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 Some of these tips are outdated in relation to newer vehicles, while others have always been downright false.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.

Two Mechanics discussion on car damage inspection ,professional working team auto car repairing center concept ,senior staff coaching the new employ mechanic concept
  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.

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!

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.