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Winter is Coming – Is Your Car Ready for the Battle Ahead?

Oct 25, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center

Regular vehicle maintenance is an essential part of road safety, but it becomes even more important in winter. As the mercury drops and a chill enters the air, you need to ensure your car is ready to deal with the challenges it will face in the coming months. All it takes is a quick car check!

You can do most of these checks on your own, or bring your vehicle to our auto body repair center in Concord CA for seasonal inspection and maintenance. In addition to taking care of any repairs or adjustments, our experienced team will also be able to help you with more tips and advice for winter safety.

Winter is Coming – Is Your Car Ready for the Battle Ahead?

Help your vehicle remain road-worthy this winter with these 8 checks:

  1. Lights – Shorter days mean the sun sets earlier and it gets dark faster, so you may be driving in low light quite often. Clear any leaves, debris and snow from your vehicle’s exterior lights before driving. Check headlights, taillights and fog lamps to make sure they’re providing enough illumination, replace any bulbs that are in bad shape, and consider keeping a few spares in your car.
  2. Battery – Car batteries don’t operate well in cold and damp weather, and their cranking power could drop by as much as half. A battery that’s weak at other times of the year could die in winter, and you don’t want to be left stranded in chilly weather when your car refuses to start. Get a volt test performed and replace your battery if it isn’t in good working condition.
  3. Coolant – A coolant mixture of antifreeze and water keeps your engine from freezing when the temperature drops. Check coolant levels and ensure there are no leaks in the radiator or engine before the start of winter. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is recommended in low temperatures, but you can also use 60/40 or even 70/30 in extremely cold conditions.
  4. Engine Oil – Motor oil gets thicker in cold weather, which makes it more difficult for your car’s engine to turn over. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendation for your vehicle, and use a multi-viscosity oil with a “W” in the viscosity index for winter use. These are formulated to provide good oil flow even at low temperatures. Replace the oil filter when you get an oil change.
  5. Tires – Every 10-degree drop in temperature can lower tire pressure by 1-2 pounds/sq. inch. Low tire pressure and poor alignment increases the risk of blowouts and collisions. It also affects vehicle handling and control, so keep track of tire pressure and inflate tires as soon as they get low on air. Check tread depth, rotate tires as recommended, and consider winter tires in extreme weather.
  6. Climate Control – Your vehicle’s climate control system keeps you warm and comfortable in winter, but it can also keep your windows from fogging up while driving. Check if the heater and defroster are working properly, and inspect the exhaust system, trunk and floorboards for leaks or holes. Exhaust fumes inside the car pose a serious threat to your health and safety.
  7. Wipers – Windshield wipers see heavy use in winter, especially in areas with heavy rain or snowfall. Inspect wiper blades for wear and tear, keep them clean and replace them if there are streaks or missed sections on your windshield. To prevent frozen washer jets, keep your washer fluid reservoir topped up with a winter-blend solution that contains water mixed with an antifreeze agent.
  8. Other Tips – A full tank of gas can keep water from freezing inside the fuel pump, and you can keep the engine running to stay warm in case you get stuck. In addition to keeping the fuel tank topped up, carry a winter survival kit that includes a first-aid kit, blanket, knife, flashlight, jumper cables, tow rope, shovel, scraper, de-icer, high-energy foods, and a cellphone charger or power bank.

Pre-winter maintenance can help boost mileage and fuel efficiency, reduce pollution, enhance your safety behind the wheel, and catch small issues before they cause serious breakdowns. At Monument Collision Center, we can help you get your car winter-ready. Visit our auto body repair center in Concord CA today!

6 Essential Road Safety Tips and Precautions for Fall Driving

Oct 9, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center

Fall is a scenic time of the year, with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and a riot of autumn colors on every tree. It’s a great time to head outdoors for a drive and enjoy the crisp breezes that hint at cooler weather to come.

However, with the end of daylight savings, start of school and changes in weather, there’s also a higher safety risk while driving. At our auto body repair center in Concord CA, we’ve seen our fair share of vehicles damaged due to these seasonal hazards!

6 Essential Road Safety Tips and Precautions for Fall Driving

To avoid auto collisions this fall, follow these tips and precautions:

  1. Be Careful of Wet Leaves – Autumn leaves look beautiful, but they can be dangerous on the road. Piles of wet leaves are often as slippery as ice, especially when the temperature drops below freezing. They can also hide road markers, potholes and bumps, so look out for patches of wet leaves on the road and lane lines.
    Pay attention to road markings, slow down while driving through piles of leaves, and avoid braking on them to keep from skidding and losing control of your vehicle. Dry leaf piles pose a fire hazard, so avoid parking near them.
  1. Protect against Sun Glare – As the sun moves closer to the horizon, the light can reflect off low angles and point straight into your eyes. This reduces visibility and makes it difficult to see the roadway, road shoulders and other vehicles, especially when you drive on east/west streets.
    To reduce sun glare, try to use north/south roadways and streets shaded by trees during the morning and late afternoon. Keep your windshield clean, wear sunglasses for daytime driving, and lenses with an anti-reflective or anti-glare coating at night.
  1. Prepare for Weather Changes – Autumn is usually accompanied by damp, foggy and cold weather, which creates hazardous driving conditions. Rainfall and frost make road surfaces slippery and increase the risk of hydroplaning, while a heavy downpour or fog can affect visibility.
    Drive slowly on wet or icy roads, and avoid sudden movements while braking or steering. Use fog lamps or set headlights on low beam while driving in foggy weather, since high beams reduce visibility by reflecting off the fog.
  1. Autumn Vehicle Maintenance – Make sure your vehicle is in good shape for fall driving. Check tire pressure regularly, since every drop of 10 degrees in temperature can cause a loss of 1-2 pounds of pressure. Expansion and contraction due to temperature or weather fluctuations can also affect tire pressure and cause a blowout.
    Ensure that tires have sufficient tread and are properly inflated, headlights are properly aligned, windshield is clean, and wipers are functioning effectively. Visit our auto body repair center in Concord CA to have wipers replaced if they show signs of wear and tear.
  1. Remain Alert and Cautious – Fewer hours of daylight and reduced visibility in autumn make for unsafe driving conditions. There’s also a high chance that people will be out for a stroll, walking their pets or cycling on the road, and kids playing, jumping in leaf piles or riding their bicycles till late into the evening.
    Drive more defensively even on familiar streets, since pedestrians and children may not always be visible. Be especially cautious while driving near school buses, playgrounds and shaded roadways.
  1. Look Out for Animals – Deer breeding season begins in fall, and there’s a high risk of collisions with them at this time of the year. This can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle as well as the animal. If you have a run-in with deer, visit a collision repair center at the earliest.
    Deer travel in groups, are most active at dawn and dusk, and may run into roadways near sunrise or sunset. To avoid mishaps, be extra alert when you drive near deer crossing signs or woods, and drive slowly if you notice any deer near the road.

It’s important to drive safe throughout the year, but you need to take extra precautions in fall. If you’re looking for an auto body repair center in Concord CA, whether for autumn vehicle maintenance or repairs, visit Monument Collision Center today!

Why Ignoring Windshield Pitting is a Bad Idea

Sep 27, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center
Have you ever been driving and suddenly been blinded by the sun when it happens to hit a certain angle on your wind shield? This may only occur for a few seconds at but a lot of things can happen in a few seconds right?

Having a good and functional windshield is usually taken for granted but windshields serve a very important purpose in providing driving safety and enjoyment. Windshield pitting tends to occur over a period of time and tends to obscure your vision of the road and increasing your risk factor.

What is Windshield Pitting and Why is It Dangerous?

Windshield pitting is a gradual process that damages your windshield. Windshield pitting in the simplest terms is the wear and tear that the windshield goes through. Due to it being a gradual process, it is far less obvious and less well known than more obvious factors that contribute to the causes of car accidents. Windshield pitting can make driving dangerous for you as this gradual process needs immediate attention and repair to ensure that you always have perfect vision of the road.

How Does Windshield Pitting Occur?

Windshield pitting is caused by dust, sand other tiny bits of debris which hit your windshield every time you drive your car. These tiny particles collectively tend to damage your windshield as the particles tend to collide with your windshield at high speed become embedded in your windshield over time.

Your windshield is worn down a lot faster if you happen to travel on the highway on a daily basis as other vehicles also kick up a small storm of dust particles which your windshield will have to face at speed. These small particles may not seem like much but tend to become quite effective and damaging over time and can affect your view of the road.

Why Windshield Pitting is a Matter of Concern?

These tiny particles become quite damaging over time and rapidly wear out your windshield as you drive. But the extent of the damage depends largely upon how much you drive your car and where you drive it as well as what speed you travel at. Here are the risks that you are exposed to if you drive behind a pitted windshield:
  • Pitting weakens your windshield so you’ll have a lot less protection in an accident or car roll
  • Driving into the sun or oncoming traffic can blind you from the road for a few seconds and a lot can happen in a few seconds
  • A badly pitted windshield can cause your vision to become distorted along exposing you to windshield glare which can affect your view of the road.
Why Cost shouldn’t be a Matter of Concern in Regard to Your Safety

Windshield pitting greatly increases the risk factor every time you hit the road so repairing your windshield should be a top priority for you. A properly installed and intact windshield will support your car’s structural integrity as well as making it look good visually as well. Other than helping you get a better vision of the road, your windshield is also a part of your car’s safety restraint system and has been designed to protect you in a car crash or car roll.

If you’re experiencing a lot of road glare and doubt that you may have a pitted windshield then it is time for you to think about installing a new windshield that will protect you from any extra road noise, prevent any water and air leaks and protect you in the event of an accident or car roll as well as giving your clarity on the road.

Don’t risk your life anymore and install a new automated windshield today with our professionals at Monument Collision Repair Centre, your most reliable auto body shop in California!

8 Steps to Take After a Car Accident-So Simple Even Your Kids Can Do It

Sep 13, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center
Getting into a car accident is a stressful and overwhelming situation and we understand that it is pretty hard to keep your thoughts straight and focused on the important tasks at hand. We understand that you may be scared and disoriented but you need to will yourself to stay at the scene of the accident till its okay to leave. Also make sure to get a copy of the police report to ensure that you’re following the rules of the road.

It is important that you check up on all the other drivers and passengers involved in the accident after making sure that you’re alright. Don’t touch or move anyone unless absolutely necessary as it is advisable to wait till the medical team arrives.

You should contact the police as you will need a police report to file your insurance claim after which you should exchange your contact details with the other drivers involved in the car accident.

Here are 8 steps that you should take after getting involved in a car accident:
  1. Check for Any Injuries

    Make sure to check for any injuries amongst everyone involved in the accident. If anyone is injured then check if it is a major injury but it is always best to call an ambulance as internal injuries are seldom seen. Don’t take any chances and make sure to call 911 for anything more serious than simple bumper damage. Bear in mind that your adrenaline rush as well as other people involved in the accident can mask any symptoms of injuries as well.

  2. Turn On Your Hazard Lights

    This let’s all the other drivers on the road know that there is some activity on the road ahead and that they should proceed with caution. You can also throw caution to the winds and use warning triangles and safety flares for extra safety.

  3. Call the Police and Ambulance if Needed

    It is always advised to call the cops as they can quickly settle the matter with all the parties involved and write you an accident report that will help you file your insurance claim.

    Even if the injuries seem to be minor, it is usually best to call the ambulance as internal injuries may occur.

  4. Take Notes of the Accident

    Accidents tend to happen very fast so you might forget the details. Make sure to write down all the important details of the accident such as the damage to all the vehicles involved and the contact details of all witnesses on the scene.

  5. Take Pictures

    Smart phones have made it very convenient to take photos nowadays so make sure to take photos of the scene of the accident as well as much damage as you can see.

  6. Exchange Insurance Information

    Make sure that you exchange your insurance information with all the other drivers involved along with their names, addresses and phone numbers before calling your insurance agent.

  7. Stick with the Facts

    Remain calm, be courteous and polite and state the events exactly how they happened. Be truthful.

  8. Stay Until Things Get Sorted Out

    Make sure to stay at the scene of the accident until it’s okay to leave despite how harrowing or stressful it may get. Make sure to remain and focused on your responsibility.

If you are looking for fast direct professional service for your car repairs after an accident then you can always depend on us at Monument Collision Center. We understand that your life is difficult and complicated directly after an accident, so we assure you that we will get your car back to its pristine condition with minimal hassles.

6 Questions to Keep in Mind Before Sending Your Car for Repair After Collision

Aug 30, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center
Accidents are a hassle no matter the extent of damage done to your car. Repairs are often tricky if not handled by the right shop. Making sure that you choose the right collision repair center is essential as it should be stocked with all the tools and equipment your car is going to need to be restored. The collision repair center of your choice should also have a qualified and experienced staff which is able to complete the restoration work within your given budget.

Here are 6 questions you need to ask and know about collision repair processes before sending your car for repair:

1. Will they tow your car for you? 

Good collision repair centers can tow your car to their facility with their own towing trucks or by renting others. Driving your already damaged car to the facility is not advised as it will put your life at risk due to damaged parts and can damage your car even further. Let your collision repair center tow it for you.

2. Will they collaborate with insurance companies?

A lot of insurance companies usually want to inspect your car before it gets repaired. Inspection policies tend to vary according to when they decide to see your car. It is best to opt for an auto body shop that can partner and work with the insurance companies so that the insurance agents can see the car in the repair center before it gets restored.

3. Is the estimate given to you fair compared to others?

Make sure to get more than one estimate and remember to take notes from all the shops you visit. Visit or call a couple more shops to find out how much they charge after which you will get a rough idea on how much your repairs will cost and what is your best option. Doing this will give you the upper hand in negotiating with various collision repair shops to get the best deal.

4. Will you be offered a warranty?

You must make sure to ask for a repair warranty before you decide to send your car for repairs. If the collision repair centers refuse to give you a warranty then it is a sign that they are not professionals and don’t have enough faith in their own work to back it up with a warranty.  

5. Is the repair shop well equipped with what they will need?

The collision repair center that you decide to opt for should be well stocked with the right equipment, tools and skilled employees that are required to repair your car. This requires specially trained employees.

6. Do they rate well and have a good history with customers?

Deciding on a good collision center is also important as a good collision center is likely to render you a good service, you can check the shop’s rating online as well as checking the shop’s reputation and complaint history.

When it comes to quick, prompt and professional service for your car repairs, you can always count on us at Monument Collision Center. We understand that life for you is difficult when your car is at a repair shop, and so, we give it all we have to get your car back to you in top condition at the earliest.

Why Ignoring Collision Repair will Cost You Time and Money

Aug 16, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center

How much damage is too much?

Right from small bumps to top-speed crashes, a lot of car accidents lead to damages that require the skills of an auto body repair shop. Even small accidents may cause auto body damage that is costly to repair. The type of car you own and the force of the impact of the crash both play an important role in determining how much damage has occurred to your car. 

car collision

Factors to consider for collision repair:

Collision repair isn’t always a simple job. Here are 4 factors that are taken into consideration for determining the damage to your car:

1. Determining a Total Loss      
A lot of drivers think that there is no hope once their insurance company declares that their car has been totaled. A totaled car can be repaired though, and the extent to which it is damaged has very little to do with whether your insurance company will decide to declare it a total loss or not. The decision is based purely on the cost to repair the collision damage in comparison to the fair market value of the car.

2. Structural Damage        
Damage to your vehicle’s frame is near impossible and pretty expensive, whereas structural damage is not. An experienced body repair technician can examine your vehicle and check if it meets the company’s exact stock measurements. If it does not meet the company’s required measurements then machines are used to set the frame back into shape.

3. Frontal Impacts      
The front end crash repair job usually requires a lot more attention than any rear end damage does. A head on collision is likely to damage a lot more than simply the bumper as a front end crash can damage the front fender, hood, windshield and the quarter panels as well. If the damage is minimal then your auto body repair technician can opt to simply repair the damage rather than completely replacing anything. The body shop will have to co-ordinate with the paint color and re-assemble the vehicle with each freshly painted panel if it does not already have the replacement components prepainted already.

4. Rollovers              
A car that rolls usually has a lot more auto body damage than the usual vehicle involved in either a frontal or rear end accident. The chances of damaging the framework are pretty high in a rollover. If you decide to fix your vehicle after it has rolled over then it should be a calculated and well thought out decision which should be well presented to your insurance company. The damage that is incurred during a rollover might require special attention that may also require mechanical attention as well.

Deciding on whether your vehicle’s auto body damage is major or minor should not be decided by you, but rather by an experienced collision expert who should thoroughly inspect your car after the accident for any unseen damage. Accidents frequently cause cosmetic damage that is pretty easy to spot and repair along with mechanical damage and frame damage which are more expensive to repair. The truth is that almost all types of collision damage can be repaired, but sometimes it can be more cost-efficient to scrap your entire vehicle rather than having it rebuilt.    
I hope this article was useful to you, but if you need any further guidance regarding collision repair for your cars, then our professionals at Monument Collision Center have got you covered! Contact Monument Collision Center today!

5 Tips to Protect Your Car Paint

Jul 25, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center
Are you tired of your car getting that grungy, faded and worn out look? Wonder what causes this? Exposing your skin to the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun damages and harms your skin, similarly they also tend to harm your car paint. You can prevent the sun from damaging your car’s paint finish by parking it inside a garage or in a shaded area. By keeping it out of the sun, you’ll be able to protect the headlights and rubber trim from being damaged by the heat as well.

Keeping your car out of the sun is not always possible, but there are a few things you can do to better maintain your car’s exterior.

Here are 5 tips that will prevent your car’s paint from getting damaged:

1. Wash Your Car Frequently 

Regularly washing your car reduces the chances of dirt, dust or any other debris from ruining your car’s paint job.

2. Hand Drying the Exterior of Your Car

Even though it is a lot easier to let your car dry off, don’t – as this is when the water is more likely to penetrate the paint. Washing or drying off your car by hand immediately after your car has become dirty is highly recommended as this does not allow any time for the water to penetrate the paint job. Letting your car air dry is not recommended as water spots will leave minerals behind which will affect your paint job and lead to its fading. To prevent your car paint from fading, use a cotton cloth to absorb and dry away the water spots. 

3. Wax Your Car

Waxing your car gives it an extra layer of protection from dirt, debris as well as against the sun’s harsh rays. Applying a luxurious coat of wax is the critical final step to preventing sun damage to your car from ultraviolet radiation and helping stop pollution, grit and dirt from adhering to the finish and causing pitting.

4. Always Park in a Cool Place

Always make sure to park your car in a place that will shield it away from the sun and its harsh rays. This will also keep your car’s other parts well protected from the sun’s rays e.g. the rubber lining and seats.

5. Invest in Paint Protection

Invest in auto paint protection film kits for your entire car. Paint protection film can either be a do-it-yourself project or a service provided by an auto service shop. 

We hope that these tips are helpful in protecting your car from the harsh summer sun, but if your car paint does happen to fade, we’ve got you covered at the Monument Collision Center. Our experts can help you restore your car’s paint job bringing it back to tip-top condition.

Paintless Dent Repair and Its Benefits

Jul 18, 2017   written by Monument Collision Center
Are you looking to get rid of those dents on your car – that too in an eco-friendly way? Well then paintless dent repair is the perfect option for you as it is the fastest, most affordable and least intrusive process for dent repair.

Paintless dent repair is an eco-friendly technique used by auto body shops to remove dents and dings, leaving the original paint in place. 

How does the PDR Process Work?

Paintless dent repair is an approach to removing dents that works on the damaged areas from the inside of the car. Where you see the dent on the outside does not necessarily correspond to where the repair of the dent will be focused on the inside, so paintless dent repair is an art of its own. 

Using the proper tools and ensuring that the dent isn’t pushed too far in the opposite direction, a paintless dent repair professional can work the dented area back to its original appearance. It is a process of accessing the back side of the damaged panel and then massaging and shrinking the dent with unique and specialized rods that have different configurations. PDR is a quicker process than the traditional repair processes and does not use the usual auto body methods like sanding, body fillers in order to maintain your car’s original finish.

Here are the steps of PDR: 

1. Assess the Damage

The first step of any repair process that you need to take is to assess the damage. Ask yourself questions like:
How big is the dent?
How can you get to the dent?

After you assess that damage, then you can determine whether it can be removed through PDR (Roughly 80-90% can be removed) after which you can start preparing the area around the dent for repair.

2. Gain Entry

PDR requires access to the back side of the dent which means removing the body panels, tail lights, or in some cases, interior panels. You need to create a pathway to the dent if you want to perform PDR. 

Once you have got access to the dent, you can have PDR done by trained technicians.

3. Getting a Better Look at the Dent

Generally they use a special light board to give the technicians a better look at the dent from their point of view. The board then displays a shadow of the dent, telling them exactly where to place their tools and massage the metal back to its original position.

4. Apply Slow Pressure

Special tools are then used to carefully massage the exterior back to its original shape. The entire PDR process can be completed on the same day as the process is really quick.  

What are the benefits of Paintless Dent Repair?

• You don’t need to repaint or need body filler
• Is not as expensive as traditional body repair
• Can be fixed quickly most of the time
• There is no chance of paint overspray on other parts of the vehicle
• There is no risk of incorrect color matching 
• Your vehicle will retain its original coat of paint (a vehicle with original paint retains a higher market value)
• It’s cheaper – PDR is a much more budget friendly option

If you have a car with dents, contact Monument Collision Center today at (925) 849-4605 to get the best paintless repair job done on your car by our skilled and experienced technicians.