Safely Road Tripping All Summer Long

Did you know that nearly a third of all accidents happen from Memorial Day to Labor Day? This is about more than bent fenders and wrecked rear bumpers. June is the deadliest month of the year, with a tragic spike in fatal collisions involving teenagers.

Part of this is because the roads are busier. Road trippers and young drivers, unfamiliar with local traffic patterns, are mixing it up with local folks trying to go about their daily routines.

What can be done about this? Though you may feel helpless to prevent every accident, you can stack the odds in your favor with a few simple steps.

Tune It Up

Heat stresses the heck out of your vehicle. Breakdowns and overheating are more common, putting you in harrowing, unsafe driving and roadside situations. Make sure your car is in top running shape. A reputable mechanic will also make sure your tires and brakes are good-to-go. It can be a lifesaver to have a professional check all systems. A fixed headlight, turn signal, or brake light might make the difference between being seen and being hit.

Focused Attention

Windows open. The music blaring. Summer is a time to feel free, but looking down at your device to change your Summer Buzz playlist to Hot August Nights might consume the vital seconds you need to see that traffic ahead has stopped. Same with adjusting the air conditioner. Eating, phone calls, texting, even an animated discussion with a passenger can be even worse. Pullover when you catch yourself getting distracted. It can be a life or death decision.

Beware of Cyclists and Pedestrians

Safely Road Tripping All Summer Long

It’s not just more cars out on the road during summer. There are also more people walking and on bikes. Crosswalks without signals can be especially dangerous. In addition, the kids are out of school. Drive more cautiously near parks, playgrounds, residential areas, and community pools.

The law in California is to give cyclists 3 feet of space, but 4 is safer. It may take you a moment more to maneuver around a bike, but a moment of impatience can cause a lifetime of regret. Use your turn signals so everyone you see (and those you don’t) can clearly see your intentions!

Straight Talk With Your Teen

It’s pretty simple. Car accidents kill more teens than anything else. Your teen is going to want to go out on adventures with their newfound freedom. Talk to them about the importance of safe driving. Speak to them in plain language about the dangers of distracted driving, having too many passengers, and driving too fast or while sleepy or intoxicated. Follow up so they will know you’re serious.

And be a good example. Seeing a sermon is much more effective than hearing one!

At Cline Collision Center, we want you to be safe all summer long. But when you run into trouble (or trouble runs into you) bring your car to us and we’ll return it in pre-collision condition. We offer superior craftsmanship and use only quality parts which is why it’s no accident that we have so many satisfied customers. Call 707-591-9909 or contact us online for the very best in Sonoma County autobody repair!

Less Cars, Safer Streets?

Sonoma County roads just keep getting more crowded. And more crowded means more accidents.

Until, suddenly, it all stopped. Or at least slowed way down.

Stay-at-home orders have reduced California traffic by about 60% and have created about a 50% drop in accidents.

With only workers in fields deemed critical and those going out for food and other essential goods and services on the road, it is predictable that there are fewer collisions. With restaurants and bars closed, there are also fewer drunk drivers.

Less Than Half the Accidents

Less Car Safer Streets

The average number of collisions each day in California before shelter-in-place was 1,116. Since then, there have been about 500 per day. Similarly, accidents with fatalities and injuries dropped from 562 to 274.

There may be an interesting reason why accidents have not declined by 60%, the amount equal to the reduction in road usage. Many drivers, with roads wide open, are speeding up. New York’s speed cameras have been issuing the same number of tickets each day despite the plunge. Minnesota’s state police have reported an increase in speeding, especially extreme speeding—drivers exceeding 100 mph.

Unknown Outcomes

We just don’t know the economic and health impacts of this global pandemic. We also don’t yet know the outcomes for society, and this includes traffic accidents.

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation and the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis have requested funding to support research aimed at looking more deeply into the negative and positive societal impacts of the Novel Coronavirus.

“As the shelter in place order extends over months,” said Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis in a recent Press Democrat article, “we hope to answer pressing questions such as this one: What are the cost-savings and other social benefits from reduced injuries and deaths on state highways due to COVID-19?”

Unfortunately, fewer cars and decreased traffic do not translate into zero accidents. If you find yourself in need of autobody repair, we are considered an essential service and are here for you. As always, we’ll give you top-quality workmanship and customer service and help you navigate insurance challenges. Contact Cline Collision Center online or call 707-591-9909 today!

Was Your Crashed Car Repaired Right?

The crash was over in moments, but the repair has taken weeks. You finally get the call from the shop and head over to pick it up.

You’re a little anxious, though. Did they repair it right? How will you know for sure?

We’re a Gold Class shop, which means we go above and beyond to repair your car the right way. That’s why we encourage you to take a very careful look at your vehicle when you pick it up. We’re proud of the work we do and excited to show it off.

We’re also not afraid to tell you how to give your vehicle a long, hard look after collision repair.

A technician or advisor will likely walk you around the car, showing you the repairs. Hopefully, you took it to a Gold Class facility that guarantees their work for at least 12 months. That’s a start anyway.

It’s All About the Details

The first thing to note is if the car is spotlessly clean, inside and out. Reputable shops thoroughly wash the outside and clean the outside—even your floormats and engine should be clean. Dirt hides imperfections and you want to be able to see every surface clearly.

Was Your Crashed Car Repaired Right

Next, examine the repairs. Check body panel seams for uneven gaps. Open and close doors, hood, and trunk to see if they are closing perfectly. If an airbag was deployed, make sure it has been replaced. Look at the gap between tires and fenders—is it the same distance at every wheel? Ensure that all hoses and wires in the engine are connected. Turn on your headlights to check for beam alignment. Request the frame spec printout if the frame was straightened and have them explain the numbers to you.

Don’t Get Painted into a Corner

Now for the paint. Matching paint is one of the most difficult parts of collision repair. When paint fades, technicians have to add a little tint to get it just right. If possible, pick up your car during the day and use bright sunlight to help you see hair, grime, or overspray. Look at it from up close and then take a few steps back.

Go ahead and take it for a spin before signing off. Are there any odd sounds? Does it drive and steer okay?

If any red flags come up, be sure to speak to the owner for an explanation. Some problems won’t show up until later, such as uneven tire wear from a poorly straightened vehicle or hidden suspension damage. That’s why you went to a shop with at least a 12,000-mile guarantee, right?

A good inspection goes a long way toward guaranteeing your collision repair job is done right. An even better way is to go to a shop known for helping you navigate insurance and performing top-quality work. Check out the long list of Cline Collision Center 5-star reviews on Yelp and Google. Then contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!

Repair of Aluminum Panels Shows Our Shop’s Commitment to Future

Fear. Determined Resolve. Resilience. The collision repair industry isn’t known for the sort of epic terms usually associated with sporting fields and social movements. Yet the introduction of the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 caused a panic. The industry let out a collective moan. It takes too long. New equipment is needed. Technicians aren’t trained.

Repair of Aluminum Panels Shows Our Shop’s Commitment to Future

But that’s so 2015! Those issues were real and true enough, but shops like us that responded with determined resolve and embraced the change rather than resisting it, have thrived.

The heat needed for aluminum repair is a great example of this. Heat is required to soften damaged metal, to reform the metal. We then must allow the metal to cool and hold the forming. This process turns out to be an art, but an art that is worth learning. Repairing damaged panels costs customers less money than replacing them. What’s better for the customer is better for a shop that prides itself on long-term customer satisfaction.

What About The Cost?

The cost of equipment was another real concern. It turns out, though, those aluminum welders we had to buy produced quality welds in steel welding, emerging MIG brazing, and aluminum. Aluminum dent pullers were also expensive and required new training, but they save panels. Again, saving panels instead of replacing them is a win-win for the customer and the shop.

Technicians were required to open up to new techniques or be left behind. Different aluminums required different welding wire. Technicians had often used one wire for all types of metal and now were being asked to learn new techniques and be flexible. It turns out that this flexibility became increasingly important. Honda has produced a steel that requires a different wire and technicians and shops are now more open and ready for the challenge. The future is changing, and manufacturers are asking us to learn about corrosion control with adhesives, the limitations of blind rivets, and the use of epoxy primers. Having to make a seismic shift with aluminum gives us the resilience to meet these give you the service you need.

That’s why you need a team that is up for the challenge! At Cline Collision Center, we have kept our Ford-certified status because we are all-in on the training and equipment needed to work on aluminum-bodied vehicles. We’re also Gold Class-certified which tells you that we only use quality parts and offer superior craftsmanship. Contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today to bring your vehicle, including your aluminum-bodied car or truck, back to pre-collision condition!

Common Mistakes Performing Wheel Alignments When Damage Still Exists

When the stars are aligned, everything is right in the world. The traffic lights are all green. You get the job you wanted. You meet that special someone.

The same is true when your wheels are aligned. Your car steers straight. There’s no vibration. Your tires wear evenly. Everything works the way it should!

The problem is, after a collision, proper alignment can be hard to achieve. Not all shops are meticulous about structural and suspension parts damage.

Common Mistakes Performing Wheel Alignments When Damage Still Exists

Structural damage refers to any underlying damage to the structure or underpinnings of a vehicle. Back in the day, when manufacturers built vehicles body-on-frame, they called this a “bent frame.” Only trucks retain this older design, which bonds together the body and ladder-like frame. Most cars today are based on unibody construction. Panels and the underlying chassis are one piece, reducing weight while maintaining integrity.

An impact can cause the frame or unibody to bend. In particular, the design of unibody construction causes the structure to collapse and absorb the energy of the collision. Significant structural damage is often the result.

What’s this all mean to you?

It means you need autobody experts on your side when repairing your vehicle. We make sure that your car or truck is structurally sound. The wheels can’t be aligned if the vehicle isn’t. There’s no almost or close enough here. Specifications for this are exacting, and we are too. Your safety means too much to us.

We also check for damage to suspension parts, which can be overlooked. These parts must be three-dimensionally correct. If struts, shock absorbers, arms, bars, or other items are even slightly bent or damaged in any way, a post-repair tire alignment will quickly deteriorate. Your tires will begin to show irregular wear. You’ll notice that the vehicle trembles at higher speeds or that you have to steer straight.

You won’t have to worry about this when you bring your vehicle to Cline Collision Center. Your stars will suddenly align, and we’ll proudly bring your vehicle back to pre-collision condition. This includes wheel alignment that lasts because we won’t rest until every element of your repair meets our high standards. Our Gold Class certification tells you that we find hidden damage and make the right repairs to ensure your safety.

For dent removal to high-end painting and auto detailing you can trust, contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!