What Should You Look for After Collision Repair?

Once your car is ready to be picked up from the auto body shop, you might be tempted to immediately drive away and put the whole accident behind you. But how do you know that your car was repaired properly?

The best step to take is to do an inspection before you leave the shop. Although there likely won’t be any problems, it’s easier to address them while your car is still at the repair facility. So, what should you be looking for? Here are a few tips:

  • If possible, pick your car up during the day and make sure it’s outside, so you can easily see flaws in the paint or other issues. A reputable shop will make sure the areas they’ve repaired are clean, so there’s no dirt present to hide any damage.
  • Look at your car up close and far away – sometimes flaws or damage will stand out with a change of perspective.
  • Examine the paint. Do the color and texture match? Even though the best paint jobs won’t be a 100% match to the factory paint, the new paint should blend seamlessly with no noticeable differences. Also, check to make sure there’s no overspray on areas that shouldn’t have paint.
  • Check the panel gaps (the spaces between the body panels) to make sure they’re even.
  • Open and close the doors, hood, trunk, or tailgate. Everything should open and close easily. Check that your windows also open and close easily if you had repairs on either of the doors.
  • How do the edges between the tires and edges of the fenders look? If the body and the frame are aligned properly, they should match side to side.

Test Drive

If you’ve had any mechanical repairs, it’s also important to take your car for a test drive.

  • Start the engine and look at the dashboard – are there any warning lights? If the vehicle was repaired properly, all the error codes should be cleared.
  • Turn on your headlights while facing a wall; if there are headlight alignment issues, this should be easy to spot. Also, check to make sure your brake lights, blinkers, and hazards are working properly.
  • While you’re driving, pay close attention to your car. How does it feel? Do you notice any odd vibrations or rattling? Does the steering react the way it did before the accident? How about tracking? Does your car stay straight when you brake or does it seem to pull to one side?
  • Throughout your drive, you should also keep an eye on the engine temperature because uncorrected front-end damage can lead to coolant leaks or prevent the radiator from getting enough ventilation to remove heat from the coolant.

Other Considerations and Repair Issues

  • Poor alignment
    If your car is pulling in one direction after the repair, this could indicate that the frame is bent or a misaligned unibody. Although some frames and unibodies can be straightened after a collision, others cannot, and they typically won’t drive straight. Not only does this cause poor handling, but it also can cause rapid tire wear.
  • Clipping
    This is something you definitely don’t want to see on your vehicle! Clipping refers to a repair method where an entire section from another vehicle has been welded onto your vehicle. While this was a common practice decades ago, it’s not recommended for newer vehicles, which are made from lightweight high-strength materials. Welding a new section to a new vehicle could compromise your safety by creating structural weaknesses.
  • Airbags
    Were your airbags replaced? Unfortunately, there have been rare cases of unscrupulous shops charging insurance companies for a new bag, only to turn around and sell it. Check to see if your airbag light is on or if the center of your steering wheel column sounds hollow after your knock on it.
  • Aftermarket and used parts
    Some insurance companies may push for auto body shops to use aftermarket or used parts, which are lower in cost. Unfortunately, these parts may not meet the original manufacturer’s specifications or they may even go against the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ask the shop to show you an invoice or receipt for the parts used on your car. The parts used could make a big difference if you were to get into another accident.
  • Torque
    If you had parts replaced in your suspension system, they need to be torqued to the manufacturer’s specifications. Failing to do so could result in a loose assembly that will affect your handling and performance. Ask the auto body shop which procedures they use when replacing suspension parts and if they can provide the torque specification.

What’s next?

If you’ve inspected your vehicle and aren’t satisfied, make sure to mention this to the shop immediately. A reputable shop should be willing to correct any issues you find.

Of course, the best way to prevent issues in the first place is by choosing the right shop! At Cline Collision Center, we use only OEM parts and repair methods, and we stand by every repair. We perform a thorough check on all vehicles before they’re released, and we’re always happy to go over any and all repairs that were completed on your vehicle. Our goal is always to return your car to its perfect pre-accident condition – and for you to drive away 100% happy!

To avoid common issues and pitfalls with auto body repair, give us a call today at 707-591-9909 or schedule an appointment online!

Do I Have A Say In How My Car Is Repaired?

There is nothing better than jumping into the 2004 Nissan Xterra you’ve had since high school graduation, and heading out to the beach, right? But, bummer, dude, you just got into a fender bender. Now the ocean is a distant dream and your trusted friend needs some love. Where do you go to make sure your car gets fixed right? Did you know that not all replacement parts are created equal? That some parts are of higher quality than others?

Not all people know that the type of parts that collision repair shops use makes a significant difference in the quality of repairs you get. If you want to make sure your Nissan will soon be looking good and get you back out to the surf, then catch this wave and read on.

What is OEM? Why Are These Parts Better?

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by the car’s original manufacturer. It is what was installed by the factory when your car rolled off the line. An aftermarket part is made by another company and designed to look and function like the original. Some companies focus on building exceptional quality aftermarket parts that they can sometimes be even better than the original. Unfortunately, for many other parts makers (and the shops that buy them), price is much more important than quality. These cheap knockoffs might not fit your car and definitely won’t last as long or be as safe.

How do I know if I’m getting OEM parts?

Do I Have A Say In How My Car Is Repaired

One way is to purchase an OEM endorsement, a clause in your insurance policy that guarantees the repair shop uses OEM parts. You pay extra for an OEM endorsement, but without this, insurance companies will try to steer you toward shops that use aftermarket parts. This works out well for insurers because these repairs cost them less. It’s not as good for you. Parts not made by the manufacturer may not look quite right. Worse, though, aftermarket parts can also fail and cause your vehicle to become unsafe.

Are there other ways to guarantee I am getting OEM repairs?

You can take your beloved Xterra or any other car or truck to Cline Collision Center. We are ASE-certified, with OEM certifications from NissanInfiniti, Fiat/Chrysler (FCA), Honda/AcuraFord, Hyundai, and Kia. We have earned Gold Class status from I-CAR, a designation that lets you know that everyone who touches your car is highly trained understands new vehicle technologies and repairs. We will also help you navigate insurance. If integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship are important to you, too, call 707-591-9909 or contact us online 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!

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.


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:


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.

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!

Your Auto Body Advocate

The Cline Collision Center process for repairing your vehicle.

Getting into an accident or damaging your car is one of the most inconvenient and stressful situations. It’s likely you won’t know what to do when it comes to dealing with your car insurance company and the auto body repair process.

That is where Cline Collision Center comes in. Our mission is to be our customer’s advocate. We know your situation is stressful and we understand the lingo and terminology your insurance company might be asking you. This is why we established a process for auto body repairs that removes the stress and delivers an exceptional finished vehicle for our customers.

The Cline Collision Center Vehicle Repair Process:

  1. File Claim with Insurance Company: Before Cline Collision Center can get started, you must file a claim and provide a statement with your insurance company.
  2. Call Cline Collision Center: Once you have your claim number you can provide it to us and we’ll get started.
  3. Estimates, Approvals and Loaner Car: Our Manager, Joe, will be the one who takes your claim number and begins working with your insurance company on an estimate for repairs. This will be the time that we also coordinate a loaner car to have during the duration of the repair.
  4. Prep for Repairs: Upon estimate approval, your car will be disassembled and repairs will be scheduled. OEM parts will be ordered, paint colors determined and repairs can begin.
  5. Structure Repairs: Our highly trained team will begin repairing your vehicle and bring it back to new.
  6. Body Work: Exterior panels and finishing will be replaced.
  7. Paint Shop: After the body work is completed, your vehicle enters our paint shop. We utilize only the best brands (Spies Hecker, Dupont and Axalta among others).
  8. Assembly: Our team will put all of the repaired panels back on the vehicle. Inspections are made to ensure every component is perfect.
  9. Detail: Upon sign off of repair, we then detail the car to make sure it looks pristine.

Communication is Key

We communicate with our customers through every step of the auto body repair process. We know how inconvenient it is for you and we want to make sure you feel at ease and informed. With Cline Collision Center being a Santa Rosa Gold Class Repair Shop by i-Car, and committed to only using OEM parts, you can rest assured your car is in good hands.

Get the best parts-and the best service at Cline Collision Center.

Schedule an appointment.

What is auto collision repair?

Auto collision repair is when trained automotive technicians fix the damaged parts and bodies of cars and other vehicles that have been damaged by accidents, weather, or other incidents. Collision repair can include dent removal, scratch removal, auto glass replacement, paint matching, straightening out bent metal, replacing doors or panels, auto detailing, and more. Many technicians also work directly with insurance providers to make sure any work is covered. what is auto collision repair?

Ideally, when you come in for auto collision repair, your chosen technician will be able to repair your car so it looks the way it did before the damage. In some cases, they may offer additional detailing to make it look as good as new. Detailing can involve minor scratch buffing, repainting, wax, polish, interior repairs, and other small jobs that refresh the car and make it look its best. When most people come in for collision repair, they’re looking for more extensive work. Car accidents can result in anything from tiny dents to completely totaled cars. There are a lot of different things that can go wrong in a collision – shattered windshields, bent frames, broken axels, torn bumpers, and so much more.

At Cline Collision, we use a variety of tools to help with the job, including the latest in dent removal and repair technology. We include free auto detailing for our customers as a thank you for their business and you can track the status of your repair right on our website. Our work speaks for itself, along with our many customer reviews about the quality of our service. We are OEM Certified by Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, MOPAR, SRT, Ford, Hyundai, Infinti, Nissan, Kia, Honda, and Acura. Our auto technicians will make sure your car looks as good as the day you drove it off the lot. Have other questions about auto collision repair? Just let us know.