Vehicle Touch Up Paint in Calgary

Should you DIY or Take it to a Shop?

It isn’t a fun moment when you spot rust or a chip in your vehicle’s paint.

The question becomes do you touch it up yourself or take it to a shop?

For some people who may not feel confident in their skills to touch up paint themselves it is a non-issue, they take it in for repair. However if you feel you have the know-how or desire to touch up paint yourself there are a few tips to consider before taking on the job.


Rust, Scratch or Chip. What are you touching up?

Handling rust versus a chip or scratch can be a very different process.

Small scratches and chips, when dealt with immediately can be easy to fix and cost effective.

The DIY approach is a three-step process; clean the surface of the vehicle, apply the perfectly matched paint colour, and seal with a topcoat.

Rust or deep scratches are more complicated to fix. They may require filling the scratch or dent, priming the metal, and applying multiple coats of paint.

Determining the severity of damage may alter your decision to DIY or take it to a shop.

Check the Warranty

Do you have a warranty on your vehicle? If so check it, you may find that if you have purchased it within a certain time period, rust repair and spot treatment is covered, in which case it’s best to take it in to a shop for repair.

Paint Matching

When opting to touch up the paint on your vehicle yourself, one of the trickiest steps can be determining your vehicles paint colour and matching it perfectly to touch up paint.

Paint_Matching_770x740This is key if you are touching up paint yourself, as miss-matched colour looks obvious.

There are websites available such as Duplicolor ( that colour match based on year, make and model of vehicle. That is a good place to start to figure out what paint colour you need.

Every vehicle manufacturer indicates the vehicle exterior paint colour by a code on the vehicle identification tag. This code can be found on different places on your vehicle depending on the year, make and model.

You can contact your local dealership to find out where the vehicle identification tag is located.

For a quick resource look online for various paint-matching guides. There is one put out by Duplicolor, as referred to above.

At All Makes Collision Centre we use a paint gun that scans the paint colour and provides a specific recipe of how to create that exact colour, so no matter what your vehicle colour, we can make it.

Once we get a read out of what quantities of which paint colours to use we add them into our paint mixing machines. If one colour is even slightly off the machine re-calibrates the quantities of the other colours needed to create the perfect blend to match your vehicles unique paint colour.

Where to buy touch up paint in Calgary

Touch up paint can be purchased from your automotive dealership. Paint is also available at Canadian Tire or Part Source.

Purchasing from Canadian Tire or Part Source is the most economical, however may not guarantee a perfect paint match. Do your homework first and go in knowing the exact colour you need for most optimal match.

Purchasing touch up paint from the dealership will give you a better chance of a good paint match, but will cost more money.

maxresdefault Ultimately for the best possible quality of job take your vehicle to a shop or dealership.

Shops, such as All Makes Collision Centre are skilled and proficient so not only will the job be done properly, it will be done quickly as well saving you time in the long run.

If you would like a quote on your specific job give us a call. Check out our info on our car painting service page for more information.

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Does your Vehicle Have an Engine Block Heater?

frozen-carThe colder Canadian winter climate can be harsh on your vehicle. In the winter an engine takes longer to reach an optimal operating temperature, not to mention cools off much faster once it’s turned off.

Overall more fuel is being burned to compensate in addition to more wear and tear on the vehicle components while they work overtime to warm things up.

Engine block heaters are a simple solution to many issues caused by cold temperatures.

While most vehicles should come with a block heater, some newer models or imports may not. Ask when you are looking to buy, or mark down that option when purchasing a new vehicle.

How Does an Engine Block Heater Work?

There are many types of engine block heaters, but they all work towards the same goal.

They help to pre-warm the engine in cold temperatures which results in improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, reduced wear and tear on your vehicles internal components, increased useful life of the starter and battery and a warmer vehicle to climb into.

When Should I use the Engine Block Heater?

While, without one, most vehicles will start even at frigid temperatures, the truth is your vehicle is working harder than average to start the car, heat the engine and lubricants, and work itself up to an optimal working temperature before you leave your house.

An engine block heater assists your vehicle to do these things more easily.

The average temperature you should consider using a block heater at is around -15C, give or take. At this temperature the oil has likely thickened increasing its viscosity and reducing its functionality, until it warms up.

Here are a few scenarios you may not need to use a block heater:

  • You use synthetic oil
  • You park your car in a heated parkade
  • You park in a sheltered area
  • You live in a warm climate that doesn’t see temperatures below -10C


Here are a few scenarios you should definitely consider using a block heater:

  • You use non-synthetic oil
  • You park outside
  • You live in a climate that reaches temperatures below -10C and beyond


Overall, by using an engine block heater you are maxing out the useful life of your vehicle, without having to do avoidable repairs.

What are the Different Types of Block Heaters?

Below is a break-down of the many types of engine block heaters written by – click here for more info.

1) Dipstick heater

Replaces your regular engine oil dipstick; the long, thin heating element warms your engine oil


Ease of installation: easy

Pros: generic; easiest to install; also easiest to transfer to another car should the need arise

Cons: smaller diameter element means lower heating capacity; probably the least effective of all types for heating (I saw one rated at 60 watts vs. 250-1000+ watts for other styles)

2) Inline heater (non-circulating):

Splices into the (usually lower) coolant hose


Ease of installation: easy-moderate

Pros: generic; can probably transfer to your next car.

Cons:: coolant in the hose gets hot, but the heat may not transfer well to the engine, particularly if there’s a closed thermostat between the heater and the rest of the system

3) Inline heater (circulating)

Splices into coolant hose (usually heater core hose), uses built-in pump to circulate coolant over its heating element and through the system


Ease of installation: moderate

Pros: generic; much more effective than non-circulating inline style; probably best combination of effectiveness vs. difficulty of installation; fastest heater/defroster output

Cons: larger size; more to go wrong (built in pump, thermostat)

4) Frost plug style

Replaces an existing frost plug; small to medium sized element warms coolant directly inside the block


Ease of installation: moderate – difficult (depending on location)

Pros: traditional, proven OEM approach; efficient & effective

Cons: not easily transferable to your next car if you should want to do that

5) External element (magnetic)

Sticks flat against block/oil pan

external element mag

Ease of installation: easy

Pros: generic; second easiest to install; simple to transfer to another vehicle; medium to large heating element generates lots of heat

Cons: not as efficient as frost plug style – some energy wasted heating the air around the element; may not be able to find a large enough flat area to place it; can be potentially jolted loose (though could be wire-tied to something to prevent it from falling off completely); block material must be ferromagnetic (won’t stick to aluminum)

6) External element (bolt-on)

Attaches flat against block


Ease of installation: easy to difficult (depending on location)

Pros: medium to large heater element means lots of heat

Cons: not as efficient as frost plug style – some energy wasted heating the air around the element; not easily transferable to another vehicle

Note: Generic applications (dipstick heater) will probably be less expensive than custom fit (OEM external element), and the more complex heaters (inline circulating) will cost more than the simple styles (OEM frost plug).”

Source: In praise of the lowly block heater,

Where to Get Them Installed

Overall, assess the type of engine block heater that’s best for you. If you need to have one installed and have experience with vehicle mechanics, use the list above to benchmark your experience with the level of difficulty of the installation.

If you are a beginner or have little knowledge on vehicle mechanics it’s always best to take a job to your service provider, shop or dealership. Contact us if you need a quote on a job.

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So You Need a Bumper Repair …

This year Calgary has seen above average snowfall already and winter just began not to mention variable degrees of climate change from -25C to

When the roads get slick so do the driving conditions and that equates to higher incidences of fender benders.

How do you tell if you need a bumper repair or replacement and what should you expect?

Bumper Repair versus Bumper Replacement

bike carThe degree of damage done to the bumper will indicate whether or not it can be repaired or will need to be replaced.

Damage comes in the form of dents, scratches, and cracks.

Minor scratches or paint chips can be repaired easily, if no other damage has been done to the vehicle and minor dents can be pushed out.

Large cracks or dents will require a bumper replacement. The old bumper will have to be removed, the new one attached, and often painted to match the vehicle colour.

Ultimately, the collision repair process stands to restore the integrity of your vehicle. Even in bumper repair, the damage must be thoroughly assessed. From there, any necessary auto body work is performed, from frame straightening if necessary, to automotive painting, fender reconstruction and repair to any internal damage.

Bumper Repair Cost

The cost of Bumper Repair can vary from shop to shop and depends on the degree of damage done to the bumper, as well as the year make and model of the vehicle.

Scratches, cracks and dents are various forms of damage that can be done to a bumper. Depending on the type and severity the cost of the job will vary.

The range of cost can vary from $200 – $2000 +. The price is quoted based on parts, shop time and service.

Here is an example of how a bumper replacement job is priced-out:

Average Labor Time Install = 2.8hrs @$90.00 per hour =$252.00 +
Average Labor Time to Refinish Bumper = 2.7 to 3.4 hrs =$243.00 to $306.00
Cost of paint materials for refinish = ~ $110-120.00
Total cost of bumper replacement = $700.00+

As you can see if the bumper solely needs refinishing the cost is drastically lower, versus an entire replacement.

How to Select a Repair Shop

There are many factors to consider when selecting an automotive collision centre. Look into the following before making a decision:

• Experience
• Length of time in business
• Who are their suppliers
• How long have their employees been with the company
• What is their specialty
• Testimonials/Reputation
• Any affiliations they may have
• What quality of products do they represent
• Accreditation

For example: All Makes Collision Centre is accredited by AMVIC (Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council) and BBB (Better Business Bureau). We use 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. In addition we use a computerized paint matching system to ensure the paint colour matches your vehicle perfectly. Visit our About Us page for more info on our company.

A lot of the information above will be available on most company websites. If it is not call them and ask questions until you feel you have an adequate understanding of their company culture.

Rule of Thumb for DIY

Anytime you find yourself considering a DIY job ask yourself the following questions:bumper repair

• Do I have the skill level required to take on the job?
• How big of a job is it?
• Is the cost of having it done professionally worth more than the car?

If the answer to point one is “no” than take it to a collision specialist.
If the answer to point two is “small” and point one is “yes”, than it is worth a try looking into a DIY fix – depending on the value of your vehicle.

If you drive a beater and you are happy to try fixing a scratch or minor dent – go for it.

If your car is valuable and you do not want to risk a screw-up play it safe and take it in!

At the end of the day if you have any questions about a bumper repair or replacement give us a call, we’ll do our best to give you the info you need.


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The Importance of Windshield Wipers in Winter

windshield-wipersOne of the ways to ensure safe winter driving is proper visibility. Winter brings with it snow, slush and frost which often cakes the windshield, reducing visibility.

Windshield wipers are essential in maintaining visibility during snow storms.

Improve your safety this winter by ensuring your windshield wipers are functioning properly.

How Windshield Wipers Work

Windshield wipers are generally each attached to a single arm for most automobiles. The arms are attached to an electric motor that regulates the pivotal movement of the blade arms.

A rubber wiper blade is inserted into the metal frame and it is responsible for wiping the window clean.

Other forms exists, like the Mercedes-Benz, Monoblade, which is a single blade attached in the centre. The single blade extends upward and down in a rectangular shape, covering more area than the traditional wiper blade motion.

Vehicles are now manufactured with optical rain sensor wipers, which detect the amount of rain on the windshield and respond accordingly. This automatic wiper adjusts its speed and frequency based on the amount of rain detected.

Many manufacturers also produce a wiper specifically for winter conditions. These wipers will have a rubber boot that covers the arm. The boot acts as a lip to keep snow and ice off the arm so the squeegee maintains in even contact with the windshield, reducing streaking and blind spots.

How to know if your windshield wipers need replacing

If your wiper blades are exhibiting any of the four S’s; streaking, skipping, splitting or squeaking, it is time for new windshield wipers.

On average wiper blades should be replaced every six month to a year, depending on where and tear, or when you notice a deterioration in visibility.

Make a note in your calendar or iPhone when six months has passed so you remember to check them.

It is often helpful to change the wiper blades before winter so you have a fresh set to get you through the harsh winter driving conditions.

Look for the following signs when you inspect your wiper blades:

  • Detached arms: are there screws missing or loose on the piece attaching the frame to the arm?
  • Broken or bent frame
  • Disintegrated, or ripped rubber on wiper blade
  • Metal corrosion around the joints
  • Flexibility of arm; does it move easily and lie flat to the window?
  • Is the rubber wiper secure in the frame, or is it loose?

It is a good idea to check your windshield wipers as a part of your routine maintenance checks.

How to replace windshield wipers

You can definitely ask your service technician to replace your windshield wipers for you at your next scheduled maintenance appointment, however if it is simply your blades that need to be replaced you can do it yourself as well.

Step One: Remove Old Blades

Pull the windshield wiper arm away from the windshield so it is propped up. Hold the arm with one hand and use the other hand to depress the small lever under the wiper, where it meets the arm. With the lever depressed slide the blade off the arm.

Step Two: Put Wiper Arm Back Down

Carefully place the windshield wiper arm back onto the windshield (with no rubber blade inside you want to ensure you put it back carefully so as not to hit your windshield and damage the glass).

Step Three: Insert the Refills

Carefully slide the refill wiper blade into the same end you pulled off the old one. Make sure the retaining clamp clicks into place, properly holding the new blade in position.

If in doubt watch a video to see how to do it:

[youtube height=”400px” width=”100%”][/youtube]

Brand of Wipers

Before buying new blades it is helpful to measure your current ones so you purchase the proper length.

You can buy windshield wiper blades from Canadian Tire, Costco or Wal-Mart.

Trico Products are the world’s leading manufacturer in windshield wiping systems. Bosch has the largest factory, producing 350,000 wiper blades a day!

Rain-X also has a good reputation, as do Michelin. Ask the service personnel if you have questions or want a second opinion before purchasing.

Whether you decide to purchase a less expensive or more expensive brand, maintenance and use can affect the life of the product.

Factors such as, do you park outside or in a garage, do you wipe your wiper blades down frequently and clear debris from underneath them when it rains or snows, affect the life of your wiper blades.


We also wrote an article on 8 Steps to Winterizing your Vehicle. Check it out for more helpful tips on how to get the most out of your car this winter.


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Would You Get Behind the Wheel of the Self-Driving Car?

Have you been following the latest news on self-driving cars? There have been updates as of late on the newest automobile technology, automated vehicles.

There has been a lot of buzz on the topic as the technology becomes further developed and the “how will this work” debate continues.

We compiled some information for you on what a self-driving car is and how it is anticipated to work.

How Does a Self-Driving Car Work?

Essentially, automated vehicles are cars that don’t need human drivers. Current motor vehicles require a driver; automated vehicles would drive us around rather than have us drive them.

This system takes place using a series of GPS, lasers, processors and software. A destination is programmed into the system and the vehicles computes point A to B and drives the passenger there.

Software systems installed into automated vehicles require an ability to deeply interpret environmental factors; to recognize and respond to current traffic infrastructure, like roundabouts, underpasses, pedestrian crossing, speed bumps and more.

What are the Perceived Benefits?

Many benefits of this technology have been argued. They would include:

  • Less traffic accidents caused by human error: people often drive unsafely, too fast, too slow, distracted, tired, or under the influence of substances. Automated vehicles would eliminate the human risk factor associated with driving, decreasing collision.
  • Commuting could be used as time to read, meditate, sleep, or work.
  • People currently unable to drive would have a new transportation option, for example elderly, or disabled persons.
  • “If only 10 percent of cars and trucks on the road were self-driving, they could reduce traffic deaths by 1,000 per year and produce nearly $38 billion in economic and other savings,” said the study by the Eno Center for Transportation, a foundation dedicated to improving transportation.
  • “If 90 percent of vehicles were self-driving, as many as 21,700 lives per year could be saved, and economic and other benefits could reach a staggering $447 billion,” said the same study.
  • “Platooning” would take place. This would happen when a mass amount of self-driving cars are on the road together; they would collect near each other, yet at a safe distance apart and move in a pod, decreasing stop and go traffic, and reducing fuel-burning. This would make traffic patterns smoother and decrease drive times.


Perceived Safety Implications and Objections

Just as there are perceived benefits of this new technology, there have also been perceived obstacles of use and adaptation.

Safety implications and objections currently being discussed include:

  • Integrating the new technology with current infrastructure will take some time, delaying release dates.
  • Ethical questions are involved, such as how do you program a vehicle to respond in the event of two unfavourable circumstances. Say for example, “Should an automated car drive its passengers off a cliff to avoid crashing into a peloton of cyclists on a mountain road? Working out the laws that apply to automated vehicles adds further complications,” states Sven Beiker, executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University.
  • Safety standards for manufacturing will play a part in how safe the vehicles will be. A reduction of accidents caused by human error may be replaced by computer error if the manufacturing process isn’t fail-safe.


Companies Working on Technology

self-driving car

Many see automated vehicles as the future of the automotive industry. At this time many automotive manufacturers are in various stages of research and development.

Companies include Ford, General Motors and Nissan, which are rumoured to be the furthest along. It has been reported that Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo have also begun testing driverless systems.

Google’s self-driving cars have seen well over 600,000 km of drive time on California public roads.

When Experts Think it Will be Available

Companies are estimating the technology to be available as early at 2020. The delay is not necessarily in the development of the technology itself, but in the current infrastructure and consumer behaviour.

For vehicles to be fully automated, vehicles on the road would have to be connected to one another, exchanging information about speed, proximity, direction etc.

As the self-driving car technology continues to be developed it will likely be slowly integrated. Sven Beiker says “the first self-driving car is more likely to be a geeky little mobility pod on the roads around a shopping mall than an automated supercar cruising along the freeway. As the problems of existing traffic, laws, and infrastructure are solved, those pods might grow in size, functionality, and speed. They could graduate to surface roads and dedicated highway lanes. Only after that could we get fully automated personal vehicles,” he explains.

California has requested that licensing protocol is prepared by 2015. Three states, California, Florida and Nevada, have passed laws to regulate the licensing and operations of self-driving cars.

Some of the technology that would be incorporated in automated cars is already available in vehicles on the market: examples are adaptive cruise control, adjusting cruise control speed to adjust with traffic, parking assistance systems, showing drivers what is behind them and warning drivers with a beeping alarm when they are getting close to backing into something.

What Do You Think?

Would you put your trust in a self-driving car? Would you buy one if it was on the market today?

For more information check out Reddit’s compilation on self-driving cars.



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