Tips for driving in a rainstorm – how should you handle wet weather driving

Tips for driving in a rainstorm – how should you handle wet weather driving

The most dangerous time to drive is during a rainstorm when it hits the hardest.  In stormy and rainy conditions, it is more difficult to see other vehicles, road signs and the road itself. It is critical to make sure you can see and be seen.

There are several measures motorists can take to avoid an auto collision during a rainstorm.  First, slow down.  It seems obvious, but many drivers are used to driving certain speeds on certain roads that sometimes they forget the need to slow down during a storm.  Next, turn on your headlights, even if it’s a light rain, this will not only help increase your visibility of the road but will also help other drivers see you better.  While driving slowly, stay in the middle lane, as the water tends to be heavier on the outside lanes and never drive through “moving” water.  “Moving” water can sweep your car off the ground and cause an auto accident.  While driving in wet-weather always maintain a proper distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you – if you need to stop quickly your brake pads will need that extra space to avoid the car in front of you and driving in the tracks of other vehicles can improve traction and help avoid hydroplaning.

With heavy rain, this is what you need to know before getting into your car.   Taking a few precautions and using wet-weather driving techniques will keep you from ending up sopping wet on the shoulder of the freeway, waiting for a tow truck. Or worse.

Can hailstorms effect your cars windshield

It’s that time of year in Florida when tropical storms and afternoon showers are a common occurrence. These storms can even produce golf ball size hail.  Hail storms produce ice spheres that can cause extensive denting, especially on the hood, roof, and trunk of your vehicle.

Since the windshield is the most vulnerable part of your vehicle during a hailstorm when hail hits a windshield it can leave damage that can shatter the windshield or cracks around where the hail impacted.

After a hailstorm, Gerber Collision and Glass recommends inspecting your vehicle for damage.  Even minor chips require attention before they turn into large cracks.

With over 100 locations to serve you, and a written lifetime guarantee on all work, we are your hail damage repair specialist.

Changing Your Oil

Changing Your Oil

Changing your oil is vital for your vehicle and it will help to avoid costly issues.  It is recommended that you change your oil every 3,000 miles.  The oil filter may also need to be replaced. 

A technician will select the correct grade for your car.  At most places you can get a courtesy check for the engine air filter, antifreeze, brake, power steering, and automatic transmission fluid.

An oil change will put fresh oil into your car and drain the old oil.  This is important because the old oil can become filled with dust, and metal particles.  Your gas mileage can lower and cause engine failure without an oil change. 

Gerber Collision and Glass recommend that you keep up to date with your oil changes.

Cleaning Your Car Engine

A car owner needs to periodically clean the engine compartment.  This will prevent rust, help find belt wear, and look for oil or fluid leaks.  The proper temperature for cleaning the engine is warm.  You do not want it too hot. 

When the engine is warm, you need to spray it with a non-petroleum based degreaser.  In order to avoid getting degreaser in your face, you should start at the bottom and work your way up.  The degreaser should sit for five minutes.  Use a towel to remove the soiled areas.  After you have cleaned the engine rinse it with water. 

Remove the plastic bags and rubber banks once the engine compartment is clean.  Dry the battery and any puddles.  Start the engine to dry the rest of it.  Wax the painted areas of the engine.  Do not wax the engine itself. 

Disconnect the battery cables and clean the terminals and the battery posts.  You can use a wire brush to do this.  Check all the hinges, shocks, and throttle cables.  Make sure they have a thin coat of non-silicone lubricant.  Check all fluid levels.  Once all these tasks are done, you have completed cleaning your engine.  Gerber Collision and Glass encourage you to clean your engine compartment.

Tinting your car windows

Tinting your car windows is not just a cool look for your car. There are many benefits to tinting your windows. The summer sun is here. The sun causes uncomfortable heat inside your car. Car window tinting blocks up to 71% of solar energy. Tinting will allow you to stay comfortable and prevent overuse of the AC.

If you are in the car for a long time, tint protects you from UV rays. Car window tinting blocks up to 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. UV protection comes in many grades, and you don’t need to have windows considerably darkened to block UV.

A tinted car window that breaks is safer than a non-tinted window. Tint covers the entire window; therefore, broken glass stays in one piece. This reduces the chance for injury. Cleanup is much easier after a broken window.

Car window tinting can prevent car theft. Security tint makes car windows stronger. A thief that breaks a window still has to deal with a solid panel of glass because the broken glass is held together.

Gerber Collision and Glass advise car owners to have their windows analyzed by a professional. Getting the proper tint for your particular vehicle is essential for look and safety.

Hailstorm Safety Tips

Hailstorm Safety Tips

Hail is one of the most common and costly weather hazards in the United States, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to buildings, vehicles, and crops every year. Help guard against the damaging effect of a hailstorm by following the steps below.

Make A Plan

A hailstorm can disrupt electrical service and is often accompanied by other severe weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Prepare your family for the hazards and inconveniences of a hailstorm by creating a disaster preparedness plan, including a disaster survival kit and an emergency evacuation plan.

Stay Informed

Hail often occurs during severe weather patterns, such as strong thunderstorms. When severe weather threatens, tune in to a battery-powered radio for updates. A severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are right for thunderstorms to become severe. A severe thunderstorm warning means that a storm poses an immediate threat to the people and property in its path. This warning may be accompanied by a siren or other community alert system.

Move Inside, Stay Inside

Hailstones vary greatly in size, but even small ones – driven by gravity and strong winds – pose a danger to anything or anyone caught in a storm. As a storm approaches, put vehicles in the garage and bring pets inside. If you are outdoors, go indoors immediately.

Once you’re indoors, close all drapes, blinds, or shades to prevent broken window glass and hailstones from entering your home. If possible, move to a basement, cellar, or other level of the building not directly below the roof. Stay indoors until the storm has passed.

If you’re on the road during a hailstorm, stay in your vehicle and slow down or stop, as roads may become slippery. Once you have pulled over safely, turn your back to windows or cover yourself with a blanket to protect yourself from broken glass. 

Protect Your Roof

Roof damage is a common consequence of hailstorms. Following a strong storm, you should evaluate the condition of your roof to identify any damage and prevent further deterioration.

The Federal Alliance of Safe Homes (FLASH) has information about strengthening your home’s roof decking and shingles against hail and other severe weather. Even if your roof is not currently damaged, you may want to discuss making these changes with a reputable roofing contractor.

Gerber Collision and Glass advises you to protect yourself and your car from damaging hail. 

http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/safety-2/severe-weather-1/hailstorm-safety-tips/

Effects of Acid Rain on Cars

Effects of Acid Rain on Cars

Acid rain is the deposit of damaging toxins.  These pollutants can be wet or dry.  When the rain dries it leaves the acid.  The acid rain stays on the car.  Acid rain can cause damage to a vehicle.   It corrodes paint and makes cars look dirtier.  For the most part, acid rain damages the flat surfaces of a vehicle.  These areas include the trunk, hood and roof.

Avoiding some of the worst acid rain will help save your car’s paint.  Try and park your car in a covered area or a garage.  Have your car regularly washed and hand dry it.  Darker-colored cars will display wear sooner than a light-colored car.  Some manufacturers use acid resistant paints.  Clean your tires to avoid cracking from acid rain. 

You might have acid rain buildup on your windows and windshield if it has a filmy look.  Clean it with a vinegar and water mix.  One cup of vinegar to one quart of water should do the trick.  Hire a professional to have your paint cleaned up that has been exposed to acid rain.  Gerber Collision and Glass would like you to keep your car acid free.

Who’s ready for a road trip?

Who’s ready for a road trip?

It is finally here.  The road trip you have been waiting for.  You have packed your last minute things the night before.  But are you packing in a smart way?  You can’t pack your entire house, so you need to make clever packing decisions.

Pack for the space you have.  If you are traveling in a van or SUV, then you would have more room for bags.  If you riding in a smaller compact car you would not be able to bring as much.   Pack your essential items first and then if you have room left you can pack your fun things.  Utilize all the space in the vehicle for your things.  Don’t forget under the seats.  

Make sure all the passengers going on the trip pack for the space in the vehicle too.  Everyone should bring an equal amount of bags on the trip.  Advise your passengers not to over pack so you can have a comfortable ride.

There are a few must have items.  Food, snacks and drinks are very important to pack.  You could drive for miles without a gas station.  If you get hungry or thirsty you already have these items available.  A first aid kit is another great item to have on board.  You don’t plan on getting sick or hurt, but if it happens you will be ready.   Make sure you have your credit cards and enough cash in case of emergencies on the road.  Don’t forget to visit your local Gerber Collision and Glass for any auto body repair you need before your road trip.

Get your vehicle more fuel efficient

Get your vehicle more fuel efficient

As you know, the price of gas is skyrocketing.  It is at an all-time high for the month of March and expected to only increase.  We at Gerber Collision and Glass know how stressful it can be filling up the tank at nearly four dollars a gallon.  We have included some recommendations to get the best gas mileage out of your vehicle.  They can help you save some big bucks at the pump!

Make sure your tires are inflated properly.  Low air pressure can significantly decrease gas mileage.  Check the tire or your vehicle’s manual for proper levels.  Limit the amount of time you run your car in idle.  You can burn nearly two gallons of fuel per hour, for a vehicle that is not even moving.  Drive more efficiently.  Limit your speed.  The faster you go, the more gas you burn.  Also, avoid excelarating too fast.  Keep your rpm’s down.

  Keep up on your vehicle’s maintenance.  A car that is tuned up will be much more fuel efficient.  Use the air conditioner only when you absolutely need it.  Your air conditioner is one of the biggest consumers of gas.  Shop around.  Many news channels post stations with the lowest prices.  Avoid buying gas near airports, they raise their prices considerably.  Limit your driving by combing your errands.  You will be surprised how much less gas you’ll use.

Keep up with your vehicle recommendations

Keep up with your vehicle recommendations

Do you ever get annoyed when you get your oil changed by all the recommendations they come up with.  You may hear you need to get your radiator flushed.  Your rear differential needs attention.  The transmission needs to be serviced.  Gerber Collision and glass recommends you pay a little more attention to these request as they could save you big bucks in the long run.  Make sure you take your vehicle to a reputable service station you can trust.  We all know they want to make more money, but if you find one with a good reputation and honest service your vehicle will thank you.

Rear differential service is one many people pass on.  Do not overlook this.  The rear differential needs to stay lubricated.   Check your vehicle’s manual for how often this should be done.  Make sure your vehicle is being cooled properly.  You radiator can build up with plaque if not maintained, especially if you are driving in extreme conditions.  Transmission service should be done every 15 to 20 thousand miles.  Again, check the manual for your vehicles suggested service advice.  Items like air filters need to be changed or cleaned every other oil change.  You can save money by getting this yourself at your local auto parts store.  Do not ignore these recommendations.  They can be very costly repairs if left undone.

Road Safety Tips: What to Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down

Having your vehicle break down while driving is not a fun experience.  With the following Road Safety Tips from Gerber Collision and Glass you’ll be prepared in the even that your vehicle does break down while driving.

It may seem obvious, but the first thing you want to do is pull off the road.  Often in a panic, drivers will just stay in the lane where the car has stopped, but you want to pull as far away from traffic as possible to prevent an auto collision.

Next, alert other motorists that your vehicle is not drivable by using cones and emergency signals.  This will help drivers who are traveling at high speeds see your vehicle off to the side from a far distance and be able to switch lanes.

Always, remain in your vehicle.  Safety experts agree that under most circumstances if you are able to pull away from traffic, it is safest to remain in your vehicle until a law enforcement officer or road service provider arrives.

Finally, call for assistance.  If you have a emergency road side service or insurance policy that cover’s auto breakdown it’s best to contact them right away so they can send help.  Keep in mind that some service plans may only cover specific vehicles, so ask while you are on the phone with them.

Following those few safety tips in the event of a vehicle break-down will make the process a bit easier for you.

Auto Collision during Rain, Snow, or Sleet

Motor Vehicle Crash Data recently reported that and estimated 5,505,000 auto collisions had property damage to their vehicles in a single year. Of that number, 620,000 were during rain storms and 184,000 were during snow/sleet.

So what can you do to avoid a collision during rain, snow, or sleet? Gerber Collision and Glass recommends the following:

1. Learn your car. Since each will handle differently, practice driving in winter conditions on roads that are familiar to you  – not on a main road.  Sharpen your winter weather skills and learn how your vehicle reactions to snowy conditions in places that are full light during the day such as an empty parking lot.

2. Drive Slowly.   It is much more difficult to suddenly stop on slick or snowy roads and also be sure to give plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

3. Stay Calm.   If you find yourself skidding during a rain or hail storm, gently ease your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of your car to go.  Do not press on either the brake or gas until you have control of your car.

Those three tips will help drivers avoid auto collisions and if you find yourself driving in severe road conditions, pull over and wait out the storm, you’ll be glad you took the time.  And don’t forget to get your car serviced now to ensure optimal driving conditions.

Car Windshield Glass Repair – Does it Matter if I have Broken Glass?

You might have a lot of questions about automotive windshield glass repair that we can help you with.

  • Does it matter if I have broken glass or a chipped windshield? Yes, absolutely it does. Damaged or chipped glass can break when you hit a bump in the road, but more importantly your glass serves as an important structural purpose during an auto accident.
  • Do I have to replace my windshield? Many small rock chips and cracks can be repaired without needing to replace your windshield, saving you time and money. If your rock chip is smaller than a quarter in diameter, it may be repairable. If your windshield crack is less than 6” long (the size of a dollar bill), it may be repairable.
  • Is there a difference between my windshield and the other glass in the car? Yes there is. Windshield glass is laminated safety glass, designed to react differently in an auto accident, where the sides and rear are often tempered glass.
  • Do I have to take my car somewhere for the repair? Gerber Collision and Glass glass has locations throughout the United States or our mobile service can come to you at your home or office at no additional charge.
  • How long will the repair take?Most repairs at Gerber can be completed in 30 minutes or less. Actual time may vary depending upon climate conditions and the extent of the damag
  • How long before I can drive my car again after the repair? Generally our OEM adhesives cure within an hour. However, safe drive away times do vary depending upon climate conditions. Your Gerber technician will be able to provide you with the safe drive away time for your windshield replacement.
  • How soon can I wash my car? You want to wait at least 24 hours prior to washing your car after a windshield repair.

View more FAQ’s for Windshield Glass Auto Repair >

What do you do if you notice a windshield crack in need of repair?

One repair that many car owners often overlooked until too late is auto glass repair.  Even the smallest windshield chip or windshield crack does not seem like it can cause harm, but debris and changing temperatures can cause auto glass chips to grow larger over time.

If you notice a crack in your windshield glass, first inspect the damage. You can do this yourself or even take your car to Gerber Collision and Glass for inspection.  Windshield damage that is limited to a minor chip, crack, or knick should be repairable. Many small rock chips and cracks can be repaired by Gerber without needing to replace your windshield, saving you time and money.Some larger or “spider-like” windshield cracks may not repairable and require windshield replacement.

While a chip in your windshield may seem insignificant, it’s important to take care of as soon as possible before they grow or in worst cases, cause a driving hazard.

If you have any questions regarding auto glass repair or auto glass replacement service, our helpful customer service representatives are available to answer your questions at 877-7gerber (877-743-7237) or online through our Contact form.

How does the cold weather cause windsheild glass cracks

Cold Weather and Windshield Cracks

With weather chill in the air, not only are we having to bundle up a bit more but we also need to be on the lookout for changes in the windshields of our car. Because changes in temperature can expand and contract your vehicles windshield, it’s important to look for small cracks that can travel the length of your auto glass.

For instance, if the inside of your car is around 60 degrees but the outside is in the 20s, the inside layor of the class will expland while the outside will contract, causing distortion and often cracked auto glass that is in need of windshield repair.  Even a small difference in degrees can stress your auto windshield.

If you’ve had a small windshield crack after about a month or so you will notice it begins to get dirty.  How do windshield cracks become dirty?  Typically the windshield wipers push dirt into the crack over time or when it rains dirt can be carried into the auto glass crack. It’s important to have your vehicle looked at by an auto glass service company because preventative measures will take care of the crack before it spreads.

Find that oil leak

  Find that oil leak

Do you have a large amount of oil on your driveway?  Can’t seem to find where all that oil is coming from?  There are a few ways to find where your vehicle is leaking all that sludge, and take steps to stop it.

First thing you’ll want to do is degrease the engine block.  Clean up all oil under the engine and around the valve covers.  The oil pan should also be cleaned to get a good sense of where the leak is starting at.  Start the engine and lay out a brown box.  You may not see the leak for a few minutes.  Be patient, the leak may not be seen if it is a small slow one.

Check to see that the oil filter is properly installed and tight.  Check the oil pan and the drain bolts.  A leak will ooze out if they are not tightened.  One of the most common places for an oil leak is the valve cover gasket.  This gasket is between the valve cover and the engine block.  It can become worn and cracked over the years.  Wipe it clean, start your engine, and check back in a few minutes.   If the area has produced oil it may need adjustment with a torque wrench.

If the leak is still not found, check the head gasket.  This is where the engine heads sit onto a block.  If you find the leak here it could be because of a bad pcv or a hose that has a kink in it.  Wipe them down and see if any oil comes out.  The last place to check is the head gasket itself.  This will be the most costly repair and should be inspected by a professional.  Gerber Collision and Glass recommend wearing the proper safety equipment when looking for the source of your leak.  Safety glasses are a must.  If you are ever in doubt about checking for an oil leak, please have a certified mechanic help guide you through it.

Check the check engine light

Check the check engine light

So that little annoying light came on with those scary words saying check engine. What should you do? Is it time to panic? Should you stop driving your vehicle? Just because your check engine light is on does not mean there is something wrong with your car. It is simply telling you that something is not functioning properly. The light comes on because one of your sensors has found something abnormal. Great you’re saying. Then there is something wrong with my car! There are a few things that you can check before coming to this conclusion. Most of the time it is a simple problem that needs attention. Check your gas cap. A loose gas cap can cause a sensor to go off indicating a problem. Make sure it is the right cap for your vehicle and is on tightly. Make sure your engine oil is at its proper level. Low levels may also set off a sensor. Read your vehicles manual. It may give you a more specific outlook on your particular car. If it stays on after all these steps have been taken, it may be time to take it to a professional. You may have a loose spark plug wire that needs reconnecting. An O2 sensor may have sparked the light. This sensor monitors the air-fuel mixture. The catalytic convertor may also be the culprit. This helps reduce emission toxicity. Gerber Collision and Glass recommends having a certified mechanic evaluate your vehicle. It may be a simple fix, but you always want reassurance from someone you can trust.

Check your oil and check it often

Oil Level

What is one of the most important inspections you can do on your vehicle?  If you guessed checking the oil level, then you are correct.  Your oil level should be checked on a weekly basis.  Make it a habit on the weekend before taking the kids to the ball game.  Low oil levels can seriously damage your engine and may destroy it beyond repair.

Make sure the vehicle is cold before checking your oil.  Pull the dipstick out and clean it with a rag.  Reinsert the dipstick all the way to the bottom and pull out.  Your oil should be between the lower and upper limits of the dipstick.  If it is low, find the oil filler cap on top of the engine.  Unscrew the cap and put it in a safe place.  Pour in a little amount of oil and recheck the dipstick.  Keep adding a little at a time until the level is halfway between the minimum and maximum marks.  Use the correct grade of oil for your vehicle.  Make sure to put the filler cap back on.  If you notice your oil is dirty it is time for a change.  As always, Gerber Collision and Glass recommends keeping up with all your car maintenance issues.  It will save you lots of money and headaches.

Replacing a Car Air Filter

Car Air Filter

 

Replacing the air filter in your automobile is essential to peak performance.  A dirty air filter decreases your gas mileage and blocks the airflow.  It is recommended to change it at least once a year or every 15,000 miles.  Oil change companies should check it for you every time you get new oil.  Be cautious as the prices of air filters at many of these places are doubled, or even triple the price than at an auto parts store.  Replacing an air filter yourself will save you a lot of money and it’s real easy to do.

Pop the hood of your car.  Make sure it is cool before any work is done.  The air filter is enclosed in a black box near the top of the engine.  You will need a few essential tools.  A butter knife, Phillips, and flat head screwdriver should do the trick.  The box is usually held in by a couple of clips.  Slide the butter knife carefully between the box and clips to open it.  In some vehicles you may find a couple screws holding the filter in.  Use the screwdrivers to get to your air filter.  Once you get everything opened, take out the filter and hold it in the sunlight.  Check and make sure there is no debris.  If you think it is dirty, it is.  Replace with a new filter and tighten down any clips or screws that were removed.

This project will take you all of ten to minutes and can save you about twenty dollars.  At Gerber Collision and Glass we strive for safety first.  If you are not totally sure about doing this yourself have a friend or neighbor assist you.  You may even take it to your specialist.  While there watch them change the filter. This will save you money the next time around.  

Tire Maintenance and checking air pressure

Tire Maitenance

When to check tire inflation

Proper inflation of your tires is one of the most important aspect of tire maintenance for your vehicle. Only 1 out of 7 car owners correctly checks tire pressure each month. Vehicle owners should check the air pressure on all tires, including spare tires at least once a month.  To help you remember, Gerber Collision and Glass recommends checking air pressure when your car payment or insurance is do each month. If you get in the habit of checking this when you make payments it will become part of your routine.  Regular rotation of your tires will also help prevent irregular and premature wear.

Gerber wants to remind you that proper tire rotation prevents auto collisions.