Collision Avoidance Systems: The Real Truth

Collision Avoidance Systems: The Real Truth

The advancements made in automotive safety over the past 20 years have been nothing short of revolutionary. Although all drivers know they need to keep their focus on the road, mistakes can happen; that’s where Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS) come into play. However, it’s important to understand that although CAS technology is extremely beneficial for improving road safety, it has its limitations and is designed to enhance (rather than replace) your vigilance on the road. 

What Are Collision Avoidance Systems?

Collision Avoidance Systems are a type of Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technology that includes a variety of features that help drivers avoid accidents. These include lane departure warnings, forward collision warnings, active and automatic braking systems, blind-spot monitoring, and rearview cameras. These technologies monitor what’s happening on the road and either alert drivers about potential hazards or make autonomous corrections to prevent an accident. 

CAS features are now used widely in the majority of late-model vehicles, and while they have been shown to reduce accidents, studies have also found that their performance can be greatly affected by visibility and maintenance. There are some situations where they may not work as well, such as extremely foggy or snowy conditions, or if the cameras are affected by an intense glare. Likewise, sudden impacts, such as a fender bender, can jolt sensors and other delicate equipment out of place—which can lead to inaccurate readings. 

How Do Collision Avoidance Systems Work?

Many CAS features rely on cameras positioned throughout the vehicle to continually monitor its surroundings. The cameras are designed to identify lane markers, vehicles, and other obstacles, but they can have trouble in conditions where something is obscuring their view—such as snow covering the road, a nearby car hidden in heavy fog, or a lane marker with worn and faded paint. 

Blind-spot monitoring (BSM) usually relies on radar technology located in the rear fender. Although it’s generally dependable, radar can have trouble monitoring the road if the lens gets wet. In addition, most cars don’t warn you if the collision avoidance system is offline or is having trouble detecting the road conditions it’s supposed to be monitoring. 

With these limitations in mind, it’s important not to rely on collision avoidance systems completely. You should still focus on keeping your eyes on the road at all times and avoid distractions. 

Emerging Technologies and Their Impact on Vehicle Safety

Vehicle safety technology doesn’t stop at just collision avoidance systems, however. Here are some of the latest technologies designed to improve safety and prevent accidents: 

  • Rear and Side Camera Improvements: All new vehicles are now required to have rear cameras. Improvements are also being made in side cameras to help prevent backup accidents and eliminate blind spots. 
  • Headlight Advancements: Adaptive headlights adjust their brightness depending on the vehicle’s speed and direction, which helps improve visibility at night and in challenging road conditions. 
  • Parking Assistance: Parking is made easier with the help of parking sensors, rear cameras, automatic parking systems, and apps designed to locate parking spaces.
  • Advanced Braking and Steering Systems: Forwards-Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking systems significantly decrease the chances of getting into a rear-end collision, while Electronic Stability Control corrects the steering when a vehicle skids or loses traction. 

In addition, Augmented Reality (AR) is poised to be another game-changer for vehicle safety by improving navigation, vehicle diagnostics, and even the car buying experience through enhanced information delivery. 

Autonomous Vehicle Accidents: Who’s At Fault?

Google conducted several real-world tests with autonomous vehicles from 2009 – 2012, driving them in a variety of road conditions. What they found was that as time went by and the technology progressed, the risk of accidents went up. 

With autonomous vehicles becoming more commonplace, it raises an important question: if a self-driving vehicle gets into an accident with little to no human intervention, who’s at fault? In most cases, the responsibility lies with the manufacturer. 

Volvo stated in 2015 that the company would accept full liability for accidents involving its autonomous technology. Other manufacturers were expected to follow suit, until May 2016, when a driver was killed in their Tesla Model S using the autopilot feature. Since Tesla has stated that this feature requires human control for safe driving, the driver was eventually determined to be at fault. 

It’s important to remember that self-driving cars have varying levels of autonomous technology, and like CAS features, should still be treated cautiously. Additionally, the level of autonomy in self-driving cars matters when it comes to liability and insurance.

Navigating Automotive Safety: Balancing Technology with Responsibility

Automotive safety is an evolving landscape that relies not only on technological advancements but also on responsible driving. CAS, AR, and autonomous technologies, while helpful, shouldn’t be solely relied on to keep you safe on the road. Understanding how these technologies work and their limitations is essential. 

When accidents happen, knowing where to go for expert collision repair is just as important. Cline Collision Center is here to bring your vehicle back to its pre-accident condition. From minor dents to ADAS calibration, we’re committed to providing high-quality OEM repairs that keep your vehicle safe and reliable. Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or schedule an appointment online. 

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.

How to Protect Your Car’s Paint from the Heat

The car's paintwork. Abstract background in classic blue. Trend color. Close up. The texture of the paint

It’s common to hear about “winterizing” your vehicle, but what about bracing it for the dog days of summer? Although frigid temperatures take a toll on your vehicle, warm sunny days can also affect your car’s interior—and paint. Without proper sun and heat protection, you could end up with a patchy paint job years from now.

Fortunately, protecting the finish and paint is fairly simple. By following these easy steps, you can head off heat damage, boost your car’s curb appeal, and protect its resale value!

Wash It

Car washes do more than just keep your car looking clean shiny. Car washes remove dirt and debris that can create miniature scratches on your vehicle’s finish. They also help to remove harmful acidic residues that can cause discoloration or etching over time, like dead bugs or bird droppings. Although you may be tempted to let your car drip dry, this can leave behind mineral deposits that can also damage the paint over time. Use a soft, clean cloth to dry the exterior and remove any water.

Wax It

UV rays can cause the paint to crack and fade, as well as break down rubber, vinyl, and leather. Once your car is clean and shiny, applying wax will add a defensive layer between the paint and the sun. Wax also has the benefit of preventing pitting in the paint and dirt, grime, and other grit from attaching to the finish.

Engine Heat

Heat and light from the sun are damaging to your paint, but what about heat from your engine? As the working temperature of the engine gets hotter during warm summer days, it can take longer for the engine to cool down. In turn, the extra heat from the engine can transfer to the hood and the paint. Ensuring your car’s cooling system is in good working order will help the engine run cooler and minimize the chances of hood heat damage.

Seek Out Shade

Parking in the shade helps keep your interior cooler; it has the same effect on your car’s exterior. By parking in the shade, fewer UV rays can reach the car and the general heat stress is reduced. If there’s no shade in sight, consider using a car cover or sun reflectors in the windows to prevent interior fading and keep the temperature cooler.

Don’t Forget the Interior!

Although we’re focusing on the paint, it’s still worth mentioning that the interior can use some love during the summer, too. The scorching heat from the sun can bake grime into the dashboard and other surfaces. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to use household cleansers (like soapy water) to clean the surfaces, although you can also find auto-specific cleansing products that include UV protection. Check your owner’s manual to see if there are any suggested cleansers (or ones to avoid).

Patchy Paint or Other Exterior Woes? Contact Cline Collision Center!

By following these simple tips, you can protect your car from harmful light and heat and keep it looking great for years to come. But what if your vehicle has paint damage from a collision? Bring it to the pros at Cline Collision Center! With our expert painting services and OEM factory-certified auto body repair on a wide range of makes, we’ll have your vehicle back to its pre-accident condition in no time. And we throw in a complimentary auto detailing! Call us today at 707-591-9909 or request an appointment online.

OEM Certification Requires Culture Shift for Body Shops

There’s a giant gap between body shops willing to invest in the training, tools, and equipment to perform proper repairs and those that aren’t, according to a recent article in Body Shop Business. Experts note that there are a relative handful of really good autobody shops in the county. After those elite shops, there is a steep decline.  

For those that aren’t there yet, getting up to date and staying there is an uphill climb.

First, there is the cost. Training requires technicians to take time away from the repairs that make money for shops. Acquiring proper tools and state-of-the-art equipment isn’t cheap either. It requires a culture shift away from short-term profits to long term thinking.

Management has to completely change their thinking. They need to switch from relentlessly maximizing productive hours and bottom-line numbers to building a new blueprint for estimating and parts procurement that includes new training and equipment.   

Why does this culture shift need to happen now?

Technology is changing so quickly that shops not investing now will only fall further behind. Owners who don’t put money into training, tools, and equipment is guaranteeing poor quality for their customers.

This isn’t just about money. It is also about mindset. For those that have been in business 20 years, they may resist these changes. “I know what I’m doing,” they say. But this opposition will leave them unprepared as the auto industry hurtles forward.

Experts suggest that everyone in the shop needs to be willing to learn. Approaching the business as a perpetual student is the only way to give customers and their cars the safe reliable service they need. As the rate of technological change increases, so does the need for education and equipment that moves shops into the future.

Cline Collision Center continues to invest so that it is an elite autobody shop now, as well as in the future. We are FCA US Certified. This guarantees that we use OEM parts in repairs, ensuring fit and function you can depend on. It also tells you our technicians are trained to restore your vehicle to pre-collision condition. We are also certified by Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Hyundai, Infinity/Nissan, Kia and Honda for services including auto detailingdent removal, and exact-match painting. Contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!

Helpful Hints

What to do if you are involved in an accident:

  1. Stop. Stay calm. Do not leave the scene.
  2. Call law enforcement authorities immediately.
  3. Do not discuss the accident with anyone except the police or your insurance company. Do not pay the other party.
  4. Secure the names and addresses of involved parties and witnesses.
  5. Have your vehicle towed to Cline Collision Center if it’s illegal or unsafe to drive. If your vehicle is legal and safe to drive, give us a call A.S.A.P.
  6. Notify your insurance company and inform them you have chosen Cline Collision Center to perform the repairs to your vehicle.

Facts you should know:

  1. You are not required to get more than one estimate.
  2. It’s your choice to choose a shop to repair your vehicle. You are not required to take your car to a shop selected by a claims adjuster. However, you are required by your policy to allow your insurance company a reason able amount of time to inspect the damages prior to repairing them.
  3. As the registered owner of your vehicle, only you can authorize any and all repairs to be done.
  4. Repair estimates will vary. A lower estimate may not include necessary parts and/or materials. It’s your vehicle, make sure it’s repaired to your satisfaction.
  5. Review your Policy. Understand your rights and responsibilities as well as your obligations. Your insurance company wants your vehicle properly repaired and for you to be completely satisfied with their claims service. Reviewing your Policy will help in understanding how the claims process works.
  6. Since the vehicle is being repaired for you, you are required to insure payment is made upon completion of repairs. To avoid any delays, be sure to secure payment from your insurance company. Also, if need be, have in your possession, any necessary endorsement from lien holders.

Our shop stands ready to assist you in any of these matters. We will work closely with you to minimize your inconvenience and maximize your satisfaction.This is our pledge to you.

How to protect your vehicle’s finish:

  1. Avoid car washes that use rotating brushes and harsh cleaners. Use soft cloths when washing your vehicle.
  2. Avoid waxing for 3 months after any painting has been done to your vehicle. After three months you should apply wax at least twice a year.
  3. Wash off any gas, oil, or fluid spills of any kind immediately with soap and water. Do not just wipe off.
  4. Always wash off any bird droppings, tree sap, or other signs of contamination immediately. “This is very important.”

Should I Go To My Insurance Company’s Preferred Auto Body Shop?

What Body Auto Shop Should I go to?

When you first get into an automobile accident, you may have a million questions on your mind. Such as, does my insurance cover this? Is the other driver insured? Should I go to my insurance company’s preferred auto body shop? While we may not have all the answers, we can certainly assist you in the decision making process when it comes to choosing the right auto shop for you.

A few years ago, the California legislature decided that it was unfair to force consumers to use the repair shop recommended by their insurance company. This means not only do you have the flexibility to choose your own mechanic, but you must be informed in writing of your right to a body shop of your choice. While your car insurance company will provide their list of preferred shops, you are the ultimate decision maker. Don’t feel pressured into taking your vehicle to a company that you don’t trust!

High Quality Service

Cline Collision Center recommends that consumers select an auto body shop of their choice for several reasons. For instance, if you’ve already developed a relationship with a specific auto body shop, you can trust them with the care of your automobile. Familiarity breeds trust, and you’re more likely to get a reasonable quote with a guarantee. Furthermore, your insurance company will communicate with your preferred auto shop to ensure that you will not have to pay out of pocket.
By exercising your right to choose, you can make the most informed decision. If you haven’t already worked with us, we want you to know that Cline Collision Center is one of the highest rated auto body shops on Yelp. We specialize in hassle-free collision repair, and we promise to restore your vehicle to its former condition. We’re experienced in handling insurance company paperwork, and we stand by the quality of our work with a full written warranty. On top of all that, we like to throw in a free detailing because our customers deserve the best.

Ultimately, you have the right to choose which auto body shop you take your car to. We suggest that you do your research, ask for recommendations from friends and family members, or simply return to your preferred mechanic. For more information regarding car insurance preferred shops and our suggestions to you, give Cline Collision Center a call today!

What to Know About Paint Matching

Getting into a fender-bender is stressful enough without being constantly reminded about the work your car needs thanks to a dent and scratched paint. It’s hard to look at your once-pristine car and see that big scrape mark every day. Time to get it taken care of!

Where to start? Many auto body repair shops offer paint matching, but there are a few things you should know before selecting a shop. Look at their portfolio if they have one – it should include pictures. Can you see before and after shots of cars that have gone through that garage? How do they look? If you’re satisfied that the paint work looks good, you should follow up by asking about the method and paint matching equipment that the shop uses.

Here at Cline Collision, we use updated special equipment to make sure we match your car’s paint correctly every time. If your car has its original factory color, we’ll check the VIN number on your car, then use it to obtain the specific paint code. This way, we can make sure we’re putting the same color on your car that your original manufacturer used when it was created. In addition, a special camera will take pictures of your car’s finish to ensure that we’re matching the color perfectly. We can even match custom colors, so if you’re worried your expensive custom paint job is ruined, no worries… we’ll patch it up!

If you have any questions about paint matching or would like to see how we do it in the shop, feel free to give us a call or stop by. You can’t find the same equipment and method used everywhere, so it’s always a good idea to do your research first. We’ll even complete your insurance paperwork for you – just bring your claim number!