Time to Stretch Out

Time to Stretch Out

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Implementing a Flex work schedule could help your shop boost productivity and employee morale.

Time to Stretch Out—Implementing a flex work schedule could help your shop boost productivity and employee morale.

The concept of a flex work schedule isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that more than 27% of full-time salaried employees in the country in 1997 had a schedule different than a typical 9 to 5.
As technology has gotten better and as the nation’s workforce has seen a major change in how it prioritizes family and other personal needs, the desire for a flexible schedule is growing.
Kurt Barks, CEO of Complete Auto Body and Repair in St. Louis, Missouri, says even the auto repair industry is starting to see the transition.

“We’ve learned that if you don’t dictate an exact start time and allow them to figure out on their own and do a little time managing, they manage themselves on their own and are a whole lot happier,” he says.

Even though the auto repair industry can’t offer what people might see as a typical flex work schedule—namely working from home—for obvious reasons, giving employees a little more freedom in their work hours could help boost productivity and morale in your shop.

Trust your employees

Barks says he understands that some shop owners might be hesitant to implement a system that allows employees to show up a little later than usual, arrive early and leave early, or otherwise work unusual hours, which could mean they’re working without a supervisor for part of their day.
Having that level of trust is key, though. It makes employees feel respected and trusted to do their job, which in turn provides motivation to do better work.

“It has to be that way. Our culture is built around providing a work environment that they want to come to,” Barks says. “They can feel comfortable not having a boss over their shoulder micromanaging them. We give them enough free reign to be themselves and make decisions, and because of that they take a lot more pride in what they do.”

The most common type of flex work schedule in the auto repair industry is letting employees work a full day at unconventional hours; for example, an employee who has to make sure their kids are dropped off at school will work 8:45 to 5:45 instead of the typical 8 to 5.
Wendy Ott, co-owner of Autobody Concepts in Gainesville, Texas, has also had a flex work schedule in both of her shops for “quite a few years.” She says employees still put in a full week’s work even if they’re coming in a little later or are leaving a little early because they have family business to attend to.

“They’re happier at work because they’re happier at home, and that works out best for everybody,” Ott says. “If that works for them and they’re able to get their work done, we want them to be happy here because we consider them family.”

Plan ahead

Complete Auto Body and Repair has seven locations throughout the St. Louis metro area with nearly 200 employees across the business. Barks says the company implemented a flex work schedule about seven years ago, and in that time, they’ve been able to refine their approach into a successful scheduling system.

“Our technicians and office staff don’t necessarily make their own schedule,” he says, “but we can be as flexible as they need us to be as long as the work gets completed.”

Barks says his seven shops see about 700 cars during any given week. In order to handle that weekly intake, each shop is scheduling out appointments nearly two months in advance. That kind of advanced notice makes it a lot easier to plan out schedules ahead of time and make sure that all the work is covered.

“A lot of it is pre-planning, a lot of communication with the team, knowing who can be where and when, and allowing them to manage themselves from a local level,” Barks says. “That allows them to understand the workload coming in and adjust their schedules accordingly.”

That level of planning can go beyond just the amount of cars coming into a shop, too. Ott says work in Texas summers can get dangerously hot—because of that, some of her employees choose to come in around 4 a.m. and leave at noon to avoid working during the hottest part of the day.
Like with Barks’ shops, Ott says it takes a lot of planning and communicating with employees to make sure that everything is covered.

“It makes it a little difficult, but they get their work done and they’re happier,” she says.

Have patience

When Complete Auto Body implemented its flex scheduling seven years ago, it had two locations. Even at that point, Barks says it took some time to get it running smoothly.

“It took a good year and a half to two years to really understand what everyone’s needs were, and for us to realize that we could not manage it from a high level,” he says.

Each store has to have a certain level of autonomy and be able to manage its own schedule, he says.

“When we first started … it just wasn’t personalized enough. There were bumps, and customer service did drop, which is why we had to fix it,” Barks says. “That’s when we went in and localized it, and it’s turned out quite well. By empowering those local store managers or location managers, it became a whole lot easier.”

Since implementing flex scheduling, Complete Auto Body has expanded to seven stores and has seen turnover rates fall to around two percent.

“Flex schedule has a lot to do with that,” he says. “By having a culture and environment where you care for your team and don’t treat them like numbers … it truly keeps them energized.”

The transition isn’t necessarily easy, but Barks says if your shop can be patient enough to navigate the switch to a flex schedule, the results are well worth it.

“Don’t get discouraged,” he says. “It will have some bumps and bruises, but if you follow the process, it will ultimately come up with employee satisfaction and the customer experience being the best.”

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The increased demand for equipment and know-how

The increased demand for equipment and know-how

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on The increased demand for equipment and know-how needed to repair an ever-increasingly complex vehicle parc is undeniable.

The increased demand for equipment and know-how needed to repair an ever-increasingly complex vehicle parc is undeniable. The two single-location shop owners FenderBender interviewed for this article face many of the same issues as do the more than 300 respondents to the 2023 FenderBender Industry Survey, including staffing shortages and the training and equipment needed to repair the latest technology. These two shop owners have approached the problem with some common methods and some notable differences.

One trend, a move away from direct repair programs (DRPs), has remained constant throughout the history of the survey. The number of shops reporting no revenue from DRPs in 2018 was 30%, and five short years later, that number is up to 44%. Both Rob Grieve, who owns Nylund’s Collision Center with his wife, Carol, in the Denver suburb of Englewood, Colorado; and James Wilson, principal owner of ICS Collision Center, in the Wichita, Kansas, suburb of Derby, Kansas, have eschewed DRP agreements from the start and concentrated on following OEM repair procedures and using only OEM parts.

Survey respondents indicated an increased focus on meeting the needs of newer technology, such as a majority (80%) reporting being equipped to repair aluminum and a healthy minority (28%) capable of repairing advanced structural composites or carbon fiber composites. Keeping up with the equipment and training needs can be overwhelming.

“The technology of the vehicles is ever-changing, and it’s changing so fast that unless you’re engaged in this industry, you’re not going to be fixing the vehicles correctly,” Grieve says. And every day, you’ve got to make the effort to educate yourself.”

Specialization and OEM Certification Help Simplify Complicated Repairs

For Grieve, although his shop does fix other vehicles, the sustainable business model is to specialize in a few makes and models to ensure safe and proper repairs.

“Understanding what really needs to go into the repair takes an enormous amount of research and education on each vehicle,” he says. “We can no longer fix every car that comes through the door. We have to specialize. If I have a Ford, Chevy, a Lexus, Mazda, Volvo, and Porsche in the shop, how can any of my people know everything they need to know about each one of those cars? That is a big hurdle, so let’s narrow it down.”

For many newer models, Grieve says, guests are referred to shops that are certified for those makes and models if those repairs don’t fit into his repair mix.

Nearly 45% of survey respondents reported having at least one OEM certification, with those reporting having six or more (17.19%) taking the lion’s share.

More than half of Nylund’s business is for Lexus vehicles, followed by Toyota, Grieve says, while Subaru and the German marques make up the bulk of the remainder. His shop piloted the Lexus Authorized program, which is offered to independent repairers, and it’s been authorized since December 2020 (the distinction is that Lexus Certified shops must be majority-owned by a Lexus dealership) and is the only Lucid Authorized repair facility in Colorado.

“Both programs are valuable to us,” Grieve says. “Lexus, because of our longstanding reputation for being the experts in repairing these vehicles and taking care of these guests, and Lucid, because they bring a different guest demographic to the shop and are upping our game in the repair of very complex vehicles. Both bring a different level of excitement to the shop floor.”

More than a decade before his shop became Lexus Authorized, Grieve realized his technicians needed additional training to tackle the increasing levels of technology in the new vehicles. He turned to the dealership he buys parts from, who got the ball rolling for his staff to take Lexus certification courses. The brand was already the shop’s mainstay, so when the Lexus Authorized program rolled out, his shop was well positioned to take the next step to become authorized.

“Being part of the Lexus collision program has the added value of much of the training crosses over to Toyota vehicles and their guests and we are currently exploring the Toyota Collision Program as well.”

Reaching the $1M Mark in Kansas

For Wilson, who with his wife, Tera, started ICS Collision Center from the ground up in 2013, the challenge was how to grow his business to reach $1 million in annual sales out of a 10,000-square-foot facility. The shop began by doubling its sales each year but had remained in the $700,000 to $800,000 range, he says. What worked may seem counterintuitive, he says, but it worked: reduce the car count and focus on working with fewer clients “who truly care about safe and proper repairs.”

“We serve our clients’ needs, not insurers’,” he explains. “So, if they want the vehicle repaired properly – it doesn’t matter if it’s a luxury car or a run-of-the-mill 10-year-old car or a fleet customer – they understand that insurance doesn’t cover everything. If we manage those expectations on the front side and do that well, then you know basically we’re educating them so they can make an informed decision, whether or not they choose us. I’m there to serve them, right? We shifted our focus to clients who understood the direction we were going, which was a focus on them receiving safe and proper repairs, not their out-of-pocket expenses.”

Associated Collision Center - Porsche ApprovedJust as Grieve says his staff will refer his guests to another facility certified for a different make, Wilson recognizes certain situations call for a different shop to care for certain would-be customers’ needs. This requires some time upfront at the point of intake, explaining how his business model differs from that of many area shops.

“If I cannot manage your expectations on the front side, it’s going to be a train wreck on the back side,” he says. “We slow down on the front side and make sure we actively listen to our client and what they’re looking for.”

A would-be customer more concerned about his or her $1,000 deductible and having a free loaner car is probably not going to be an ICS customer, he explains.

“It’s my job to educate the consumer about what they should expect from us as their chosen repair facility, what the manufacturer states is required and necessary for a safe and proper repair and provide them that documentation as far as knowing your consumer rights here in the state of Kansas. That way, they can make an informed decision.”

Within the first 18 months or so of setting the $1 million goal, Wilson says, the shop hit its goal. It now produces between $1.2 million and $1.3 million per year.

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes. All Blog listing can be found here.

Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes.

Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes.

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes..

For many shops in the country, missing or wrong parts are found in the repair process or during assembly. Following well-defined processes is one the primary keys to the high profitability kingdom. My lean sensei taught me, “Our processes need to be so well defined that a monkey could do it.” Granted, our people are not treated like monkeys, but when our processes are created by the people who are doing the work and are defined in a simple way, the less variation (problems) we will have. It’s as certain as the sun rises!
When the parts arrive for a fully blueprinted vehicle, they must have a thorough check-in process the day of arrival. We call this process our “Mirror-Matching” process. This written process must be followed line by line & word for word every time. Here is our abbreviated version:

  1. Receive parts invoices from vendors.
  2. Mirror-match old parts to new parts side by side/upside down.
  3. Remove all stickers after part confirmation.
  4. Transfer all bulbs, hardware, modules etc. from old parts to new parts.
  5. Re-box all cores and attach credit slips.
  6. Trash ALL old parts and packaging.
  7. Apply any necessary seam sealer to new panels and photos for the file.
  8. Pre-build all non-painted truck bumpers, grilles, washer tanks etc.
  9. Plug in new headlamps/taillamps to confirm they work.
  10. Install all SRS components and cooling now except for vehicles needing front structure repair.
  11. Move car to visual next up queue to start body work.
  12. Pre-close job.

Any needed photos for the build process of wiring harness routings and emblem locations are taken during Blueprint. Otherwise, there is not one good reason to keep the old parts. NOT ONE! Be a leader and slaughter those sacred cows. Disclaimer: My state doesn’t require us to keep the old parts. Old bumper ends are attached to new bumpers for painters to use as test panels for color match when we’re not painting the fenders or quarters. Mirror-matched parts are placed on the R&I cart and this cart then follows the car through the process. Our entire shop is clock hour with a global bonus program. Anything that can be done upstream to speed up reassembly MUST be done. Why? If we find a problem in Mirror Matching, we have just prevented the money-printing conveyor belt from stopping printing $ when a car can’t go home. Five out of my nine employees are trained in mirror-matching parts. This cross-training helps eliminate the expense of a designated parts person.

There is a crucial KPI that should be tracked by every shop. This metric is the Parts Return Ratio, which is the percentage of the parts we order must be returned. A good benchmark is no more than 5% returns in dollars of total parts purchased per month, excluding cores, of course. I know we are in crazy times trying to get parts from multiple dealers, strikes, etc., but stay focused here. The Parts Return Ratio is a good bellwether of a shop’s high or low profitability. If your shop’s part returns are above 5%, that is a red flag that the processes of estimating, blueprinting, and more need a major overhaul. The problem could lie in ordering parts off an insurer’s parking lot estimate, front-end estimators just winging it, poor Blueprinting, and not reading OEM procedures. Most shops, unfortunately, have no clue of the cost in time of each returned part. Most management systems are set up for Part Return Reasons, and by applying a Pareto chart (roughly, 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes), you can conquer the biggest problem first.

Each wrong part costs our employees a minimum of 30 minutes. Sit down with your parts and accounting department. Then write down every step on a whiteboard needed to return a wrong part and order a correct one, along with the time associated for each step. Granted, damaged and wrong parts sent by vendors are inevitable, but most returns are our fault. Of course, don’t order parts for a borderline total. If we have just three returned parts per day, that’s 1.5 hours that have been a total waste by our people. With 21 days per month x 1.5 hours, that’s 31.5 clock hours wasted per month, or 378 hours per year, just because of the wrong parts being ordered!! More importantly, having the wrong parts means the car likely can’t be put into production. And idle inventory is the queen mother of all wastes. I’ll leave you with some homework: Go into your management system and see if you are under the goal of 5% returns or less (excluding cores). If you’re above 5%, then it’s time for a constructive problem-solving discussion with the entire team. Another good metric to monitor is the number of OEM invoices per RO. Anything above one per vendor is an area of needed improvement.

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Vehicle is Almost Complete, but Autobody Shop Cannot Finish

Vehicle is Almost Complete, but Autobody Shop Cannot Finish

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Vehicle is Almost Complete, but Autobody Shop Cannot Finish.

Every shop I have run into lately has told me the same thing, and my shop is no different: They have a vehicle that is almost complete, but they cannot finish the vehicle because they are missing a seatbelt, airbag, or a component of the ADAS/SRS system. Since they are missing a critical part to make the vehicle safe, they are telling the customers they cannot release the vehicle because of the liability risk. We are all in the same boat with these issues. But the question we need to be considering is what if the customer demands the release of their vehicle without it being complete. What should shop management do?

When I have posed this question to other shop owners and managers, I have gotten the same answer: They cannot release the vehicle because of the liability risk, and they always cite the John Eagle case. I am fine with referencing that case, but I think there are some major differences when discussing a repair that was completed incorrectly versus a repair that is not complete. As a shop, we need to be prepared if a customer demands their vehicle back, even if the repair is not completed and we deem it a safety risk to the customer and a liability risk to our shop.

Ultimately, the vehicle is the customer’s property. And if they are willing to pay what is due to the shop for work that has been completed, parts that have been ordered, and anything else owed to us, then we are going to have to release that vehicle. We cannot hold a customer’s personal property on the basis of it being a liability risk for our business; we have to have a legal reason to hold the vehicle. So, let’s talk about best practices that we can put into place to protect our shops if we have a customer who demands their vehicle back before it is complete and safely repaired.

Before I give my advice, let me preface this with you should do your best to convince your customer that the vehicle should stay till it is safely repaired. Also, if a customer is going to sue you because of an accident, they are going to sue you no matter what. Telling them the vehicle was safely repaired will not deter a customer from suing you. These are my personal opinions, and you should always consult an attorney when making decisions that affect your business and your liability risks.

My first recommendation is that shops need to pay an attorney to draft a waiver of liability for the shop. This should not be an attorney friend, but rather an attorney who specializes in drafting legal contracts. There is a difference. A waiver of liability will not protect you from someone who wants to sue, but it will definitely help detract them. In the event you are sued, a waiver of liability will not fully protect you in court, but you will be 100% better off having one.

My second recommendation is that you do not give the customer a receipt for payments with a copy of the insurance estimate. You need to draft your own repair estimate for work that you completed and for parts that were purchased. If you have ordered a seatbelt that has not come in and you want to charge the customer for the part, you need to put a line note that the part was not installed and will be delivered once it is received. There should be no labor listed for installation of the part.

Third, I would also recommend that you do not list the insurance company name or claim number on your repair estimate and the final invoice you are giving the customer. You want to separate yourself as much as possible from the insurance company’s indemnification process.

Fourth, I would make sure you have a note on the estimate and final invoice stating it is your recommendation that the customer does not pick up the vehicle due to the safety risk and that the customer is knowingly picking up the vehicle and assuming all liability risk. I would also have them initial it and make a copy for your records.

Fifth, I would make sure all Insurance checks, including supplement checks, are sent to the customer, even if you have to have checks reissued. I would have the customer cash those checks and pay you directly. Again, you’re trying to separate your shop as much as possible from the indemnification process. I do realize that a shop will probably have sent in supplements to the insurance company, which, puts themselves in the middle of the indemnification process. But without completely changing how you handle claims in a shop, that is a risk you will just have to accept if you run into an issue where the customer is demanding the release of their incomplete vehicle.
Ultimately, will all these steps protect us against a lawsuit? The answer is no. Your goal is to deter customers from picking up their unfinished vehicles. Then if the customer does pick up the unfinished vehicle and something happens and there is a lawsuit, you want to make sure your attorneys have as much supporting evidence as possible to defend you.

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Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision

Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face.

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents, making up almost a third of all crashes and almost half of all collisions involving more than one vehicle. Fortunately, this type of accident is less likely than a head-on collision to cause serious bodily harm or vehicular damage. But getting rear-ended is still dangerous, and you may experience a variety of car problems after a rear-end collision.
Rear-end accident damage can be sneaky. Depending on the speed and angle of the collision and the size of the vehicles involved, you may not even see any visible damage. That doesn’t always mean you’re in the clear.
Keep reading to learn about car problems that can occur after a rear-end collision and what you should do to make sure everything is working as it should.

What is a rear-end collision?

Rear-end collisions occur when a trailing car’s front bumper makes contact with the back of the car in front of them. These types of accidents can happen anywhere on the road and at virtually any speed.
The majority of rear-end collisions occur at lower speeds, usually at stop signs, red lights, and congested traffic where cars are likely to stop suddenly. However, they can also happen on freeways at high speeds, often as a result of a distracted rear driver or a front car having to suddenly break due to unexpected debris or pedestrians on the road.

Steps You Should Take After A Rear End Collision

Any time your car comes into contact with another vehicle or object, you need to stop to ensure everyone’s okay, exchange information, and check for damage. It’s also important to take certain steps to protect your financial and legal interests in the event that the other driver isn’t honest.
Here’s what you should do immediately following a rear-end collision:

  • Check for injuries. Keep in mind that you may not feel injuries until the adrenaline of the crash has faded.
  • Move to safety. If your car is blocking traffic or likely to cause another accident and is drivable, you should also move it to a safe location. Otherwise put the hazard lights on.
  • Don’t admit fault. Even if you think you’re to blame, it’s important not to take responsibility at the scene.
  • Notify the police. File a report and tell them the truth about everything you remember.
  • Take photos. It’s important to make sure you have evidence of the scene and any damage to your car.
  • Exchange information. Get the full names, phone numbers, insurance and driver’s license info, and plate numbers of all involved drivers. Also write down the makes, models, and colors of the vehicles and the location, date, and time of the accident. It’s a good idea to exchange information with any witnesses as well.
    • Call your insurance provider. If possible, try to do this from the scene. Tell them the details of the accident and ask any questions you have about filing an auto claim.
  • See a doctor. Before you worry about your car, it’s important to make sure you’re okay and that you get any necessary medical treatment.
  • Take your car in to check for damage. Even if you don’t see any noticeable dents, scratches, or broken parts, there may be hidden damage that can impact the function and value of your vehicle.

What Problems to Check For After a Rear End Collision

Even if you don’t see any visual evidence of damage following the incident, it’s a good idea to get your car checked out by a reliable collision repair shop to insure that there aren’t any problems, as hidden damage can still impact the functionality of your car.

Frame

A crushed or misaligned frame may not be immediately noticeable. But it can significantly impact your level of control while driving, causing your car to drift to one side of the road. Crooked frames can also put unnecessary stress on other important parts of your vehicle.

Bumpers

Bumpers are located at the front and back of your car. Modern bumpers are metal bars surrounded by a plastic frame, which is usually the first thing to get damaged in a rear-end collision. This damage most often manifests in the form of dents, and can usually be repaired without replacing any parts.

Suspension

The suspension on a car is a protective system of springs and shocks that absorb energy from your tires and maintain stability and control on uneven road surfaces. This system can be impacted during a rear-end collision and can significantly affect the way your car drives and your ability to maintain control while driving.

Check Engine Light

If you notice your “check engine” light is on after a rear-end collision, it’s possible that your engine has shifted or been damaged and you should take your car in to get checked as soon as possible.

Electrical

Modern cars are more electronically advanced than ever before. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of this is that even small collisions can loosen the wires that connect to your tail lights, brake lights, or other electrical features. These components are essential to basic road safety, so you should get them fixed if they’ve sustained any damage following a rear-end collision.

Aesthetic Damage

Even if there’s no structural damage to your car and it drives just fine, there may be cosmetic damage. Dings, minor dents, scratches, and scuffs are all considered cosmetic issues for the most part. They may not impact how your car functions, but they can lower the value of your car. Many – but not all – auto insurance policies cover the cost of cosmetic repairs.

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The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face

The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on The Most Common Subaru Problems Drivers Often Face.

It’s no secret that Oregonians love their Subarus. Known for their ample storage space, off-roading capabilities, sporty look, and built-in safety features, Subarus are excellent cars for anyone who loves the great outdoors. But like all car owners, Subaru drivers are bound to run into issues at some point.
Different makes and models tend to come with different issues. It’s always helpful to know the common problems associated with your vehicle, so you’re informed and prepared to deal with issues when they arise.
Keep reading to learn about the most common Subaru problems you might run into and what to do when they occur.

Why Drivers Choose Subarus

Even though Subaru is one of the smaller nationally recognized manufacturers, their cars are exceptionally popular in certain regions like the Pacific Northwest and New England, where people love to get out and explore the outdoors!
Every car comes with benefits and drawbacks. But here are a few of the reasons Subarus are so popular among drivers in the PNW and beyond:

  • They have extra cargo space and convertible top racks to hold bikes, kayaks, and other gear.
  • Subaru models are consistently rated among the safest vehicles in the event of a collision by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • They’re known for being comfortable and intuitive to drive.
  • They’re one of the more socially responsible car manufacturers.

How long do Subarus typically last?

Subarus generally have higher-than-average reliability ratings. With proper care and maintenance, most Subarus can last 200,000 to 300,000 miles or about 12 to 13 years before major repairs are needed.
However, the reliability and longevity of your Subaru (or any other car, for that matter) depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • The specific model
  • The model year
  • Driving conditions
  • Routine maintenance
  • Accidents

You can help prolong the life of your Subaru by taking your car in for routine maintenance and keeping up with oil changes, tire pressure checks, brake-fluid checks, and belt and air-filter replacements.
Common Subaru Problems

Subarus are among the safest and longest-lasting vehicles on the market. But like any car, problems can arise due to manufacturing mistakes, wear-and-tear over time, and collisions on the road.
Here are some of the most common Subaru problems to look out for:

  • Fast battery drain
  • Dings and dents
  • Broken fuel pump
  • Starlink issues
  • Cracked windshields
  • Sudden unintended acceleration
  • Electrical issues
  • Misaligned frame
  • Scratched or chipped paint
  • Faulty light switch
  • Defective CVT

Subaru Accidents

No one wants to be involved in a collision. But accidents happen regardless of the type of car you drive. Subarus are among the safest cars to drive, especially when it comes to accidents on the road. They come with a wide range of advanced safety features, such as EyeSight technology, automatic braking systems, and distraction mitigation mechanics.
Subarus are also known for built-in safety and expert craftsmanship. With superior weight distribution, durable seatbelt technology, and reinforced frames, Subarus are designed to protect the safety of passengers in the event of a collision.

How common are Subaru accidents?

Subarus are exceptionally safe and protective when collisions happen. But accidents are actually quite common among people who drive Subarus. In fact, Subaru drivers cause traffic accidents at the second highest rate in the country, with over 10% of Subaru owners reporting an at-fault accident.

Subaru Collision Repair

If you’ve been involved in a collision that resulted in damage to your Subaru, it’s important that you receive reliable repair services from a Subaru Certified Collision Repair Center.
Subaru-certified body shops are guaranteed to have received rigorous training specific to Subaru makes and models. They also have access to advanced equipment and genuine Subaru OEM parts. If you own a Subaru, choosing the right body shop is essential to restoring your vehicle and staying safe on the road.

Is it expensive to fix a Subaru?

On average, Subarus require about $617 annually for standard maintenance, which is slightly above average. They’re also slightly more expensive to repair when they break down or sustain damage compared to other mid-range vehicles. But the cost of Subaru repairs can vary substantially depending on the model you drive, the extent of the damage, the type of repairs needed, and the repair shop you choose.

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Who is Who in a Car Repair Shop

Who is Who in a Car Repair Shop

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Who is Who in a Car Repair Shop.

When your car needs repairs, the thought of going into a car repair shop can be daunting. You may not know what’s wrong with the car or what needs to be done – and you may not even know what type of mechanic you need.

In this blog, we’re taking the stress out of this process by explaining whom you can expect to find in a repair shop and the kind of work they may do on your car.

General Automotive Mechanic

This is the type of mechanic you’re most likely to encounter – they do general repairs and replacements on a vehicle. They diagnose mechanical problems and repair them as needed. If you are bringing in your vehicle for a check-up or routine maintenance, this is the type of mechanic you likely need. They’re kind of like the GP for your car.

Auto Body Mechanic

These are the mechanics you’ll often encounter after an accident. They can handle everything from minor paint job touch-ups to complete structural replacements in a car after an accident. These mechanics receive specialized training to keep up with all the current car technologies, and they have a special certification.

Brake and Transmission Technician

This type of mechanic is exactly what it sounds like – they specialize in brake and transmission issues. While a general mechanic will also be versed in these areas, a brake and transmission technician can correct more complex issues and has the training to use special alignment equipment. If a general mechanic notices something that seems off with your brakes or transmission, they will often hand your car over to this type of specialist within the shop.

Service Technicians

Service technicians can diagnose and check mechanical and electrical components within a vehicle. When they look at a car, they’ll do things such as check the oil and fluid levels, or work to find causes of operational issues. Rather than looking at specific mechanical components, they tend to look at the general systems that work together in a vehicle to identify any problems or issues.

Auto Glass Mechanics

Fixing or replacing the glass on a vehicle can be tricky. Some auto glass mechanics have been specially trained in working with auto glass. They’ll know how to identify if cracks or dents can be repaired, or if the entire piece of glass needs replacing. These mechanics are also trained in weatherproofing glass, installation and more.

Tire Mechanics

General mechanics will be trained in basic tire care, but tire mechanics have even more training to spot complex issues and optimize tire usage and wear. They can identify tire issues, do tire rotations, and complete tire replacements. They’ll also inspect tires for any abnormalities and to ensure proper inflation.

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision. All Blog listing can be found here.

Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision

Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Car Problems That Can Occur After a Rear End Collision.

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents, making up almost a third of all crashes and almost half of all collisions involving more than one vehicle. Fortunately, this type of accident is less likely than a head-on collision to cause serious bodily harm or vehicular damage. But getting rear-ended is still dangerous, and you may experience a variety of car problems after a rear-end collision.

Rear-end accident damage can be sneaky. Depending on the speed and angle of the collision and the size of the vehicles involved, you may not even see any visible damage. That doesn’t always mean you’re in the clear.

Keep reading to learn about car problems that can occur after a rear-end collision and what you should do to make sure everything is working as it should.

What is a rear-end collision?

Rear-end collisions occur when a trailing car’s front bumper makes contact with the back of the car in front of them. These types of accidents can happen anywhere on the road and at virtually any speed.

The majority of rear-end collisions occur at lower speeds, usually at stop signs, red lights, and congested traffic where cars are likely to stop suddenly. However, they can also happen on freeways at high speeds, often as a result of a distracted rear driver or a front car having to suddenly break due to unexpected debris or pedestrians on the road.

Steps You Should Take After A Rear End Collision

Any time your car comes into contact with another vehicle or object, you need to stop to ensure everyone’s okay, exchange information, and check for damage. It’s also important to take certain steps to protect your financial and legal interests in the event that the other driver isn’t honest.

Here’s what you should do immediately following a rear-end collision:

  • Check for injuries. Keep in mind that you may not feel injuries until the adrenaline of the crash has faded.
  • Move to safety. If your car is blocking traffic or likely to cause another accident and is drivable, you should also move it to a safe location. Otherwise put the hazard lights on.
  • Don’t admit fault. Even if you think you’re to blame, it’s important not to take responsibility at the scene.
  • Notify the police. File a report and tell them the truth about everything you remember.
  • Take photos. It’s important to make sure you have evidence of the scene and any damage to your car.
  • Exchange information. Get the full names, phone numbers, insurance and driver’s license info, and plate numbers of all involved drivers. Also write down the makes, models, and colors of the vehicles and the location, date, and time of the accident. It’s a good idea to exchange information with any witnesses as well.
    • Call your insurance provider. If possible, try to do this from the scene. Tell them the details of the accident and ask any questions you have about filing an auto claim.
  • See a doctor. Before you worry about your car, it’s important to make sure you’re okay and that you get any necessary medical treatment.
  • Take your car in to check for damage. Even if you don’t see any noticeable dents, scratches, or broken parts, there may be hidden damage that can impact the function and value of your vehicle.

What Problems to Check For After a Rear End Collision

Even if you don’t see any visual evidence of damage following the incident, it’s a good idea to get your car checked out by a reliable collision repair shop to insure that there aren’t any problems, as hidden damage can still impact the functionality of your car.

Frame

A crushed or misaligned frame may not be immediately noticeable. But it can significantly impact your level of control while driving, causing your car to drift to one side of the road. Crooked frames can also put unnecessary stress on other important parts of your vehicle.

Bumpers

Bumpers are located at the front and back of your car. Modern bumpers are metal bars surrounded by a plastic frame, which is usually the first thing to get damaged in a rear-end collision. This damage most often manifests in the form of dents, and can usually be repaired without replacing any parts.

Suspension

The suspension on a car is a protective system of springs and shocks that absorb energy from your tires and maintain stability and control on uneven road surfaces. This system can be impacted during a rear-end collision and can significantly affect the way your car drives and your ability to maintain control while driving.

Check Engine Light

If you notice your “check engine” light is on after a rear-end collision, it’s possible that your engine has shifted or been damaged and you should take your car in to get checked as soon as possible.

Electrical

Modern cars are more electronically advanced than ever before. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of this is that even small collisions can loosen the wires that connect to your tail lights, brake lights, or other electrical features. These components are essential to basic road safety, so you should get them fixed if they’ve sustained any damage following a rear-end collision.

Aesthetic Damage

Even if there’s no structural damage to your car and it drives just fine, there may be cosmetic damage. Dings, minor dents, scratches, and scuffs are all considered cosmetic issues for the most part. They may not impact how your car functions, but they can lower the value of your car. Many—but not all—auto insurance policies cover the cost of cosmetic repairs.

Get Your Car Repaired at Associated Collision Center After a Rear-End Collision in San Antonio

Being involved in a car accident is a disorienting, frustrating experience. At Associated Collision Center,  we do everything we can to make the process of getting your car repaired after a rear-end collision or other car crash as simple and stress-free as possible.

Since 1976 we’ve worked hard to maintain our reputation as the trusted and reliable collision repair shop. Our services and repair process are top of the line, and we’re always upfront about cost estimates and timelines for collision repairs.

This blog was contributed by by Suzanne Mackin

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Fixing Front-End Damage After a Car Collision. All Blog listing can be found here.

Fixing Front-End Damage After a Car Collision

Fixing Front-End Damage After a Car Collision

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Fixing Front-End Damage After a Car Collision.

Everyone wants to stay safe on the road. But accidents happen, and it’s important to be prepared in the event of a collision. There are a number of common types of car accidents that can lead to front-end damage to one or more involved vehicles. They include head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, single vehicle collisions, and T-bone collisions, among others.

If you’ve been involved in a collision and sustained front-end damage, then it’s important to choose a collision repair shop you can trust to handle any repairs and get you back on the road safely.

You’ve been in an accident. What should you do next?

Whenever your car comes into contact with another vehicle, object, or person in Oregon, you’re legally required to stop and return to the scene.

It’s necessary to do your due diligence to make sure all involved parties are okay, check for injuries and damage, and exchange information. It’s also important to take specific steps to protect your interests, in case the other driver isn’t honest with the police or their insurance company.

Here’s what you should do after an accident:

  • Check for injuries and move to safety.
  • Don’t admit fault and take photos of the scene and damage.
  • Call the police and file a report if necessary.
  • Exchange information with involved parties and witnesses.
  • Call your auto insurance provider (from the scene if possible) and ask any questions you have about filing an auto claim.
  • Seek medical attention, if necessary.
  • Take your car in for collision repair; make sure you choose a reputable auto body repair shop with experience in front-end damage repair.

Steps You Should Take To Evaluate Front-End Damage

After you’ve exchanged information with other drivers and witnesses, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at your vehicle to assess visible damage so you have as much information as possible.

Here are a few steps to follow when evaluating front-end damage:

  • Check the front bumper and fender: These are the most common areas to be damaged in the event of a front-end collision. Look for any cracks or dents and measure them if possible.
  • Look for cracks in your headlights: Many people drive with broken headlights thinking it’s not a big deal. But working headlights are essential to safe driving and even minor cracks can seriously impact your visibility and lead to future accidents.
  • Check under the hood: Most car engines and transmissions are located in the front of the car, so it’s recommended that you check to see if there’s smoke or any obvious leaks.
  • Assess your windshield: Even small cracks in your windshield can grow to become a serious problem. Identifying small damage in the glass early is the best way to avoid large cracks that will impact your visibility and be more expensive to fix.

Keep in mind that not all damage to your car will be visible. Hidden damage can lead to serious risks down the line and impact the functionality of your car. That’s why getting your car checked out by a professional is always advised.

Problems That Occur with Front-End Collision Damage and Estimated Repair Costs

Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of damage that occur in front-end collisions, as well as the estimated cost to repair front-end damage. Also learn more about repair timelines!

Frame

Depending on the angle of the collision, it’s possible that the frame of your car could be dented, scratched, chipped, or bent out of place. If left unremedied, frame damage can lead to more serious issues like rust and weather-related damage.

Depending on the extent of the damage and the tools required to fix dents or other frame damage, you could be looking at costs anywhere between $500 for minor repairs and $10,000 for total frame replacement.

Bumpers

In front-end collisions, bumpers are generally the first part of your car that makes contact. That’s why they’re often damaged. From minor scrapes and cracks, to dings and dents, to complete detachment from the vehicle, there are a variety of ways your bumper can be damaged in this type of collision.

Bumper repair can cost between $500-$1,500, while replacement costs $1,000-$3,000.

Suspension and Alignment

Suspension parts are vulnerable to breakage in front-end collisions. When they break, they can also cause alignment issues that can make your car difficult to drive. Repairs depend on the specific type of damage. But here are some suspension and alignment repair estimates to keep in mind:

  • Shock-absorber replacements: $200-$1,500
  • Strut replacements: $50-$800
  • Coil-spring replacements: $50-$900
  • Wheel alignments: $20-$500

Transmission and Engine Damage

The engine and transmission are located in the front of your car, making them vulnerable to damage in front-end collisions. Engine damage, radiator damage, oil leaks, and transmission-fluid leaks are all possible in the event of a front-end collision.

Transmission repairs generally cost between $500-$2,500. Replacing a transmission depends on a variety of factors, and can range anywhere from $2,500-$7,500. Repairing your car’s engine can vary substantially, typically falling somewhere between $2,000 and $4,500, while replacements generally start around $4,000.

Hood Damage

The hood of your car is built to pop up in the event of a front-end-collision. But it can still sustain damage, and it’s important to get hood damage fixed as soon as possible. That’s because damage under the hood can cause more serious system issues with your engine and other components.

Depending on the extent and location of the damage, hood repair can cost between $500-$2,500.

Wheels and Hubs

In a front-end collision, your wheels can get bent, which can cause serious problems on the road and impact your ability to drive safely. They can also lead to issues with your brake system.

The cost to repair damaged wheels and hubs can vary substantially depending on the type of damage (small scratches vs. punctures and bent wheels) and the number of wheels that have issues. In general, you can expect repairs to cost somewhere between $500-$1,500.

Electrical

Electrical systems in modern vehicles are complex, and can be damaged by virtually any type of collision. There are also a number of electrical components that can be impacted and may need to be replaced, so it’s difficult to predict cost estimates without a proper diagnosis.

That being said, electrical repairs usually cost anywhere from $100-$2,500.

Aesthetic Damage

Aesthetic damage may not always impact the functionality of your car, but it can definitely be an eyesore. Superficial cracks, dents, and scratches can also get worse over time, leading to lengthier and more costly repairs.

If you notice superficial scratches after a front-end collision, the cost could be anywhere from $150-$1,000 depending on the size, location, and depth of the damage.

Headlights

Broken headlights are common after a front-end collision, and even seemingly minor damage can be dangerous.

If the damage is severe, replacing your headlight assembly will usually cost about $350-$2,500 per headlight. However, if you just need to replace the bulb, you can usually get a new one for as little as $30 depending on the brand.

Windshield

Windshield damage will vary greatly depending on the severity of the collision. You could be looking at a completely shattered windshield or just a small crack. However, even tiny damage is likely to expand over time, which could result in having to replace the entire windshield.

In general, cracks smaller than a quarter can be fixed for about $50-$150. But replacements are more expensive, usually falling between $500-$2,000. Replacements will lean on the higher end if there is a camera mount involved.

This blog was contributed by by Suzanne Mackin

What to know more? please visit our last month’s Which Color Car Gets Dirtiest the Fastest?  All Blog listing can be found here.

Which Color Car Gets Dirtiest the Fastest?

Which Color Car Gets Dirtiest the Fastest?

Associated Collision Center wants you to be safe and aware, this blog contains great info on Which Color Car Gets Dirtiest the Fastest.

When shopping for a car to buy, color is an important consideration for most car owners. After all, most people spend time in their cars every day, and there’s no point in having a car if you don’t find the color to be attractive. But there’s another side to the color decision that often gets overlooked—which is the easiest car color to keep clean? 

Car owners throughout the U.S. have different feelings towards washing their cars. Everyone wants a clean car, but many don’t like to put in the effort to get it that way. Those that do think nothing of spending every weekend washing, waxing, and detailing their car. Less motivated car owners are more likely to run their ride through an automatic car wash once a month, if that often. As a result, they tend to be more interested in the best car color to hide dirt. If you lean towards the car wash approach, you may be interested to know that the color of your car can influence how often you have to wash it to keep it looking good.

What Is the Best Car Color? 

White, black, gray, and silver top Kelley Blue Book’s list of the best car colors in 2021. KBB also indicated that color can impact the residual value of a vehicle. 

A popular color today may be a desirable choice for buyers now and within the next five years, according to KBB. In other words, the most popular color today may be the same or different in the next five years or longer. It can also change much sooner. 

If you plan to sell your car within the next few years, you may want to choose a popular color. This may help you stir up demand for your car and get the best price for it down the line. 

Furthermore, if you want to maximize the resale value of your car, consider a neutral color over other options. Neutral car colors tend to appeal to large groups of buyers. Some neutral colors may be easier to clean than others, too.  

What Will Be The Best Car Colors In The Years to Come? 

The BASF 2020-2021 Automotive Trends report indicates the following colors may be the most popular among consumers in the next three to five model years: 

  • Dark seltzer 
  • Redolent red 
  • Abstraction blue 

The report indicated gray will likely remain a popular core color going forward, too.

How Fast Do Cars Get Dirty?

Car color has nothing to do with how fast a car gets dirty. The accumulation of dirt and grime on your car depends on several factors, such as:

  • Where you live
  • How much you drive
  • Where you park the car when not in use 

A dry, dusty climate or a rainy climate will get your car dirty faster. Driving in smoggy urban areas will also get it dirtier quicker. If you like to go off-roading, the dirt can pile up in just a few hours. 

The real issue is that some car colors show dirt more than others. This makes them seem to get dirty quicker than car colors that are better at hiding dirt. If you enjoy washing and waxing your car, having a color that easily shows dirt may not be important. On the other hand, if you would rather spend your time doing anything besides scrubbing dirt off your vehicle, then having the best car color to hide dirt will make a difference.

There’s something to be said for selecting a color that cuts down on how often you have to wash your vehicle. That’s where knowing the easiest car color to keep clean can help. Fewer washes reduces the time spent on washing, saves water, and leaves more money in your pocket. 

Anyone who has ever owned a white car knows it is not easy to keep clean. In fact, when it comes to the best car color to hide dirt, it sits near the bottom of the list. However, it is not the hardest color to keep clean (keep reading to find out which is the worst). The next time you purchase a vehicle, you might want to think twice about following the trends when it comes to car color.

What Is The Best Car Color To Keep Clean? 

Beige, light blue, light gray, and silver are the best car color choices for those who want to keep their vehicles clean. In addition, white paint can hide dust and debris well. But, dirt that accumulates can be tough to hide on a white car.

Choose The Best Car Color to Hide Dirt

One way to reduce your car washing chores is to choose a color that “hides” the dirt and grime that accumulates on the exterior of your car. Of course, it doesn’t actually hide the dirt. Instead, the color enables the dirt to blend in rather than stand out. Because the dirt is less obvious, you can go longer between washes. 

What is the best color to hide dirt on a car? Some form of light brown, such as beige, tan, champagne, or khaki. This should come as no surprise since the color that is similar to a light dusting of dirt is predisposed to hiding your car’s dirtiness better than other colors. Yet, most people don’t think about this when buying a car. After light browns, grays and silvers also do better than others at looking clean, even with a fair amount of dirt on the surface of the car.

Avoid Car Colors That Easily Show Dirt

So if brown, gray, and silver are the best choices for hiding dirt, what are the dirtiest car colors? Perhaps surprisingly, the car color that gets dirtiest the fastest is black. In fact, all darker colors have problems staying clean – hence the need to choose light browns when trying to reduce the frequency of car washing. 

Black and other dark-colored vehicles tend to accumulate water spots after rainstorms. They also tend to attract large amounts of dirt, bird droppings, pollen, and other grimy substances that are easily visible. Depending on where you live, white can also be a problematic color in terms of showing the dirt. If you drive on dirt roads or live in an area with red clay, a white car likely won’t stay clean for long.

Which Is The Easiest Car Color To Keep Clean?

Again, the answer depends on several factors that have more to do with how you treat your car rather than its color. One of the biggest factors is the quality of the paint job and how often you wax your car. Old, worn-out paint tends to accumulate dirt and other substances because it isn’t as smooth. Plus, dirt tends to adhere more easily to cracks and chips in the paint. Conversely, dirt doesn’t stick as readily to a well-waxed car with a smooth glossy surface. You may be thinking that waxing your car is more time-consuming than washing. You can always have it detailed, which will cost more but save you a few hours of serious elbow grease. 

When it comes down to what is the easiest car color to clean and what is the best car color to hide dirt, browns, grays, and silvers can reduce your trips to the car wash or hours spent washing and waxing by hand. But no matter the color, taking good care of the paint will ultimately save you time and money.

How To Keep Your Car Color Clean And Shiny

Here are three tips you can use to keep your car color clean and shiny.

  1. Wash Your Car
    Wash your car regularly. This allows you to remove harmful debris from your car and protect it against rust. You should wash your car in the shade whenever possible. It also pays to wash your car in the morning or evening since the sun is less intense at these times. If you are parked in the sun, let your car’s exterior cool down before you wash it.
  1. Dry Your Car
    After you wash your car, dry it with soft, clean towels or microfiber towels. You can also use chamois (also referred to as shammies), which tend to soak up water better than regular towels and limit the risk of wet spots.
  1. Wax Your Car
    Apply a wax coat to your car to protect your paint and finish. Wax seals your car’s exterior and protects it against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, salt, and harsh weather conditions. It can leave your car looking shiny and new, too. 

If you find your car color appears faded or notice severe paint damage, Fix Auto USA can help. We offer comprehensive paint repair services to help you keep your vehicle looking its best. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call us today at 800.INFO.FIX.

This blog was contributed by Fix Auto Palm Desert

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