First thing first, you have the right to chose the facility that will repair your car, that’s the law. Your insurance company cannot force you to use a collision repair shop of their choosing.
don’t wait to be in an accident to start looking
Word of mouth:
Ask friends, family, colleagues to recommend a shop they know, have used in the past, then start your homework. Check their what other usedrs said about them. How?
Google them, look at their reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp (although you need to take yelp with a grain of salt, don’t just check Yelp recommended reviews, go to the bottom of the page and check the reviews Yelp does not recommend. Yelp has a history to hide reviews), check Nextdoor, your local neighborhood social platform, ask your neighbors
Look at how they respond to negative reviews, is that how you want to be treated?
Check their website, their social media business pages.. What should you look for?
Are they certified?
When it comes to professional certifications, two stand out, I-Car Gold and ASE. When it comes to collision repair, I-Car is the gold standard
What is I-Car Gold Class?
The Gold Class® recognition is the highest role-relevant training achievement recognized by the collision repair industry. It is estimated that only 20% of repair shops currently meet the rigorous Gold Class standard. Stroyer brothers Autobody and Painting is I-Car Gold Class certified
Are they certified by manufacturers?
Two things to look for: certification agencies and manufacturers certifications. What’s the difference, up until recently auto manufacturers mainly relied on certification agencies to inspect collision/autobody repair shops, in recent years, manufacturers started to bring certification and training in house. Manufacturers contract with agencies, you will find a number of them around the country
What do certification agencies do?
Only 1 in 10 shops will meet or exceed the requirements for Certification. In order to become and remain Certified, shops must meet the requirements as established by the Auto Manufacturers and pass an annual on-site inspection-audit. These requirements identify Certified shops that have the proper tools, equipment, training, and facilities to safely repair the next generation of vehicles, ensuring the vehicle fit, finish, durability, value, and safety using advanced materials and technology.
Stroyer Brothers is certifies by Assured Performance
Assured Performance is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization created specifically to assist consumers in identifying Certified collision repair providers that meet OEM requirements to properly and safely repair the next generation of vehicles using advanced materials and technology.
Check their shop:
Ask if the shop if they work on your vehicle make and model
Ask how long the shop has been in business.
Is their facility neat and well-organized facility with modern equipment.
Professionally run repair shops will have a courteous, helpful staff willing to answer your questions.
You can see the vehicles being repaired by the shop. Are you impressed by the type of vehicles the company is repairing and the way the vehicles are being handled?
Look for signs that the staff is technically competent, trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work training from I-CAR, ASE and car manufacturers
Ask for a tour of the facility. Any honest, transparent repair shop will be happy to give you a tour, show you their equipment and answer your questions
Ask if you can stop by to check on the progress of the repair, will they call you to keep you updated?
Policies, guarantees, and methods of payment should be posted or explained to your satisfaction.
Look for a book of references and recommendations
Ask if they will work with your insurance company to insure a smooth and prompt repair
Winter weather? Snow? In Southern California? Most people round the country think we always have the perfect weather and can’t imagine inclement weather in Southern California. Well, on lucky years we do get a decent amount of rain in the Winter and snow in our elevations. Don’t forget we also have ski resorts like Big Bear and Southern Californian do not mind driving to Lake Tahoe or Mammoth.
Unfortunately Southern Californian have a well earned reputation for, well, not being very good at driving in the rain and in the snow
Where does the expression “Black Friday come from?
The day was dubbed "Black Friday" back in the 1960s, when account books were still kept using pen and ink and the day's sales helped move stories out of the "red" (losses) and into the "black" (profits)
Historically Black Friday has been the biggest shopping day of the year, it’s changing with online shopping but still remains a big shopping day and with that comes c rime
We scoured the web and came up with these tips to stay safe
While shopping at night, park in well lit areas, look and park near police lookouts and cameras on light posts
Be aware of your surroundings at all times, when approaching your car look around
Do not leave anything in plain view in your car, if you are buying large items, buy them last or bring them home right away, they are an invitation to break into your car
Shop with a group. There is safety in numbers.
If shopping with children make sure that you have identified a central location to meet in the event that you become separated.
Use only one credit card. Should there be a security breach, you will reduce the risk of having multiple cards compromised.
Never allow the sales clerk put your receipt into your shopping bag with your items. Should that bag be stolen or lost an offender can return those items without question.
Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
Don’t remove cash until the moment you are ready to make a purchase.
Never argue or fight over an item.
Fall is here and rain season is slowly coming upon us. If you have lived in San Diego or Southern California for any length of time you know that even light rain brings chaos to our roads and makes commuting a very trying experience. with a little bit of preparation, you can make driving in the rain a lot safer for yourself and others.
Get your car ready for driving in the rain:
Check your headlights:
Are they foggy? Foggy headlights diffuse the light and reduce your visibility increasing the risk of accident. Dim headlights lights make your car harder to see in the dark or in the rain also increasing the risk of accident. Remember be seen is just as important and seeing.
Check your windshield wipers:
I know, in Southern California we don’t get to use our wipers that often and one might think if I don’t use them they don’t wear our and I don’t need to change them. You could not be more wrong, true we do not get much rain for most of the year but the rubber bakes on your windshield in temperatures exceeding 120 degrees. You should change them twice a year, at least.
Check your windshield washer tank:
Is it full. In Southern California we usually get light rain, especially at the beginning of the rain season, the light rain might not be enough to wash off the dust on your windshield but will surely be enough to make a mess.
Check your windshield
Check for cracks and chips (most insurance companies will get chips fixed at no cost, do not wait for the chip to become a crack and have to replace the windshield)
Clean your windshield and windows inside and outside. There is nothing worse than a dirty windshield at night with cars coming at you. What you don’t see during the day (aka dirty film on the inside) can seriously reduce your visibility and increase glare. As a result a dirty windshield increases the risk of accident and could earn you a traffic ticket.
Check your tires:
A major cause of accident in the rain and we all know how bad it gets in Southern California even with light rain, are bald tires. Worn out tire have less traction, they are prone to hydroplaning causing you to lose control of the vehicle and crash. Check your tires before the rain season. You can use a number of method, if you are not sure, go to a tire store and ask them to check your tires
Check your tire pressure regularly, don’t over or under inflate, the correct pressure will keep you safe and make your tire last longer
Check your battery:
Today’s batteries last around 4 years, anything longer is a bonus. the last thing you want is being stuck in a parking lot at night or in the rain with a dead battery
Clean your battery;
Check your cables and connections for signs of corrosion, chack for cracks in the case or the cover.
Check your brakes:
Check your brake pads, disks or drums for excessive wear that could lead for uneven braking and increased risk of accident. Check your brake fluid level.
Check your fluid levels:
When was your last engine oil change? Depending on the age of your car and the type of oil you should change the oil every 3500mi to 10000mi or twice a year if you do not drive that much
Check or have a mechanic check your transmission oil level
Check your brake fluid level
Check your cooling fluid level
We hope this check list helps stay safe on the road. We’d love to fix your car but we’d much rather you stay safe.
Share with your friends and family so they too can be safe on the road.
Black Friday is a crazy day to be out and about, roads and parking lots are packed with impatient and short tempered drivers.
According to Progressive Insurance there are 34% more car accidents on Black Friday, 25% more accidents on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and 20% more accidents on Thanksgiving Day compared to the two weeks before and after. . On Black Friday, 31% of insurance claims tell of incidents happening in parking lots
Here are a few tips to stay safe on the road and in parking lots on Black Friday
Start at home, make a list of the places you want to go to, organize the drive to be efficient. For some it’s in term of time or mileage but for most it’s going to be decided based on advertised deals (wink). Use apps to check traffic
Make sure you are rested and sober, don’t drink and drive there is going to be a lot of sobriety checks over the holidays
Traffic is going to be heavy, drive defensively, avoid distractions like eating, drinking coffee, cell phones
Keep your distance while driving, stay calm, there is going to be a lot of crazy driving, people rushing, not paying attention (According to USA Today , approximately 80 percent of all U.S car accidents accidents are related to distracted drivers) and yes driving while under the influence
It’s not until you get to the parking lot though that the Wild West really begins. Parking can be one of the biggest hassles on the biggest shopping day of the year. Drivers are fighting over spots, parkings are jam-packed aisles are narrow, Black Friday parking is an accident waiting to happen.
Drive slowly, stay in the middle of the aisles, you will be able to anticipate other drivers’ moves sooner. remember that 25 percent of parking lot accidents in the U.S. are caused while someone is backing out of a parking spot
Be aware of children, they are excited and while parents are busy loading packages in the car or exiting the car, children can run around and pop from between parked cars, watch out for them when driving in or out of a parking spot
Don’t try to get the closest parking spot, the longer you drive around searching for a close parking spot the more likely you are to get into an accident or have to deal with short tempered drivers. When you park further away, there is less competition for parking spot, you’ll get out of the parking lot faster and as an added bonus you can give your Fitbit or smart watch a workout and get those steps in, especially welcome after the big Thanksgiving meal.
Be considerate, a lot of people drive big SUVs and when parking next to one or worse between two, it is very hard for drivers backing out to see incoming vehicles. Give them some slack and let them back out.
At night, park in well lit areas, park in view of police lookout and security cameras in light poles
Always be aware of your surroundings
Do not leave anything in plain view in your car
From all of us at Stroyer Brothers, have a fun and safe Thanksgiving weekend
Holidays are around the corner and many will take road trips to visit family, go on vacation, go camping. Now is the time to make sure your car will take you safely to your destination. What should you check your car for?
Let’s take a walk around the car and get it ready for the trip
Are they correctly inflated? Most tire stores will check your tire pressure at no charge or you can check them yourself, most gas stations have an air station and for a few quarters you can check the air pressure, you may even have one of those multi use gizmo that also has a compressor. Ideally you want to do it before driving and before your tires get warm. Check the recommended pressure, on most cars you will find it on the driver side pillar.
Do you have enough thread left to drive safely in the rain and if you are going up the mountains, in the snow. again, you can go to a tire store or do the penny test or as new studies suggest, replacing the penny with a quarter
Windows and mirrors:
Are they clean inside and out? Most clean the outside windows regularly or when they wash the car, most try to avoid cleaning the inside, especially the windshield but a dirty inside windshield is a safety risk. Dust on the outside and the film on the inside both increase glare and as a result driver fatigue, reduces visibility, and increases the risk of accident
Don’t forget the rear window. I know, it’s a pain to clean on sedans and coupes but with time they also get dirty and create glare from headlights at night
When did you last check your windshield wipers?
I know, we live in Southern California and it does not rain much but windshield wipers bake on the hot windshield for months and damages the blades. You should change your wipers at least twice a year and when they streak on the windshield
Check the windshield wiper fluid. Are you going to be driving in freezing temperatures? Chose the right fluid, some are designed for Winter driving and will not freeze
Check all lights, it’s not just about seeing it’s also about being seen.
Are your headlights working
Are they clear (with time, plastic headlights become cloudy and reduce visibility, check out our blog post on clearing cloudy headlights)
Your brake lights
Your back up light
Your warning signals
Replace the bulbs if necessary, if one side goes out, change both sides, the other side bulb is likely to go out soon and keep spares in your car
Clean the inside of your car:
A road trip is a good opportunity to do that cleaning and vacuuming you have been procrastinating
Now let’s open the hood:
Are you due for an oil change?
Check your levels:
Check your battery
Do you see any sign of corrosion (you know that white powder around the terminals. Corrosion can prevent the car from starting and the battery from charging.
If you do, clean them, you can use a wire brush or buy a battery cleaner spray your local auto store, when you are done spray a battery terminal protector
You can also go to your local mechanic, auto store or battery store to get the battery tested.