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How Can You Tell a Good Auto Body shop from a Bad One

Auto body shops are EVERYWHERE! How can you tell the good ones from the bad ones.

Ask Your Friends/Family

People that have used a specific bodyshop have first-hand knowledge. Ask them what their experience was. Ask if they got their car back on time. Ask if there were any surprises.

Check On-Line Reviews

More and more the on-line review is becoming crucial in choosing everything from a good dog walker to a good restaurant. Be leery of any establishment that serves the public and has little reviews.

Check the Wall

Not to say that autobody repair is brain surgery but good autobody repair does take some skill and certain aspects of the trade need certification. Check the wall in their lobby to make sure that the people that will be working on your car are certified. If you’re not sure, ask the manager or estimator.

Listen To the Estimator

In any field, you can quickly identify who knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t. While some autobody repairs can be complicated, make sure the estimator is talking to you in terms you understand. That is one of the skills of a good estimator.

The Lowest Price is not Always Going to Yield the Best Result

If the estimator explained the repair clearly to you, you be should be able to know why one estimate may be higher than another.

Top 10 Safest Cars

All car manufacturers always show off their “Top Safety Pick” awards, but these are based on simulations and crash tests. While this data is useful, I’ve always felt that REAL WORLD DATA is more relevant.

Canadian press, such as The Globe and Mail and Canada MSN Autos, use a status report issued by the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as their source for identifying the safest cars on the market. The IIHS compiled four years’ worth of crash fatal car accident data for its status report, particularly focusing on driver fatalities, and compiled a list of the safest – and the most dangerous – cars.

Top 10 Safest Cars

The IIHS lists the following 10 cars as having the lowest rates of driver deaths. The vehicles are model years 2005 to 2008 and the crash data was compiled from 2006 to 2009.

  • Audi A6 4-door 4WD (0 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years)
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4-door 4WD (0)
  • Toyota Sienna (0)
  • Ford Edge (0)
  • Nissan Armada (0)
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport (0)
  • Land Rover LR3 (0)
  • Honda CR-V (7)
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee (11)
  • Acura MDX (11)

As you will notice, there are quite a few SUVs that made the list. In years past, SUVs were considered unsafe for drivers given the high risk of rollovers.  Anne McCartt, IIHS senior vice president for research, explains: “The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that’s no longer the case, thanks to ESC.”

ESC refers to electronic stability control, a computerized technology that detects and reduces the loss of traction. Most SUVs are now equipped with ESC, greatly improving vehicle stability and reducing the risk of rollover. The technology is now mandatory in many countries, including Canada.

Top 10 Runners Up

The next ten safest cars on the road – based on driver deaths – are as follows.

  • Mercedes E-Class 4-door (12 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years)
  • Lexus RX 400h (12)
  • Lexus GX 470 (13)
  • Mercedes M-Class (14)
  • Saab 9-3 4-door (16)
  • Kia Sedona (16)
  • Honda Odyssey (17)
  • Jeep Wrangler (17)
  • Honda Accord (19)
  • Jeep Wrangler 2-door (20)

It’s interesting to note that the lighter the vehicle, the higher the risk of death for drivers. Pound for pound, SUVs have some of the lowest driver death rates. During the four-year period the IIHS studied, there were 71 deaths per one million registered vehicle years among cars weighing less than 2,500 lbs. On the other end of the spectrum, there were 41 deaths per one million registered vehicle years among cars weighing 4,001 to 4,500 lbs.

Most Dangerous Cars on the Road

In its report, the IIHS also provided a list of all the vehicles in which there were more than 75 driver deaths per million registered vehicles. Below are the most dangerous cars for drivers and their respective driver deaths per million registered vehicle years.

  • Nissan 350Z 2-door (143 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years)
  • Nissan Titan crew cab (126)
  • Chevrolet Aveo (119)
  • Chevrolet Cobalt (117)
  • Nissan Titan extended cab (111)
  • Kia Spectra (102)
  • Chevrolet Malibu Classic (99)
  • Hyundai Tiburon (96)
  • Nissan Versa (96)
  • Chevrolet Colorado extended cab (93)
  • Nissan Titan crew cab (92)
  • Kia Rio (89)
  • Kia Spectra (87)
  • Mazda Miata MX-5 (83)
  • Subaru Legacy (83)

 

How Important is a Car’s History?

How Important is a car’s history? You slowly and carefully back into that narrow spot in the underground parking garage. You turn your head for a split second to see who’s honking their horn and SCRAAAAAAPE! The parking garage pillar now has a perfect sample of the Iridium Silver paint you pain-stakingly spent hours choosing in the dealership. You take it to your local body shop and have it fixed. They do an amazing job and it looks like new. You can’t even tell it was ever damaged. It looks the same or even better than it did before it was damaged. So, is your car now worth less? YES.

If a dealer was doing a trade-in appraisal on 2 exact same cars, year make and model, and the only difference is your encounter with the underground garage pillar, your vehicle will be valued 10% – 30% less.

Continue reading “How Important is a Car’s History?”

“Q-Tips” BBQ’ing the PERFECT steak!

Many say that there are only 2 seasons in Canada. Winter and & construction. The good news is, construction season is also BBQ season! So let’s fire up the “Q”, as it’s affectionately referred to here in Canada and let’s look at some tips to help you make the PERFEFCT BBQ steak. Let’s call them “Q-Tips” (Do you see what I did there?) Here we go!

  1. To make beef great, marinate!  Marinating increases tenderness and adds exciting flavour to your meat; just remember to use a glass or ceramic dish for marinating, as metal can transfer a metallic flavour.
  2. For perfectly grilled steaks, have one side of your grill set on high and the other side on low. This way you can sear the steaks on the hot side and then move them over to the cooler side to finish cooking in slow, moisture-retaining environment.
  3. To keep steaks tender, leave the meat in the vacuum pack and thaw in cold water or overnight in the refrigerator. Definitely don’t microwave to thaw; it toughens and damages the steak before it reaches the grill.
  4. Just say no to salt! Avoid salting your steaks before cooking as it draws out the juices and dries out your steak.
  5. Only turn steaks over when bubbles appear on the surface, and remember to use tongs, not a fork. Each time that bubbles appear, turn the steak over to let the juices drain back into the meat.
  6. Get the best-looking grill marks by rotating your steaks a half turn on the grill halfway through the cooking time. Do this on both sides.

Did you know? (Vehicle Edition)

There are tons of online blog posts and articles about keeping your vehicle in tip top operating shape. (We’ve written a few ourselves.) Here are a few lesser known facts related to your vehicle.

Did you know?…

  • Washing a car at home uses five to 20 times more water than your neighbourhood car wash.
  • Texting while driving increases your chances of getting into an accident by a factor of 23
  • Almost half all vehicle crashes occur at intersections. Simply taking the time to look left and right will greatly reduce your risk of getting into an accident at an intersection.
  • The least amount of rear-end collisions on a highway happen in the centre lane.
  • Heated seats are not recommended for “wanna-be dads”. A study in Fertility and Sterility found that when healthy men sat in a temperature-controlled seat for 90 minutes, their scrotal temperature jumped as high as 99 degrees Fahrenheit, four degrees above the optimum temperature for sperm production.
  • The safest vehicle colour is white.

Get started. It’s easy, fast and cost-effective.