Preparing Your Car for a Holiday Road Trip

Posted by Chris Medine on Dec 17, 2019 12:15:38 PM

Preparing your car for a holiday road tripAre you and your family about to embark on a road trip for the holidays?  Before you leave the house, you should first check on a few things involving your vehicle.  The last thing you want is for something to go wrong and leave you and your family stranded far from home! 

Check Tires & Tire Pressure

The first thing between you and the icy road beneath are your tires.  Can your tires properly handle the conditions you may be driving into?  Especially if the climate changes drastically, your vehicle’s tires may not be up to the task of snow and ice.   You should be aware of both the tread and pressure of your tires.  During temperature drops, air inside the tire contracts, resulting in the molecules of air not taking up as much space.  Fill the tire to the correct PSI, and also make sure to check for proper tread depth.

Check Your Car Battery and Fluids

Before you hit the road, pop the hood and check on some of the more easy-to-reach places.  Check out your battery first, making sure to clean off any corrosiveness and tighten terminals if needed.  Checking battery life is also a smart idea if you have the proper equipment. If not, certain shops offer free battery checks.  Along with battery maintenance, it’s easily as important to make sure certain fluids, such as coolant/antifreeze, are at proper mixtures and aren’t leaking.  Antifreeze is needed in freezing temperatures at a 50/50 dilution to be able to cool your engine down.  If you only have water within your coolant system, you run the risk of serious damage during a freeze.  Other fluids you can easily check are wiper fluid and the oil.  Add wiper fluid that won’t freeze, and make sure you’re on top of your oil changing schedule!

Emergency Preparedness for Your Vehicle

Checking all of these simpler areas are definitely important, but even after doing so, anything can happen.  Being two steps ahead of the game is important; that’s why you should be bringing certain items that could help you in a needy situation.  Some of these items include: gloves, jumper cables, an easy-to-use jack, a ratchet set, a headlamp, some road flares, and a well-inspected spare tire.  There are hundreds of items you could bring along in case of an emergency, but these are just a few essentials. 

The holidays are a fun and exciting time, but they can quickly take a bad turn if you experience car trouble.  Although your vehicle could be perfectly fine before this short inspection, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.  Doing say may just prevent a situation like a blowout or dying battery!

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The Dangers of Driving on Worn Out Tires

Posted by Chris Medine on Dec 16, 2019 12:08:30 PM

The Dangers of Driving on Worn Out TiresDriving on old, worn tires can lead to a flurry of issues.  Whether they are dry rotted or simply running out of tread from rough roads and heavy use, driving on these tires could lead to damages beyond rims and rubber. Protect yourself and your vehicle from blowouts by replacing old, worn tires with no tread.  Don’t just rely on the penny test, especially if tires are really old!

Why Tires Need Tread

Tread acts as the passageway through which air and water can pass.  Rolling over water on a tire with little to no tread can lead to a high risk of hydroplaning, which occurs when water on the road has no way to pass through a tire.  Air passes through these channels as well, acting as a cooling mechanism as tires generate heat from the friction caused by rolling at high speeds.  High levels of heat can cause blowouts on old rubber.  Southern Louisiana doesn’t experience snow or cold weather often, so most people have summer tires equipped all year.  It should be noted that driving on snow-covered roads or ice should be avoided if you do not have the proper tires, especially if they’re bald. 

How Long Should Tires Last Until Replacement?

With all matters aside, tire blowouts can happen at nearly any time while on the road.  The real question is, how long will a tire last?  This question is a matter of location, driving habits, and other lifestyle factors.  If you own a sports car in Louisiana, one would assume your tread wear would be quicker than that of a soccer mom in a minivan, casually driving her children around town.  All of these factors aside, some indications of a needed tire replacement are thinning tread or cracking in the sidewall from age and sun.

Tire Checking Tips

As explained previously, there are a few ways to inspect tires yourself.  Tire cracking comes with tire age and is natural for every tire.  Minimal cracking is actually normal, but after a period of time, these cracks can get larger and cause the tire to separate; so, if you notice large cracks on a tire, it could be time for replacement. 

A traditional trick to checking a tire’s tread is taking a penny and placing it inside of the tread groove to calculate tread wear.  Place the penny upside down, with Lincoln’s head facing you; if you can see the entirety of the head (hair as well), it’s time for a change of tires.  However, if most of the head is not visible, they still have decent life left.  Another way to check your vehicle’s tires is to check for age.  Since the year 2000, tires are required by the U.S. to have a DOT code. This code can tell you age as well as some other facts about the tire.

Although you may be able to check your tires visibly for a few imperfections, it’s always a good idea to get them checked by tire professionals.  Stay away from used tires, as they may be old and worn.  Tires are the first thing separating you from the road and its dangers, so keep tabs on their drivability often!

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Types of Auto Body Damage from Rear-End Collisions

Posted by Chris Medine on Oct 21, 2019 12:11:00 PM

rear-end collisionThousands of vehicle accidents happen daily, and about one-quarter of the them are reported to be rear-end collisions.  Whether the driver be distracted or in a rush, these accidents are some of the most common, and no matter how minor they may seem, damage can still result.  Even the smallest collisions can cause damage that, in time, could lead to something more serious in nature.  If you are involved in a rear-end collision here in Baton Rouge, stop by Medines and let us inspect your vehicle!

Underlying Damage After a Rear-End Collision

Just because you can’t see damage to your vehicle after a collision doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  Hiding underneath the surface are a multitude of components used to keep your vehicle in safe working order.  This is especially true in newer model vehicles where features like backup cameras are becoming the norm. Likewise, the exterior view is not a reliable estimate of potential frame damage underneath, and when the frame is bent, it can jeopardize the integrity of the entire car.

Trunk Damage from Rear-End Collisions

Trunk damage occurs frequently in rear-end collisions.  Trunk lids after an accident may pop open on the road while driving, obstructing your rear view.  They may also jam, no longer lock as they should, or allow water to leak into the trunk space.  Not only can all of this cause problems on the road, but it can also diminish your vehicle's value if not properly repaired. 

Alignment Issues After a Rear-End Collision

Some types of collision damage are only noticeable after you get back on the road.  If you notice that driving your vehicle has become more difficult or that shaking/strong pulling is evident, your alignment may need to be re-adjusted.  Poor alignment can cause added stress to other areas of the vehicle, leading them to wear out prematurely and pose future safety hazards. 

Transmission Problems from Rear-End Collisions

Transmission damage from a rear-end collision may not seem like an obvious problem, but it is one that occurs frequently.  Many vehicles, particularly those featuring all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive house certain transmission components near the back of the car.  Continuing to drive after sustaining transmission damage can drastically shorten the life of a vehicle and result in far more costly repairs.  If you experience signs such as difficulty shifting or leaking of transmission fluid following a rear-end collision, have your car inspected by a professional mechanic immediately.

Rear-end collisions are a headache, but don’t let them become something worse.  Make sure you keep up the integrity and value of your vehicle by letting Medines inspect for any hidden damages.

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What is a DRP Auto Body Shop?

Posted by Chris Medine on Oct 17, 2019 11:45:00 AM

DRP ShopsDirect repair programs (DRPs), are auto body shops that are aligned with insurance companies.  These shops are given a specific standard set by insurance companies for pricing reasons.  The insurance company may pay for specific repairs at a DRP, while leaving you unaware that the replacement parts are probably fractions cheaper than what was originally on your vehicle.  This can lead to possible safety issues and may even lower the value of your vehicle.

 

Insurance Steering

After you get into an accident, always remember that it is your decision to choose where to get your car repaired.  DRPs are simply in place because insurance companies want you to think they are saving you time and money by finding a “reliable” body shop.  This doesn’t mean all DRPs are terrible body shops, but before you pick somewhere to replace parts on your vehicle, it is important to research and choose a shop proven to be trustworthy and to provide quality repairs.   More often than not, the resulting choice based on these criteria will be a non-DRP body shop like Medines.

DRPs Diminish Value, while Risking Lives

One of the biggest issues surround the work of DRP shops is that they often use aftermarket partsUnlike original manufacturer (OEM) parts, these parts are mass produced to work on a variety of vehicles.  As a result, they tend to be of lower quality and rarely fit as well as they should.  This can be a serious safety issue in the case of a future car accident. 

Regardless of which shop you choose, check your policy and demand OEM parts whenever possible.  Remember that the insurance company is a business, trying to make money, and the choices they make will typically be in their own best interest rather than yours.

The Medines Advantage

Medines does not participate in any DRP.  We are a family-owned body shop focusing more on our customers’ satisfaction than the satisfaction of an insurance company.  We listen to our customers to make sure we know exactly what they want and ensure quality parts and service are provided every time.  We are straightforward with our repair process and guarantee lifetime warranties on our work.  While a repair estimate from a DRP shop may be lower, it is most often due to cost-cutting initiatives that can threaten both safety and quality. If you have questions on why two estimates are different, please ask us.  If you wish, you can let us help you negotiate a claim with the insurance company.

Don’t let the insurance companies boss you around.  Know your rights and information about DRPs before making a decision.   In the unfortunate case that you get into an accident, make the right choice to ensure your vehicle gets repaired properly every time.  Restore value to your car, and have peace of mind knowing you made the right decision by choosing Medines.

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4 Bad Driving Habits that are Hurting Your Car

Posted by Chris Medine on Oct 7, 2019 12:23:00 PM

brake pedalYou likely keep up regular maintenance on your car such as oil changes and tire rotations.  However, whether you realize it or not, there are a few day-to-day things you can do to keep your car out of the repair shop as well.  Excessive braking, running your fuel till almost empty, and avoiding new noises that don’t sound normal are just a few things that could have you spending more money on repairs that very well could have been cheaper, or avoided all together.

 

Excessive Braking Wears Brake Pads

Your brakes are a vital part of your vehicle, allowing you to stop gradually or immediately given the situation.  Many motorists wait till the last minute before applying the brake, causing the brakes to work more than they should which, in turn, wears the brake pad thin much faster.  When you realize you are inevitably going to have to slow/stop your vehicle, it is important to try and gradually apply pressure to the brake, which will put less stress on the pads and rotors, extending their life span.  Keep money in your pocket, and try slowing down ahead of time!

Running on E can Damage the Fuel Pump

Just because your vehicle says you have 5 miles till empty, doesn’t mean you should let it go that far before your next fill-up.  No, it’s not just because you risk running out gas and being stranded.  It is also due to the fact that your fuel system is working harder to try and pump that last bit of fuel to keep the car moving.  Avoid damaging your fuel pump/system by keeping your fuel level higher. Additionally, this will prevent your car from collecting gunk at the bottom of the tank, which has probably never been cleaned out.  This is another easily avoidable situation but something people don’t realize actually harms their vehicle!

Emergency Brake Eases Transmission Stress 

Not many people know it, but just because your vehicle is in park, doesn’t mean it’s always safe, especially on uneven surfaces.  There is an extra mechanism in all vehicles that allows for the parking brake, or emergency brake to be used.  This extra feature is important to use on sloped surfaces so that your transmission is not bearing the whole load of your vehicle’s weight. The emergency brake is a second defense and also a useful tool that helps relieve some of that heavy weight off of one of the most essential parts of your vehicle.  Make it a habit to use the parking brake on uneven areas, and your transmission, and wallet, will thank you.

Ignoring Car Noises as Warning Sign

Is that a new clicking noise?  Or, perhaps you hear a strange hissing from under the hood.  Whatever you do, don’t just blow these off.  Make sure you’re checking fluid levels and having your vehicle properly maintained, as its longevity depends on it.  The hissing noise could very well be the warning sign of something larger in the works!

When it comes to keeping your vehicle safe and roadworthy, no one cares more than Medines!  While our focus may be on maintaining the structural integrity of your vehicle through auto body repair, we hope that tips like these will help extend the life of your car and keep you safely on the road.

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Topics: Driving Safety Tips

Understanding Your 3 Options for Car Repair After an Accident

Posted by Chris Medine on Sep 19, 2019 11:43:07 AM

car repair optionsNowadays, with overwhelming options and confusing insurance jargon, people are easily guided in the wrong direction when it comes to who repairs their car.  You could be lending your vehicle into the hands of people who care more about the money in their pockets and less about your vehicle’s overall value and safety.  That’s where Medines comes in, as a trustworthy body shop looking out for your safety, and vehicle value.

After an accident, we understand that there are many decisions to be made, not the least of which is where your repairs should be performed.  You will have three options from which to choose, and selecting the right one is imperative to ensuring the repairs are done well and your car’s safety and value remain intact.

Using Your Insurer’s Direct Repair Provider for Auto Body Repairs

You are likely already aware of the fact that your insurer will recommend places to get your car repaired after the estimate is given.  These are known as direct repair providers, or DRPs. Typically, these shops have a mutually beneficial relationship with the insurance company in which the insurer directs customers to the shop, and in turn, the shop provides cost-cutting repairs.   Unfortunately, the parts used in these types of repairs can devalue your car, but even worse, they are likely a lot less safe than original manufacturer’s (OEM) parts.

Using a Multiple Shop Organization (MSO) for Auto Body Repairs

It may look easier since there are more of these places, but in many cases, body shops that are in a much larger organization aren’t actually looking for full customer satisfaction.  Instead, they are looking for the most profitable way to make money off of as many customers as possible. This can mean charging insane rates for products that should cost a lot cheaper! Typically, these shops have warehouses full of downgraded parts that resemble the real thing (aftermarket parts) but that are lacking in quality, integrity, and fit in comparison.

Using Medines Collision Center for Auto Body Repairs

At Medines, we make sure to get  parts from the manufacturer or the dealership directly and not a warehouse full of  cheap alternatives.  Medines invests in the continuation of vehicle repair training to ensure your vehicle and others are repaired the correct way, with correct parts, every time.  You won’t find a friendlier or more accommodating staff, not to mention lifetime guaranties on our work.  The best part is, we answer only to you, our customers.  So come on over, or give us a call!

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Topics: Choosing a Collision Center, Collision Repair

Auto Accidents in Baton Rouge: Understanding Common Insurance Phrases

Posted by Chris Medine on Sep 3, 2019 1:42:00 PM

Learn definition highlighted in red in the dictionaryGetting into a car accident is stressful enough. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at fault or not, combining the inconvenience of being without your car with the head-spinning jargon used by insurance companies makes it even more taxing. Unless you are well-versed in the legalities that surround auto accidents, and your rights as far as insurance coverage goes, you can quickly succumb to false information. Here is a list of common insurance phrases you may hear from an insurance company to persuade you to bring your vehicle to their preferred shop. 

The repairs won’t be warrantied if you go to a different shop.

It’s essential to keep in mind that insurance companies don’t make repairs; therefore, they can’t warranty any repairs. Speak directly with the shop of your choice to discuss any possible warranties on parts and workmanship.

If you go somewhere else, we can’t provide a rental.

As long as you have rental coverage on your policy, a rental car has to be provided, regardless of which shop that you choose. If you are not at fault and are a claimant that was hit by someone else, their insurance company has to compensate you for the loss of the use of your vehicle with a rental.

A non-preferred shop will cause delays and cost you more money.

This is an intimidation tactic. The insurer is legally responsible for all accident-related costs. Delays may happen, but they can happen at any shop, and again, this is the insurer’s responsibility. This is another strategy to persuade you to use their preferred shop and appeal to your desire to resolve the entire process.

That shop won’t agree with our appraiser.

Appraisers are not repair professionals, and they represent the insurance company. The repair shop should do what is best for you, not the insurance company.

These are only a few of the ways that an insurance company will try and persuade you to use their preferred shop. Preferred shops have pre-negotiated rates and agreements in place that provide more business to the shop, and discounts for the insurance company. In Louisiana, it is your right to choose where to have your car repaired. Medines Collision Center does what is best for their customers, not insurance companies.

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Topics: Insurance

How Does Your Car's Value Depreciate Over Time?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jul 31, 2019 1:23:00 PM

Closeup portrait, beautiful, young woman, dealership agent holding model black car, pink piggy bank in hand, offering credit line, isolated white background. Lease, automobile purchase, financing.Unfortunately, most things don’t age as well as a fine wine. This is especially true when it comes to your vehicle. While you can keep the odometer rolling with care and preventative maintenance, it doesn’t help much with its value.   Unlike an investment such as your home, which grows in value and develops equity, your vehicle does the opposite, and at a much quicker rate. According to CarFax, a brand new car can lose over 10% of its initial value within the first month, and over 20% during the first year. This trend continues at a rate of 10% each year for the first four years. 

 

What can I do to Decrease My Vehicle’s Depreciation?

While there is no way to turn your depreciating asset into an appreciating one, there are a few things you can do help it hold its value. The less you drive your vehicle, the better. Keeping its usage below 10,000 miles per year is ideal. You can also perform routine maintenance, and keep records of it. Do the manufacturer recommended services, change the oil regularly, and take care of the interior and exterior. 

Why is it Important to Understand Depreciation?

Depreciation is an important concept because it dictates how much your vehicle is worth. This is especially helpful if you are ever in a collision. Your car’s age, mileage, and condition will all be considered by insurance companies as they assess whether to pay for a repair or declare it a total loss. However, the most important thing to understand if you are ever in a car accident is that selecting a repair shop is your decision. Your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company may try and sway you to their preferred center, but it’s your right to choose where your vehicle is repaired.

The experts at Medines Collision Center have been helping drivers in the Baton Rouge area for decades. They take the confusion and frustration out of dealing with insurance companies and get you back on the road.

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Louisiana is a Fault State: What Does that Mean for You?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jul 29, 2019 3:30:00 PM

LouisianaDifferent states have different laws when it comes to auto insurance and how auto accidents are handled in terms of liability, claims, and all corresponding processes.  One crucial distinction is that Louisiana is a “fault” state.  What does this mean? And what does this mean if you are ever in an auto accident in Louisiana?

Typically states abide by one of two philosophies; fault, or no-fault.  How your auto accident claim will be handled varies drastically depending on which type of state in which your accident occurs.  If it happens in Louisiana, you will be under the stipulations of a fault state, which is the traditional practice of determining which party is responsible for the accident.

What is a Fault State?

In a fault state, the law will decide which party will be financially responsible for financial losses, including injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and more.  The at-fault party’s insurance company will absorb these costs, up to the policy’s limits.  If you suffer any of these losses due to damage or injury or damage, you have three options in Louisiana.

  • You can file a claim with your own insurance company.
  • You can file what is called a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  • You can file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court against the at-fault driver.

If you opt to file a personal injury lawsuit, the court will ultimately determine who was at fault.  Many times in this case, these suits begin as third-party claims.  If the liable party’s insurance company and the victim’s representation can’t settle, it will proceed to a courtroom.

Repairing Your Car After an Accident

One of the important things to consider when involved in an auto accident is where to take your car for repair.  Whether you were at fault or not, it is your right to choose the collision center.  While your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company may recommend other places, you are not limited to those options.  Be sure that you select an experienced, trusted, quality collision center.  Medine’s Collision Center has been helping Baton Rouge get back on the road for decades.  The experts at Medine’s are your accident advisors and will see you through the entire process.

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Car Accident Repair in Baton Rouge: What are My Options if My Car is Totaled?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jul 18, 2019 3:06:00 PM

car totaledAfter a car accident, you’re going to have a lot of questions.  After determining that everyone is safe, notifying the proper authorities, exchanging paperwork, and documenting the accident, you are going to have a few decisions to make about your vehicle.  The most crucial decision is selecting the right collision repair facility.  You want a collision center that will do quality work, provide excellent customer service, manage the insurance companies, and get you safely back on the road.  However, your insurance company may urge you to use one of their recommended facilities, but you are by no means required to do so; you can choose any collision repair shop you’d like

Once this decision has been made, the time between your car arriving at the shop, the estimate being prepared, and the insurance company’s decision can be a stressful one.  What kind of repairs are needed?  How much will it cost?  How much is the insurance company willing to pay?  How much is my vehicle worth?  And the big one, will it be totaled? 

When is a Vehicle Considered Totaled?

A vehicle is considered a total loss or “totaled,” when the cost of repair exceeds a certain percentage of the vehicle’s value.  Depending on the severity of the accident, or other underlying issues that make a repair more complicated in order to return the vehicle to safe operating condition; even damage that appears minor can exceed the threshold that creates a total loss.  In this case, the insurance company will pay you the actual cash value of the vehicle; but what if you want to keep it?

What Can I do if My Vehicle is Totaled?

So, if your vehicle is totaled, what are your options?  If you own your vehicle and it can be restored, you may want to keep it.  In this scenario, the insurance company will allow you to “buy back” your vehicle.  This can be a confusing term, but it means that instead of receiving the actual cash value of the car, the insurance company will pay you the difference between the actual cash value and what they would make at a salvage auction.  So, you still end up with a check, and you keep your vehicle.  Ideally, the amount you receive will be enough to have the necessary repairs done.  Depending on the amount of the repair compared to the value of your vehicle, and laws in your state, you may need to obtain a salvage or rebuilt title. 

The right collision repair center can be an invaluable resource during these situations.  They can make quality recommendations based on your circumstances and their years of experience to ensure that you make the best decision.  The experts at Medine’s Collision Center are your accident advisors.  With decades of experience, knowledge of your insurance rights, and the highest quality workmanship, Medine’s is here to get you back on the road.

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