Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Plastic Welding

cover removed from car & pieces realigned
re-positioning broken pieces
One of our customers recently had an unfortunate meeting between the front bumper of his Acura TL and a snow bank that turned into an iceberg. The extremely cold temperatures made the bumper cover very brittle and the low speed impact broke it in to several pieces. The cost of a new cover combined with the cost of painting it a 3 stage white pearl was more than our customer wished to pay. Thanks to the technology of plastic welding we were able to offer the more cost effective option of repairing his existing cover. By repairing vs replacing we were able to reduce the refinish costs substantially as well as avoid the expense of the new part. There are also environmental issues avoided by not having to send another non biodegradable part to a landfill. The process begins by removing the cover from the car to gain full access, then re-positioning all the pieces, much like a jigsaw puzzle. The next step is when the magic begins !                                                                                                  Once the pieces of the puzzle have been aligned, the plastic welding process begins. The first step  is to determine what type of plastic the cover is made of and select the correct filler material. Next, a plastic welder is used to permanently fuse the pieces back together. The welder combines nitrogen, heat and compressed air through a heated wand and the skilled hands of a qualified technician to bring it all together.
underside after final refinish
repaired cover with primer applied
face of cover after final refinsh
                  There are always options to any repair. Be sure to ask questions about a repair process offered for your vehicle to be sure the repair will return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition and fit your budget.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

                         When you open the hood of your Dodge Caravan does it look like the pictures below ? We recently had a customer referred to our shop who's Caravan failed New York State safety inspection due to rust holes through the strut tower, which is considered a part of the uni body construction of the vehicle. Being on a fixed income, our customer was not in a position to replace her van and several other shops didn't wish to take on this repair. After a bit of research, and help from our local Chrysler parts supplier we were able to offer our customer a quality repair at an affordable price for her budget. It's unfortunate that this kind of damage occurs but it is inherent in the Northeast.  A big part of our company's mission is to keep vehicles safe, legal and driveable at an affordable cost. Ask questions, shop around. Not all vehicles have to be disposed of due to rust.           
Close up of rust hole
Underhood view of rusted Strut tower
 The above views are prior to repairs.

New Strut tower ready to be painted

 Let us know if we can answer any questions for you regarding rust repairs on your vehicle. Any make any model.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

             With the information I provided in previous blogs, you should confident in controlling the outcome of an accident. However, you will still need to choose a repair facility to fix your vehicle.You may want to be pro-active and check out shops in your local area before you need it. Most accidents happen within 10 miles of your home. My suggestions are to first ask your family and friends who they have used in the past and how satisfied they were with their overall repair experience. Second, check out shops on social media. There is a wealth of information available at your finger tips. Case in point, my blogs ! Thirdly, I would advise visiting a few shops and ask the owners or staff a few questions. Ask about their training and certifications and see where you feel the most comfortable having a repair done.
            In New York State, the final choice of where a vehicle will be repaired is the owners decision. As such, the repair authorization and review of the damage repair estimate is also the owners responsibility. Many insurance companies advertise they will take all the worries out of the repair process UNTIL there is a problem. Then in many cases customers are told, "you chose the shop, we can't help you".
          Ask the shops you call or visit about their warranty policy and what it covers and if they will provide you a copy in writing. Any qualified shop should be happy to discuss and provide this to you. Let me know if this has ever happened to you. Have ever felt patronized by an insurance company during an accident claim? Have you ever felt you were being brushed off or taken advantage of by a repair shop, for either collision or mechanical services ? No names are necessary, just situations. We'd like to help !

Saturday, January 3, 2015

              In keeping with the theme of my previous blog, I think it is important that everyone has a better understanding of their vehicle insurance policy basics. Please understand that I am not offering Legal advice nor am I a Licensed insurance agent or broker. All comments are based on 20 plus years experience in the collision repair industry as a shop owner/manager and a NYS licensed Independent Adjuster for auto damage and theft appraisals. For specific matters, contact your insurance company agent.
              With this in mind, I strongly recommend you review your policy every year to be sure you have the coverage you need to protect your property and yourself. It is required by NYS Law that all registered motor vehicles be insured. The least of which you need is Liability / Property damage coverage. This insures that if you have an accident and your vehicle causes damage to someone else's property, they will be compensated for the damage your vehicle caused. Along with this policy, there are certain other types of coverages mandated by law. Your agent or broker can properly explain those to you.
              Policies written for " liability only " do not cover damages to your own vehicle. To insure against damage to your own vehicle, no matter who is at fault you need to have " collision " coverage. This covers damage to your vehicle caused by any peril, unless specifically excluded in your policy. Should you have a vehicle with a loan or any type of financing, you are required by NYS law to have collision coverage in force for the entire term of the financing. After loan has been paid off, you can elect to drop the collision coverage. However, from my experience, if you can afford to continue paying for the collision coverage I strongly advise it. We have had customers over the years who have dropped the coverage after the loan ended only to lose there vehicle because it was hit by an uninsured driver and totaled and receive no compensation.
              Another type of vehicle coverage available is " Comprehensive "coverage. This is one coverage that I can't recommend  strongly enough !! Anyone who lives in our area and has a vehicle should have  comprehensive coverage . Especially if you choose not to have " Collision " coverage. Comprehensive covers many types of losses that happen where we live. Mainly, animal impacts ! We live in an area with a large population of deer and black bear. Hitting one of these animals causes extensive damage to todays vehicles. Comprehensive also covers loss or damage due to fire, theft and falling objects. If your vehicle catches on fire, if it is vandalized, stolen or something falls on it and damages or totals it you're covered. In most cases, comprehensive policies also include " Full Glass " coverage to replace any glass broken on your vehicle. Check with your agent for specifics. Be advised, "Comprehensive" does not pay for damage caused to your vehicle by an accident with another vehicle ! However, if you are a careful driver, you have a greater chance of having damage caused by one of the other cases I mentioned. The average driver experiences a loss of some kind once every 5 to 7 years.
              A very important part of any vehicle insurance coverage is the "deductible". The "deductible" is a dollar amount that your insurance company DEDUCTS from your loss settlement. I like to explain this to my customers in an easier way. The deductible means that you are "self insured" for a specific dollar amount set forth in your policy before the insurance company pays. This deductible amount should always be discussed with your insurance company so you understand its impacts. We have seen deductible amounts start at $50.00 and go as high as $2500.00. Typically we see deductibles of $250.00, $500.00 and $1000.00. Vehicle deductibles are "per incident" Unlike health insurance deductibles where they accrue to a certain dollar amount after which the insurance company pays everything for a specific period of time.
               So some may better understand, let me state this example. You have had an accident and have a repair estimate of $1500.00. If you have a policy with a $500.00 deductible, your insurance company will pay $1000.00 of the repair and you must pay $500.00.
                I seem to have rambled on quite a bit about this topic, but I feel it is very misunderstood by most drivers. We would like to hear any comments or questions you wish to share ! Feel free to post your comments here, on our website, or give us a call.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

        Greetings & welcome all to my inaugural blog ! It is my intent to make this an interactive event and I welcome comments on posts and topics of discussion for future blogs. It is our belief at Kingston Collision that knowledge is power, meaning that a well informed consumer is better able to have a success repair experience.
        Accidents and automotive breakdowns can be a very disruptive and, in some cases, traumatic experience. Armed with the proper knowledge in can be a lot easier to navigate the processes.
       When an accident occurs the main thing is to remain calm and insure the health and safety of your passengers and yourself ! Vehicles can be replaced ! The next step we recommend is to contact police & emergency personnel. A police report of the accident and scene is a very important part of the settlement process. While waiting for authorities to arrive, do not allow anyone to move any vehicles involved until police have recorded the scene ! The best thing you can do is have someone you trust take photos or video the scene from your cell phone. A picture is worth a thousand words.
       During the wait, you should also obtain the other party's vehicle information. Year,make & model of vehicle/vehicles involved, insurance company listed on their ID card, making sure to note the policy number. Also, the full name and address of the driver as this may not be the legal owner of the vehicle involved. This is another area where cell phone photos can save time and preserve the facts.
       From this point forward through the repair process New York State law provides you as the owner of the vehicle specific rights. The first being the choice of who tows your vehicle, if non-drivable and the most important of all where you would like your vehicle taken for repairs. NYS Insurance regulation 64 gives you the right to have your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice !! No matter what repair facility you chose, make sure it is YOUR choice not that of someone on the other end of a phone call who knows nothing about you or the area you live in.
       I hope that this brief blog gives everyone some basic information and opens up many topics for future discussion. I welcome & look forward to any comments and suggestions.
       From the staff at Kingston Collision, we would like to wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year !