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Category: Car care

A car drives away from the camera down a highway.
There are several ways to save a bit of gas money and get more miles out of your tank.

No one likes paying for gas. It’s one of those expenses that you don’t want to spend on but is completely necessary. Whether you commute, drive the kids to school, or live a bit out of town, there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your gas mileage and save a bit of change in the process.

1. Don’t drive aggressively

Harsh starts and stops, quick turns, speeding, and tailgating can all guzzle gas. When you drive aggressively, you’re fueling your car to make movements more energetic than it needs to make. Think about all the times you brake while keeping close to the person in front of you on the freeway. With every braking, you’re counteracting the fuel powering your car – essentially wasting that last step on the gas pedal.

2. Ditch the drive-thru

Drive-thru lines have gotten slower over the years, and in 2018 the national average spent in a drive-thru was 234 seconds, according to a yearly QSR study. That’s nearly four minutes idling. Instead, park and go inside. Your legs could probably use the stretch and you can save yourself gas consumption.

3. Keep the windows up

You’ve probably heard this before. You’ll save gas by rolling the windows up and turning the AC on on a hot day. The drag on your car is far more harsh on your gas tank than your air conditioning. In Central Texas, you probably would prefer air conditioning anyway.

A black car with a green kayak racked on top, sitting in a driveway near a brick house.
When possible, remove excess weight and additions to the outside of your car. Racks like this increase wind resistance and drag on your vehicle.

4. Ditch excess weight

Weight in your car can cause it to drag, using more fuel. If you’re on vacation, you might be tempted to leave quite a bit of stuff in your car to avoid repacking later. Not only can the extra weight cost you while you’re out exploring, but the sight of bags, suitcases, or valuable items can attract car vandals. If you don’t need it in the car, take it out.

5. Properly maintain your vehicle

This goes without saying: Take care of your car. Taking proper care of your tires, changing out your air filters regularly, and tuning your engine can save you fuel over time. Taking care of your vehicle means it’s running smoothly and using less gas to do so.

 

A person stands behind the hood of a grey car looking at the engine. They are stopped on the side of a small road surrounded by green grass.
Is it time for a new car yet? Costly repairs are a big factor in many car owners’ decision to buy new.

You love your car. You’ve been taking good care of it for years, but after the last accident, you’re not sure how much more repair you’re willing to pour into it. But buying a new is also a huge financial commitment. Here are a few considerations as to whether or not you want to commit to a new vehicle.

Safety

Obviously, newer cars are safer. They have the latest technology to keep you and your vehicle out of harm’s way. If your car is more than 5 years old, compare the safety features of your car to newer vehicles. Some things can be added on to your current vehicle, but others cannot. Features like automatic emergency braking, backup cameras, and blind-spot monitoring are almost standard safety now. If there’s a serious gap in the safety of your car and newer vehicles, it’s probably time to buy a new one.

Also, if you are looking for your teen driver, safer cars are the way to go. Anything that helps an inexperienced driver navigate the road will benefit them.

Saving money

If you find yourself at the repair shop often, you may feel like your car is costing you more than it’s worth. However, the cost of a new car is much more burdensome. Not only would you probably be paying more in monthly payments, but you’ll also pay more in insurance and registration fees.

A new car loses about 20 percent of its value in a year. This can leave you “upside down” in payments before long: You’ll owe more than what it’s worth. While this is a normal part of getting a new car, you’ll likely be stuck with it when this happens – for better or worse.

However, if your current vehicle is a gas guzzler you’ll likely save money on fuel by switching to something more efficient. This would be a great reason to trade in your vehicle.

Peace of mind

A pair of legs with white tennis shoes stick out of the drivers window of a car.
Knowing you have a safe vehicle with a current warranty can help you enjoy your car rather than avoid wearing it down.

Sometimes the worry of an old car breaking down is not worth holding out to buy a new one. Repairing an old problem doesn’t guarantee another major problem won’t happen sooner than later.

You may just be fed up with an ongoing problem in your vehicle: An annoying engine noise, a broken radio, worn upholstery…there is a multitude of everyday annoyances and worries getting a new car can fix. Constant trips to the repair shop are stressful and can leave you several days without your vehicle.

Buying new comes with the peace of mind that you’ll probably not be in the shop for a repair. And if you do, you’ll probably have a warranty to cover it for several years to come.

Sentiment

If you’ve had a car a long time, you may have a sentimental attachment to it. Saying goodbye can feel like abandoning an old friend. While this isn’t necessarily a big reason to keep the vehicle, it may influence a decision to keep your old car. Think about it this way: Sentimental value makes the car more valuable to you than it would to anyone else.

Making a decision

While multiple factors have to be considered in your decision, there are a few instances we’d recommend buying new:

No one can truly avoid accidents. We can do our best to stay alert and drive defensively, but it’s no guarantee. We do, however, have control over other preventative measures to deter damage. Small or large, these damages can cost money and age your vehicle.

Park away from other vehicles when possible

Cars sit in a Wegman's parking lot, with more cars close to the store, and fewer farther out.
Parking farther away from other cars can prevent unwanted dings and scratches.

Many new car owners choose to walk a bit farther to their destination if it means fewer dents and scratches. New or not, parking a little way out may prevent getting hit by shopping carts or other car doors.

While little scratches probably won’t bother the average car owner, they accumulate and make your car look older.

Hide valuables out of sight

Theft happens, and thieves are often tempted to break in when they see something valuable. Hide your expensive sunglasses, electronics, or handbags in the glove compartment, in the console, or in the trunk of your car. Keeping valuable items hidden makes it more of a gamble to thieves who aren’t sure which cars will be worth their while.

Keep it covered

Putting your car in the garage or under an overhang can protect it from the elements. Hail damage is rare, but when it does hail, you’ll be glad to have protection over your car. The sun can also chip and fade your paint. This will make your car look old and unkept when your paint starts bubbling enough to be noticeable.

Aside from weather, you might want to put your car in the garage to prevent it from getting scratched by kids playing around it, or a potential hit from another car if you’re parking on the street.

Park on higher ground

A road sign sticks out of water, which is apparently higher than normal.
High water can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Park on high ground and avoid driving through water.

If you live in central Texas, you probably know someone who’s had flood damage to their vehicle. Flooding can cause mildew and mold on wet carpet and possibly rust or corrosion inside the vehicle.

Try to park on higher ground when you hear about a flood watch. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee if you live in a flood zone, but making the effort to park somewhere safer could save you from damage.

*Also, TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN. Don’t try to cross low-water crossings when there’s water. Not only could this total your vehicle but doing this also risks your life.

Keep it clean

A hand washes the hood of a bright-red car with a sudsy yellow sponge.
Washing your vehicle can prevent paint damage and corrosion later on.

Dirt, road salt, and other harmful elements can sit on your paint and cause small scratches as well as causing discoloring or rust over time. Wash your car periodically, especially after a road trip when your car has probably picked up a lot of grime.


For more tips like these, follow ProCare Collision on Facebook.

close-up of a tire on a black vehicle
Taking care of your tires can prevent accidents.

Maintaining good quality tires on a vehicle is something car owners must do. Insufficient tread or air pressure leads to more than just a flat tire. In 2017, tire-related crashes resulted in 738 fatalities nationwide. While the number of tire-related crashes has dropped in the past decade, they can still happen and cause serious damage.

Proper tire maintenance is one of many steps car owners can take to prevent an accident.

Proper tire tread

The tread on tires can vary depending on the type of tire and the type of vehicle. You want enough tire tread to allow water on the road to go through the tread. This gives your car traction.

There is a quick test you can do to check your tread. Insert the penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head pointed down into the tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the worn tires on your vehicle.

If you don’t have change, look for the tread wear indicator bars which are located on several areas of the tire.

Check the tire pressure

The tire pressure for every vehicle can vary but is typically between 30 and 35 psi. Make a habit of checking your tire pressure routinely and it is especially important to do this before you drive on slick roads.

While most newer vehicles are equipped with tire sensors, you do not want to always rely on that in case the sensors malfunction. Under-inflated and damaged tires are leading contributors to a blowout, which can result in a serious collision.

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A low angle shot of a car driving on a wet road covered with hail.
Hailstorms can easily damage your vehicle.

When a hailstorm hits, it can leave its mark on your vehicle. The damage left behind can be significant. In San Antonio, the April 12, 2016 hailstorm cost $1.4 billion in damage to homes and cars. If you’re looking to repair hail damage, there are a couple of options body shops can provide.

Types of hail damage repair

There are two options when it comes to fixing those dents. The first is regular body work. This is for more extensive damage that often requires filling the dent, fixing the paint, and may take days in the shop. This can also affect your resale value if you make a claim to get the repair done.

The other option is paintless dent removal (PDR). PDR requires getting to the back of the dent and massage the body back to its original position. This option is fairly quick and easy, and also is less likely to affect your car value. It is also cheaper, but isn’t always an option with some dents and damage.

Get an estimate

Before getting an estimate, know what your insurance policy covers for auto body repair and if it covers PDR. Find a collision center that offers free estimates.

A technician can tell you what it will take to remove your damage, and what type of repair they recommend.

What to choose

If the damage to your vehicle has not chipped or cracked the paint, then it may be possible to have PDR to remove the damage. Typically, PDR is the go-to fix for hail damage. This is beneficial because it maintains the original factory paint, saves time, and saves money. Additionally, this is a good way to avoid any negative CARFAX reports if you plan on selling the car soon.

With more serious damage, you may need to go with regular body repair. Any paint damage will require collision repair to not only remove the dents but perform paint work on the vehicle.

For more information on dent repair, follow ProCare on Facebook.

A pair of hands hold several marble-sized hailstones.
Hail can cause a lot of body damage.

Hailstorms in Texas take a toll on vehicles. They can leave behind a Texas-sized path of destruction to property, including cars. That leaves many car owners in need of hail damage repair. According to a recent study, Bexar county comes in at number 11 for the most wind and hail insurance claims during the past decade. This explains why, after a hailstorm, body shops are busier than usual.

Monitor weather reports to protect your vehicle in a garage or under an awning to prevent hail damage. A severe storm can leave sizable damage to your car.

Assess the Damage

Once the storm has passed, take a look at your car. If the hail was large in size, the damage may be obvious. Your vehicle may not be drivable if it has a smashed windshield. Walk around the entire vehicle to check the condition of the headlights, taillights, and the roof of the car.

With smaller hail, the damage may not be visible until you get close to your car. If you can, get your vehicle in direct light. When the light shines on the car, you may notice a dimple effect that looks like a golf ball. Look for missing paint.

Take Photos

Take close-up and wider photos to show the full extent of the damage. This will be helpful for the insurance company and auto body shop.

Review Your Insurance Claim

You may recall what your insurance policy covers. However, it is always good to refer back to it when you have damage. Find out what it covers in relation to storm damage and, specifically, hail.

Depending on the type of policy you have, it may cover hail damage under collision repair. It may also include coverage for paintless dent repair (PDR). PDR typically costs less than collision repair. Some insurance companies will cover the full cost of PDR, depending on the type of policy. If you have coverage for both, this will be helpful if you have the option for PDR.

Types of Hail Damage Repair

A blue car with several hail dents on its roof.
Some forms of hail damage don’t require collision repair. If the paint is not chipped, consider paintless dent repair.

When you get an estimate, find out if the technicians are certified by the manufacturer and to perform PDR. This ensures the repairs meet your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.

Sometimes it is difficult to know whether your car needs auto body repair, or if paintless dent repair will be sufficient. Take a close look at the damage, and weigh the pros and cons of hail damage repair before making a final decision.

PDR works well to repair most hail damage. It has been proven to be effective enough for hail damage repair that some insurance companies will set up temporary PDR facilities after a hailstorm to take care of the damage. This method saves time and money, compared to collision repair.

Because it leaves the original paint in place, your car will maintain its original factory paint. You’ll want someone well-trained to perform this repair because it requires accessing the back side of the panel where the damage is located, then rubbing and shrinking the dent with special tools. This is a faster process than standard auto body repair.

However, if you have paint damage caused by the hail your vehicle will require collision repair. Take your vehicle to a certified collision repair shop when you need this type of dent repair. This ensures the paint work matches the original factory paint. Also, any dents close to a panel’s edge or large dents may require collision repair and not PDR.

Buying a Hail Damage Car – Repair it or Not?

Depending on how significant the damage is to the car, you may find a great deal on a car with hail damage. In many cases, a hailstorm may only cause cosmetic blemishes, but do your homework if you plan to purchase a used vehicle with any signs of hail damage.

Have a technician take a close look at the car. There could have been more damage and only some of it was repaired. Also, contact your lender if you are financing to make sure you can finance a damaged vehicle. Notify your insurance agent of the damage and inquire if you are still eligible for comprehensive insurance.

It is up to you if you choose to have the vehicle repaired after you purchase it or if you don’t mind driving with some dents on the vehicle.

Find a Body Shop

Hailstorms are the perfect example that you never know when you may need hail damage repair. Your car could be parked in front of your home when a storm passes and within minutes, you have damage. That is why it’s beneficial to do some research to find the right collision center before anything happens.

Whether you use PDR or collision repair, you will want to find a location that offers certified collision repair. This means the technicians have been trained by various manufacturers to properly make repairs for the car to return back to its factory condition. When researching various shops, find out if the technicians are trained by your vehicle manufacturer and how often they are certified.

At ProCare Automotive & Collision, a San Antonio body shop, our technicians are trained and certified to perform PDR or collision repair. If you have hail damage, use our Smartphone Estimating Tool for a free and quick estimate. You can also contact one of our locations near you to speak with someone directly. Our goal is to provide you efficient auto body repair, so you can get back on the road. 

 

Mechanic repairs a red bonnet.

Your car has auto body damage, but you can drive it away from the scene of the accident. If you are not concerned about the looks of your car, you may ask, “If my car still runs, why should I fix the damage?”

There are several reasons why auto body repair is necessary, no matter if the vehicle has minor or more significant damage. If repairs are not made, there are some circumstances where it could cost you to keep the damage on the vehicle.

Damage Causing Other Damage

The cosmetic damage to a vehicle may appear minor, but it takes a highly skilled auto technician to know if there could be more damage than meets the eye. A damaged fender could cause strain to a wheel, tire, or parts under the hood. At minimum, it is best to get dents repaired to avoid further and costly damage to your car.

Necessary Functions No Longer Work

If certain features do not work on your car, such as lights or opening your hood, it might lead to a ticket. All lights, such as headlights, taillights, and turn signals must be functioning for safety if you plan to drive at night.

State Inspection

In Texas, there is a checklist used when inspecting a vehicle. If any items are damaged, such as lights or a mirror, the car will not pass inspection until the damage is fixed. Waiting to get repairs to pass an inspection could delay getting a renewed registration, in which case, you could get a ticket for an expired registration. That’s money that could be spent on the auto body repair.

Insurance

If you file an insurance claim, receive money, and then don’t repair the car, it could cost you if you have another accident. An insurance company can deduct pre-existing damage from a future settlement. It is recommended that if you receive money for a claim, to use that money on auto body repairs. To keep the money could amount to insurance fraud.

Resale Value

Depending on the extent of the damage, it could affect your vehicle’s resale value. In some cases, the cost to fix the vehicle can be less than the amount your car might depreciate if it has noticeable damage.

When it comes time to repair auto body damage on your car, contact the experts at ProCare Collision, an auto body repair shop in San Antonio. Our highly skilled technicians are trained to work on any make and model of vehicle and repair it to the maker’s specifications. We can get your car fixed so you avoid further damage and costs.

Get the most miles out of your hybrid and pay less at the pump.

If you own a hybrid vehicle, you probably purchased it for the fuel efficiency. Texas is a hot spot for hybrid electric vehicles. But are you really getting the best fuel mileage out of your eco-friendly vehicle? Here are our top five tips to more MPG on a hybrid car.

Economy Mode

Most hybrids come with a feature that uses the car’s sensors to help a driver automatically save fuel. Check to see if the economy mode or a similar mode is turned on. This feature may limit acceleration and other features of the car’s performance but it will conserve fuel and save you money in the long run.

Keep Battery Charged

A well-charged battery on a hybrid helps drivers use less gasoline and more electricity. Read the owner’s manual to your hybrid for the maker’s best recommendations for charging the battery.

Gradual Stops

Gradual braking with your car has multiple benefits, including generating power for a hybrid. As the brakes are applied in a hybrid, the electric motor becomes a generator and converts the energy from braking into electricity and stores it in the battery. This way, you’re using more electricity to power your vehicle during your drive than gasoline.

Pulse and Glide

The pulse and glide method in a hybrid car gets the vehicle to stabilize the energy use between the electric and gas engines. For many hybrids, this is somewhere between 30 and 40 mph. A driver can find this level by gradually accelerating to this speed and then applying a quick press to the gas pedal. Some hybrids will give an indication on the screen to show the energy use has been stabilized.

Limit Accessory Use

Turning off accessories while driving can save on your fuel mileage in a hybrid vehicle.

Minimizing the use of internal accessories, such as air conditioning or the radio, can save fuel on any car. But in a hybrid, a driver can save fuel and electricity by minimizing the use of any accessories that are not needed during the drive. The economy mode may also help adjust settings to the air conditioner and other accessories to save on power, but turning them off altogether will save even more energy for driving.

Remember, if you need your hybrid vehicle serviced, ProCare Automotive and Collision is more than a San Antonio auto body shop. ProCare is Hybrid Certified and our experts are trained to provide specialized service for your hybrid vehicle’s needs. Call us today and let our technicians give your hybrid the check-up it needs.

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For many people, knowing how to change a flat tire is one of those things you learned to do when you were young, but forgot over the years. But even if you take preventative measures to keep your tires in great condition, it is extremely important for your safety and for your convenience to know how to change a flat.

You might be thinking, “I always take in flat tires to the mechanics at my San Antonio body shop,” or, “I pay for a AAA membership so that I get roadside assistance and don’t have to worry,” or maybe even, “My friend loves working on cars and always takes care of my flats for me.”

The excuses for not knowing how to change a flat tire yourself are almost limitless, but, as it turns out, so are the important reasons for knowing how to do so.

In this day and age, we have come to depend very heavily on our cell phones. However, it is not hard to imagine a situation where you find yourself with a dead cell phone and a flat tire, unable to call roadside service or a friend for help.

Even more serious would be finding yourself in a remote, secluded area without cell phone service but with a flat tire. There are many reasons that cell phone calls may not go through, even if your cell provider promises coverage in an certain area. Landscape, weather, locations of antennas and cell network capacity can all interfere with your ability to make a call.

Even if you are able to get through to your roadside assistance, that doesn’t always guarantee quick flat tire assistance. Severe weather, road conditions and traffic can cause major delays between when you need help and when that help is able to arrive. Not to mention if you are in a rush: say you are on the way to an important meeting or need to catch a flight. Being able to solve the problem yourself and fix the flat tire quickly can save you time and money.

Although it is easy to pretend otherwise, you could very well find yourself in a position where the best or only option is to change a flat tire yourself. Educating yourself on how to do so is an excellent way to be a prepared, safe and responsible vehicle owner.

To learn more about caring for your vehicle, or need car repairs, contact ProCare Collision, an auto body shop in San Antonio, Texas.

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