12 Common Car Myths Debunked

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 Some of these tips are outdated in relation to newer vehicles, while others have always been downright false.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

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

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

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

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

What’s Causing My Car’s Paint to Fade?

Repair of Aluminum Panels Shows Our Shop’s Commitment to Future

Have you noticed your car’s paint isn’t as shiny and vibrant as it once was? Although vehicle paint can withstand a lot, it’s not invincible. There are many things that can cause the paint to become dull or faded over time. Thankfully, understanding why this happens can help you take steps to protect your paint and preserve its longevity.

Some of the most common reasons car paint becomes faded include:

  • Sunlight
    The number one cause of faded paint is oxidation from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays cause heat to build up underneath the clear coat, which mixes with oxygen. This causes the molecular breakdown of the paint’s structure. In the early stages of oxidation, the color will begin to fade and become noticeably less vibrant. As the damage progresses, the surface of the paint will start to feel rough or dusty. Then, the clear coat will begin to flake off. If the metal underneath the paint becomes exposed, it’s at risk of developing rust—which can compromise the vehicle’s structural integrity and safety.
  • Salt
    Salt is very corrosive, especially if it’s left on the paint for an extended period of time. The sun’s UV rays will heat up the salt crystals, which can cause them to eat away at the paint and cause the color to fade. Salt can also cause rust formation.
  • Exhaust
    Believe it or not, even the unburnt fuel from your car’s exhaust can damage the paint. Carbon particulates are typically hard and jagged, which allows them to bind to the clear coat and cause the paint to become exposed. Exhaust particles can also contribute to oxidation.
  • Car Washes
    Some car washes use spinning plastic brushes that can damage the paint and cause the clear coat to look dull. They may also use strong soaps that can lessen the shiny finish of the clear coat.
  • Improper Hand-Washing Methods
    Just like the spinning plastic brushes at the car wash, improper hand-washing methods can affect your car’s luster. Harsh soaps and bristle brushes can lead to paint damage and an overall dull appearance.
  • Acid Rain
    Acid rain contains acidic elements that can cause damage if they’re allowed to accumulate on your car’s exterior. Studies have even shown that acidic material can remain on the paint after the water has evaporated. Over time, this can ruin the paint and even weaken the metal below.

Fading Prevention and Repainting

To prevent your paint from fading, it’s best to park your vehicle in a garage or shaded area whenever possible. If you don’t have a garage or shade to park under, you may want to consider using a car cover. Since various impurities (like bird droppings, dead insects, sap, salt, and exhaust) can damage the paint over time, you should also have your car professionally washed and waxed every few weeks.

If your car paint is faded or has been damaged in an accident, contact Cline Collision Center for expert paint matching and repainting services that will help your vehicle regain its luster in no time! Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or request an appointment online.

Don’t Drive with One Eye Closed, Replace that Headlight!

Driving at night without your lights is dangerous and reckless, and you shouldn’t do it, agreed? This is because you need to see as far down the road as possible to avoid running into something avoidable.

Cracked Windshield

Driving with a headlight out is at least half as careless then, isn’t it? In fact, driving at night with anything less than the most light possible can result in hitting unexpected objects or animals in the road or not seeing an upcoming turn until its too late.

Aside from injuring yourself or someone else and the damage you can do to your car, you can also get pulled over when a headlight is out. Nobody needs the hassle and cost of a fix-it ticket. So what do you do when you notice your headlight is out?

Replace Those Bulbs

One rule-of-thumb is if one bulb is out, the other isn’t far behind. Go ahead and replace them both. Newer bulbs are up to 30% brighter than older bulbs and can give you up to 25% more visibility. That might be the difference between slowing down to avoid a deer or colliding with it because you never saw it. There are three types of bulbs to choose from to give you better night vision:

  • Halogen: Halogen headlights use a special filament mixed with halogen gas to generate a much brighter light than conventional headlights.
  • Xenon/HID: Instead of using a heated filament, Xenon headlights use gas. Xenon lights are brighter, have a lower operating temperature, and last longer. Unfortunately, they can be more expensive, and professional installation may be recommended.
  • LED: The advantage of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have over halogen bulbs is that they draw less power to operate, run cooler than halogen lights, and last much longer. Most newer vehicles come equipped with LED headlights from the factory. These last so long that you’re probably not even reading this article!

When Bulb Replacement Isn’t Enough

Over time, your lenses can get dirty with a buildup of dirt and grime. It’s good to clean them off from time to time to maximize your ability to see at night. Unfortunately, no matter if it is night or day, you might find yourself in a fender-bender. When that happens, bring your car into the experts at Cline Collision Center. We are committed to integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship. Whether you have major damage or just need a quick fix to get you safely back on the road, we like to say that choosing Cline Collision Center is no accident! Contact us online or call 707-591-9909 today!

Ask George or Abe? How Much Tire Tread is Enough?

Maybe you’ve noticed. The cost of goods and services keeps going up. We’ve noticed, too. Though we do everything we can to keep prices down, there’s one area where inflation isn’t just acceptable. It’s preferable.

The tire tread test.

Close Up Of Tire Tread

We want you to be safe and avoid trouble as much as possible. This means having tires with plenty of tread on them. For years, the recommendation from automotive experts was to use a penny to check tire tread wear. The idea was to hold a penny so that you can see the front of it. With Abe Lincoln upside-down, go ahead and rest the penny in the tread grooves. If you can see honest Abe’s whole head, then you only have 1/16” or less of tread remaining.

For decades, this has been called the Penny Test and signified that it was the time to replace your tires. 

Automotive specialists have been rethinking that rule. It may not be enough in the most critical situations. You need more grip on the road when you have to come to a sudden stop on a rainy day. The latest research shows that on a slick road, 1/16” of an inch might not stop you until it is too late! That’s why we no longer advise you to use a penny.

It’ll cost you a quarter now!

Remember, George Washington didn’t lie about the cherry tree, and he certainly won’t lie about your tires. Run the same test with a quarter. If our first president’s whole head is visible, it means you have less than 1/8 of an inch—and it’s time to get a new set of tires.

Once you get your new tires, be sure to keep them properly inflated. Also, don’t forget to have them rotated every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. We want you and your tires to safely roll down the road for miles and miles.

This doesn’t always happen, though. If you run into trouble, or trouble runs into you, call Cline Collision Center. We will help you navigate insurance and 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 and understands new vehicle technologies and repairs. If you value integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship, call 707-591-9909 or contact us online today!

Common Mistakes Performing Wheel Alignments When Damage Still Exists

When the stars are aligned, everything is right in the world. The traffic lights are all green. You get the job you wanted. You meet that special someone.

The same is true when your wheels are aligned. Your car steers straight. There’s no vibration. Your tires wear evenly. Everything works the way it should!

The problem is, after a collision, proper alignment can be hard to achieve. Not all shops are meticulous about structural and suspension parts damage.

Common Mistakes Performing Wheel Alignments When Damage Still Exists

Structural damage refers to any underlying damage to the structure or underpinnings of a vehicle. Back in the day, when manufacturers built vehicles body-on-frame, they called this a “bent frame.” Only trucks retain this older design, which bonds together the body and ladder-like frame. Most cars today are based on unibody construction. Panels and the underlying chassis are one piece, reducing weight while maintaining integrity.

An impact can cause the frame or unibody to bend. In particular, the design of unibody construction causes the structure to collapse and absorb the energy of the collision. Significant structural damage is often the result.

What’s this all mean to you?

It means you need autobody experts on your side when repairing your vehicle. We make sure that your car or truck is structurally sound. The wheels can’t be aligned if the vehicle isn’t. There’s no almost or close enough here. Specifications for this are exacting, and we are too. Your safety means too much to us.

We also check for damage to suspension parts, which can be overlooked. These parts must be three-dimensionally correct. If struts, shock absorbers, arms, bars, or other items are even slightly bent or damaged in any way, a post-repair tire alignment will quickly deteriorate. Your tires will begin to show irregular wear. You’ll notice that the vehicle trembles at higher speeds or that you have to steer straight.

You won’t have to worry about this when you bring your vehicle to Cline Collision Center. Your stars will suddenly align, and we’ll proudly bring your vehicle back to pre-collision condition. This includes wheel alignment that lasts because we won’t rest until every element of your repair meets our high standards. Our Gold Class certification tells you that we find hidden damage and make the right repairs to ensure your safety.

For dent removal to high-end painting and auto detailing you can trust, contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!