Category: Technology and Efficiency
There are plenty of driving and safety tips out there to help prevent accidents, but as long as human judgment is behind the wheel, there will always be accidents on the road. This is where tech comes in.
New technology is helping to make up for human error via sensors, automatic braking, smartphone connectivity, and more. Here is some of the latest tech we’re hoping to see more of in the next few years. Many of these are not only safer but also more convenient for you, the driver.
Adaptive cruise control
Instead of keeping your car at the same speed, adaptive cruise control can adjust speed based on the car in front of you. The radar system maintains a certain distance between you and the car in front of you. No more setting and re-setting your speed whenever traffic slows. ACC has been around a while but has previously only been available in luxury vehicles, like the Lexus LS430, which was first to use it. Now, ACC is becoming increasingly available in new vehicles.
Anti-collision warning systems
These monitors can detect when a collision is about to happen, allowing the driver to correct the car and avoid an accident. Some even brake for you.
This display keeps the info you need within your line of sight while driving. Many are customizable so you can put the information that’s most important to you on the display, and take off the things that aren’t important. This isn’t new tech – head-up displays have been long used in fighter jets. But they are now an affordable safety addition to your vehicle.
Steering avoidance systems
Like anti-collision monitors, this system will detect debris on the road and steer to avoid it. This can also keep your car centered in the lane. Braking anti-collision systems are incredibly valuable, but braking won’t always prevent an accident. This takes that protection to the next step.
This is currently only available in newer Mercedes models, but could save your life. The cabin produces a sound at a frequency that prepares your ears for the loud sound of a collision. This doesn’t help with the initial crash, but once the crash is over, you may still be in harm’s way. The noise of the crash can hurt your inner ear and be disorienting, but with PreSafe sound, you’ll have more control and be able to react to get yourself (and your family) safely out of the way.
App vehicle control
Available on some brands, smart-phone integration allows you to control different aspects of your vehicle. Some allow for remote start, parking and monitoring of the vehicle. Perhaps most useful is the ability to check if you locked your car, and locate it, from afar. Tesla’s version even monitors the charge of your battery.
Uptis airless tires
GM and Michelin have created a tire that can’t go flat. The tires have a series of rubber internal spokes that give the tires their shape instead of air. The companies expect these tires to have a longer life expectancy, to absorb shock better, and eliminate the danger of a flat or blowout on the road.
V2V communication will allow vehicles to detect the behavior of other cars on the road. It will be able to detect when cars have slowed down ahead, when there’s a car you cannot visibly see, and detect an oncoming vehicle if you’re trying to pass on a two-lane highway. The benefits of V2V are numerous, and add another layer of safety to blind spot detection and anti-collision monitoring. The problem is that V2V is complicated. It will have to be government regulated, and there is some dispute over whether the communications should be via cellular-based 5G or dedicated short-range radio communication (DSRC). While this might make us wait longer than we hoped, V2V will be a major game changer when it gets off the ground.
For more info on car news and technology, follow ProCare on Facebook.
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.
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.
As a driver, you know there are a ton of distractions that can take your eyes and mind away from the road. Your teen may be aware of these distractions, but may not know how serious they can affect their driving.
Drivers under 20 are at the highest risk of distracted driving accidents, largely thanks to phones. Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident. In 2017, 100,687 crashes happened on Texas roads due to distracted driving.
One of the most important conversations you can have with your teen is about safe driving. Here are a few ways to positively encourage them to do so.
1. Lead by example
Kids learn behavior from their role models. They aren’t likely to stay off their phone behind the wheel if they see you on your phone behind the wheel. The earlier you can set an example, the better. If your teen has often seen you on your phone while driving already, tell them that you want to practice safer driving with them.
You can have them encourage you to stay off your phone or engage in other distracting behaviors while you drive, as you’ll do the same for them.
2. Give them the tools to succeed
There are several apps that can help reduce your teen’s distractions. If your teen uses their phone for music or Bluetooth calling, they probably won’t want to put it away completely. Instead, help them set up an app to lock certain features or allow hands-free control.
Keeping your teen’s phone on a mount also helps them keep their eyes close to the road and minimizes the time their hands are off the wheel should they use it.
This isn’t the perfect solution, but especially as we are increasingly depending on constant-communication, your teen may be less inclined to turn off and stow their phone. But this way, you can allow them to use it in a much safer manner.
3. Peer influence
Peer influence also plays a part in distracted driving. Others in the car can be a positive or negative influence on the driver. A 2015 AT&T study showed that 85% of participants would download an app to block their phone notifications if one of their “top 5” closest communicators asked them to. Many drivers are receptive to those they care about – if only those people asked them to change their behavior.
Talk to your teen and their friends about how they engage with one another. Encourage them to support one another to make safe driving habits. It’s also important to talk to them about being aware of their behavior in the car to support safe driving.
4. Positive reinforcement
New drivers hear a lot of negative comments concerning what they’re doing wrong. While this is often vital, they also need to hear positive reinforcement of their safe driving skills.
Both on and off the road, don’t be afraid to compliment your teen on something they did well. It could be the way they maintained the speed limit. Or how they told their friend to text them when they get home safely.
Even if they don’t seem receptive, small encouragements can help them see safe driving as an asset instead of an annoyance.
Some safe driving apps, like San Antonio-based Safe 2 Save, also reward you for staying off your phone, which also positively reinforces attentive driving. You can encourage them to earn rewards at local businesses, to give your teen incentive to stay off their phone.
You can even do it as a family and compete to see who can get the most safe-driving rewards. Again, your teen will have their good habits positively reinforced.
5. Practice practice practice
This is obvious, but for your teen to get better at driving, they need to spend more time on the road. Offer to let them drive if it’s just the two of you, and take them out to practice in heavier traffic. Often, teens don’t encounter difficult driving situations until they’re on their own. Having them encounter difficult driving situations with you there can help them in the long run.
For more teen driving safety, follow ProCare Collision on Instagram.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
- Your car problems frequently make you late for work or cause you to break down in a potentially dangerous location.
- You have a major repair that will cost more than half the value of your car.
- You already want to get a new car and your repair shop informs you of costly work needing to be done (but be transparent about what needs to be done when you go to sell).
- You have a teen driver and the car in question has needed frequent repairs – it’s best to get them a car with a warranty and current safety features.
Let’s be honest. Central Texas’ worst drawback is the traffic. Whether you’re driving into San Antonio, Austin, or just trying to get through town in San Marcos, congestion is abound. That’s why it’s smart to have a plan to kick the stress for your mid-week traffic jam.
Not only will calming down help you cope with a frustrating traffic situation, but people who are stressed or angry tend to exhibit reckless driving habits. This is dangerous for you and the cars around you.
Here are a few ways you can de-stress behind the wheel and get some enjoyment out of an otherwise stressful commute.
1. Listen to a podcast or audiobook
Preferably, your listening material shouldn’t be high-energy or aggressive, as we can often channel into our behavior. Instead, listen to something that takes your mind (partly) off the traffic around you. Listening to engaging audio could help your mind stay alert while distancing yourself from the stress at hand.
2. Turn your phone off
Using a phone while driving is illegal in some places, but ultimately your phone is a major stress machine. If you’re driving and hear several alerts going off, you’ll likely feel an urgency to check it. Turning it off doesn’t give you the option to feel this way.
3. Do some yoga
Yes, you read that right. Practice some yoga as you drive. Some stretches are best done when the car is fully stopped, while some, like practicing your breathing, can be done while driving. Start by sitting up straight. Roll your neck and stretch your muscles gently, and slowly. Focus on your body and you’ll soon feel calmer.
4. Let it go
Sometimes we let ourselves get carried away. Who hasn’t let a bit of road rage fester while you’re driving? But the key to staying calm isn’t not to feel that way. It’s to choose to let those feelings subside. Anger is a natural reaction when someone cuts you off, but to reject that feeling will help you stay calm and focused. Remember that you have no control over the actions of other drivers. The best you can do is observe and react as safely as you can.
5. Take a break
If the traffic is making you feel anxious or too stressed, you can always pull over if you need to. Try stopping at a coffee shop or convenience store for a snack and a proper stretch. You might even hang around for a bit while traffic subsides.
You may be familiar with technicians performing a scan on a vehicle to find issues. Most auto body repair shops perform a vehicle scan to estimate your bill. When you get auto body repair estimates, find out that shop’s methods.
There are two scans to ensure that technicians find anything that is not working and to make sure all parts are working after repairs.
Pre-scan before repair
After a collision, there is likely visible damage to the body of the car. What may not be as obvious is any damage to the car’s safety or other features. A pre-scan determines not only what is not working, but damage as a result of the collision. This scan captures the diagnostic trouble codes.
Determining damage that happened during the collision is important for the insurance claim, and also if you choose to pay out-of-pocket for repairs. The scan may determine issues unrelated to the collision, and distinguishes them from those that are collision-created.
Post-scan after repair
As you choose a San Antonio auto body shop, ask about the post-scan process. You want a quality control process that guarantees any damage related to the collision, and any others set during the repair, are identified and cleared.
A post-scan will also determine if any new issues developed during repair, which is uncommon but sometimes happens. Some codes require a brief test drive to clear or driving a specific number of miles.
Some manufacturers require shops with certified technicians to perform both scans as part of its certification process. GM is among those manufacturers that mandates both scans, along with calibration to bring the car back to its pre-crash condition.
For more collision repair information, follow ProCare Automotive on Facebook.
We all know that choosing a company you trust is vital for something as important as your car. However, there are other reasons reputable auto shops are often the way to go.
One of the biggest benefits is that more locations = more resources.
When a collision repair shop has more than one location, typically they have more resources. For example, one shop can call on another location for parts needed. If one location does not have necessary tools, it could rely on another location to help with the repairs.
The same goes with specific equipment used to work on your vehicle. Some shops do not have the same level of technology as others. Bigger brands will typically have newer technology because they’re better able to provide them. So even if the location nearest you does not have the specific equipment you need for your car, it’s likely there is another shop nearby that does.
A reputable auto body service will have a larger pool of technicians who have a variety of training and different knowledge. The technicians can connect with each other for expert opinions, or be able to give each part of the work to someone specialized in that sort of repair.
If you live in one part of San Antonio, but work in another area, multiple body shop locations are convenient. For example, if the collision repair shop offers a warranty, you could have the issue resolved at any location.
If you are a repeat customer, the body shop should have access to your car history at any location. And when a shop is big enough to have more than one location, it’s likely the company has had success in serving customers at other locations, allowing it to expand.
At ProCare Automotive and Collision, a San Antonio body shop, we have locations north and south, plus locations in Live Oak and in Victoria, Texas. Additionally, we have collision centers located in the Greater Austin area and in the Houston area that are part of our ProCare family.
For more information, follow ProCare on Facebook.
Technology changes just about everything. It provides safety features on cars and added conveniences. Your phone also helps you make informed decisions about what auto body shop to choose.
Your smartphone can now make your collision repair simpler. ProCare Collision offers a smartphone estimating tool that customers can use anywhere, and get a preliminary estimate without stepping into the shop.
Use your phone to get a collision repair estimate
When you have car damage and need repairs made quickly, this is a fast way to start the process. You can have the estimate tool texted to you from the ProCare Collision website.
To start, take photos of the damage, submit them through the tool, and receive an estimate via email within 24 hours. Then, you’ll have an idea of a baseline cost for your vehicle repair with ProCare.
Benefits of a smartphone estimating tool
This tool helps you get the repair process started right away. It can be done at any time of the day or night that is convenient to you. Once you have an idea of the cost and what it may take to repair the vehicle, you can begin working with the ProCare Collision team to have the repairs started.
Keep in mind that estimates provided from photos are only a preliminary estimate based on visible damage and that could change once a technician inspects the car more thoroughly. There could potentially be damage that isn’t visible to the eye, such as mechanical or to the car’s computer system.
For companies with fleet vehicles, using the Smartphone Estimating Tool can be beneficial so it doesn’t take vehicles or the employee away from work on the job.
ProCare launched the estimating tool to make the auto body repair process more efficient and hassle free. Use the tool to get your free estimate and we’ll get you back on the road.
For more information, visit ProCare on Facebook.
You may first be attracted to a new vehicle model because of the exterior design. Today’s cars consist of more than just looks and how it rides though. A variety of technology packages now available keep everyone in the vehicle safe. Technology and certified collision repair go hand-in-hand with new cars.
What is certified collision repair?
Certified Collision Repair means your body shop makes sure it’s employees regularly train with the manufacturers. Each manufacturer has different standards and specifications of repair. The certification makes sure techs are on the same page with the manufacturer about how to repair their vehicles – not just functionally, but exceptionally.
What does it have to do with my new car?
With increasingly advanced technology, techs need more training to keep up-to-date on how to repair that new technology. Manufacturer certifications help them understand new changes to the car’s body and technology.
If an accident damages a feature such as the automatic emergency braking (AEB), the technician must know how to repair it to the manufacturer’s standards so it will operate safely again. Repairing it with older methods may not fully repair the damage, or even make it worse.
Everyone gets in accidents, unfortunately. If you get in one, you’ll need a body shop that will get the job done correctly the first time.
When you’re looking for the right shop, ask questions. You should ask the auto body shop if the technicians are certified with your vehicle’s brand. Then find out how often the technicians train. Knowing that your body shop is up-to-date on training will give you extra assurance when you drop off your vehicle.
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Manufacturers continuously modify what they use to make cars, and more vehicles are now being made with aluminum. More than a million cars on the road are now aluminum, and they require a different kind of training to repair body damage.
Using aluminum weighs less, making the vehicle more fuel efficient and attractive to car buyers. Adding aluminum reduces the weight of the vehicle by hundreds of pounds. This is good news for car owners who will pay less in fuel.
But repairing aluminum vehicles presents a challenge. Because it is not widely used, few shops are certified to work on aluminum. When looking for a collision repair shop for your vehicle, ask if that body shop has aluminum certified technicians.
Why aluminum collision repair is different
The debut of the aluminum Ford F-150 presents a new challenge for some auto body repair shops. Repairing vehicles that are not made primarily of steel takes training and the right tools. This can be costly for some smaller collision repair shops.
Shops need a certification from Ford to make manufacturer-standard repairs.
More aluminum on the roads
It is not just Ford producing aluminum-made cars anymore. In addition, GM is launching a “mixed materials strategy” with its 2019 Chevrolet Silverado. The company says training from the manufacturer will be necessary for any body shops. Consequently, collision repair shops will have to invest thousands of dollars in tools and training to make the repairs.
ProCare Automotive and Collision, a body shop in San Antonio, has aluminum certified technicians. Our technicians train with manufacturers for long-lasting professional repairs.
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