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Winter Driving – 8 Steps to Winterizing Your Vehicle

winter drivingAs much as it may be tough to face the facts, Calgary Winter is around the corner.

In a few months we will be faced with the reality of shorter days, colder temperatures, and probably even the ‘S’ word. No not that ‘S’ word. I mean SNOW!

Now, I am not sure if you’ve noticed this, I know I have, it’s the same every year. It seems every Calgary driver that has driven in Calgary winters for who knows how many years just down right forgets how to drive in the winter.

Every year, first snowfall, there are cars in the ditch, bumper humpers peppering the streets, and preposterous traffic delays everywhere as a result. (On that note stay tuned for an article to come soon on bumper repair).

How can we as a collective avoid this during winter driving? One way is to make sure your vehicle is ready for winter conditions.

Here are eight tips to help you out:

Battery

The battery of your car is like its heart. Without it properly functioning, you’re not going anywhere, and winter driving with a bad battery is a disaster waiting to happen. To ensure proper maintenance of your battery check the following:

  • Are the posts and connections corrosion-free? Corrosion looks like white, crusty residue and if it build up it becomes difficult for your vehicle to connect to the battery, ie: car won’t start. Whether you clean them yourself or have your battery serviced it is up to you and your know-how and comfort level, just get `er done!
  • How old is your battery? If it is older than three years have it tested. Its ability to hold a charge diminishes over time.
  • If you do have an older battery make sure to carry an extension cord with you and plug the vehicle in when temperatures reach around -15C to -20C or lower.

 

Tires For Winter Driving

I cannot stress enough the importance of winter tires. We live at the base of the Rocky Mountains for crying out loud, in a continental climate, this means snow and cold arctic exposure. Snow tires help maintain traction during winter driving.

Whether your vehicle is a rear-wheel drive sports car, a front-wheel drive sedan or an all-wheel drive SUV, the most effective safety measure one can have is the “contact patch”, this is the section of tire that touches the road.

No matter your AWD system, winter tires = good grip on the road, are an important safety measure.

“All-season tires do not have cold weather rubber compounds, channelling tread patterns, the large number of tread sipes (tiny slits in the tread blocks) for wet surface control, and the open tread block pattern for deep snow traction that winter tires feature,” explains fountaintire.com.

To ensure a good quality winter tire look for a snowflake symbol.

Windshield

Do you have a crack or chip in your windshield? Summer road trips are the culprit of much windshield damage. No big deal, these small cracks and abrasions can be fixed quite easily. Especially if caught while they are still small.

It is wise to deal with these before the weather drops. Holes and cracks leave the glass subject to retraction and expansion with fluctuating weather. As a result small issues can spider web out overnight. If this happens, a full windshield replacement may be necessary.

Make sure to repair any windshield damage before snow and freezing rain. Your visibility is important in the winter so improve it by ensuring your windshield is in great condition.

You should also determine if you need a full windshield replacement.

Windshield Wiper Blades

Check your wiper blades. Any blemishes in the field of vision may indicate a damaged wiper blade. Streaks or areas left unclear after the wiper has swiped are indications you may need a new wiper blade.

Mr. Windshield Wiper Blades very aptly states, “A windshield wiper has no protective cover, of course. Even when not in use, it sits in its receptacle between the windshield and the hood subjected to the wind, rain and sun, 24 hours of every day, 365 days of every year. A wiper blade begins deteriorating the very minute it’s installed to the vehicle.”

So how often shoulwindshield_wipersd you have your wiper blades replaced?

If there are visible symptoms such as splitting, cracking, disintegration, discolouration, etc. those are sure-fire signs it’s time for a new blade.

The useful life of a wiper blade in generally around a year, however this differs depending on what your wipers are made out of.

Ordinary rubber has the shortest life span, halogen-hardened rubber a bit longer, and silicone the longest. Life span on the two latter materials can be over a year, up to three depending on use and weather conditions.

For more information read our post on windshield wipers.

 

Other Things to Consider

  • Four Wheel Drive? If your vehicle has four wheel drive, check the system to make sure it’s functioning correctly before tackling winter driving.
  • Antifreeze topped up? Does your radiator have the correct amount of antifreeze, and has it been mixed properly?
  • Emergency Kit? Just in case, make sure to keep the following in your car; a blanket, extra gloves, hats and scarves, a car cell phone charger, an extension cord, a scraper, jumper cables, a spare tire, a first aid kit, a flashlight. If you get stuck or stranded these items can literally save your life.

 

Be Cautious

Drive the appropriate speed for the conditions. Yes there are maximum speed limits however this doesn’t mean you have to go that fast. Slow down when road conditions are poor and take your time to drive alertly and defensively.

Stay tuned for a post on bumper repair.

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Wheel Repair Calgary – What to Know and Where to Go

At All Makes Collision Centre we are experts in what we do: auto body and glass repair. Recently we have noticed people asking about wheel repair.

While we do not do wheel repair, we outsource it to one of our colleagues at Alberta Wheel Repair & Restoration.
They are our trusted source for the best wheel repair Calgary offers.

None-the-less we would love to give you some information on when you may need a wheel repair, what a fair price looks like, when to do it yourself and other tips about wheel repair.

When You may Need a Wheel Repair

Wheel repair can be necessary in many types of scenarios. Alberta Wheel Repair & Restoration lists all the types of wheel repair:

  • Damage Repairs & Restorations
  • Paint & Polish
  • Straightening
  • Alloy, Steel & Magnesium Wheels
  • Bolt Hole Repairs
  • Motorcycle Wheels
  • Truck Wheels: Repair & Ridge Rebuilding for 22.5″ and 24.5″ Wheels
  • Certified Aluminum Welding Procedures

Wheel damage is often caused by hitting a curb with a wheel. The impact can break pieces off the wheel, scratch, dent or remove paint from the wheel. Going over potholes and speed bumps too fast are other common causes of wheel damage.

Your wheel can be repaired, from refinishing to straightening and even welding.

Where to Go

As previously mentioned we outsource our wheel repair to the experts at Alberta Wheel Repair & Restoration. They have the proper tools, equipment and know how.

wheel repair calgary

DIY Versus Wheel Repair at a Shop

It is possible to DIY your wheel repair project. Of course time and skill are two factors to consider if you want to DIY. If you are a handy person who enjoys projects then DIY is a great option and saves you the labour costs of having it done professionally.

If however, you are not the handy type who likes side projects than getting it done professionally will likely save you time and frustration.

Here is a video that explain how to do it yourself:

[youtube height=”500″ width=”100%”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nkEZJajlNo[/youtube]

How Long Does a Wheel Repair Take?

Turn-around time can vary depending on the scope of the job. Here is a guide to go by:

  • Refinishing One Wheel – 2-3 days
  • Refinishing a Set of Wheels – 3-5 days
  • Straightening – 1 day
  • Cracks – 3-4 days

Turn-around time can also vary depending on the work load any given week or time of the year.

The busiest times of the year for wheel repair tend to be late fall, before snowfall, early spring and sporadically throughout summer.

What is a Fair Price on a Wheel Repair in Calgary?

Prices on wheel repair vary depending on the type and scope of service.

On average refinishing a single wheel is around $100.00-$150.00. Straightening is around $75.00-$100.00. Welding and straightening is around $100.00-$150.00.

Having said that, there are variables that affect the cost of a wheel repair. It is recommended that a unique quote be given for each scenario.

What Variables Affect Pricing?

Variables include the following:

  • Number of wheels
  • Type of wheels
  • Damage incurred

Labour time can vary job to job so the time it will take to repair your wheel will impact the quote.

Do you have any tips or suggestions about wheel repair in Calgary? Was this blog post helpful?

 

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The Process Behind Paint Chip Repair

Our last post informed readers how to tell when you need a windshield chip or crack repair versus a full windshield replacement.

Similarly, it is important to know when you may need a paint chip repair or a full paint job for your auto body repair.

Coming off the road from summer road trips can leave the body of your vehicle less than in tip-top shape. Gravel, rocks and debris from the highway can kick-up and scratch the paint on your vehicle.

Alternatively, minor dents can be acquired from busy parking lots, just think summertime at Lake Louise and you will know what I mean.

Paint Chip Repair – Micro or Full Repair?

Many times when looking into fixing automotive dents and scratches consumers are quoted high, told they need to replace the entire panel, for example. While this can be the case on occasion, it is important to tell when only a micro-repair is needed.

What Constitutes a Micro-Repair on your Vehicle?

Micro-repairs are done to small areas needing touch-ups. Micro-repairs can include; dents, paint chips, or paint scratch and scuffs caused by road debris or a minor collision, like bumping a car door into another one, or accidentally bumping into a parking block.

Micro-Repair Supplies

There are kits available for do-it-yourself micro-repairs. For handy do-it-yourselfers this can provide a quick fix.paint chip repair paint

Alternatively, if you are looking for fast turn-around time and expert professionalism, take your vehicle to your nearby micro-repair specialist.

There are definite differences in the quality of supplies used between do-it-yourself kits and professional micro-repair services.

For example, the paint we use on body repairs is DuPont Cromax Pro. This paint meets the highest standards set by all vehicle manufacturers. It is of the highest quality and is also environmentally friendly.

Get Expert Advice

Ultimately if you are unsure whether or not you have received a fair estimate, get a second opinion. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about your quote.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Call us today at 403-536-0518.

paint chip repair

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When You Need a Car Windshield Replacement

It’s the time of year where many people are hitting the road, getting one final road trip in with the family before school and work ramp up again come fall.

As amazing as this time is, it is common to come home with damage done to the windshield. How do you know when it is time for a car windshield replacement?

We will walk you through the steps from identifying glass damage to what it takes to repair a windshield, as well as obtaining a fair quote from your service provider.

 

Common Causes of a Cracked Windshield

It is common for glass damage to go unnoticed at the onset. It is important to inspect your windshield so as not to miss small abrasions that can spread rapidly into bigger problems, like windshield cracks.

If caught early on, small repairs can elongate the useful life of your windshield saving you from having to do a full car windshield repair.

Holes, chips or cracks in the glass can be caused by a number of reasons.

Most commonly is direct impact of road gravel and rocks. Road hazards such as rocks, gravel and larger stones can kick-up from off the road or be flung into a side lane from a passing vehicle.

Over time small chips or holes can easily spider web out into larger cracks, leaving you with a cracked windshield. How does this happen?

The small chips and holes collect moisture, and in temperamental climates like ours with drastic overnight weather changes, the water expands and contracts in the hole, often causing cracks to form in the glass.

Other causes may include manufacturer weakness, extreme temperatures, and hail damage.

What Happens During a Rock Chip Repair?

To save yourself from a large windshield crack, a rock chip repair can be done on small abrasions to ensure solidity.

It is important to have an inspection done in a timely manner if you suspect damage to your vehicle windshield so preventative repairs can be done.

So how is a rock chip repair done and why is it effective?

Rock chip repair is a process applied to the chip. It fills and binds the area so the chip will not turn into a windshield crack or spider web.

Essentially the rock chip repair process involves cleaning out the hole or chip area, removing any excess debris, leftover rock or glass particles. From there an alignment tool is placed above the chip, holding a tube in place above it.

Once the alignment tool is accurately placed and the repair tube is pressed against the chip, drops of resin are put into the tube and applied to the chip.

Once the appropriate amount of resin is dropped in place, (depending on the size of the chip more or less is used), a finishing film is applied.

This chip repair process, when done properly leaves the chip virtually invisible and prevents cracking from happening.

What is a Rock Chip Repair Kit?

A rock chip repair kit is a kit you can obtain to repair small chips or holes at home. The kits come with full instructions and tools required for the job.

While these kits can be handy if you are fixing multiple chips over time, they take time to learn to use and cost anywhere from $300- $700 for the professional kits or $17.99 for one time use kits.

The benefit to outsourcing is you know it will be repaired properly the first time which could save you replacing the whole windshield.

When Might You Need a Full Windshield Replacement?

If a chip does turn into a crack or spider web it may be time for a full car windshield replacement.

A cracked windshield restricts visibility and can be a hazard on the road.

So when can you simply repair the windshield and when does it need a full replacement?

This depends on the size, location and severity of the damage.

Repairs can commonly be done on rock chips measuring a quarter in size, and cracks up to three inches long.

Sometimes a larger windshield crack or chip can be fixed depending on the scope of the damage.

If the damage is any larger, or located in tough to treat areas it may be time for a full windshield replacement.

It is best to get a windshield replacement quote, and a quote on rock chip repair.

How to Know You’re Obtaining a Fair Windshield Replacement Quote

Prices tend to vary between dealerships and automotive glass shops like us. Dealerships tend to use glass from the original equipment manufacturers whereas automotive glass shops can use glass that is the same quality, for less cost.

If you have questions about your windshield replacement quote feel free to contact us. We can explain the quote to you or offer you a second opinion. We offer both micro chip repair and micro crack repair as well as full car windshield replacement. We can help if you have questions.

Look into a quote for your job today.

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Preparing your Vehicle for a Road Trip

Are you planning a road trip with your family this summer? Road trips are a great way to see the countryside while spending quality time with your family.

Whether you are planning a long road trip or a short weekend getaway there are important things to check your vehicle for before you go.

Here is what you need to know to make sure your vehicle is up-to-snuff for the trip.

At Least a Month Before

Address Major Repairs

It’s best to address any major vehicle repair concerns at least a month before your scheduled departure. This relieves stress the week you are getting ready to go.

Book an appointment for your vehicle to be checked out if you have any qualms.

Check Fluids

Our cars need hydration just as our bodies need water. Make sure to check the fluids are topped up. Coolant, oil, windshield washer and brake fluid specifically.

Tires

How is the tire pressure in your tires? Are they inflated to the proper pressure? Your owner’s manual should have instructions on proper pressure for your tires.

Incorrect tire pressure can compromise cornering, braking and vehicle stability, or tire failure.

Low pressure can cause extra heat build-up that can lead to a blowout at high speeds. If tire pressure is too high, then less of the tire touches the ground affecting stopping distances.

How is the tire tread? To check the tire tread, place the edge of a coin, like a dime with the queen’s head pointing down, in one the grooves of the tire. If you can see the space above her head, it’s time for new tires.

Here is a video to demonstrate how to check your tire tread.

[youtube height=”500″ width=”100%”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fdCB9NdKd4[/youtube]

Spare Tire Supplies

Ok, start by knowing where your spare is! And if you have one!

How is the tire pressure of your spare? Do you have a jack, wrench and other tire changing supplies?

Knowing where your spare is can will ease your mind and reduce stress in the case of a flat tire, and potentially save you the money required to tow your vehicle.

Glove Box

Check your glove box for the following items; owner’s manual, registration and insurance. Make sure it is all up-to-date before embarking on an escapade. The last thing you want is a ticket for lack of updated registration and insurance, or worse an accident with out-dated information.

Scheduled Maintenance

Before leaving make sure your vehicle has been in the shop for scheduled maintenance like oil changes. This will reduce the likelihood of an avoidable malfunction and ensure your vehicle is operating optimally.

The Week Before You Leave

– Clean your car: the less weight in your vehicle the less fuel you burn. Take out unnecessary items to get better fuel economy.

– Have a map: Make sure you put a map in the vehicle or have a GPS locator in the car so you can navigate the way.

– Consider investing in a car cell phone charge. Is it nice to have full battery powered cell phone at all tomes so that if there is an emergency you are prepared.

The Day You Leave

Finally, your trip has arrived. There are only a few more steps to take to get prepared.

Load the car evenly and carefully. A balanced weight load will help improve fuel, economy, be easier on the vehicle alignment and make for smoother driving on windy roads.

Fill the tank. Leave with a full tank of gas and never let the tank get below ¼, as you may not know when the next gas station is, especially for remote mountain areas.

Let loved ones staying at home know your plan so there is an emergency contact available who knows where you will be.

And finally … HAVE FUN!!!! You are all set to go.

Auto Body Maintenance When You Return

Highway driving can afford your vehicle minor scratched and dent. For dent and scratch repair or windshield chip repair visit your auto body specialist when you get home.

For any questions or concerns related to your vehicle feel free to contact us. We are happy to help!

 

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