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The New Ford F-150 Dazzles with its Aluminum Body and Advanced Technology

Carmakers are beginning to note the advantages of aluminum over conventional steel, such as decreased weight and environmental impact, as well as increased rust resistance and durability during crashes. At Cline Collision Center, we have the technology, tools, and training to repair aluminum bodies.

This includes the Ford F-150, which just revealed the dazzling array of features available on its next-gen 2021 model.

Technology

Do you need access to the latest technology while driving a half-ton of payload down the road? The new F-150 will come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also, it will be capable of receiving over-the-air software updates that are more than just infotainment improvements. The company promises that the updates will be bumper-to-bumper and support preventative maintenance, reduce trips to the repair shop, and provide improved performance, resulting in less vehicle downtime.

Advanced Driver-Assistance

The New Ford F-150 Dazzles With Its Aluminum Body and Advanced Technology

The hands-free driving feature, called Active Drive Assist, will make the F-150 one of the few vehicles, including the Mustang Mach E, in the US with hands-free driving. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to play Clash of Clans while driving just yet. Active Drive Assist will only be available on divided highways mapped by Ford. Customers must purchase extra software and hardware, including a driver monitoring system with an infrared camera to scan your face to ensure you’re keeping your eye on the road.

You don’t have to go all-in on hands-free driving, though. The standard Co-Pilot 360 driver assistance system comes with automatic braking and pedestrian detection. You can also add options such as adaptive cruise control, lane centering, post-collision braking, trailer backup assist, and more.

Hybridized

The hybrid version will utilize the company’s fourth-generation hybrid technology—a 47 horsepower electric motor that boosts acceleration and allows you to get around 23 miles per gallon. Ford will sell the hybrid F-150 in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, connecting electrical components to a twin-turbocharged V6 engine and recharged by the energy created when the truck engages its brakes.

As sophisticated as the vehicles of today are, especially aluminum-bodied vehicles, you need experts on your side when you are looking for autobody repair. Aluminum can’t be reshaped the way steel can, and we have the advanced factory-training and experience to do repairs right. It’s also important to note that steel dust corrodes aluminum, which is why we have a completely separate workspace and set of tools to work on your Ford F-150. For all questions about autobody repair, either aluminum or traditional steel, call Cline Collision Center at 707-591-9909 or contact us online today!

How Understanding Your Insurance Policy (Including the Fine Print!) Can Save You Money

If you own a car, you’re required by law to have a current auto insurance policy and keep proof of insurance inside your vehicle. Like many, though, you probably haven’t spent a lot of time diving into the details of your policy. Many people don’t understand even the basics of automobile insurance. Here’s a short course (not a crash-course!) to get you up to speed on what’s in your policy and how it affects you when you get in an accident.

Your policy usually consists of five different sections:

How Understanding Your Insurance Policy Can Save You Money
  • Declarations contain unique information such as the name and address for each driver in your household, the make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of each vehicle, the policy number, and duration. It also spells out the type of coverage you have, including policy limits and deductibles. You’ll want to make sure that the information you provide your insurer is accurate—they can deny your claim if you have misrepresented any key facts.
  • Coverage Parts/Insuring Agreement outlines the options and limits that you purchased, such as liability, medical, collision, and comprehensive. This section tells you what your insurance company promises you in return for your payment.  
  • Exclusions detail what is not covered. By highlighting the limitations of your policy, the insurance company tells you exactly what is covered when you make a claim. Knowing these exclusions allows you to make changes that strengthen coverage. 
  • Conditions are the legal responsibilities of the insured and the insurer, such as premium payment obligations, steps for filing a claim, and methods for resolving disputes.
  • Definitions, often referred to as the “fine print,” explicitly defines the terminology used in the document and include the rights of the insurer and the policyholder.

Making Informed Decisions

So, now that you know the building blocks of your policy—how does having a greater understanding help you make better decisions about cost and coverage? Here are just a few critical areas to examine:

  • Collision coverage covers the loss to your vehicle when it is in an accident. Choosing the correct deductible can be a real balancing act. You pay a lower premium for a higher deductible. This is great if you never or rarely get in an accident. On the other hand, it can cost you a lot of extra cash if you have a high deductible and find yourself with multiple claims. How many miles you drive, the kind of driving you do, and your ability to remain focused at the wheel can help determine whether you need a higher or lower deductible.
  • Liability covers the property and medical losses of another party if you’ve cause an accident, including legal fees. Bodily injury covers items such as medical costs and the lost salaries of someone you have injured, while property damage pays for repairs to vehicles and other property. In California, the minimum bodily injury coverage is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Property damage is $5,000 minimum. Higher amounts of coverage raise premiums but can protect you when damage is more costly. Remember, you’re on the financial hook when you cause an accident, and insurance can protect your assets in the event of a crash.
  • Coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists covers you up to the policy limits when you incur damages, and the driver either has none, or too little, insurance and limited assets that you can recover. Like every aspect of insurance, having too much insurance that you never use and having limited coverage when you need it can cost you.

Make sure to keep yourself adequately covered and read the fine print of your policy to make the best choices possible for you and your family. It is also critical to know where to bring your vehicle if you get in an accident. We use only high-quality parts and provide outstanding workmanship to return your vehicle to you in pre-collision condition. For the best choice for Sonoma County autobody repair, contact Cline Collision Center online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!

Can You Keep Your Car (and Yourself) Safe during a Pandemic?

You need a dependable car but COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. How do you keep your family healthy and your car running safely? As car care professionals, we have some thoughts on how you can accomplish both of these as you navigate the new “normal.”

Let It Run

Can You Keep Your Car Safe During A Pandemic

Cars don’t do well when they are parked for long time-periods. Batteries lose their charge, tires get flat spots, and rubber components such as belts and wipers dry out. 

Take your vehicle for a 20-minute or longer drive at least once per week. This ensures the battery is charged, wears the rust off the brake discs, and keeps the calipers from seizing. It’s not just your car that can use a break. Getting away for a few minutes can improve your mental health, too! 

Lengthening Out Service Intervals 

If your engine light is on, bring it to a shop as soon as you can. But you can stretch out service intervals when you are not subjecting your car to harsh driving conditions.  

When you bring it into a shop, ask them about their coronavirus procedures. Are they taking it seriously – disinfecting surfaces and your key fob? If you can, wait three days before picking up the vehicle since the latest data show that the virus can exist on some surfaces for up to several days, depending on conditions. When you pick it up, wipe down the door handle, interior surfaces, and fob before driving home. 

DIY Service 

  • Oil Level: Check the level before you start your car, make sure that it’s on level ground. If the oil is low, go ahead and top it off. Just be sure you’re using the oil recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Tire Wear: Insert a quarter into the tread with Washington’s head upside-down. If you can’t see the top of his wig you are good-to-go. If you can it means you have less than 1/8-inch of tread and need to start thinking about replacement. Though tires must be replaced when tread dips below 1/16-inch, braking distances are significantly impacted once you have less than 1/8-inch.

  • Air Filters: These are easy to check and replace. Take a look under the hood for the air and cabin filters—use the owner’s manual if you can’t find them yourself. Changing these filters saves you money and allows the intake of healthier air, for the engine and passengers!

  • Wipers: Did you know that wipers are intended to last 6 months? You can get more service out of wipers by washing them with a paper towel moistened by glass cleaner. Why not check the windshield fluid level while you’re at it? If it’s low, you can purchase fluid at auto parts stores and most convenience and grocery stores.

At Cline Collision Center, we work hard to make sure you are safe. When you run into trouble—or, trouble runs into you—we offer superior craftsmanship and use only quality parts. This commitment to your well-being includes following the most up-to-date COVID-19 protocols. Call 707-591-9909 or contact us online for the very best in Sonoma County autobody repair!

How Can You Tell If It’s the Right Auto Body Shop?

You have lots of automotive body shops to choose from. How can you sort out the good from the bad? Then, how do you choose between the good and the best?

How Can You Tell If Its The Right Auto Body SHop

Most people can’t tell a wire welder from a squeeze-type resistance spot welder, making it impossible for most folks to look at a shop to see if it is well equipped. But you should look to see if the shop is relatively clean and organized. Just because autobody work is messy and dirty doesn’t mean the work area shouldn’t look professional.

Are their plaques, certificates, or affiliations on the wall or website? Are they members of trade organizations and training programs? Here are some to look for:

OEM Certification 

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) certification means that a body shop has been acknowledged to only use factory-approved parts. It also means that the facility has the correct equipment to install those parts, and uses only factory-approved procedures. OEM-certified shops offer high-quality repairs that have been approved by automakers, giving you the professionalism you need and the price break and convenience you want. Cline Collision Center is proud to say we’ve hard to get these designations, which include certifications from InfinitiNissan, Fiat/Chrysler (FCA), Honda/AcuraFord, Hyundai, and Kia

I-CAR Training

The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) is a non-profit training organization focused on improving collision repair. They make the necessary knowledge and skills to complete repairs accessible to anyone in the industry willing to work hard enough. We are proud to have earned Gold Class status from I-CAR, proof that we have achieved the highest level of training possible.

ASE Certified: The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) tests and certifies automotive repair professionals to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service. This takes the guesswork out of automotive repair. You don’t have to “hope” you’re going to a reputable shop. Instead, it lets you know you are going to a shop staffed with professionals committed to understanding your vehicle and keeping up with always-changing technology.    

Certifications and honors are all well and good, but you need results. That’s why, when you have autobody damage, you should come to the pros at Cline Collision Center. We  provide top-quality workmanship and customer service, including help with navigating insurance challenges. Call 707-591-9909 or contact us online today!

What Would Happen If Everyone Stayed Home? You Might Get A Car Insurance Rebate

Covid-19 has had a profound impact on personal lives and budgets. Though there’s not much great economic news yet, one small glimmer of relief is the announcement that many auto insurers are providing refunds to their customers.

You Might Get A Car Insurance Rebate

Insurers base their premiums on the likelihood of claims, and, with drivers logging fewer miles, cars are less prone to crashing.

Most major insurance companies are passing at least some of this windfall to you. Rates and time windows differ, though, and you should contact your insurer for the most up-to-date information if you have questions.

The following are some of the larger companies and their proposed plans:

  • Allstate: If you’re in “good hands,” you can expect average refunds equal to 15% of premiums for April and May. They will deposit funds back to your credit card, bank account, or as a credit on your account.

  • Farmers: Farmers is offering a 25% discount on April auto insurance premiums.

  • Geico: The gecko is providing clients with both motorcycle and auto policies a 15% discount on six-month policies that renew between April 8 and October 7, 2020, and on 12-month policies that renew between April 8, 2020 and April 7, 2021.

  • The Hartford: If your car insurance policy was in effect on April 1, you’ll get a 15% discount on two months’ worth of premiums.

  • Liberty Mutual: Liberty Mutual is giving an automatic 15% refund on two months of car insurance premiums, via your most recent payment method or sent to your home by check.

  • Nationwide: Says it is by your side” and customers will receive a one-time $50 refund for each policy they have.

  • Progressive: Progressive is providing a 20% credit on premiums paid in April and May, applied automatically to your account beginning in May or June.

  • State Farm: Offering its good neighbors an average national rebate of 11%, payable when policies renew.

  • USAA: Customers can expect a 20% rebate on two months of premiums if they had a policy in effect March 31.

Not all customers are receiving the same benefits. For example, some consumer groups have cited State Farm’s 11% offer as being less than generous. Also, some “non-standard” carriers, those used by low-income consumers, are refusing to provide relief, even though they will profit from the equation that fewer miles equal fewer crashes.

If your mileage has decreased significantly, contact your provider and ask for a rate that reflects that lower mileage. Didn’t get the refund you wanted from your provider? Make sure you don’t cancel without having another policy to replace it. Getting coverage may cost you more once you have been uninsured.

Fewer cars traveling fewer miles does not, unfortunately, mean there will be no accidents. If you find yourself in need of autobody repair, Cline Collision Center provides top-quality workmanship and customer service, including help navigating all insurance challenges. Call 707-591-9909 or contact us online today!

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!