New Trends in Auto Body Repair

New Trends in Auto Body Repair

At Cline Collision Center, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of the auto body repair industry. As technology and methods evolve, we ensure that our services are aligned with the latest trends to provide our customers with the best possible outcomes. Let’s explore the latest trends in auto body repair and how they impact vehicle owners.

Data-Driven Diagnostics for Precision Repairs

One of the most significant advancements in auto body repair is the use of data-driven diagnostics. This technology allows us to use detailed data and analytics to diagnose issues with pinpoint accuracy. By leveraging data, we can gain precise insights into the repairs required, ensuring that we address every issue correctly the first time. This not only improves the quality of the repair but also reduces the time your vehicle spends in the shop.

OEM Certification: Ensuring Top-Quality Repairs

At Cline Collision Center, we are proud to be OEM certified for a range of manufacturers, including Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Kia, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan, Infiniti, Honda, and Acura. This certification means that our technicians have been trained and certified to repair these vehicles to the manufacturer’s standards. Using OEM parts and following OEM repair procedures ensure that your vehicle is restored to its pre-accident condition, maintaining its safety, performance, and value.

Eco-Friendly Practices

Environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important in all industries, and auto body repair is no exception. We have adopted eco-friendly practices such as using waterborne paints instead of solvent-based paints, which significantly reduce the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Additionally, we implement recycling programs for metal, plastic, and glass parts, reducing our environmental footprint and promoting a greener future.

Advanced Materials and Repair Techniques

Modern vehicles are constructed using advanced materials such as high-strength steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. These materials require specialized repair techniques and equipment. Our technicians are trained to handle these materials, ensuring that repairs are performed correctly and safely. By staying updated with the latest repair methods, we can maintain the structural integrity and safety of your vehicle.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are making their way into the auto body repair industry. These technologies assist technicians in visualizing repair processes and training in a simulated environment. By using AR and VR, we can enhance our training programs and improve the accuracy and efficiency of repairs. This cutting-edge approach ensures that our team is well-prepared to handle even the most complex repairs.

Customer Communication and Convenience

We understand that having your vehicle repaired can be a stressful experience. That’s why we prioritize clear and transparent communication with our customers. Modern customer communication tools, such as automated updates and digital inspections, allow us to keep you informed throughout the repair process. Additionally, we offer convenient services such as online booking and estimates to make the repair process as smooth as possible.

Electrification and Hybrid Vehicle Repairs

As more electric and hybrid vehicles hit the road, the need for specialized repair techniques for these vehicles grows. Our team is trained to handle the unique challenges of repairing electric and hybrid vehicles, including working with high-voltage systems and ensuring the proper functioning of electric drivetrains. By staying ahead of this trend, we can provide top-notch service to owners of these environmentally friendly vehicles.

Commitment to Excellence

At Cline Collision Center, we are committed to providing the highest quality repairs and customer service. Our dedication to staying current with industry trends and advancements ensures that we can offer the best possible outcomes for our customers. Whether you need a minor repair or extensive bodywork, you can trust us to restore your vehicle to its optimal condition.  We are honored to serve the Santa Rosa community and look forward to continuing to meet and exceed your expectations.  Please see our reviews for what our customers have to say about our services.

The auto body repair industry is continually evolving, and at Cline Collision Center, we are dedicated to keeping up with these changes. By embracing new technologies and techniques, we ensure that our customers receive the best possible service. If you need auto body repair, trust Cline Collision Center to provide top-quality, OEM-certified repairs that restore your vehicle’s safety and performance.  Make an appointment to get started and we will not disappoint you. 

Should I Pay Cash For Auto Body Repairs Instead Of Filing An Insurance Claim?

Should I Pay Cash For Auto Body Repairs Instead Of Filing An Insurance Claim?

Here at Cline Collision Center, We often encounter customers who are unsure whether to pay cash for auto body repairs or file an insurance claim. It’s a common dilemma among automobile owners, and there are several factors to consider when making this decision.

Should you pay cash for auto body repairs instead of filing an insurance claim? The answer depends on various factors, including the extent of the damage, your insurance deductible, and your personal financial situation.

When you choose to pay cash for auto body repairs, you’re essentially covering the cost out of your own pocket without involving your insurance company. This can be beneficial in certain situations, particularly if the damage is minor and the repair costs are relatively low.

One advantage of paying cash is that it can help you avoid potential increases in your insurance premiums. Filing a claim with your insurance company could lead to higher rates, especially if you have a history of claims or if the damage is deemed your fault.

Another advantage of paying cash is the potential for faster repair turnaround times. Insurance claims often require approval from the insurance company, which can delay the repair process. By paying cash, you can expedite the repairs and get back on the road sooner. Paying cash for auto body repairs can give you more control over the repair process. You can choose the repair shop you trust, negotiate the cost of repairs,  and ensure that the job is done to your satisfaction.

There are also situations where filing an insurance claim may be the better option. If the damage is significant and the repair costs are high, filing a claim can help alleviate the financial burden. If you have a low insurance deductible, the out-of-pocket cost of filing a claim may be minimal.

At Cline Collision Center, we understand that every situation is unique, which is why we offer personalized guidance to help you make the right decision for your needs. Whether you choose to pay cash or file an insurance claim, you can trust our team of experienced technicians to provide high-quality auto body repairs.

In addition to our expert craftsmanship, we also offer a 23% discount on hourly labor for cash payments. This exclusive discount is just one of the ways we strive to make the repair process as convenient and affordable as possible for our customers.

In conclusion, the decision to pay cash for auto body repairs or file an insurance claim depends on various factors, including the extent of the damage, your insurance deductible, and your personal preferences. If you’re unsure which option is best for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Cline Collision Center for guidance. We’re here to help you get back on the road safely and efficiently, no matter which path you choose.

Will My Insurance Rates Go Up if I Choose My Own Body Shop?

Will My Insurance Rates Go Up if I Choose My Own Body Shop?

In the wake of a car accident, you’ll need to decide where to have your auto body repairs performed. Your insurance company may steer you towards one of their preferred shops, but it’s important to understand that you can choose where to go—and your insurance company can’t penalize you for it. 

Understanding the Dynamics Behind Insurance-Recommended Shops

Contrary to what you may have heard, you’re not obligated to use the body shop recommended by your insurance provider. California law states that you can use any body shop you choose—which gives you the freedom to find a shop that meets your needs. In addition, your insurance company cannot raise your rates or penalize you in any way for going to the shop of your choice. 

If you can choose to take your vehicle anywhere, why do insurance providers try to persuade you to use one of their recommended shops? 

In short, insurance companies partner with big box auto body shops in order to save money. Insurers typically will negotiate special rates in return for sending the auto body shops business. This can end up saving the insurance providers a lot of money, and in return, the auto body shops receive a steady flow of business. However, the cost savings from these arrangements seldom trickle down to drivers—and in some cases, you may not receive the quality of repairs you were hoping for. 

Potential Pressure from Insurance Adjusters

Although insurance adjusters can’t penalize you for opting out of their preferred repair shop, they may use tactics to sway your decision. It’s not uncommon for them to tell you that your chosen shop is out of network—while conveniently leaving out that there aren’t any consequences for choosing an out-of-network auto body shop. 

They may also emphasize the additional training their chosen shop has or subtly imply that only their recommended shop can guarantee proper repairs. Sometimes, adjusters might prolong the process, hoping that you’ll break down and choose their preferred option. Ultimately, you have the final say on where you take your vehicle. You’ll need to decide whether you’d like to go with the convenience of a pre-selected shop or find a shop that best fits your needs. 

At Cline Collision Center, we take pride in the fact that we work for you—not your insurance company. Our focus is always on providing reliable factory-level OEM repairs that fully restore the safety, functionality, and appearance of your vehicle. To make your repairs as convenient and stress-free as possible, we also handle the insurance coordination on your behalf. To receive a free estimate or schedule an appointment, contact us today at (707) 591-9909

Don’t Let the Rain Ruin Your Drive: 9 Tips to Prevent Accidents

Don’t Let the Rain Ruin Your Drive:
9 Tips to Prevent Accidents

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The roads and highways throughout the North Bay are known for bustling traffic, and, at times, the daredevil antics of drivers. However, one weather condition adds additional peril to our roadways: rain. According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, 46% of all accidents happen when it’s raining and 70% occur when the pavement is wet. 

At Cline Collision Center, your safety is our top priority, which is why we’re sharing some tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe this rainy season. 

Why Does Rain Increase the Risk of Car Accidents?

Rain causes the roads to become slicker, especially at the beginning of a storm, when the rainwater mixes with oil on the pavement. On its own, wet asphalt provides less traction for your tires, leading to skidding, a loss of control, or hydroplaning. Hydroplaning, which can be extremely hazardous, occurs when a layer of water builds up between a vehicle’s tires and the road. 

Visibility is lower in the rain, especially during torrential downpours, foggy conditions, and at night. If your vehicle’s defroster isn’t working well, the combination of changes in humidity and temperature can cause the windows to fog up and make your visibility worse. In addition, pooling water can hide potential road hazards, such as large potholes. 

While we’re going to go over some tips for driving in the rain safely, it’s important to remember that one of the best things you can do to prepare for wet weather driving is to make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Keep your tires and brakes well-maintained, replace your windshield wipers as needed, and check all your exterior lights from time to time to make sure they’re working properly. 

Tips for Avoiding an Accident in the Rain

When you find yourself behind the wheel on a rainy day, here are 9 tips to help reduce the chances of an accident:

  1. Slow Down: Since wet roads increase the time it takes to slow and stop your vehicle—and the risk of hydroplaning, it’s important to drive slower than you normally would in dry conditions. Aim for reducing your speed by about 1/3.  
  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: The more distance you leave between your vehicle and the car in front of you, the more time you have to react. Doubling your following distance will safely allow for unexpected braking and avoiding hazards on the road. 
  • Exercise Caution When Braking: Avoid hard, sudden braking as much as possible to prevent skidding or losing control of your vehicle. Brake gently and early; not only will this help you reduce the risk of an accident, but it can also help signal to the driver behind you that traffic may be slowing down. 
  • Use Your Headlights: Even if it’s sunny and there’s only a light drizzle, turning on your headlights will make you more visible to other drivers. It’s also required by California law to turn on your headlights any time you need to use your windshield wipers. 
  • Keep Your Windows Clear: Rainy weather often causes the windows to fog up, which can significantly reduce your visibility. Use your defroster to clear the fog; if it’s not working as well or as quickly as you like, roll down your windows to help balance out the temperature difference. 
  • Avoid Standing Water: Potholes often become rainwater traps—and it can be difficult to judge the depth of standing water. To prevent damage to your suspension or electrical components (or potentially stalling your engine in the case of deep water), it’s best to avoid standing water as much as possible. 
  • Follow the Path of the Car in Front of You: If you’re behind another vehicle, try to drive in the path its tires leave on the road. These tracks have already been cleared of some of the water and will give your tires better traction. 
  • Stay Focused on Driving: From GPS to Infotainment Systems, modern vehicles are loaded with distractions. Plan your route ahead of time, keep focused on driving, and only use electronics when you’re safely parked. 
  • Waiting 15 Minutes Before Driving: The first 15 minutes of rainfall are usually the most perilous due to rain and oil mixing and making the road more slippery. If possible, try to wait for road conditions to improve a bit before heading out. 

Unfortunately, even the best safety tips don’t completely eliminate the possibility of car accidents—but if you do find yourself in a fender bender or worse, Cline Collision Center is here to help. We know how stressful accidents can be, which is why we take every step to make your repairs as seamless and hassle-free as possible. We provide high-quality OEM repairs and even coordinate with your insurance company on your behalf. Reach out to us today at (707) 591-9909 or request an appointment online.

Know Your Rights: Choosing a Body Shop for Collision Repairs in California

Know Your Rights: Choosing a Body Shop for Collision Repairs in California

After getting in an accident, it’s not unusual for insurance companies to push you toward using their preferred body shops. Fortunately, as a consumer in California, you have the legal right to choose any body shop you want to handle your repairs. At Cline Collision Center, we understand the importance of these rights and go above and beyond to ensure you choose our shop with confidence. We work collaboratively with all insurance companies, including yours. 

Here’s a closer look at the consumer rights you hold in California regarding auto body repairs, so you can make the most informed decisions about where to take your vehicle. 

Understanding the California Motorists Bill of Rights

The California Motorists Bill of Rights outlines crucial rights and regulations for consumers who are doing business with an auto body repair facility. Here are some key provisions of the bill:

  • Right to Choose the Repair Facility: In California, you have the right to choose the repair facility of your choice, unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise. This allows you to select a reputable body shop that meets your needs and preferences.
  • Notification to Insurance Company: It’s important to notify your insurance company before proceeding with repairs. Insurance policies typically state that you must file a sworn proof of loss, present the damaged property, and submit it to examination under oath.
  • Obtaining Repair Estimates: Contrary to popular belief, you’re not obligated to contact multiple shops for repair estimates. California law mandates that you receive a written estimate from the shop of your choice before the repairs are performed.
  • Responsibility for Repair Costs: As the vehicle’s owner, you’re generally responsible for paying the repair costs directly to the chosen repair facility, unless otherwise specified by your insurance policy. Although your insurance company may cover the loss, deductibles or depreciation may be subtracted. For this reason, it’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions of your policy.
  • Repair Facility Accountability: The Automobile Repair Act of 1971 establishes that all repair dealers in California must be registered with the state, display a sign, and adhere to specific standards. If a repair facility fails to follow these regulations, it can lose its license to operate. The act also includes provisions related to providing accurate information, stating requested repairs in work orders, offering copies of signed documents, and maintaining trade standards.

Click here to read the Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights. 

Recourse for Consumer Disputes

Knowing where to seek recourse in case of difficulties or disputes is essential. Here are two avenues available to you:

  1. Consulting with Insurance Company: If you experience issues with your insurance company, it’s recommended you consult with your insurance agent or broker first. They may be able to provide guidance and address your concerns.
  • Department of Insurance: If the issue wasn’t resolved, you can reach out to the Department of Insurance, State of California by calling their toll-free line at 1-800-927-4357. The Department of Insurance ensures fair practices and can assist you in resolving disputes with your insurer.

Additional Rights and Considerations:

In addition to the rights discussed above, it’s important to be aware of the following:

  • Freedom to Choose a Repair Shop: Insurance companies cannot require, direct, suggest, or recommend a specific repair shop unless you expressly request it in writing. If an insurer elects a particular repair shop, they must ensure the vehicle is restored to its pre-loss condition at no additional cost to you, as stated in the policy or allowed by law.
  • Use of Non-OEM Replacement Parts: Insurers cannot require the use of non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement crash parts for repairs unless the parts are of equal quality, safety, fit, and performance as OEM parts. If non-OEM parts are specified, insurers must cover any necessary modifications and provide warranties equivalent to those of OEM parts.

Choose a Collision Repair Facility That Respects Your Rights

When it comes to auto body repairs in California, knowing and exercising your consumer rights is crucial. By law, you have the freedom to choose any auto body shop for your repairs. 

At Cline Collision Center, we’re dedicated to delivering high-quality auto body repair and refinishing services while prioritizing your safety and satisfaction. Our team upholds a strong code of ethics, emphasizing integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship. We genuinely care about your experience and stand behind all our repairs for as long as you own your vehicle. Whether you need extensive collision damage repair or a minor fix, we’re here to assist you. 

For questions or concerns about your vehicle, or to schedule an appointment contact us today at (707) 591-9909

What You Should Know About Diminished Value Claims

What You Should Know About
Diminished Value Claims

Getting into an accident can be expensive, in more ways than one. Beyond the damage to your car, you may also need to pay for medical care or take time off work. In addition, collision damage also impacts your vehicle’s value, even after it’s been repaired. 

The good news is that auto insurance providers offer a variety of policies designed to cover the different types of losses you might encounter after an accident, including diminished value claims. These claims specifically address the decline in market value your car can suffer after being involved in an accident. 

What Are Diminished Value Claims?

With vehicle collisions, one driver will typically be considered at fault. In California, drivers are allowed to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to compensate for the diminished market value caused by the car accident.

Instead of covering the total value of the vehicle, diminished value claims cover a percentage of the car’s value. Typically, insurance companies limit such claims to 10% of the vehicle’s pre-accident appraised value. Therefore, the maximum payout you can expect to receive from this type of claim is 10% of your car’s value. However, insurers will adjust this percentage based on your vehicle’s mileage before the accident and how much damage it sustained. That means that even if your car has decreased in value by thousands of dollars, you may only receive a few hundred dollars. 

Essentially, these claims are a means of providing additional compensation to drivers who weren’t responsible for an accident but whose vehicles sustained damage. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually pay for the repair or make an offer to fix the not-at-fault driver’s damaged vehicle. 

If the not-at-fault driver believes the vehicle’s value will significantly depreciate after it’s repaired, they can file a diminished value claim to offset the cost of the loss. 

Understanding the 3 Types of Diminished Value Claims

In general, a car loses value in two ways after an accident. First, simply having a record of an accident on the car’s history decreases its value, regardless of the extent of the damage. Secondly, the quality of the repairs and replacement parts can decrease the value. 

Diminished value claims can be categorized into three types, depending on the timing and value of the collision repairs:

  • Immediate diminished value claim: applies to cars that haven’t been repaired yet. This type of claim considers the loss of value from the accident and the need for repairs. 
  • Inherent diminished value claim: made after repairs have been completed and focuses on the decrease in value due to the accident alone. Even if a car appears to be in better condition after the repairs, this type of claim can still award compensation for its inherent diminished value. 
  • Repair-related diminished value claim: compensates for the decrease in value resulting from the parts and repair methods used. For example, a car that’s repaired using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts is more valuable than one repaired using aftermarket parts. 

When Can You File a Diminished Value Claim? 

Certain conditions must be met to file a diminished value claim:

  • You must be deemed not at fault for the accident.
  • The other driver involved in the accident must have insurance. 
  • Your car must have had value before the accident. 
  • You must reside in a state that recognizes diminished value claims.

When insurance companies assign value to a car, they take several factors into account, including:

  • Mileage
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Special features
  • Pre-accident condition

A 20-year-old car with 300,000 miles and missing parts before the accident is unlikely to qualify for a diminished value claim. In contrast, a car with only 8,000 miles in like-new condition before the accident is more likely to receive compensation through a diminished value claim.

Get a free estimate for the diminished value of your vehicle here

Filing a Claim

To file a diminished value claim, you’ll need to submit it to the at-fault driver’s insurance company; check their policies for submitting a claim. The insurance company will ask for specific information, such as a police report determining fault, pictures of the damage, and bills or estimates for repair. You may also need to get an appraisal to determine your car’s value.

If an insurance claim has already compensated you for necessary repairs, filing a diminished value claim can be cost-prohibitive, as the expense of gathering evidence may exceed the final payout. Nevertheless, diminished value claims can provide a safety net if you stand to lose a significant amount of your car’s value, even after repairs.

After an accident, it’s important to understand all of your options for recouping your losses, including diminished value claims. At Cline Collision Center, we understand the importance of OEM repairs and how they can impact the value of your vehicle. Our experienced team has completed training on OEM repair procedures and uses OEM parts to protect your car’s value and ensure its fully restored to its pre-accident condition. If you need repairs or have questions about filing a diminished value claim, contact us today at (707) 591-9909. 

Getting Your Car Ready for a Spring Road Trip

Car on asphalt road in summer

Spring is nearly here, which means better weather and more opportunities to take road trips! However, before you hit the road, make sure your trip will be smooth and hassle-free. One of the best ways to do this is to perform a vehicle check-up and some basic maintenance before you leave. A little foresight and preventive care can go a long way in avoiding issues that can disrupt your plans!

These six tips will help you have a safe trip without any unwanted excitement—like breakdowns or accidents.

  1. Check Your Battery
    Your battery should be in good condition and able to hold a full charge while you’re on the road. If you have a battery tester at home, check the charge, or schedule a battery test at your mechanic or an auto parts store.
  1. Check Your Tire Tread and Air Pressure
    Flat tires and blowouts are two of the most common reasons for breakdowns on road trips. Before leaving, check the depth of your tire tread. For good traction, they should have at least 3/4 inch of tread. Use a tire pressure gauge to check your tire pressure; if it’s low, fill your tires to the recommended level listed near your driver’s side door. It’s also a good idea to make sure your spare tire is in good condition.
  1. Check Your Vehicle’s Fluid Levels
    Make sure all your automotive fluids are filled and in top condition. This includes the oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. If any of them are low, top them off. If your car is due for an oil change, radiator flush, or other fluid exchanges, have these performed before you leave on your trip. Keep an eye out for leaks or signs of old, degraded fluid (such as dark brown or black oil) and schedule repairs or service as needed.
  1. Check Your Brakes
    It probably goes without saying, but faulty brakes are dangerous—especially on longer trips. If you’ve noticed unusual noises while braking, a spongey brake pedal, or that your brakes aren’t as responsive as normal, have them inspected before your trip.
  1. Check Your Electrical Equipment
    Sometimes the less thought-of features on your vehicle can lead to problems on the road. Your electrical equipment, like your lights, windshield wipers, windows, turn signals, and GPS or other connected devices should all be working properly. If any of these are having issues, have them professionally inspected.
  1. Take Care of Any Major Repairs
    If you’ve been putting off any major repairs, including suspension, frame, or bodywork, they should be performed before hitting the road. Vehicle damage can be a safety risk for you and your passengers, and it can increase the chances of experiencing a breakdown. However, make sure to schedule these repairs in advance of your trip to ensure they’ll be done on time.

For High-Quality Auto Body Repair, Visit Cline Collision Center

The last thing anyone wants is to be stressed out about their vehicle during a road trip! Performing these basic checks and routine vehicle maintenance will help you have a reliable ride and complete peace of mind.

If you need auto body repair before your trip—or your vehicle gets damaged during your road trip—Cline Collision Center is here to help. We offer comprehensive auto body repair, ADAS calibration, and headlight restoration to help you stay safe and sound on the road. Contact us at (707) 591-9909 for a free estimate or schedule an appointment online.

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!

If My Airbags Deploy in an Accident, Will My Car Automatically Be Totaled?

Have you ever heard that your car will be totaled if your airbags deploy during a collision? Fortunately, this is a bit of a misconception. While it’s true an accident that causes the airbag to go off will often result in damage that renders the car a total loss, this isn’t always the case. Here’s a closer look at why airbags can total a car and what you can expect from the repair process.

What Does It Mean When a Vehicle is Totaled?

Many people think a car is totaled if the cost of repairs is more than what the vehicle is worth. In general, this is true. To be more exact, the typical guideline is that a vehicle is totaled if the cost of repairs is more than 70% of its value. For example, if your vehicle has a cash value of $5,000, it would be considered totaled once the repair threshold reached $3,500 or more.

We consider several factors when determining whether your car is repairable or a total loss. Likewise, insurance companies and claims adjusters have their own procedures and requirements to take into account. To determine the cost of repairs, everything (including parts, materials, paint, and labor) needs to be factored in, including the cost of airbag replacement. Even though the cost of the replacement airbag likely won’t make your car a total loss, it can significantly increase the total repair cost—which could push your vehicle closer to being considered totaled, especially if you have an older vehicle.

Typically, insurance will cover airbag replacement if:

  • Your car isn’t totaled
  • You’re not at fault for the accident
  • You have collision insurance, which pays for collision damage regardless of who’s at fault

Will I Have to Replace My Airbags After an Accident?

If you were involved in an accident, the airbag sensors were likely triggered, and the airbags may have inflated. Depending on the model of your vehicle, you may only need to have your airbags and the airbag sensor reset. In other cases, you may need a complete replacement. If your airbags need to be replaced, it’s best to have this done as soon as possible; if you’re involved in another accident in the future and you don’t have functional airbags, you risk severe injury or even death.

The Process for Resetting or Repairing Airbags

Here’s an overview of the steps needed to get your airbags repaired and functioning again:

  • Resetting the airbag warning light
    The airbag sensors can be triggered even if the airbags didn’t deploy. Most cars have a warning light that indicates there’s an issue with the airbags; if the light is on, or your airbags went off, you’ll need to have the airbag sensor reset, otherwise the airbags won’t inflate correctly if you get into another accident.
  • Resetting the airbags
    In some models, the airbags can simply be reset after they’ve deployed, as long as they’re not damaged. Resetting the airbags involves putting the airbags back into the airbag module and then resetting the airbag light. However, many newer vehicles don’t allow for the airbags to be reset; your only option is replacement.
  • Airbag replacement
    If the airbags were damaged or the vehicle doesn’t allow them to be reset, you’ll need to have them replaced. This involves removing the entire airbag module and replacing it with a new one. If the airbag was in your steering wheel, you may also need to replace the entire wheel and steering column. Once everything has been installed, the airbag sensor will need to be reset.

After an Accident, Call Cline Collision Center

Getting into an accident is a hassle, even when the damage is minor—but safety should always be your top priority. If the vehicle hasn’t been totaled, it’s well worth it to get your airbags reset or replaced, even if it seems unnecessary.

If you’ve been in an accident and the airbags deployed, or your airbag warning light is on, call Cline Collision Center. We can assess the damage to your vehicle, as well as whether you’ll need to have your airbags reset or replaced. Call us today at (707) 591-9909 to schedule an estimate appointment, or use our convenient online scheduling.

How to Avoid Getting into an Accident 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.

Driving in the rain, whether a light sprinkle or a heavy downpour, is one of the most challenging conditions drivers face. Rain affects visibility, friction on the pavement, vehicle performance, and reaction times. Heavy downpours can make it difficult to see ahead of your vehicle, which can be especially dangerous. Rain also tends to slow traffic, which can lead to backups or stop-and-go traffic that increases the risk of rear-end collisions. Fortunately, if you understand how rain affects all these factors, you can take steps to protect yourself and others on the road.

Here are some simple tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this rainy season:

Prepare Your Vehicle Ready for Rainy Weather

It’s always recommended to get your vehicle ready for the rainy season before it begins to ensure everything is in proper working order. You should:

  • Inspect and replace your windshield wiper blades. Good visibility is one of the most critical factors for driving safely; when your blades are worn, they can smear water across your windshield, rather than clear it. This can distort your vision and make it more difficult to see obstacles while driving. Check your windshield wiper blades for signs of wear and damage, and replace them if needed. If they look ok, you can also test them to see how well they work. If the blades are causing streaks or they aren’t clearing the water away in one swipe, it’s time to replace them.
  • Check all lights and turn signals to make sure they’re working. Not only will your lights help your own visibility, but they’ll make your vehicle visible to other drivers. They’ll also warn other drivers if you’re slowing down or making a turn.
  • Check your tire pressure and tread. A good amount of tread and proper tire pressure will give your tires better traction and help them grip the road. When your tread is low, your tires have more difficulty resisting hydroplaning, which is when your tires ride on the surface of standing water rather than the road. This can be very dangerous – and contrary to what many drivers believe, it can happen even when the roads are slightly damp. If your tires have low tread, they should be replaced.
  • Check your brakes. If your brakes have been squealing, grinding, or vibrating when you push the pedal down, it’s a good idea to have them serviced before wet weather hits. Brake issues can make it more difficult to stop, even in dry conditions, but they can be even more hazardous in the rain.

Drive Slowly

Whether you’re caught in a rainstorm or just a drizzle, it helps to drive slowly. This is because it takes longer to slow down and come to a complete stop when the roads are wet. In addition, the faster you drive, the harder it is for your tire tread to displace the water from your tires. Driving slowly helps reduce the risk of hydroplaning, plus it gives you more time to react to any hazards or obstacles you might encounter. A good rule to follow is to reduce your driving speed by about 1/3 in wet conditions.

Turn on Your Lights

Even if it’s relatively bright outside, turning on your headlights will make your vehicle more visible to other drivers. Having your lights on during adverse weather is also required by California law, so make sure to flick them on when it’s raining, even if you have good visibility.

Know Your Route

Checking maps or adjusting your route while you’re driving can be distracting and increase the risk of getting into an accident. Knowing your route ahead of time is much safer—and less stressful!

Double Your Following Distance

The more distance you leave between your vehicle and the car in front of you, the more time you have to react. Driving distance is important in all weather conditions, but it can make a significant difference in wet weather when stopping distances are longer. The recommended distance while driving in the rain is six seconds, or double what you would normally allow for on a dry, sunny day.

Follow the Path of the Car Ahead of You

When driving behind another car, try to follow its path. The tracks its tires make on the road have already been cleared of some of the water, so you’ll have better traction and a reduced risk of hydroplaning.

Keep Your Windows Clear

Fogged-up windows can reduce visibility just as much as the heaviest downpour, so make sure you’re using your defroster or air conditioning to reduce any fog that builds up. If you find your defroster isn’t working as well as you like, you can also roll down your windows, which will help to balance out the temperature difference.

Keep an Eye on Brake Lights

A good rule of thumb for all driving conditions is to keep an eye on the brake lights in front of you, especially if you can see a few cars ahead. This can alert you to quick slowdowns and give you plenty of time to decelerate if you need to.

Be Cautious Around Pooled Water

If you can’t tell how deep pooled water in the road is, be sure to approach it with caution. Drive through it slowly so you can assess how deep it is. If the puddle is deep enough, it can damage your vehicle’s electrical components and may cause a breakdown.

Be Cautious While Braking

One common reason vehicles collide in rainy weather is drivers slamming on their brakes. Wet roads can cause cars to slide forward—often into the rear end of another car, so make sure you’re braking gently and early. This will prevent you from skidding ahead, and it will alert the driver behind you that traffic is slowing down.

Wait It Out

The first 15 minutes of rain is typically the most dangerous time to drive. This is because the water mixes with oil on the road, making conditions extra slick. After about 15 minutes, the oil starts to get rinsed away. If you’re already en route when it starts to rain and you have the time, you may want to consider stopping for 15 minutes or so before you start driving again. If you haven’t left yet (and it works with your schedule) consider waiting for about 15 minutes or so before heading out.

Go Slow, Be Alert, Stay Safe

No one wants to be involved in an accident. However, staying safe in rainy conditions is easier when you keep your speed low, stay alert to road and traffic conditions, and make an effort to drive safely. Keep plenty of room between you and the car in front of you, and make sure you’re doing what you can to keep your visibility as high as possible.

We hope you never get into an accident, but if you do, we can help! From high-quality OEM repairs to complete insurance coordination, we make your repairs as convenient and stress-free as possible. Contact Cline Collision Center today at (707) 591-9909 or request an appointment online. Stay safe out there!