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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!

How to Steer Clear of Five Common Accidents

Some old sayings say it all. “Safety is no accident” is a great example. Avoiding accidents requires focus and attention when you’re driving. The best way to keep you, your loved ones, and your vehicle in pre-crash condition is to steer clear of collisions. Take a look at these five common accidents and critical strategies to avoid them.

Rear-Enders

How To Steer Clear Of Five Common Accidents

You look down, away, or daydream momentarily. Next thing you know, traffic is stopped in front of you. You stomp on the brake pedal but if you look up too late, you have damaged their car, your car and possibly the people inside. Space is your BFF here. You should always maintain a safe distance between you and the next car. Distracted driving is your worst enemy. Every time you look at your phone or even adjust your radio, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Eyes up and attention on the road save money, health, and heartache.

Parking Problems

Hitting a car in a parking lot is embarrassing and costs you time and money. Getting hit is frustrating and may have the same costs. Take special care when backing out of a space—drive slowly and closely watch directly behind and to each side. Cars and pedestrians often assume you see them. Also, if it’s tough for you to get into a space, it means it will be hard for the other drivers too. To make your car less vulnerable to damage, make sure you choose a spot that has plenty of room.

The Plain Truth About Hydroplaning

Driving when it’s wet outside is tough enough. Braking distance increases; visibility decreases. One of the most dangerous aspects of heavy rain is that it can cause your tires to lose contact with the road, especially at higher speeds. Make sure you have plenty of tread left on your tires. Don’t stomp on the brakes if you feel yourself hydroplaning. Slowly ease up on the accelerator and apply steady pressure to the brakes until you regain traction.

Colliding with Wildlife

It’s an unfortunate but real element of driving. Cars kill up to 1.5 million animals each year. These impacts damage vehicles, injure and sometimes even kill drivers and passengers. The larger the animal, the greater the impact. Animal crossing signs are placed strategically—pay attention! Stay alert and use your high beams on dark rural roads when there is no oncoming traffic.

T-Bones (Not the Good Kind)

Side impacts, aka T-bones, are some of the most dangerous collisions that drivers encounter. Cars are less able to absorb impact energy on the sides. This leaves passengers more susceptible to injury. When driving, don’t assume you have the right of way. Be aware of distracted drivers running stoplights and stop signs or drifting out of their lanes. You can’t stop others from poor driving, but an extra moment of awareness can allow you to stop or slow and make a big difference in the damage.

Another old saying is: “Accidents happen.” When they do, call Cline Collision Center at 707-591-9909 or contact us online. We think strategically about how to best serve our clients and return cars to pre-collision condition. That’s why we only use quality parts and offer superior craftsmanship. It’s no accident that we have so many satisfied customers!

New Drivers: Remember That the Easiest Collision Repair is Avoiding Collisions!

Accidents happen. But many of them are avoidable. We want you to be safe on the road and in as few collisions as possible. Here are some proven strategies we’d like to share for young drivers on how to prevent accidents:

Seatbelts!!

The Easiest Collision Repair Is Avoiding Collisions

Here’s simple rule #1: Never, under any circumstances, drive your vehicle without you and all passengers belted in. Did we mention no, not ever?

Under the Influence is out of the Question

Simple rule #2: Never, under any circumstances, drive your vehicle after drinking, smoking, or ingesting anything mind-altering. Even in small amounts, alcohol and drugs compromise your ability to make good decisions, especially about your ability to drive. So, no, not ever!

Commit to Safe Driving

As you operate the controls of 3000 pounds of metal hurtling through a constantly changing landscape, it’s important to commit to responsible driving. Remember that you have more than just a steering wheel at your fingertips—you have the safety of everyone on the road in your hands, and this includes you!

Practice Makes Perfect

Get as much supervised practice as possible before getting out on your own. A parent or guardian needs to regularly drive with you to increase your competence behind the wheel. As you encounter more and more challenging situations, you gain valuable experience that enables you to respond skillfully.

Fewer Passengers = Less Danger

Night Driving

You increase your risk of a fatal crash with each additional passenger in your car. When you’re new to driving, keep it limited until you have thousands of miles of experience.

Night Driving = More Danger

Every mile you drive at night exposes you to three times the risk of a fatal crash compared to day-driving. Remember Elton John and don’t let the sun go down on you!

Easy Does It

Keep it slow, at least in the beginning. That means choosing lower speed routes. City and highway driving require navigating the road while calculating, analyzing, and responding to the varying speeds of multiple vehicles in real-time. It can be tricky, even for an experienced driver. Simple is safer as you get used to the machine you are in charge of!

Be Prepared for Bad Weather

Dry pavement is challenging enough, but poor visibility and wet and icy conditions make things much more difficult. Make sure you have gotten plenty of practice in poor weather before heading out on your own. Your greatest friend is space, especially when the weather isn’t cooperating. Leave lots of room between you and the next vehicle.

Cell Phone

Multitasking behind the wheel, multiplied by inexperience, results in more accidents. You may think that talking on the phone while driving is harmless, but studies show that phone use reduces attention by 37%. That might be the difference in your ability to successfully react to suddenly changing road conditions. Texting or otherwise handling your phone is even worse. Our suggestion: put that phone away and don’t look at it until you are safely parked!

Drive a Safe Vehicle!

Choose a car with high safety ratings for your teen driver that’s in sound mechanical condition. That’s where we can help. At Cline Collision Center, we’re Gold Class-certified. This means that we offer superior craftsmanship and only use quality parts. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road while we keep our eyes on the prize, giving you quality repairs that you can rely on. Call us at 707-591-9909 or contact us online to make sure your vehicle is safe enough for your teen driver.

Aluminum Auto Body Repair? Should I Avoid Going There?

Aluminum Auto Body Repair | Should I Avoid Going There

Aluminum has been around for years in the airline and space industries. That Boeing 737 that you crammed yourself into on your last trip utilizes aluminum to keep weight down while not compromising on strength. Audi has been innovating with light-weight materials vehicles since the 1990s.

To gain weight and performance advantages, Ford trucks went all-in on aluminum in 2015. Since the move, consumers have been hearing speculation about the high cost of auto body repair associated with the material. Are these rumors true? Is aluminum more complex and difficult to work with? Is it more fragile?

No, say the experts, it’s just different.

Who are these experts? Auto insurance companies are authorities on the subject. You can easily tell what they are thinking by their rates. As it turns out, they charge you no more for owning an aluminum vehicle than a traditional vehicle. Over time, they have found that the aluminum F-150 is no more expensive to insure than the previous steel-bodied models.

Other experts are folks like us who repair these vehicles. Though there was an initial investment in training and equipment, now that we have these in place, repairs can take even less time than previous steel bodies.

This is true because the truck was designed with repairs in mind from the outset. We can replace the truck’s rocker panels (metal below the doors, between the wheels) and floor pan in sections, reducing repair time. The B-pillars (vertical roof supports) can be patched up without disturbing the roof. In addition, the apron tube (front rail) can be fixed without removing the A-pillar or dashboard.

Get Significant Savings

Also, parts prices can be lower as well. Hoods, front bumpers, and other parts have decreased by double-digit percentages over previous models. Ford has pressured suppliers of sealants, chemicals and other consumables needed for repairs on the new bodies to keep costs down.

Yes, steel and aluminum are different. They require unique primers and sealants, specially-coated fasteners and completely different techniques. Traditional hammer and dolly and welding methods do not work well with aluminum. In fact, welding aluminum reduces strengthening by taking out the temper. Heat is also difficult to control and can be messy. We typically bond and rivet panels in place, as per specifications by the manufacturer. We’re also very careful to keep steel and aluminum separate—floating steel dust can corrupt an aluminum repair!

That’s why you need experts on your side when it comes to aluminum body repair and we are the right team. We are Ford-certified, which means we have the training and equipment to work on F-150s. We are also Gold Class-certified, giving you the assurance that we use only quality parts and offer superior craftsmanship. At Cline Collision Center, we will bring your aluminum-bodied vehicle back to pre-collision condition. We also offer a full slate of traditional autobody services, from dent removal to high-end painting and auto detailing. Contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!

Damage to Your Leased Vehicle? Make Sure You Get OEM Parts

So, you just got in a fender bender in your leased vehicle. What do you do now? Is it different than if it’s a vehicle you own?

First off, make sure you are in as safe a location as possible and call 911 and report it to the police. Do this even it’s a minor incident, no matter whose fault it is. Police reports will help you establish facts and resolve disputes. Insurance companies want police reports and it will make the process smoother if you have official descriptions of the accident.

Next, call your insurance company. Hopefully, you have appropriate insurance so you’re not out of luck even if the other driver was uninsured or underinsured. Your insurer can get involved in the process even if it wasn’t your fault.

Damage To Your Leased Vehicle | Get OEM Parts

Third, call the lease finance company, especially if the vehicle is totaled. It’s their vehicle, after all. They’ll want to know what’s up and expect a call from an insurance company. Most leasing agreements carry GAP insurance, meaning insurance pays the leasing company the difference between the “totaled” amount and market value. The money doesn’t go to you but ensures you won’t owe extra.

The last step is probably the most important. Take your vehicle to a repair facility that will return your vehicle in like-new condition. Make sure they use OEM parts, not cheap aftermarket replacements or junkyard parts. You will be charged for repairs that don’t meet OEM standards to restore your vehicle to acceptable condition.      

At Cline Collision Center, we will put your vehicle back into pre-collision shape. As a Gold Class certified shop, you can feel confident knowing that we only use OEM parts and hold ourselves to incredibly high standards. Our ASE certification lets you know we stay up with all of the latest developments, offering a full slate of state-of-the-art autobody services, from dent removal to high-end painting and auto detailing. Contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 if your car is in an accident, leased or not. You’ll be happy you took all the right steps!

Staying Safe on the Road as Days Get Shorter

Gloves? Check. Jacket? Check. Beanie? Check. You wouldn’t go out into the cold without being prepared, right?

Staying Safe On The Road | Windsor Auto Repair

There’s no difference with cold-weather driving. You need to be prepared for changing conditions.

For example, since school is in session, there are more cars and pedestrians out and about in fall and winter than in summer. But that’s just the beginning of cold weather issues to contend with. Fall and winter also brings fog, high winds, and extra moisture to the roadway. Are you prepared?

Rain

Following too closely is one of the surest ways to get in an accident. Especially in the rain. The first rain of the year is particularly dangerous when rainwater pools on top of dust and oil that has soaked into asphalt. This makes streets extremely slick. Be sure to give yourself an extra car length or two of space when you are behind another vehicle. You also want to make sure your wiper blades are working well—you need to be able to see the road so you can pick up signs of trouble quickly. Replace old wiper blades if they are streaking and smearing.

Fog

When cold air meets sunshine or warmer surfaces, a regular occurrence in cold weather, fog makes it difficult to see changing road conditions. Slow down when it’s foggy and give yourself extra space. You never know when you will need some extra braking time!

Glare

The sun is lower in the sky. This produces more glare that can impair vision, especially when driving east in the morning or west in the evening. That burning in your eyes can make it hard to see pedestrians, bicycles, or other cars. Traffic lights, stop signs, and other road signage can also be difficult to see. Get a good pair of sunglasses and keep them in your car at all times. Also, clean that windshield!So, when the weather gets colder, what are the best ways to make driving as safe as possible? If you said you were going to slow it down, give vehicles more space, and takes measures to increase visibility, you have answered correctly! No matter what precautions you take, though, accidents still happen. At Cline Collision Center, we will bring your vehicle back to pre-collision condition. We offer a full slate of autobody services, from dent removal to high-end painting and auto detailing. Contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today for a warm and relaxing auto body repair in Windsor

Auto Body Repair

When Bald Isn’t Beautiful

Auto Body Repair | Aging Tires

Going bald is not something most people hope for, but it’s a fact of life for many. Nearly two-thirds of men will experience significant hair loss by the time they’re 50 years old. It is also something that doesn’t have to get in the way of a healthy, happy life.

Unfortunately, the same is not true of bald tires.

Driving on worn down tires is downright dangerous. More than one-quarter of all auto crashes involve at least one car with tires that have treads of less than 1/16 of an inch.

Why Not Tread Lightly?

Your tires are engineered with specifically designed grooves or channels that grasp the surface of the road. They give you the traction you need to get a grip in rain, snow, ice, or mud. Slippery roads are manageable only because these channels force water and slick material away from the surface that contacts the road. Tread also makes sure steering remains stable so that you can avoid trouble in an emergency.

It takes a lot of friction to keep your car connected to the road. This friction causes heat. Tires with low or no tread cause heat buildup that can lead to a blowout. With enough tread, your tires stay cooler by allowing air to flow between the grooves. Further, when you have worn tires, water gets between your tire and the road leading to hydroplaning. Modern tread patterns are great at channeling water away from the tire surface. This can’t happen when there isn’t enough of a channel!

Hey Mister, Got a Quarter?

Regular inspections are a great idea. If you insert a penny into the tread and see the top of Lincoln’s head, you have less than one-sixteenth of an inch and should get new tires now. For those who want to error on the side of increased safety—try the same test, but with a quarter. You have 1/8 of an inch left If you can see the top of Washington’s head. This means you are within the manufacturer’s specs, but there might be some compromise on stopping distance and handling in difficult circumstances.  You should also look for sidewall cracks, bulges or blisters that can develop over time. All of these are serious and require immediate attention! At Cline Collision Center, we know it’s difficult enough to safely navigate your vehicle without making it harder on yourself. We don’t want you to get in an accident because your tires were going bald and needed to be replaced. However, we understand that accidents happen – and we are here for you when they do. Just call 707-591-9909 or contact us online for a full-slate of auto body repair services in Santa Rosa,  including auto detailingdent removal, and exact-match painting

When it Comes to Safety, Heavier Isn’t Better

Old cars are bigger and heavier and, therefore, must be safer, right?

Before you trade in your Prius for a ‘57 Chevy, you might want to think about how safety considerations and crash technology have made cars safer, despite weight differences.

Vehicle Safety

Today’s vehicles are designed with collision energy management. This means vehicles now absorb and then transfer the energy of a crash around the passenger compartment. Crumple zones, crush zones, or crash zones are built-in safety features that change the velocity and momentum of a crash. This is called controlled deformation. Basically, engineers do all they can to wrap you in bubble wrap (airbags) and let the rest of the car fold and wrinkle all around you. These areas even help airbag deployment by slowing down the impact to airbag zones, allowing the bags to fully deploy.

Reliable Repairs

That’s why it’s so important to have your repairs done by a Gold Class certified shop. This designation guarantees that all areas of a shop—Estimator, Non-Structural Technician, Steel Structural Technician, and Refinish Technician—understand how to get you and your car safely back on the road. Ongoing training is essential to keep pace with all the technology and advancements that keep you safe.

That ’57 Chevy may look cool, but it doesn’t have the new technologies that ensure you are as safe as possible as you drive. Adaptive cruise control measures how close you are to other vehicles and automatically slows you down when you are too close. Adaptive headlights sense when to turn on high beams and when to shut them off. Blindspot detection helps you with lane changes while lane departure warning and prevention stops you from unintended lane changes. Park assist and back over protection allow you to see and sense when a person or car is behind you. And forward collision avoidance keeps you safe when it senses slowed or stopped traffic ahead.     

Of course, we love working on old cars, and will gladly help you out with your Bel Air. But if you have a modern car, we have the commitment and knowledge to give you personable service and the highest quality repairs possible because your safety is on the line. Schedule your next auto body repair online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!

Why is There a Dent in Accident?

Let’s face it, getting in an accident is no fun at all. But there are worse outcomes. That’s why we want to walk you through preparation and roadside safety for when you’re in a collision.

Preparation is important in all aspects of life; this includes accidents. Make sure you have your insurance information and a card with current relevant medical information about you and your family. You also need pen and paper, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, emergency distress indicators (road flares, warning triangles, or cones), water bottles, and a blanket. Lastly, do some research. Look for an autobody shop that is known for putting a premium on safety and quality—the Gold Class logo is an excellent sign that a shop has the right training, tools, equipment to get you safely back on the road again.

What To Do In An Accident

Car Dent From Accident

When an accident occurs, check for injuries. Do not move anyone who might have a serious neck or spine injury and call 911 if you’re unsure. If you can’t move your vehicle, and it is not safe to exit the vehicle, stay inside and with your seatbelt on.

Next, if it is possible, move your vehicle as far from traffic as possible. Turn on your hazard lights and set out any emergency distress indicators you have available.  

Contact the local police or highway patrol and follow their instructions about whether you have to stay at the scene. Exchange information with the other driver including their driver’s license number, license plate number, and the year, make, model, and color of their car. If there are any witnesses, get their information.

Use your phone to take photos of the accident at the scene if it is safe, and then to call up your insurance company.

Aside from your safety, the most critical step is next. Contact the Gold Class certified autobody shop— such as Cline Collision Center—you researched. We know how to find hidden damage that other shops may overlook. Like all Gold Class shops, we stay current with the latest repair procedures and technologies. There are numerous choices to make when repairing a vehicle. Because of our Gold Class certification, you can trust that we have your back when it comes to deciding which parts to repair and which to replace. With today’s high-tech, lightweight vehicles, you need to know that the integrity of all of your safety features, such as crumple zones and airbag timing, are correctly repaired.

Call Cline Collision Center at 707-591-9909 or contact us online for a free estimate to take the dent out of your accident!

How to Choose an Auto Body Repair Shop

Do you have a crumpled bumper, a dinged door, or a moonroof that’s been eclipsed? Now that the damage has been done, are you wondering where to take your vehicle?

For those suddenly in need of autobody repair, it can be challenging to know who to trust with your vehicle. Your insurer may be pushing you toward their shop, but you are right to wonder where their loyalty is—with the insurance company or with you?

One great way to choose an autobody shop you can trust is to look for the Gold Class logo. Without this designation, you can’t be sure if anyone in the shop is properly trained to give your vehicle repairs that are safe and will last. With this classification, you know that every technician in the shop is engaged in up-to-date training and is using the right tools and equipment.

Here is why this is important:

When your car is an accident, there is visible damage and then there is damage that goes unseen. When this concealed damage is not repaired correctly, the integrity of crumple zones and airbag timing is compromised. This means that you risk serious injury in a later collision. Gold Class shops will find the hidden damage, perform a complete damage analysis of front, rear, and side impacts, diagnose the damage to restraint and electrical systems, perform structural repairs, restore steering and suspension performance, and determine what can be repaired and what must be replaced.

Do you want to leave this up to anyone? Or, worse, to someone with who is not working in your best interest?

Vehicles are now high-tech machines and they are evolving to become more complicated each year. Many of these innovations are designed and built for safety with lightweight parts to increase efficiency. At Cline Collision Center, we keep up with this steady stream of change and will bring your vehicle back to pre-collision condition. We offer a full slate of autobody services, from dent removal to high-end painting and auto detailing. Contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 for Gold Class repairs and gold-standard customer service!