Delay, Deny, Defend: What You Need to Know About This Insurance Scam

insurance scam, delay deny defendInsurance companies are for-profit businesses. Your best interest may not always be their priority; rather, it’s about maximizing revenue. One way they achieve this end is through a common insider scam known as delay, deny, and defend, or DDD.

What Is Delay?

After an accident, the first step to take is to contact your insurance provider to file a claim. Your car is needs collision repairs. Even so, the provider may unnecessarily delay or procrastinate, making you as impatient as possible. When you become impatient, you are more inclined to accept the provider’s proposed settlement.

What Is Deny?

The insurance agency may even flat-out deny your claim using any possible and obscure loophole. Some car owners accept defeat, while others take the insurance provider to court. Continue Reading →

Does Your Collision Shop Perform Aluminum Car Frame Repair?

aluminum car frameCar manufacturers are slowly turning away from steel frames and towards aluminum frames. This material provides similar durability yet is lighter in weight. Not every collision shop, though, is equipped to handle aluminum car frame repair. Here’s why this form of frame restoration is a challenge.

Why the Transition to Aluminum?

The auto industry has transitioned to aluminum frames because it weighs less, shaving off a car’s base weight by up to several hundred pounds. The lighter weight means improved fuel economy and lower emissions. Pound-for-pound, aluminum also has twice the crash energy absorption capability of steel. Aluminum is also easily recyclable, making its production environmentally friendly.

Can Repair Shops Handle Aluminum Car Frame Repairs?

Aluminum is now the second-most widely used car material next to steel. Despite this, the collision and dent repair industry has been slow to accommodate the changes. Few have the necessary equipment and training to tackle aluminum repair work.

Aluminum frame repair requires heat. Heat is applied to soften the metal, making it soft enough to reshape the frame. The heat application is a very intricate process as the whole frame—and not just the damaged area—must be heated. Due to the complexity and small margin for error, many shops just opt to replace the entire frame. This means a higher cost to the car owner. Continue Reading →

The Proper Way to Respond to a Tailgater

respond to a tailgater, tailgater response, tailgatingTailgating is discouraged for the obvious reason that it drastically increases the likelihood of a collision. In fact, tailgating is one of the reasons collision repairs are so commonplace. What do you do, though, when someone is tailgating you? We explain how to respond to a tailgater in a nonconfrontational manner.

Why Tailgating Is Dangerous

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions account for 23% of all collisions. Many of these incidents were preventable but occurred due to tailgating.

When you drive too close to the driver ahead of you, the distance it takes your car to stop doesn’t change. This means you have less time to react and come to a full stop should the driver in front makes a sudden move. Continue Reading →

How to Prevent a Collision in the Garage

garage collision

The garage is where your car is supposed to be safe. Yet, this is one of the top spots where your precious vehicle experiences dents and scratched auto paint. Find out how to prevent a collision in the garage.

Organization Is Key

The garage is the natural storage solution for power tools, bikes, lawn equipment, etc. As such, the garage can quickly become a mess. You can easily drive right into these objects as you pull in or out. By keeping everything neat and tidy, you greatly reduce the odds of a collision with a haphazardly placed item in the garage.

Keep It Well Lit

The garage is usually poorly lit, even if it’s daytime and the garage door has windows. Consider adding a brighter incandescent bulb for the garage door opener unit. While tempting, refrain from using CFL or LED bulbs because these may emit interference and limit the remote control’s range.

Use the Tennis Ball Trick

An old trick is to suspend a tennis ball from the ceiling. Position it so that your windshield touches the ball when the bumper is a few inches from the wall. This lets you know to stop and cut the engine. Pulling too far forward is a common cause of bumper dents.

Turn on the Headlights

This sounds like common sense for nighttime drivers. However, some drivers turn off the lights before pulling into the garage. You want all the visibility you can get especially if your garage is cluttered and limited in space. Have your lights on even if you are pulling out.   

Prevent a Needless Collision in the Garage

With its tight space, the garage is a likely area for a light collision. Should you incur a dent or scuff, bring your car to Doug’s Auto Collision Center. A collision in the garage is preventable by modifying the space. 

Vehicle Dent Repair and Auto Paint Restoration 

Serving Customers in Bellevue, Renton, Highlands, Factoria, Issaquah and Mercer Island

Summer Car Accidents: Why Collisions Increase This Time of Year

summer driving

Statistically, auto collisions increase during the summer months. This is apparent to us as we see a spike in collision repairs. Why are the number of summer car accidents so much higher compared to other seasons?

Teens Are Out of School

According to research, teens spend about 44% more time behind the wheel in the summer than during the school months. More inexperienced drivers on the road for longer periods ultimately leads to more collisions. Teens are also more likely to be involved in distracted driving.

The Heat

Heat indirectly causes car accidents. How so? Heat is the main cause of car troubles, such as engine overheating and tire blowouts. These occur while the car is in motion. If the driver is unable to safely pull over, a collision may incur.

This is an especially good time of year to check your tire pressure and coolant levels. You should also have the number of AAA or another tow service on your phone for emergencies.

Vacationing Season

More motorists are on the road for lengthy cross-country trips. This adds to the existing traffic congestion. This also means more drivers are travelling on unfamiliar roads. Those same drivers may also be more distracted as they fiddle with their phones for directions.

Road Construction

Many road construction companies increase their workload during the summer and scale back in winter. With road construction comes changes in driving conditions, such as detours and the temporary shutdown of traffic lanes. This forces more cars to share fewer lanes and take unfamiliar routes.

Involved in a Summer Car Accident?

If you are involved in a collision this summer, bring your vehicle to Doug’s Auto Collision Center. We perform dent repair and auto paint restoration; dents and faded paint also increase during this season. Stay safe on the road and be aware of summer car accidents.

Summertime Auto Collision Repairs

Serving Customers in Bellevue, Renton, Highlands, Factoria, Issaquah and Mercer Island

What Do You Do After a Collision on Private Property?

private property collision

The vast majority of car accidents occur on public roads. However, a few of our customers come to us for collision repairs after an accident on private property. What do you do then? What is the appropriate course of action after a collision occurs on private property?

Were You Involved in a Collision on Private Property?

If a collision occurred, respond the way you normally would for an accident on public roads. This means call law enforcement and document the scene. Take photos of damages, collect witness info, etc. Be sure also to report the incident to your insurance company and the local DMV.

Who Is Responsible?

The city bears no responsibility when an accident occurs on public grounds. This holds true even if, say, a neglected pothole, was a contributing factor. The city has no liability, so you can’t file a claim against the municipality. 

The rules differ, though, in a collision on private property. Aside from the two parties that were behind the wheel, the property owner can also share liability. When is the property owner liable? An example would be a collision in a privately-owned garage due to enormous blind spots or extremely narrow lanes.

In some instances, the property owner may bear liability even in cases where an at-fault driver flees the scene. An example is a hit-and-run after colliding with a parked car. The owner of the parked vehicle may file a claim on the property owner’s premises liability policy. 

We Service Your Vehicle After a Collision 

Bring your car to Doug’s Auto Collision Center regardless of whether the collision occurred on public or private grounds. We perform major frame repairs and minor touchups, such as dent repair and auto paint restoration. Speak with your insurer to determine what to do after a collision on private property.

Automobile Collision Servicing

Serving Customers in Bellevue, Renton, Highlands, Factoria, Issaquah and Mercer Island

Do Car Dent Pullers Work?

dent puller

People naturally look for quick-fixes in order to save a few bucks. After all, who wouldn’t want to save themselves a trip to their local collision repair center? The car dent puller is one such quick-fix. Do they work? That’s the critical question we’ll attempt to answer.

How Does a Car Dent Puller Work?

A car dent puller does exactly what its name implies. You can find one in most automotive stores and definitely at Amazon. It will run anywhere from $15 to $70. Two types of pullers exist: suction and glue-based pullers.

Suction pullers work similarly to a plunger. Just attach it to the dent, and the force of the suction pops the metal back into place. The suction may come off a few times, so expect to reapply as necessary until the puller firmly attaches.

With glue-based pullers, you glue the contraption onto the dent. The puller has legs that sit just outside the dent. The puller has a pulling tab that you twist to pull the dent back in place.

Do They Work?

What everyone is wondering is whether these pullers work as advertised. If they worked like magic, our paintless dent repairs would be obsolete. Unfortunately, they don’t always perform as expected. They may work on shallow dents on a flat surface. On deeper dents, and dents on angular surfaces, they provide an imperfect finish. 

We do not recommend a dent puller at all if the dent has accompanying paint damage. A professional will need to restore the auto paint after fixing the dent.

We Restore all Dents

Only a professional can fully restore a dent. Dent repair kits only work on the most surface-level dents. For deeper blemishes, bring your vehicle to Doug’s Auto Collision Center. Contrary to the claims, car dent pullers often don’t live up to the claims.

Paintless Dent Restoration for All Automotive Types

Serving Customers in Bellevue, Renton, Highlands, Factoria, Issaquah and Mercer Island

Why Frame Measuring Matters in a Collision Repair

frame measuring, frame measurementEven seemingly minor collisions can cause hidden damage. This can seriously compromise safety should another collision occur in the future. This is why frame measuring is so important during collision repairs.

What Is Frame Measuring?

Before we explain frame measuring, we need to talk a bit about what happens during a collision. When cars collide, the vehicle’s frame absorbs the bulk of force in order to minimize the impact inside the cabin. This can cause the frame to bend out of alignment, sometimes in areas away from the point of impact.

Frame measuring is a way of measuring the degree, if any, that the frame is out of alignment after a collision. Doug’s Auto Collision Center uses a computerized frame measuring system that includes lasers, ultrasound technology, and other high-speed electronics for pinpoint accuracy. The frame measurement process determines whether a frame can be bent back in shape or if the car needs a replacement frame. If the latter, data from the system determines the precise measurement for the replacement frame. Continue Reading →

Five Unsuspecting Items That Damage Car Paint

car paint damageAuto paint is more fragile than most people realize. Here’s a surprising list of everyday items that can damage car paint. You’ll notice that this list contains seemingly benign materials; but each of them can erode paint.

1. Coffee and Soda

Do you make morning coffee runs at your local Starbucks? Don’t set the drink on the hood of your car while you fiddle with your keys. A spill is detrimental to the paint. Coffee and soda are highly acidic, which means that these drinks can burn away the outer coating. The sugar can also leave behind a sticky residue.

2. Shaving Cream

Spraying shaving cream on a car is a common prank. However, the prank isn’t as harmless as one might think. The cream leaves behind a resin that can leave a stain once it dries. If your car falls victim to this prank, then wash the cream off immediately with soapy water. Continue Reading →

Can Snow Damage Your Car?

snow car damage, snow damageThe Bellevue area doesn’t always see snow, though snowfall does occasionally occur in winter. This can actually be hazardous for your vehicle. How so? We explain how snow damages cars and increases the likelihood of a collision.

How Does Snow Damage Cars?

During winter, city workers cover the road in salt to de-ice the surface. While beneficial for minimizing accidents, the salt mixes with the ice. When the snow melts, the salt and water create a chemical reaction that corrodes the exposed metal of your vehicle. It also destroys the auto paint. Even worse, it can cause functional damage if the snow gets into the undercarriage. Eventually, it slowly makes its way to exposed parts, such as the brakes and engine block.

Snow Increases Chances of Collisions

Snow, of course, makes roads more slippery, though the road salt does restore some of the traction. Snow can also freeze the windshield wipers, rendering them inoperable. Most motorists are unaware of this until they try to operate the wipers on the road. When the rain/snow obscures the windshield and the wipers don’t budge, you quickly lose visibility, increasing the odds of a collision. Always check the wipers before pulling out of the driveway. Continue Reading →