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Will Auto Insurance Rates Increase in 2023?

Costs are rising in just about every industry right now—including auto insurance. With the end of pandemic-era premium decreases and reimbursements, millions of Americans may be in for sticker shock when they receive their 2023 statements.

What’s Causing Insurance Policy Rate Increases?

In its 2022 report on auto insurance trends, Insurify (an insurance comparison shopping website) found that the nationwide average cost of auto insurance increased by 9%; in 2023, Insurify predicts the average rate will increase an additional 7% based on the state of the industry and historical trends. So why are costs rising? Here are some of the main reasons for the predicted increases:

  • Americans are driving more now, which results in more accidents.
  • The cost of auto repairs is rising, which makes collision repair more expensive.
  • Inflation has contributed to cost increases in all goods and services.
  • Climate change increases the chances of vehicles being damaged by natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes.

Several states saw significant increases of more than 25% in auto insurance rates in 2022, including Maryland, Oregon, and Virginia. Although Michigan’s insurance rates stayed stagnant, the state continues to have the highest rates in the nation. California’s rates have actually dropped by about 15% on average, which is due (in part) to the pandemic-related rate increase restrictions put in place by the CA Department of Insurance.

How Can Drivers Save Money On Auto Insurance?

Insurify polled more than 1,800 drivers in July and November on how they were planning to save money on automotive expenses, including fuel, maintenance, and insurance; here’s what they found:

  • Due to decreases in gas costs, drivers were half as likely to consider purchasing a hybrid or all-electric vehicle in November as they were in July.
  • 35% of those polled were concerned about potential policy rate increases at the end of the year and were considering switching insurance providers.
  • 50% said they planned to drive less.
  • 47% had at least one increase in their insurance policy in 2022.
  • 19% had their insurance rate increased multiple times in 2022.

Dan Roccato, clinical professor of finance at the University of San Diego School of Business says future rate increases are largely dependent on the strength of the economy. “A recession, along with a weaker labor market, will take the pressure off rate increases. An economic slowdown means lower inflation. This should allow insurers to rein in costs and pass savings on to drivers,” he said.

According to financial author and podcaster Laura D. Adams, it’s a good idea for policyholders to shop around and do price comparisons on insurance quotes annually. Of the policyholders who changed providers in 2022, 92% reported that they saved money, with 26% reporting savings of $200 or more a year. She also recommends taking advantage of multiple vehicles, multi-line, and good student discounts. Bundling your car, home, and other insurance policies can also help cut costs.

Solera Vice President of Industry Relations and Vehicle Claims Bill Bower recommends considering adjustments to your deductible or co-pay—but keep in mind that this also means you take on more risk. User-based insurance is also an option. If you’re a good driver and are willing to allow the insurance company to track your driving behavior, you may be able to have your provider change the way your policy is rated. According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately 63% of drivers see drops in their policy rates after enrolling in the user-based program.

Taking steps to improve your credit score can also help; drivers with poor credit scores pay nearly 80% more for car insurance.

Some Insurance Providers Are Slow to Settle Claims

If you end up needing collision repair, it’s also important to keep in mind that some insurance providers are slow to settle claims—which, in some cases, could delay your repairs by months. This has caused some shops to stop accepting repairs that are covered by certain insurers.

Jim Collins, the owner of an auto body shop in Cincinnati said about Allstate, “In my 53 years in the industry, the body shop business, I have never seen anything like this. We’ve got vehicles that have been here for six months… The thing is when you have to deal, making 20-to-30 phone calls on one claim, then they have three, four, five different people contacting you over that claim, it [gets] frustrating, and it’s overwhelming. So, we are just not going to deal with the company.”

The Bottom Line

Between rising insurance rates and lengthy claim processing times, getting your vehicle repaired after an accident these days can come with unexpected costs and frustrations. At Cline Collision Center, we aim to be as transparent and helpful as possible. If you need a repair, we recommend contacting us first to determine whether we work with your provider, how long their typical claim process takes these days, and how long it will take to get the parts needed for your repairs. That way, there aren’t any surprises!

To schedule a repair or receive a free estimate, contact us today at (707) 591-9909.

10 Tips for Safe Driving in the Rain

Rain water splash flow from wheels of silver car moving fast in daylight city with selective focus. Car moving on asphalt road during heavy summer storm rain.

Each year, nearly 75% of weather-related car accidents occur on wet pavement, and 47% happen during rainfall. With lower light conditions and slippery surfaces, driving in the rain can be one of the most difficult and dangerous situations drivers encounter. With the rainy season on the way, here are 10 tips to help you stay safe on the roads.

1. Wait for the Weather to Improve.

If it’s not necessary to go out right away, postpone your trip or commute until the weather has improved. There’s no reason to unnecessarily put yourself at risk if you don’t need to!

2. Make sure your car’s equipment works.

Before driving in the rain, make sure your headlights, tail lights, and windshield wipers work well. These are all critical for good visibility! You should also check that you have sufficient tread on your tires. Bald tires have poor traction, even in the best road conditions—but they’re especially dangerous on slick roads. If you can see the wear bars or the tread is completely worn down, it’s time to get your tires replaced.

3. Drive slowly.

Although it’s always important to follow the speed limit, you should make a point to drive considerably slower than normal when it’s raining. In wet weather, it takes much longer to come to a complete stop. Hydroplaning is also more likely to occur. It’s especially important to go slower when it first starts raining because the fresh rain will bring out the oils on the road and make the surface even slicker.

4. Use your windshield wipers.

It might seem like common sense to use your windshield wipers, but it’s not uncommon for drivers to forget to turn them on in light rain. Your windshield wipers should clear raindrops from the glass in one swipe without smearing them or leaving streaks. If they don’t, or you can hear a scraping noise, it’s time to replace them. If a heavy downpour or storm is on the way, you may also want to consider applying water-repellent products on your windshield to help the water bead off.

5. Turn on your headlights.

If your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should be on, too—even if it’s misting. Headlights will significantly increase your visibility and make it easier for other vehicles to see you. Plus, it’s the law!

6. Keep your distance from other cars.

Since your car’s reaction and braking time are longer in wet conditions, you should always double the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This will also help you avoid water being kicked onto your windshield by larger vehicles, which can affect your visibility.

7. Avoid heavy or abrupt braking.

Slow, gradual braking is best in the rain. As you approach a stop, take your foot off the accelerator sooner than you normally would when you’re preparing to slow down, allowing your car to coast. Then, brake gently and gradually. Avoid using cruise control, so you stay more connected with braking and accelerating your vehicle.

8. Keep an eye out for standing water.

Driving through standing water increases the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when your tires lose traction, and your car drives on the surface of the water rather than the surface of the road—and it can be very dangerous. If it’s safe, try to drive around areas where water has collected by changing lanes or steering around them.

9. Let up off the gas if you hydroplane.

Hydroplaning is one of the most common reasons for car accidents because it causes a loss of control. If your car starts to hydroplane, stay calm, take your foot off the gas pedal, and steer in the direction you want to go. Don’t make sudden turns or slam on your brakes, because this can cause you to lose even more control over your vehicle.

10. Ventilate your vehicle.

Rainy weather increases the humidity in your car, which is why the windows get foggy. Using the defroster will help get rid of some of the humidity, but you can help it clear the fog faster and more efficiently by cracking a window.

Accidents Can Still Happen in the Rain, Even with Safe Driving

Making a conscious effort to take these safety precautions is the best way to stay safe in wet weather. Simply remembering to reduce your speed and turn on your headlights are two of the most effective ways to avoid an accident. However, even the most skilled and cautious drivers can get into a collision in rainy conditions. If you do, Cline Collision Center is here to help with quality OEM repairs and complete insurance coordination. We hope you won’t need us, but if you do, we’ll do everything we can to make the repair process as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Stay safe out there!

Could Gas Prices Drop Soon?

Gasoline fuel nozzle and cash money. Gas price, tax, ethanol and fossil fuel concept

Gas prices reached an-all time national high this summer, reaching an average of up to $5.02/per gallon. In Sonoma County, we’ve seen prices over $6.00, nearing $7.00 a gallon… when will the price of gas get more affordable?

Soon, hopefully, if the recent drop in the national average is any indication. The national average is now $3.70/gallon, with one in ten gas stations across the country charging less than $3.00 a gallon.

What’s Caused National Gas Averages to Drop?

Several factors have led to lower gas prices around the country, including the lower cost of crude oil. Crude oil prices dropped below $90 a barrel in August—for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Another factor is that the demand for gas typically goes down after Labor Day—and gas prices are expected to continue to decrease. AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross stated, “Less expensive oil usually leads to less expensive gas for drivers. This trend has helped pump prices fall steadily for three straight months and, with fall approaching, more markets could soon see prices below $3 per gallon.” According to GasBuddy, we could see the nationwide average drop to $2.99 by the end of October.

However, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick de Haan, cautions about being overly optimistic. “While the recent drop in gas prices has been most welcomed, the issues that led to skyrocketing prices aren’t completely put to bed and could still lead prices to eventually climb back up, should something unexpected develop,” he said. “Hurricanes, unexpected issues that arise, E.U. sanctions on Russian energy, economic concerns, COVID in China, if demand in the U.S. doesn’t fall in autumn as it tends to do. There are so many different things that could change the outcome.”

In addition, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested that the price of crude oil—which is responsible for more than half of the cost of consumer gasoline—could see sharp increases this winter due to new sanctions against Russia.

Why Has Gas Been So Expensive?

One of the most significant factors in the price of gas has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since the war began, the price of gas has risen more than $1.70 per gallon at its highest. While the U.S. doesn’t rely on Russia for very much of our crude oil, its price has affected the global market.

Another contributing factor is that gasoline producers are cautious about increasing their production due to the lingering supply and demand imbalance caused by the pandemic. President Biden has also claimed that many of the biggest oil companies, including Exxon Mobile, Chevron, and Shell, are profiteering to increase their profit margins.

What is the White House Doing to Help Lower Gas Prices?

Earlier this year, the White House started releasing 1 million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was expected to lower the price of gas by 10 to 35 cents a gallon for six months. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a cheaper, higher ethanol fuel (called E15) to be sold year-round. The U.S. has also been searching for other countries to purchase energy products from, including Venezuela and Iran.

How Can You Save Money at the Gas Pump?

Despite the nationwide average price of gas dropping, we continue to see significantly higher prices here in Sonoma County—and the Bay Area in general. It’s difficult to say when we’ll see them return to their pre-2022 prices. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to save money at the gas pump:

  • Cut down on non-essential trips
  • Use an app like GasBuddy or GasGuru to shop around for the best prices
  • Use an app like FuelLog to track your car’s gas mileage
  • Sign up for a gas station loyalty program or use credit cards that give you cash back for gas purchases
  • Choose gas stations that offer a discount for paying with cash
  • If you’re making multiple stops, map your route to find the most efficient way to get to each location
  • Make sure your vehicle is caught up on routine maintenance

While Cline Collision Center can’t do anything about gas prices, we can help you get your car back to its pre-accident condition after an accident. Whether you’ve been in a fender bender or simply need a headlight restoration for the dark winter days ahead, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or book an appointment online.

The Shortage of Automotive Parts Continues

Prior to COVID-19, drivers could often look forward to short turnaround times for auto repairs. However, since the pandemic, dealerships, repair shops, and auto body shops have struggled to get parts. More recently, a consumer alert went out for vehicle owners warning of potentially long delays and higher prices for repairs.

Why Is there a Parts Shortage?

Chip shortage concept. Global shortage of semiconductor processors. Deficit chips. Abstract technology background, microchip. Printed circuit board, motherboard. Question mark. Vector illustration

At the start of the pandemic, parts were scarce due to factory and port shutdowns. This led to a worldwide supply chain disruption—the largest we’ve had since World War II. In addition, inflation is the highest it’s been in the last 40 years and the war in Ukraine has been a contributing factor. Many parts manufacturers have had trouble acquiring raw materials used in auto parts, like steel, foam, plastic, and silicon. Even additives in motor oil have been harder to get.

This shortage has caused dealerships and repair shops alike to find resourceful ways to stay competitive, including offering used and aftermarket parts as an alternative to OEM. In many cases, this is a perfectly safe option, as long as the part comes with a warranty. However, Cline Collision Center remains committed to using OEM parts—although, these may be even more scarce at this time. Regardless of the parts shortage, you have the right to choose how your car is repaired.

What Steps Can I Take?

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good solutions for the parts shortage. If you don’t currently need collision repair or regular auto repairs, your best option is to drive safely, avoid accidents, and keep your car well-maintained. If you do need repairs, try to plan ahead and keep in mind that the timeframe for getting your repairs completed may be longer than you’re used to.

If you have any questions about repairs for your car, the parts shortage, or anything else, feel free to contact Cline Collision Center at (707) 591-9909!

If The Airbags in Your Car Deploy, Is Your Car Totaled?

Airbag exploded at a car accident,Car Crash air bag,Airbag work and illuminated

When a car is totaled or written off, it means that the cost of the damage exceeds the vehicle’s market value. If you have a comprehensive policy, the insurance company will pay the cash value of the car, minus deductibles, so you can purchase a new one.

A common question we hear is, “My airbags deployed during the accident. Will my car be totaled?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. Airbag deployment doesn’t necessarily mean that your car will be totaled, but there are some cases where it might be. Here’s a look at what you should know.

Will My Car Be Considered a Total Loss?

Whether your car will be considered a total loss really depends on its value and the amount of damage it’s sustained. If you have a newer car or one that’s more expensive, there’s a better chance that you’ll be able to repair it. If you have an older car, however, it’s more likely it will be totaled. For example, if your car is worth $4,500 and it will cost $4,000 to repair it, your insurance company will likely consider it a total loss.

Airbags are essentially a “one-time use” part—after they deploy, they must be replaced. Replacements can be expensive, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000 a piece, depending on your vehicle; this doesn’t include installation fees. If two airbags deploy during an accident, the costs can quickly add up. When you add on collision repair, it’s easy to see how an older vehicle with a lower value might end up being totaled.

Typically, insurance will cover airbag replacement if:

  • Your car isn’t totaled
  • You’re not at fault for the accident
  • You have collision insurance

If your car is totaled, your insurance provider will determine the replacement cost, then subtract the depreciation amount. Depreciation is figured out by looking at factors like the car’s mileage, wear and tear, dings on the doors, and faded paint.

Can I Appeal My Insurance Provider’s Decision?

If you don’t feel like your insurance provider’s decision on whether the car is totaled is correct, you can do your own research to determine its cash value and depreciation and ask them to reconsider. If you decide to do this, keep good notes on what you discover and be prepared to show proof of how you reached your conclusion. Or, you can get your car independently appraised.

Getting into an accident of any size is a hassle. However, safety should always be your top priority. If your vehicle isn’t totaled, it’s important to have your airbags replaced, along with the sensors, modules, and wiring. Whether you’ve been in an accident and the airbags deployed, or your airbag warning light is on, Cline Collision Center is here to help. We’ll assess the damage to your vehicle and work with your insurance company to coordinate the necessary repairs. Call us today at (707) 591-9909 to schedule an estimate appointment or book an appointment online.

Do You Need Supplemental Insurance for a Rental Car?

Sale agent  deal to agreement successful car loan contract with customer and sign agreement contract Insurance car concept.

If you get into an accident and need a rental car, will your car insurance cover the rental if it gets damaged? In most cases, your existing policy will apply to a rental car, so you likely won’t need to purchase additional coverage.

To help you decide whether your policy provides adequate coverage, here’s a look at the different types of protection rental companies offer in addition to what’s available from insurers, and the gap coverage you might need.

What Does My Personal Insurance Cover?

Most insurance policies for rental cars are identical or close to the coverage you’ll find on a regular car insurance policy—and most personal insurance policies translate to rental cars, too. For example, if you already have comprehensive insurance, including collision and liability, then you’ll already have the level of protection (up to the policy’s limits) that you’ll typically find at a rental car company.

Also, most homeowners or renters insurance will provide coverage for personal items stolen from your rental car. Before deciding to purchase additional coverage from a rental car company, check your existing insurance policies to see if supplemental insurance is actually needed.

Keep in mind that there may be some exclusions for each of these policies, which is why it’s always recommended to check your existing policies before declining coverage from the rental car company. Some policies may exclude certain types of vehicles, such as commercial vehicles, luxury vehicles, or business trip rentals.

Comparing Coverage

Here’s a breakdown of how rental car company coverage compares with other types of coverage you may already have:

Rental Car Company PoliciesCar Insurance Policies
Supplemental liability insuranceBodily injury and property damage liability coverage
Collision damage waiver (CDW) and Loss damage waiver (LDW)Comprehensive collision coverage
Personal accident insurancePersonal injury protection and health insurance
Personal effects coverageHomeowners or rental insurance personal property coverage

Supplemental Liability Insurance vs. Personal Liability Insurance

Since liability for bodily injury and property damage is required in California, you should already have coverage. Car rental companies are also required to offer the state minimum coverage.

If you’re trying to decide whether to add on supplemental liability insurance, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I be driving more in an unfamiliar car?
  • Will I be driving on unfamiliar roads (if you’re using the rental on vacation, for example)?

In general, it’s recommended to have at least $25,000 of bodily liability insurance per person, as well as $50,000 of bodily liability per accident and $25,000 of property liability. This will ensure you’ll have enough coverage to cover the full costs if you get into a collision.

Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver vs. Comprehensive and Collision

Usually, this waiver can be declined if you already have personal collision and comprehensive coverage on your policy. However, you’ll want to make sure that the insurance limits can cover the actual cash value (ACV) of the rental car.

Luxury Vehicles – Collision or Loss Damage Waivers

Comprehensive and collision coverage is designed to cover the costs of repairing a car that’s comparable to your personal vehicle. This means that if you rent a more expensive vehicle, such as a luxury car, your policy may not cover the full repair costs of an accident.

With a collision or loss damage waiver, you won’t be held accountable for any damage to the rental car. It also eliminates the fee some rental companies charge for the time the vehicle is out of commission while it’s being repaired. Since collision and comprehensive policies often cover these costs, it’s best to check your policy before making a decision.

Personal Accident Insurance vs. Personal Injury Protection and Health Insurance

Personal Injury Protection and health insurance cover medical fees that might arise from an accident. If you already have no-fault or personal injury protection, medical payments, or good personal health insurance, you can feel comfortable declining the personal accident insurance offered by the rental company.

As an alternative, you can rely on your health insurance to cover any medical bills from an accident. However, since collision injuries could potentially amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate coverage available.

Personal Effects Coverage

Personal effects coverage will reimburse you if your personal items are stolen from your rental car. Most renters and homeowners insurance already cover personal items; if you have an existing policy, you can probably decline it.

Does My Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

Fortunately, most insurers include rental car coverage in their policies—but it’s best to check your policy or talk with an insurance agent to make sure you’re covered. Some of the biggest national insurers that offer rental car coverage include:

  • State Farm
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Travelers
  • Farmers
  • USAA
  • Nationwide
  • American Family

Credit Card Rental Insurance

Many major credit card companies also offer supplemental insurance coverage if you pay the full balance of the rental with your credit card. However, sometimes this insurance will only apply after your personal insurance plans are applied. There may be other restrictions, also, such as requiring you to decline a collision lost waiver.

Mastercard, for example, only provides coverage if the renter:

  • Declines the rental car collision loss waiver
  • The car is rented out for 15 days or less
  • All other insurance policies have been exhausted

Mastercard also excludes coverage for all trucks, full-size vans, and vintage vehicles, so make sure you understand your card’s benefits and exclusions.

When to Consider Rental Insurance

Even if you’re already covered by your regular insurance policy, there are some instances where you may want to purchase supplemental insurance. These include:

  • You have only liability insurance. In this case, it’s best to purchase a collision damage waiver (CDW). Although liability insurance will cover the damage to another vehicle, it won’t cover repairs for your rental car—which means you’d be responsible for covering the full repair costs and any loss-of-use fees, even if the other driver was responsible for the accident.
  • You have the minimum liability insurance coverage. If you have only basic liability coverage, you may want to consider purchasing supplemental liability insurance from the rental company to help cover the costs of damaging another vehicle or injuring its passengers. This will help cover any gaps in your personal liability insurance coverage.
  • Your personal insurance policy has a high deductible. If you have high deductibles on your personal auto insurance policies, you may want to consider a collision damage waiver. That way, if your rental car gets scratched, dinged, or otherwise damaged, you won’t be responsible for the repairs. Before purchasing a CDW, however, make sure it doesn’t come with a high deductible as well.
  • You’re an at-risk driver or you want to protect your existing insurance policy premiums. If you’re worried about your driving record or what a collision might do to your insurance premiums, you may want to purchase a CDW, liability, or personal accident insurance—especially if you’ve already had an at-fault claim within the past three years and don’t want your premium to increase. Successive claims within a three-year period can make premiums rise rapidly; in contrast, a supplemental insurance claim wouldn’t affect your personal insurance premium.
  • You have low limits on your existing collision or comprehensive plan. If your personal vehicle isn’t worth as much as your rental car, your collision and comprehensive policy may not provide enough coverage for your rental car. If your rental is more valuable than your personal vehicle, it’s recommended to purchase a CDW.

As you can see, whether you need supplemental insurance is dependent on several factors, including the type of coverage you have on your personal vehicle. As coverage needs can change over time, it’s always a good idea to review your existing insurance policy from time to time to make sure you have the protection you need.

At Cline Collision Center, we offer complete insurance coordination and can help you determine whether you might qualify for a free rental car, even if you don’t have rental car coverage in your policy. Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or schedule a free estimate appointment online.

12 Common Car Myths Debunked

Have you ever heard that you’re supposed to warm up your engine before you start driving? Or that red cars are more expensive to insure? Most of us have heard similar auto tips, but as it turns out, many of them aren’t true. Some of these tips are outdated in relation to newer vehicles, while others have always been downright false. For the purpose of education (and fun!) here’s a look at 12 common car myths.

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  1. You Should Warm Up Your Engine Before Driving, Especially in the Winter
    Out of all car myths, this one is probably the most widespread. Although it does take time for an engine to warm up to its optimal temperature, letting it idle while it warms up is unnecessary. Technological advances in modern cars allow engines to warm themselves up as they drive; within seconds, a newer vehicle is ready to hit highway speeds. Some experts recommend you let your car idle for up to 30 seconds before you start driving—any longer, and you’re wasting fuel.
  1. Red Cars Are More Expensive to Insure
    Approximately 44% of Americans believe red cars are more expensive to insure than any other color. Fortunately for red car owners, this isn’t the case. Insurance companies use several factors to calculate rates, including the make of the car, the driver’s age, and their insurance record—just to name a few. Car color, however, isn’t factored in.
  1. All SUVs Perform Well Off-Road
    SUVs were originally designed to perform well on the road or off; in many ways, they were the mid-point between standard road-driving cars and off-road vehicles. That’s not the case with most SUVs today. As manufacturers stopped focusing on off-road capabilities and more on passenger comfort, the wheels became smaller and the cabins became outfitted with all kinds of gadgets and amenities. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any new SUVs that can go off-road, though; the Mercedes G class, for example, is rugged enough to brave sand, mud, or snow.
  1. Convertibles Aren’t Safe in a Collision
    It makes sense to think that a vehicle without a roof would be less sound in an accident, but automakers have taken extra measures to ensure convertibles are just as safe as any hard-top vehicle. For example, convertibles have a stiffer chassis, reinforced pillars, and special roll hoops behind the seats to protect drivers in the event of a rollover. Some models even include an active roll bar system that’s automatically activated if the car flips.
  1. Muscle Cars Can’t Corner
    Old-school American muscle cars used to be infamous for their poor handling, but thankfully, this is no longer the case. Newer muscle cars handle very well, regardless of whether they’re driving in a straight line or navigating a turn.
  1. SUVs Are Safer Than Smaller Cars
    This myth has been circulating for years, and it’s easy to see why. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “a bigger, heavier vehicle provides better crash protection than a smaller, lighter one, assuming no other differences.” While this is true, SUVs have a higher center of gravity that makes them more likely to roll over—especially during a collision or when navigating a tight turn. They also need a longer braking distance than smaller cars. Fortunately, automakers continue to improve the safety features of SUVs.
  1. Electric Cars Are More Likely to Catch on Fire
    Electric car fires have been featured on international news over the last couple of years, which has kept this myth alive. Even though a damaged lithium-ion battery can generate enough heat to start a fire, gasoline is more flammable and likely to cause a car fire.
  1. It’s OK to Wash Your Car with Dish Soap
    Washing your car with dish soap may help you save money in the short term, but it’s abrasive. Over time, it can damage the paint and give the car a dull appearance; dish soap can also be tough on rubber components. Cars with paint damage should be repainted to prevent further damage to the body; rather than spending the money to repaint your vehicle it’s much more cost-effective to invest a little more in the proper car wash products!
  1. Aluminum isn’t as Safe as Steel
    Steel and aluminum have different densities; if the same amount of aluminum was used to replace steel, it would make a car unsafe. However, automakers factor this in and use more aluminum to increase the thickness. An aluminum body is actually safer than a steel body because it absorbs more energy in a collision and provides bigger crush zones.
  1. ABS Always Reduces Braking Distance
    This myth is true, in part. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents your wheels from locking when you have to brake suddenly; this is to ensure you stay in control of the vehicle. However, it wasn’t designed to reduce braking distance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that braking distance is 14% shorter in wet conditions for cars equipped with ABS versus vehicles without ABS. In dry conditions, the braking distance for both ABS-equipped and non-ABS vehicles is essentially the same.
  1. You Don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt if You Have Airbags
    This may sound silly, but some drivers really do believe they don’t need to wear a seat belt since they have airbags. Obviously, this isn’t the case! Airbags are designed to supplement the protection of seat belts—and their efficacy relies on the position that seat belts keep passengers in. If you’re not wearing a seat belt, there’s a good chance a collision could cause you to slide under the airbag or completely miss it when it deploys—which could lead to injuries from hitting the dashboard or even being ejected from your car.
  1. 4WD and AWD Vehicles Have a Shorter Braking Distance Than 2WD
    This is a common misconception, but a 4WD or AWD vehicle does not have a shorter braking distance than a 2WD. The braking distance is largely dependent on whether the vehicle is equipped with adequate tires.

Safety First: OEM Repairs Offer the Best Protection After a Collision

As you may have noticed, many of the most common car myths revolve around safety. At Cline Collision Center, we make safety the focus of every repair we perform. That’s why we’ve invested in OEM factory training and use only OEM parts on all repairs. Today’s vehicles are more complex than ever, with specialized parts and systems specifically designed for each make and model. Using an aftermarket part can mean the part doesn’t fit or function as it should, and in some cases, it can even cause an entire system to not work properly. This is especially crucial when it comes to ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) features, like Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Anti-lock Brakes, and Lane Departure Warning.

If you’ve been in an accident, OEM repairs offer the best protection for you and your family. They’re also the only way to truly restore your vehicle back to factory specifications. So, don’t settle for anything less! Give Cline Collision Center a call today at 707-591-9909 or request an appointment online.

Why Are Auto Parts So Scarce These Days?

Accidents happen. But these days, it’s taking a lot longer to get repairs.

Car parts and auto spare in shopping basket isolated on white. 3d illustration

From dealerships to collision repair, supply chain issues continue to affect the automotive industry. In some cases, it can take months to get parts, forcing many repair shops and parts distributors to find creative ways around the issue.

There are a few factors for this frustrating problem. First, there continues to be a labor shortage at both the plants and ports, leading to delays in production, as well as shipping. A significant amount of collision repair parts are manufactured in Taiwan, where many of the docks and ports are backed up. A larger issue is that auto suppliers have prioritized manufacturing parts for newer vehicles while slowing down production on aftermarket parts for older vehicles.

Since automakers’ focus is on getting production for new vehicles back up and running, it’s likely the issue won’t be getting better anytime soon. Over the past year, automakers have struggled to keep up with the demand for these parts because of the global shortage of microchips that are used in vehicles. These microchips are used to power everything from heated seats to infotainment systems.

Some collision repair shops have found ways around the supply chain issues by finding rebuilt and re-manufactured parts to help their customers back on the road quicker. Unfortunately, even these parts have started to become more difficult to find. Cline Collision Center remains committed to using only OEM parts, which in some cases may be even more scarce.

Another thing to keep in mind is that supply chain issues have led to price increases. The Consumer Price Index on motor vehicle parts rose 10% from November 2020 to November 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics.

It’s not clear exactly when these issues will be resolved. Some experts predict the microchip shortage should start to recover mid-2022; others say the parts shortage issue as a whole may last into 2023.

What Should You Do if You Need Collision Repair?

Understandably, this isn’t great news if you need repairs. However, depending on your make and model, you may still be able to get repairs for your car. The best thing to do is to contact us and see if we’re able to get in the parts you need before you schedule your repairs. If you haven’t been in a collision, stay alert and practice safe driving. No one ever wants to get into an accident, but with supply chain issues, repairs could take longer—especially if you have an older vehicle.

At Cline Collision Center, we realize how inconvenient it is to have to wait for your repairs. If you have questions or concerns about your auto body repairs or supply chain issues, we’re here to help! Give us a call at (707) 591-9909 or send us a message online.

Tips to Avoid Auto Theft in Santa Rosa Ca

Since the start of the pandemic, there’s been a significant increase in auto theft and break-ins. In 2020 alone, there were 880,595 vehicle thefts nationwide (approximately one vehicle stolen every 36 seconds), up from 794,019 in 2019. According to David Glawe, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there are several reasons for this uptick: the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the realignment of law enforcement, and depleted social programs—but the most significant factor is owner complacency.

Although it’s not possible to prevent all car thefts and break-ins, there are several easy steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Here are some proactive tips to help you avoid auto theft in Santa Rosa Ca and beyond.

Keep Your Vehicle Secure

Whenever you’re not in your vehicle—whether it’s in your driveway or at the store, you should always make sure it’s secure. Roll up your windows, close your sunroof, lock your doors, and take the keys or key fob with you. Thieves are often on the lookout for vehicles that have easy entry, so they can strike quickly and keep a low profile. If a would-be thief can’t quickly gain entry to your car, there’s a good chance they’ll just move on. Some people keep a spare key in their glove box, but many thieves know to look there; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends taking all keys with you when you leave your car. Even though it’s a pain to get locked out of your vehicle, it’s less of a hassle than having your car stolen!

Park in Well-Lit Areas Near Security Cameras

Be cautious about where you’re parking your car. Whenever possible, it’s best to park in a secure garage that doesn’t have public access, such as your own garage or a company garage that requires a fob to access. If you have to park outside, park in well-lit areas to deter thieves. If you see a security camera nearby, try to park in its view; sometimes, just the idea of being caught on camera can be enough to make thieves decide to move on.

Always Hide Your Valuables

Although it seems like common sense, many people have their cars broken into because they left valuables in plain sight while running errands, pumping gas, or even parking in their driveways. If it’s not something you need, leave it at home. Valuables like cell phones, wallets, purses, shopping bags, backpacks, luggage, laptop bags, gifts, and portable media players should always be taken with you or locked inside the glove compartment, center console, or trunk. If you have a cargo area in your truck or SUV, you may also want to consider using a cargo cover.

If Your Car is Running, Don’t Leave It Unattended

Leaving your car running and unattended puts your car at greater risk of theft. Car thieves will often keep an eye out for unattended vehicles at places where drivers think they’ll only be gone for a moment, like gas stations, post offices, and convenience stores—or even warming up their car in the driveway. When you’re not driving, turn off the engine and make sure your vehicle is secure, even if you’re making a quick stop.

Use a Car Alarm or Other Anti-Theft Devices

These days, many new models come with a built-in alarm system that’s triggered by someone opening the car door or attempting to run the car while the alarm is activated. Since most thieves like to stay as low-profile as possible, the sound of the alarm can be an excellent deterrent. If your car doesn’t have an alarm, consider having an aftermarket alarm installed. Visible anti-theft devices, like steering wheel locks, VIN number window etching, or the alarm system’s flashing light, may also deter thieves looking for a quick and easy target.

Consider a Vehicle Immobilizer

Most cars manufactured in the last 20 years have a built-in car immobilizer system, which prevents thieves from being able to hot-wire a vehicle. You can find out if your car has an immobilizer by checking your owner’s manual—or you can visit your regular mechanic and they should be able to tell you. If you don’t have an immobilizer, consider installing one.

Install a Tracking System

While a tracking system won’t prevent theft, it can help you recover your stolen car faster. Tracking system devices are often GPS and cellular-based, and you can generally access the information on your smartphone. As a bonus, a tracking system can also help you find your car easier in the parking lot!

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

When parking your car, always be aware of your surroundings. If you see anything suspicious, such as a person who looks like they’re casing vehicles, don’t park your car there. Walk with your head up and make eye contact with people around you. Thieves often target people who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings or are looking down. Always have your keys ready to enter your vehicle.

Avoid Purchasing Commonly Stolen Vehicles

Each year, the NICB releases its “Hot Wheels” list featuring the 10 most commonly stolen vehicles in America. If you’re considering a new car purchase in the future, you may want to review the list and avoid purchasing one of the commonly stolen models. Some vehicles that are less likely to be targeted are domestic sedans, minivans, and other sensible vehicles. High-performance vehicles, full-size Ford or Chevy pickup trucks, and common foreign sedans, like the Honda Civic, are more likely to be targeted.

Keep Your Investment Protected

For many people, their car is among the biggest investments they’ll make. By being proactive, you can help protect your investment. Although thieves can be tenacious, they’re often on the lookout for a vehicle they can steal or break into quickly—so don’t make it easy for them!

Whether you’ve had your car windows broken by a thief or smashed in a collision, Cline Collision Center is here to help. From high-quality OEM repairs to complete insurance coordination, we make the repair process as smooth as possible. Call us today at (707) 591-9909 or book an appointment online.

How to Protect Your Car’s Paint from The Summer Sun

how-to-protect-your-cars-paint-from-the-summer-sun

Your car’s paint is one of the most important factors in determining its value. Although vehicle paint is designed brave the elements, the sun’s UV harsh rays can affect the pigment over time, causing it to break down and oxidize. This can leave the paint visibly dull and rough—and in more extreme cases, it may even flake off in patches. Different colors of paint are also more susceptible to sun damage than others, such as black, dark blue, and dark greys, but the fading in brighter colors is often just as noticeable.

The good news is that faded paint can often be restored, depending on the severity of the damage and your vehicle’s overall condition. There are also several things you can do to prevent UV damage and keep your paint looking its best for many years.

Wash Your Car Often

Dirt and grime on the surface of the paint can oxidize in the sun and speed up fading. To prevent this, keep your car as clean as possible by washing it regularly. Make sure you’re washing it in the shade, and use only soft washcloths and gentle cleaners designed for vehicles. While washing your car, use gentle strokes to remove the accumulated grime. If you have any areas that are tough to clean, like bird droppings or bugs, you can use a salt-free seltzer to remove them. Once you’re done, rinse your car thoroughly to get rid of any chemical residues.

Your wash schedule may vary depending on your driving habits, but in general, it’s recommended to wash your car weekly if it spends more than five days a week in the sun. It’s also a good idea to wash your car after it rains to remove mineral deposits, road grime, and pollutants.

Hand Dry Your Car

After you’re finished washing your car, hand-dry the exterior using a soft, absorbent cloth. This will help to remove any chemical residues that may cause your paint to fade faster.

Wax Your Car

Waxing is an excellent way to add a protective layer to your vehicle’s paint and give it a beautiful shine. You can think of it a bit like sunscreen for your car. Wax protects against UV rays and prevents the paint from collecting dirt and debris.

There are different formulas of wax to choose from, and each has a slightly different process in how they’re applied. For example, you can use pastes, liquids, sprays, and wipe on/wipe off waxes. Regardless of the type you choose, make sure to follow the directions closely. Waxing your car every three months or so will help increase the longevity of your paint, but don’t overdo it! This can cause a buildup on the paint’s surface.

Use a Car Cover

Parking your car in the garage is an ideal way to keep your paint protected. If you don’t have a garage, though, consider investing in a high-quality car cover. This won’t completely block the sun’s UV rays, but it will significantly reduce the impact on your vehicle’s paint.

However, make sure you’re not covering your vehicle when it’s wet or using a wet cover. This can cause mold to grow on the exterior if the moisture gets trapped inside for too long. It’s also a good idea to take the cover off for a few minutes each day to give your vehicle the chance to “breathe”.

Park in the Shade When You Can

It’s difficult to avoid the sun when you’re out and about, but parking in the shade as much as possible will go a long way in keeping your paint protected. Find areas of covered parking, like parking garages or carports, or park under trees if covered parking isn’t available. If you do park under a tree, keep an eye out for bird droppings or sap. Clean them off as soon as possible, as they can damage your paint.

Damaged Paint? Visit Cline Collision Center!

Whether you have a practical daily commuter or a luxury vehicle, these easy tips will help you keep your factory finish in excellent shape. A pristine paint job isn’t just about maintaining your cat’s value and aesthetics, either—it also helps protect the metal body from structural problems and corrosion that could affect your vehicle’s safety in a collision.

If you already have areas of sun damage or paint damage from an accident, Cline Collision Center can help! As your OEM auto body specialists, we offer comprehensive collision repairs, including painting, dent removal, bumper repair, aluminum body repair, and more. We handle all the insurance coordination on your behalf—and we even throw in complimentary detailing! Call us today at (707) 591-9909 or request an appointment online.