What was the last text you sent? 

Many people don’t think twice about the last text message they sent.  I couldn’t tell you what mine was.  However, families of people that were killed in a car accident because they were distracted by texting will remember forever. 

People ask me all the time what our busy times of year are.  They are shocked to find out that the summer can be just as busy as the winter.  Winter is an obvious time for body shops to be busy but you would think that summer would be really slow.  What you have to realize is that the summer comes with many distractions.  Windows down, radio up, faster speeds, etc.  We don’t need any more distractions.  In the winter you are a little more focused on the task at hand especially when it is slick out.

Here is an experiment I would like you to try.  The next time you are riding with someone try closing your eyes for 5 seconds and try to observe how far you traveled in that time.  An accident can happen in the blink of an eye.

I know your friends and family will understand you not getting back to them right away.  It beats you not ever getting back to them.  PDYPAD!!! (Put Down Your Phone And Drive)

TTYL

 

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There have been 3 accidents in the past 2 weeks that I have known about that caused death or a severe injury.  Some people were wearing seat belts and some were not.  This really stirred up something within me.

The first emotion is grief.  I feel so bad for the families and individuals involved.  Accidents happen.  It is a part of life on the road and the streets.  They will happen, and unfortunately they will cause injury and death.

The second emotion that has been stirred up in me is anger.  I literally get mad that people still refuse to wear their seat belts.  If you knew, without a doubt, that you would be involved in an accident today, would you put your seat belt on?  I think that everyone would say YES!!! without question.

That seat belt will not always save your life or prevent serious injury, but your odds of surviving a crash are increased exponentially when you are belted in and stay inside the vehicle.  What it really comes down to is a choice.  Is your right to not buckle up or your comfort or whatever excuse you might use more important to you than those in your life that love you and would be absolutely devastated when that officer knocks on their door with news that there has been a terrible accident?

PLEASE BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELTS!!!!

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That’s right, winter will be here before you know it.  Are you ready?  How about your car?

Here is a list of things that would be helpful to have in your vehicle just in case you get stranded:

1. Water

2. Snacks (candy bars, protein bars, and packaged items that will keep fresh)

3. Blankets, extra clothes, boots, gloves, hats, etc.

4. Flashlight

5. Cell phone car adapter and, of course, a cell phone

6. Jumper cables

and just in case you are in an accident:

1. First aid kit

2. Pen and paper (write down other vehicle info like license plate, make and model, color, insurance info., drivers license info., insurance info.)

3. Camera (Cell phone or maybe a disposable camera)

4. Insurance card and current registration

5. Speidell Body Works phone Number 🙂

You may think this is overkill and that you would never need this.  You may put it off until later.  As the old saying goes; it is better to be safe than sorry.  Trust me, you will thank me when you slide off the road in a blizzard or have the unfortunate luck of being involved in an accident.

HAVE A SAFE WINTER!!!

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It never seems to fail that you buy a used car and only then do you start to notice little things that could mean that it had been in an accident.  Running a CARFAX is great but even that may not tell you all of the car’s history.  Many repairs never get reported so what can you look for before you end up with a lemon in your garage?  Here are a few things we look for if someone asks us to do a pre-purchase inspection…

1)Do all of the panel gaps look consistent?  Many times if the car has had sub standard repairs the gaps will be inconsistent between doors, fenders, hoods, etc. from one side to the other or may even be wider at the top or bottom indicating possible prior damage.

2)Is the color and texture of the paint finish consistent around the whole vehicle?  While some manufacturers struggle with color match of their bumpers, most vehicles will have a consistent color match and texture throughout the whole paint job.  Step back away from the vehicle 20 feet or so and look at it from all angles.  sometimes the color differences may not be apparent from close up.  Things like small dirt nibs showing up as little bumps in the finish or some panels looking smoother than others can be a sign of repainting.

3)VIN stickers are missing or replaced with DOT stickers.  Most newer vehicles have small VIN decals on the major body panels such as hoods, fenders, doors, etc..  These tags are usually in door or fender jams or under the hood but very visible.  The original tags will have the vehicle’s VIN number on them so if you see one that doesn’t match the car or it simply says DOT or DOT replacement on the tag the panel has likely been replaced at some point.

4)Is there over-spray in the jams or on mouldings?  All Mouldings, door handles, lights, and anything else that comes in contact with the surface being painted should be removed to prevent future peeling problems however some lower end shops don’t take the time to remove them making it difficult to mask around hence leaving over-spray on things like the side mouldings, handles and weatherstrips.  If the jams are not masked properly it can also leave rough or dry over-spray on the back edges of doors, fenders and even the pillar between the doors on 4 door cars.

5)Does the car drive straight?  While a simple alignment issue can cause a vehicle to pull it can also be a sign of prior frame or uni-body damage.  If the steering wheel is not straight when you are driving straight or if the car has a pull while driving I would recommend having an alignment shop take a closer look to eliminate the possibility of costly suspension or frame repairs.

If you are looking at a vehicle with any combination of these red flags I would highly recommend taking it to a qualified body shop for a professional inspection before laying out your hard earned money and ending up with somebody else’s headache.

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The government, media, manufacturers and consumers in this country spend a lot of time and energy worrying about how safe our cars are.  We want more air bags and sensors that show if anything is behind or to the side of our cars.  We have cars that can park themselves and cars that stop or slow down when we aren’t paying attention.  There are features that can even wake us up if we are falling asleep at the wheel.  We have laws that restrict what we can do while we are driving, like drinking alcohol, texting, or taking prescription drugs.  There are anti-lock breaks and traction control devices that slow you down and get you going in slick conditions.

All of these things are great and we should put time and attention into them, but don’t forget about your tiresTires are the only thing from your vehicle that actually contact the ground.  If your tires are bald you can’t stop, no matter what other safety features you have.

The old standard for checking the tread depth on your tires is to take a penny and stick it in the tread with Abe pointed head down.  If you can see all of Abe’s head it is time to replace your tires.  Now that is just one way to check, but keep in mind that there are a ton of different sizes of tires and wheels that have many different applications.  When in doubt find a good tire shop and check with them.

You will be amazed at what a good tire can do for your car.

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I would like you to close your eyes (don’t really close your eyes or you can’t read the rest of this post) and imagine yourself driving down the street.  The temperature is about 75, the sun is shining bright, it hasn’t rained in weeks.  You have the windows rolled down and the radio up a little louder so the person next to you can be enlightened with the music that you are listening to.  What a great feeling and then……… BAM!!!  You just ran into the back of the person in front of you.

First of all, I know none of you would ever do that…or would you?  I know you didn’t mean to.  Now comes the time to explain what happened.  What do you say?  Uhhh…welllll….I….wasn’t paying attention.

It doesn’t take a cell phone, book, food, or anything else to distract you.  It can just be a lack of focus.  Driving is something that most of us do all the time.  We don’t give it a second thought.  However, driving can become deadly in an instant.  Please be careful out there.  We like business but not at the expense of injury or death.

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Last week I had an insurance adjuster tell me that my role here at Speidell Body Works is to write estimates and fix cars.  It is not my role to care about people or be concerned about them.  Well, she was right.  Our role is to write estimates and fix cars.  However, we could never go along with that second part.  We are all human beings first and I believe that without caring for each other and truly being concerned about people this world is not somewhere that I want to live.

I only do business with people that I believe care for me.  The salesperson that sells me what I need or want instead of what makes more money for them is the person that I will go back to time and time again.

I have a friend at Williamson Honda that has been a salesman there for over 25 years.  The reason that he is so successful is that he truly cares about the needs of his clients.  He sells them what they want and they keep coming back.

So….who cares???….We do!!!  And we always will.

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I am sure that by now you all have your opinions on the new Facebook changes.  I know I didn’t like it very well.  It messed with what I know and that is never fun.  We all have a comfort zone and when we are asked to get out of that we push back and try to get back into it.

Body shops are no different.  However, if you are not willing to change and expand your vision you will not stay the same, you will go backwards.  The one constant that I have noticed in my 10 years in this industry is that change is the only thing that stays the same(if that makes sense).  30 years ago you would have one person work on your car until it was done.  They did everything from start to finish.  The first change to that was there would be a division between 2 people.  One would do the repairs and replacing of parts and the other person would paint it.  The next change that we are in the midst of is an even greater division to what looks like an assembly line and a team approach.  One person meticulously disassembles the vehicle, the next person or team of people do the repairs, the next person paints it and then it goes back to the first person for reassembly.

People have looked at this and said it can’t be done, but the thing is, it is being done and very effectively.  So let’s not get too upset with changes that occur.  If you don’t embrace it, then you are made irrelevant by it.

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Deer season is fast approaching.  Hunters all over Nebraska are getting their gear ready.  However, guns and bows are not the only things that kill deer.  Deer-vehicle collisions happen daily in this part of the country.  Here are a few things that are good to know about collisions involving deer:

1. Always be scanning the ditches while driving especially at dawn and dusk.  Deer are more active at these times of day.

2. If you can avoid the deer, apply the brake and swerve gently.  An overly aggressive action can cause a loss of control by the driver which can put you in a worse situation than hitting the deer.

3. If the deer jumps out suddenly and there is no time to swerve, let off the gas and keep the vehicle pointed straight down the road.  (Beware that the air bag can deploy but that doesn’t happen very often)

4. As far as your insurance is concerned, this claim will be covered under the comprehensive portion of your policy which usually doesn’t go against your insurance record.  You can talk to your agent to verify that and get specific information.

People always ask us if deer whistles help alert the deer of your vehicle and I really don’t know the answer to that.  We have seen carscome in that have hit deer and have deer whistles on them but most vehicles don’t have them.  All I can say is good luck out there and please be careful.

 

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Have you noticed that your headlights don’t shine as bright as they used to?

Are they yellow or hazy? this is important for safety.

I am sure by now you have seen commercials for products that can restore headlights to like new in one swipe of the cloth.  Well, that may not be exactly true.  I know, it is hard to believe that an infomercial could be exaggerating just a little.

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