to help your loved one’s car or truck sparkle between professional details.

Make sure their interior looks its best.

A portable vacuum will help your significant other keep their vehicle looking sharp inside.

A car cover will help protect your partner’s vehicle.

What’s more romantic than keeping their prized possession looking its best?  

A set of jumper cables shows you care.

Making sure your partner is self-reliant and will never be stranded by a dead battery is a great way to express your love.

Cut down on distracted driving with a phone mount.

This will allow your partner to focus on the road and not their phone while driving.

A radar detector will help them avoid costly tickets.

Help your loved one avoid speed traps, especially if they have a lead foot. Make sure it’s legal in your state to use a radar detector (it is in almost all states, including Arizona.)

If you need other suggestions for an auto-themed Valentine’s Day, contact Ric’s, and have a lovely February 14!