Santa Clara Auto Body Blog

Read the latest auto body and collision repair news from Anderson Behel

Do You Hate Driving at Night?

on Wednesday, 09 September 2020.

With today's smoke and fog, it's just like driving at night during the day, so we thought this blog might be timely. A recent national poll reported the fact that more than half of all the drivers in the U.S. consider driving at night potentially dangerous and that's why they opt to drive during the day if at all possible.  At Anderson Behel, we often see the results of when drivers get into accidents that are caused when some other driver's high beams shined into their eyes. Serious accidents that lead to fatalities on the road occur at a rate three times more in the evening than during the day, based on numbers provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While only one-fourth of all driving in the U.S. is done when it's dark, more than 50 percent of all driving deaths occur in the evening and that's why people in Santa Clara and all over the country are concerned about the dangers of driving at night.

Night driving is difficult because the drivers' depth perception, ability to differentiate colors, and peripheral field of vision are all of the inferior quality in low-light conditions. In addition, drivers are customarily more fatigued at night. Add into the equation the fact that typical low beams illuminate the road from approximately 160-250 feet in front of the vehicle, and normal high beams shine from roughy 350 -500 feet away. At 60 mph it takes more than 200-250 feet to come to a complete stop, so even with your higher beams on, there is still a lot of room for error there.

Unfortunately, we can't drive only during the day, so here are some basic tips about how to be safe while driving at night:

Don't Stare at Oncoming Lights

This is probably the number one thing that most people do. It's very easy to be distracted and gaze into a bright road sign or the headlights of a vehicle headed in your direction without even really thinking about it.  Always make a point toy away from other lights on the road, and don't ever stare at oncoming high beams.

Aim Your Headlights

We've discovered that headlights on newer cars are often uneven or pointed lower than they should be. Don't just assume your headlights are shining at the correct level and in the proper direction and have them checked regularly.  

Dim Your Interior Lights

Use your dashboard dimmer switch if you are having issues seeing at night. If you're driving around with the dash light on 100%, you might be compromising your vision. And don't leave your map lights on either. Most higher-end luxury cars have focused reading lights that pinpoint objects without causing glare, so those fine to leave on, but most map lights should be turned off whenever possible.

Keep Your Windshield Clean and Pristine

Windshields that appear clean during the day can reveal streaks that can create glare while driving at night. Some car detailers claim that the best way to alleviate this problem is to polish the glass with newspaper to remove dirt and grime from the windshield. Try not to make contact with the inside surfaces of your windshield, as well as any of the car's windows or mirrors with your bare hands for any reason. The oil from your skin will likely smear, and the light will emanate through when it shines through any section where you touched it.

Sources: NHTSA, AAA and Yahoo

Newer Cars Last Longer So Plan for the Future

on Sunday, 30 August 2020.

The experts (who are they, have you never met one?) have reported that the average lifespan of a vehicle is now nearly 12 years. They say it’s been a slow and steady climb over the past few decades as people hang onto their cars longer and longer.  

At Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA we decided to pose the question—why are cars living longer?

That’s because today’s vehicles are smarter, better designed, and considerably better built than they were 20-30 years ago. Automated factories have led to cutting-edge high-precision manufacturing. Parts are much more reliable, and electric systems have now replaced mechanical systems that reduce breakdowns and enhance engine efficiency. Superior oil has changed intervals for oil changes from every three thousand miles to as high as every 15 thousand miles. In addition, new coolants can last the vehicle’s lifetime.

If you buy a new car today, you can count on 200,000 miles with a gas vehicle and up to 300,000 miles if you own an electric car.

Everyone knows that technology is the main reason for longer-lasting cars. Most improvements in efficiency, emissions, overall safety, reliability, and longevity are from primarily microprocessors, microcontrollers, and a series of extensive unseen networks onboard the vehicles themselves. Such improvements are truly increasing not only vehicles’ lifespans but also manufacturer warranties. 3 years, 36,000 miles used to be the standard, but ten-year, 100,000-mile warranties are becoming more common.

Electric cars also last longer than ever. 300,000 miles could be the standard for an electric car, because they feature engines with fewer moving parts, which reduces breakdowns in general, resulting in less maintenance and much longer lifespans (the same is true for hybrid vehicles as well). Tesloop, a Tesla taxi company, recently announced that one of their Model S cars passed the 400,000-mile mark, and the company reported that it expects the vehicle to last another 600,000 miles.

Here are some ways to make certain that your new car will last for 10-15 years:

  1. Choose a vehicle with advanced driver-assistance systems.

If you’re buying an automobile, consider getting adaptive cruise control and a collision-avoidance system that can reduce collisions.

  1. Invest in cutting-edge vehicle management systems.

Think of these as 24/7 on-the-job health monitors that offer a series of tips for improving fuel economy, alert you when you are driving way too fast, monitor the vehicle for trouble, and remind you of maintenance requirements.

  1. Pay careful attention to all of the distress signals.

When you receive an alert from your vehicle, don’t ever hope that it will go away. It is critically important to address problems as soon as they appear. Don’t ignore those lights on your dashboard.

  1. Choose the right mechanic.

New complex cars require skilled mechanics who comprehend electronics, engineering, and computers. So, always look for mechanics certified by organizations such as Automotive Service Excellence or shops.

If you follow these directives, your car can last you for many years and serve you well.

Sources: AOL

Is Al Capone's Car Worth One Million Bucks?

on Monday, 24 August 2020.

Al Capone had an enormous ego and liked to do everything in a big way, so that’s why he drove a big car. He never lost his ego—but the car, on the other hand, was sold just 4 years after he acquired the vehicle. Capone was headed for prison for tax evasion, and there are a lot of places where a customized bulletproof 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan would be useful-- but federal prison is surely not one of them.

Here at Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA, we work on Cadillacs once in a while, but they’re surely not as hold as Capone’s!  

Capone—the most renowned infamous Chicago mobster and bootlegger known as the Public Enemy #1—was sentenced to 11 years. He was subsequently released 8 years later, but fading fast from neurosyphilis. In 1947, the 48-year-old Capone died from a massive heart attack after suffering a major stroke.

The good news is that Capone’s armor-plated Cadillac could be yours. The Capone Cadillac is being offered for one million bucks by Celebrity Cars in Las Vegas. The car (VIN #306449) was owned by the legendary collector John O’Quinn at one point, and it was sold by his estate for a total of $341,000 at RM Sotheby’s St. John’s sale back in 2012.

“The history of this Caddy is certainly interesting and entertaining, and the market spoke in 2012 with its last auction appearance,” Car Historian Andrew Newton said. “This vehicle doesn’t appear to have had major work since then, so it is hard to argue that it’s worth a lot more than it sold for 8 years ago.”

If you believe it is worth every bit of that sweet million a quick glance at the auction website reveals that financing is available. With a thousand dollars down and an interest rate of around 5 percent for 5 years, your estimated monthly payment would be almost 19 thousand. Quite a hefty sum, to be certain, but the car’s story is obviously priceless.

The rear-wheel-drive Cadillac Series 341-A is fully powered by a 90hp, 341-cubic-inch L-head V-8, mated to a 3-speed manual transmission. It has 140-in. wheelbase and features a unique beam front axle and full-floating rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and 4-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The interior is cloth upholstered and the bodywork is painted black with green accents.

The car was eventually sold to the Niagara Falls Antique Auto Museum in the 1960s and sold again in 1971 to the Cars of the Greats Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. In 1978, it was acquired by B.H. Atchley’s Smoky Mountain Automobile Museum in Tennessee, where Atchley replaced the car’s glass, which by then was seriously yellowed.

Sources: Autobody News and  ABC 7

4 Questions to Ask Every Body Shop

on Monday, 17 August 2020.

Sometimes it seems that for every positive body shop experience you hear about, there are at least a dozen or more negative stories about how they felt seriously misled about what they were going to pay for.

As a result, the collision repair process can lead to a potentially stressful experience.  Finding the right collision repair shop (especially in the aftermath of an accident) is often a rather difficult process filled with headaches and questions that aren’t always easy to have answers for. Here at Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA, we want you to take the correct steps to find a quality collision repair shop easily, which is why we have come up with 4 questions that you are talking to the right experts.

Will The Shop Answer All of Your Questions?

Much of the nomenclature within the auto repair industry can be perplexing and confusing at times, and at its worse, completely overwhelming. If a collision repair shop seems sketchy about answering all of your questions is a big red flag. Conversely, some good signs from the shop you’re talking with include taking ample time to explain repair concepts, allowing you to walk the shop floor, and see what needs to be done.

Is the Shop Honest About Its Limitations?

Collision repair shops usually specialize in their core skills and many auto shops out there have their own series of specialties as well. Do they make aluminum repairs? Do they have any OE certifications? Not every shop can be a jack-of-all-trades and that is a positive thing in some cases because it means that you know you are going to a collision repair expert who has experience dealing with your problem before. However, if a body shop presents itself as being able and willing to do just about everything in the book, that could be an indicator that they are dishonest about something. Every shop has its limitations, find out what they are.

What is The Shop’s Public Reputation and Online Reviews

Take ample time to do some research online via Google and look at customer reviews via Yelp. You may also want to reach out to friends, colleagues, and family to see if they have positive recommendations for places that have treated them very well in the past. Taking a close look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the American Automobile Association (AAA) are also good ways of learning what the shop’s reputation is.

How Does the Shop Handle Estimates/Customer Service and/or Warranties?

Not every quality body shop will offer a warranty on their work or provides a written estimate upfront. While neither of these things is a real dealbreaker, they can be a great indicator of a shop’s attitudes. If you get a written estimate, ask about any other costs that may not show up and do not be afraid to ask for a breakdown of how they wrote the estimate. When it comes to warranties, most body shops provide these in writing and for a specific time frame or mileage count.

About Anderson Behel

With today’s sophisticated cars, it’s more important than ever that your body shop is certified to repair your type of vehicle. At Anderson Behel, Silicon Valley’s leading collision repair company, we’re proud to hold several certifications, which means we’re a Honda Certified Body Shop, Acura Authorized Body Shop, Nissan Authorized Body Shop, Subaru Auto Body Shop a Porsche Collision Center and most recently a Volvo certified shop. What does this mean? At Anderson Behel, we’ve invested in the finest training, equipment, and tools to do an O.E. repair on each and every Honda, Porsche, Acura, Volvo, Nissan, and Subaru that comes into our shop. Why not work with a body shop that is qualified, experienced, and certified by the carmaker itself to work on your car? It just makes good sense and that’s why we proudly tell the world that we’re certified on some of the world's finest vehicles.

Sources: AAA and NY Times

Believe It or Not: Jay Leno Flies a DeLorean Hovercraft!

on Monday, 03 August 2020.

Here’s one for all 1980 Back to the Future fans out there, whether you grew up during that crazy decade or simply looked back upon it fondly, you know that DeLorean was the coolest car on the planet.

Together, the film Back to the Future and its incredible time-traveling DeLorean are iconic legends from the era, and Doc Brown’s closing speech at the end of the first movie is arguably the most famous words in all of 1980s pop culture. Sadly, an actual flying DeLorean never became a reality, but a huge superfan of the film recently built a cutting-edge top-of-the shelf DeLorean that can actually (sitting down?) hover.

Genius Inventor Matt Riese is the man behind this chin-dropping build, which was featured recently in a short clip from the reality show Jay Leno’s Garage featured on YouTube. If you want to learn as much as you can about this vehicle, visit deloreanhovercraft.com, a very cool webpage Riese set up to feature the hovercraft and yes—get this—it’s for sale. If you have $45,000, it’s yours, but a previous eBay sale for that amount fell through, so you might get a better price.

In any case, what do you get for the 45 grand? First off, it is not a real genuine DeLorean. Even a fully gutted stainless-steel body would be way too top-heavy for a functional hovercraft, so the inventor built this all from scratch completely out of Styrofoam wrapped in fiberglass. It is finished with metallic paint to give it that stainless steel vibe, and while it is not as structurally sound as an actual DeLorean, the fiberglass-encased foam should be rigid while also being extremely light.

 The unique construction also enabled Riese to build this faux DeLorean as a hovercraft from the ground up. According to his engaging website, the build was based on a series of blueprints for a Universal Hovercraft UH-13PT – a very common sport hovercraft with a single lift-engine in front, and a thrust engine at the back. That’s exactly what this build uses, with a small lawnmower engine powering a 24-inch fan for lift. For speed, a larger 23-horsepower twin-cylinder engine turns a 36-inch fan.

 The DeLorean shape is perfect, right down to the wheels folded up for hover mode. Even the thrust fan doesn’t look out-of-place since the movie vehicle had big exhaust ports at the rear. At night, the hover skirt lights up exactly like the time-traveling version on the big screen.

Sources: Autobody News and Associated Press

 

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