9 Safety Essentials to Keep in Your Car This Summer

car on road

Summer’s here and everyone’s hitting the road to travel. The last thing you want on your trip is to break down on the side of the road and be left stranded. Keep these 9 safety essentials in your car this summer to avoid any mishaps on the side of the road.

  1. Water – In the summer, temperatures in a car can hit record limits. These hot temperatures can increase your risk of dehydration. Be sure to stay hydrated and keep plenty of extra water in the car in case you should break down.
  2. Warning Devices – Anything from a car accident to a mechanical breakdown can cause your car to be inoperable and create a dangerous situation. Warning devices can alert oncoming drivers of your car.
  3. First Aid Kit – Whether you’re driving across country or just around town, it’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your car. Make sure that this kit includes bandages, instant ice packs, insect repellent and sunscreen.
  4. Sun Shelter – If your car should break down on a really hot day where there is no shade anywhere to be found, your car can become uncomfortably or even dangerously hot. A pop-up shelter is a great affordable, effective way to keep you cool outside of the vehicle.
  5. Portable Phone Charger – Now-a-days, we rely on our phones for just about everything. From a gps, to calling for help, it can provide a lot when broken down on the side of the road. Keep a portable battery in your car incase your phone dies while you are broken down.
  6. Spare Tire – A flat tire can ruin anyone’s day. Most cars come with a spare donut that can be driven on for 70 miles, just enough to get you to a car shop. Be sure that your car is at least equipped with a donut, if not a full spare tire.
  7. Fire Extinguisher – Keeping a fire extinguisher in your vehicle can help prevent a small fire from becoming out of control. Make sure the fire extinguisher is rated Class B or Class C by the NFPA.
  8. Portable Car Battery Charger – A dead car battery is a quick fix but not when you’re without jumper cables… and another vehicle. Portable battery chargers are a great alternative to jumper cables because they don’t require another car’s help. Most are small and powerful but inexpensive!
  9. Tools – You never know what you’re going to need on a road trip, but you definitely don’t want to pack an entire tool box. Invest in an multi-tool that has all of the essentials but is compact and lightweight!

If you should come into some car trouble, call Marblehead Collision for a tow and repair! 781-631-2218

Why You Should Have Your Car Inspected This Spring!

car in autobody shop

With springtime almost here, you’ll want to get your car cleaned up and tuned up for summer use. Removing salt from your car is not the only thing that you should be worried about after a long, harsh winter. While salt can cause serious damage to your car, there are many other ways winter can harm your vehicle. Here are a few things we suggest to have inspected before hitting the road this spring.

Tire Rotation

Rotating your tires helps maintain an even amount of tread-wear on all four tires, causing them to last longer. Depending on if you have rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, the wearing down of your tires can differ, especially due to the snow and ice. If you have put winter tires on your car, it’s a good idea to take them off as soon as you don’t need them anymore in order to extend their lifespan.

Brake Inspection

Brakes often wear thin in the winter because people tend to “ride the brakes” when the weather is bad. Brakes that make a squealing noise usually mean that the brake pads are wearing thin, while brakes that make a grinding noise usually mean that they’ve worn down past the pads, all the way to the rotors.

Wheel Alignment

Massachusetts suffers severely from winter weather. Plows are constantly ripping up the road and creating major potholes that can sometimes be impossible to avoid. These potholes can cause a considerable amount of damage to your tire and axle alignment. If your car is pulling to one side or your steering wheel is constantly shaking, you’ll want to get a tire alignment as soon as possible.

Check Fluids

Have you ever been late for work in the dead of the winter, and instead of waiting for your windshield to defrost, you just spray an abundance of windshield wiper fluid? We’ve all been there. This, however, uses a lot of windshield wiper fluid, which is a very important fluid in your car. Without this, it could impair your driving if your windshield should get dirty. You’ll want to make sure all of your car’s fluids are full after a long winter, including oil, brake, radiator, transmission, power steering fluid and A.C. coolant.

For auto body collision repair or general auto repair services, call us today! 781-631-2218

What to Do After a Car Accident

Car accidents are unexpected and can be extremely scary and stressful. Even the most careful drivers can be involved in an accident. If you ever do happen to be in a car accident, follow these steps to make everything go as smooth as possible.

auto body collision

Immediately After an Accident

  • Stay calm and breath
  • Check yourself and others in your vehicle for injuries
  • When in doubt, call an ambulance
  • Turn off the engine
  • Turn on the vehicle’s hazard lights
  • Move away from the vehicles
  • Call the police
  • Make immediate notes about the accident and any damage
    • take pictures
    • get a copy of the police report and the officer’s name
    • take names of all parties involved and any witnesses
    • exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident, including insurance companies and policy numbers
  • If it’s not safe to drive, have your car towed

A Few Days After An Accident

  • Call your insurance agent
  • Report a claim
  • Get a vehicle damage estimate

If you are ever in a car accident, follow these steps and call Marblehead Collision for auto body collision repairs. 781-631-2218

Winter Safety Driving Tips

car driving in snow
It’s almost winter time, and we all know that means horrible driving conditions in New England. But the bad weather doesn’t stop us from getting where we need to go. From white-out blizzards, to black ice, to 10 foot snow banks, driving this time of year can be very dangerous. In order to avoid disastrous collisions, follow these winter safety driving tips.

Minimize Distractions

Avoid having your cell phone or any other electronic devices near you while driving in order to stay clear of any distractions they may cause.

Follow Speed Limits

They’re there for a reason. Speed limits were made to keep you and other drivers safe, especially during unsafe driving conditions. It’s a good idea to drive a little under the speed limit when there is snow and ice present on the ground.

Inspect Tires

Cars with inadequate tread can cause your car to skid. Check to see if your tires are worn down and consider investing in tire chains or snow tires in order to keep you and your car safe this winter.

Avoid Tailgating

Tailgating is frowned upon in general, and during unsafe driving conditions, can be extremely dangerous. You always want to make sure you have enough room in between you and the car ahead of you in case they make any sudden stops.

Know What to do

If your car starts to skid, take your foot off of the gas petal and DO NOT PRESS THE BRAKES. Stepping on the brakes will lock up your tires and cause them to skid even more. Steer your vehicle in the direction that your car is spinning, and once traction has been regained, you can straighten your car back out. Try your best to stay calm if your car begins to skid.

In the unlikely event that you do find yourself in a collision, contact Marblehead Collision for quality auto repair services. 781-631-2218

What Should I Do When Calling a Tow Truck Company?

Experiencing a collision or breaking down on the side of the road is a stressful situation. When dealing with your inoperable vehicle, calling a tow truck is just another step in the process. In order to make this process a little smoother, be sure to follow these tips when having your car towed.

Call Your Insurance Company

Many insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of being towed, but often times they have preferred towing providers or distance limits. Make sure to be in contact with them before your car is towed in order to know exactly how much you will be covered for.

Take Pictures of the Damage

Make sure to snap a few pictures of your vehicles condition before the tow truck arrives. This documentation can come in handy if any unexpected damages occur while your car is being towed. It’s also good to have documentation when dealing with your insurance company.

Ask for A Price Estimate

Different towing companies use different pricing methods. Some charge a flat fee, while others charge per mile. Also, be sure to ask what type payment they accept so you don’t get stuck having to run to the ATM!

Ask How They Will Be Towing Your Car

The two most common ways a car can be towed are using a hook-and-chain, or a flatbed. A flatbed tow is more ideal because the entire car is hoisted up on the truck; whereas for a hook-and-chain, a hook is attached underneath your car and could cause damage. Make sure to be specific about the damage, this can sometimes affect the way the car should be towed.

Ask Where They Are Going to Tow Your Car

A good towing company will ask you where you would like your car to be towed. Let them know whether you want it towed to a auto-body shop or back to your property. If you are unfamiliar with the area, the tow truck driver should be able to give you a recommendation for a mechanic.

Keep the Receipt

Many insurance companies will reimburse you for being towed if you provide them with the original receipt. Just be sure to make a copy to keep for yourself!

 

NEED A TOW?

Call Bill’s Auto Clinic! Bill’s can tow your vehicle right to Marblehead Collision!

How Do I Know If I Need New Tires?

Tires are designed to provide a vehicle with traction in order to prevent accidents. Without traction on your tires, your car would slide all over the road during natural elements such as rain, snow, and sleet. When driving through a puddle or snow, the tread creates channels that divert the water or snow away from the tires; allowing the tires to maintain traction and avoid hydroplaning.

What to look for:

Bulges

Tires begin to bulge at the sides when they deflate or become weak. These bulges can cause a sudden blowout when driving on them.

Tread Wear

The best way to check for tread wear is the old-school penny trick. Stick a penny into the tread of your tire with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can still see the top of his head, your tread is very low and the tire should be changed. You can also look at the patterned grooves on your tires. If they look very worn down and have a smooth texture, they most likely need to be replaced.

Tire Pressure

Tires deflate at about one PSI per month. If your tires are deflating faster than 1 PSI a month, it could be the sign of a leak and should be fixed or changed immediately.

Temperature

Tire pressure drops in very cold weather, and builds up in hot weather. When tires are exposed to extreme temperatures, the rubber begins to lose electricity and can cause cracking.

Vibration

When a car begins to vibrate while driving, it could mean that there is something wrong with the tires. They could be misaligned, unbalanced, or have an internal problem with the tire itself. Misaligned tires can create irregular tread wear and cause them to wear out a lot faster.

Side Wall

Look for tracks or cuts in the sidewall of your tires. If there is any damage, it could possibly be a sign that your tire has a leak or is ready to blow out.

Age

Tires should be changed every 6-10 years, depending on how often you use them. After 5 years, begin to check the tire pressure more frequently.

Make sure your tires are safe to drive on. If you happen to have a run-in with a blowout tire, contact Marblehead Collision!

Must-Haves In Your Car Emergency Kit

No matter how careful you are and how many times you have your car checked, breakdowns are bound to happen. And let’s face it, they usually strike at the most inconvenient times. Having a roadside emergency kit can ease the pain and hassle of unpredictable breakdowns. Use this checklist to make sure you never get stranded without the essentials!

  • Car Manual, Contacts & Insurance Details – Your car’s manual, a business card for your auto repair shop, a number for AAA, and car insurance claim forms. Having these details written down somewhere in your car is useful for break downs and accidents.
  • Mobile Phone Charger – Being stranded without a mobile device is simply unheard of in this day and age, so make sure you have a charger in your car!
  • Road Map – We tend to rely heavily on GPS’s, so what should happen if your battery dies or you lose service? Always have a road map in the car just in case!
  • First-Aid Kit – You should have an assortment of Band-Aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptics wipes or cream, and an ice pack.
  • Fire Extinguisher – This should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Reflective Warning Triangles – You should have three triangles in order to place them 50 feet apart to warn oncoming traffic far enough in advance.
  • Spare Tire – Many vehicles come with a spare tire. Check it frequently to make sure that the air pressure is correct.
  • Tire Gauge – Tire air pressure should be checked regularly. Don’t forget to check the spare tire air pressure as well!
  • Car Jack – This is needed in order to raise the car to change a flat tire.
  • Foam Tire Sealant – This can be a quick, easy fix to repair a flat without changing the tire.
  • Jumper Cables – Dead batteries happen to the best of us. Cables should be at least 10 feet long and coated in at least 8-gauge rubber.
  • Flashlight – Breaking down at night can make it difficult to change a flat tire or see what’s going on under the hood. Always have a flashlight with extra batteries in your car!
  • Duct Tape – A roll of duct tape can go a long way and can be used for almost anything!
  • Water
  • Snacks

In The Winter

  • Blanket – If you should break down in the middle of the winter, you want to be prepared for any weather.
  • Snow Shovel – Snow shovels come in handy when you get stuck in snow or ice.
  • Windshield Ice Scraper – These will put you out a few bucks, but it will make clearing your windshield much easier and faster than with the old credit card trick.
  • Salt – When getting suck on ice, throwing a small amount of salt under the tires can help create traction and get your car moving along.

If you ever should break down and need a tow or general auto repairs, call Marblehead Collision at 781-631-2218!

7 Automotive Maintenance Myths & Facts

Automotive Maintenance can be a very tricky subject. If you ask anyone about how you should properly maintain your car, they will probably have an answer for you based on past experiences or stories that they have heard from someone else. Here are 7 car maintenance myths that you may have heard, but are not always entirely true.

Myth 1: Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 Miles.

Follow the information that is listed in your owner’s manual and ignore the self-serving pleas from oil companies. Under average driving conditions, most vehicles can travel 7,500 miles or more between oil changes. Unless your driving style is very stop-and-go, you typically travel while trailer towing or traveling through mountainous terrain, an oil change every 3,000 miles maybe overdoing it.

Myth 2: Flush the coolant with every oil change.

Most owners’ manuals recommend changing the coolant every five years or 60,000 miles. Always check for leaks if the coolant reservoir is low despite repeatedly topping it off.

Myth 3: Inflate tires to the pressure shown on the tire’s sidewalls.

The psi figure on the side of the tire is the maximum pressure the tire will hold safely. If you’re looking for the automaker’s recommended pressure that balances braking, handling, gas mileage, and ride comfort, it’s usually on a sticker on the side of the doorjamb or the fuel filler door.

Myth 4: Premium fuel is better than regular.

Most vehicles run normally while using regular fuel grade. Fueling cars with premium fuel will not cause damage or improve performance. High octane fuels are less likely to create pre-ignition problems so they are usually used in hotter running, high compressed engines.

Myth 5: Warm up your car for several minutes before driving.

This is an outdated suggestion, driving your car is the fastest way to warm up a modern engine. And the sooner the car is warmed up, the sooner it delivers the best mileage and performance.

Myth 6: Wash your car with dishwashing or laundry detergent.

Detergents strip off a car’s wax finish, pay a little extra and stick with the car wash liquid, which cleans the car without removing the wax.

Myth 7: A battery will recharge after a jumpstart in only a few minutes of driving.

Not at all, it can take several hours to give the battery a full charge, especially in the winter months. Heated seats, music systems, and other accessories draw so much power that the alternator has little left to recharge the battery. You can check to see if the battery will still hold a charge by having a load test at a gas station.

Reasons for Your Check Engine Light to Turn On

15 Versa After 2 (1)Have you ever been in the situation when driving, all of a sudden your Check Engine light comes on? Could this issue be caused by a major problem or is it something minor? Here are five different reasons as to why your check engine light may be on and what you can do to fix the issue.

Oxygen Sensor Needs Replacing:

The oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in the vehicle’s exhaust system. If not replaced, the engine will burn more fuel than needed. The faulty sensor can also cause damage to your spark plug and catalytic converter.

Loose or missing Gas cap:

The gas cap seals the fuel system and helps maintain the pressure in the fuel tank. The gas cap also prevents gasoline fumes from being released into the atmosphere while you aren’t driving. If not replaced, fuel can be lost due to evaporation which means more trips to the gas station.

Replace the Catalytic Converter:

The Catalytic Converter helps protect converts harmful carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Damage can be caused due to lack of basic maintenance. If not replaced your vehicle will not pass an emissions test and the car may run at a higher temperature.

Replace the Mass Airflow Sensor:

The Mass Air Flow Sensor measures the amount of air entering the engine to determine how much fuel is needed to run the engine efficiently. If not replaced, a faulty sensor can cause damage to the spark plug, O2 Sensor, or catalytic converter.

Replace Spark Plug or Plug Wires:

The spark plug ignites the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of the car. The plug wires carry the spark from the ignition coil to the spark plug. If not replaced, damage to the O2 sensor or the catalytic converter.

What You Should Do After A Collision

Red Car After a CollisionAn automotive collision is not a situation that should be taken lightly. It is estimated that 20-50 million people are involved in automotive accidents each year. If you find yourself as one of the thousands of unfortunate drivers, knowing how to react after the collision can help you prevent further injuries, reduce costs, and even accelerate the clean-up and repair process. Here are steps that can help you progress quicker after an automotive collision.

Emergency Equipment & Safety Kit:

Some essential items to have in the event of an automotive collision includes a cell phone, a writing utensil for note taking, and a camera to take photos of the accident. Most cell phones will have a camera function that you can use. In an event of a serious medical issue, have a medical card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention. A set of cones, warning triangles, or emergency flares should be kept in the trunk.

Road Safety:

After having been in a car accident, it is important to remember to move your car off to the side of the road to avoid any oncoming traffic. Leaving your vehicle in the middle of the road may lead to additional damage. If you are not able to remove your vehicle from the middle of the road, advise all passengers to buckle their seatbelts while waiting for help to arrive.

Exchange Drive Info:

Exchange information with all drivers who were involved in the accident. Information such as name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number, and license plate should all be documented. If the driver’s name is different from the name on the insurance, establish what the relationship is for the driver and the person whose name is on the insurance.

Documentation:

Use a camera to take photos of the collision and damage on both vehicles. The image should be able to provide context to the accident. If you notice of any witnesses around who saw the accident take place, ask for their information and their account of what happened.

File A Report:

Drivers should file a state vehicle accident report which is available at your local police station and are also often at the Department of Motor Vehicle’s website. A police report will help the insurance company speed up the claims process.

Insurance Coverage:

Understanding the details of your coverage can make the whole insurance process easier. A great example is in the event that you need towing services or a replacement rental car, it is better to know that your insurance policy covers these expenses before having to use them. Check your policy for additional information.