Every industry has its own jargon and not everyone understands the language! It’s important for you to know what’s going on with your car, during your repairs, so we’ve put together a short list of repair shop terms you might hear.
Any auto part that isn’t made by the original equipment manufacturer, or the company who originally produced your car, is considered an aftermarket part. They can vary in quality and price and may or may not be the best option for your replacement part.
An appraisal of your car is a written valuation of the vehicle’s worth. A damage appraisal is the written estimate of the cost of the damages caused by an accident. You may have two separate appraisals, one by your body shop and one by your insurance company.
DRP (Direct Repair Program)
This agreement between an insurance company and a collision repair shop usually includes a list of specific procedures the repair shop follows in exchange for faster processing with the insurance company.
Insurance companies may try to direct you toward a select repair shop (one that participates in a DRP program), but you always have the right to choose your own repair shop.
This is a written document that lists the damages, cost of repairs, parts, and labor that a repair shop estimates it will take to repair a vehicle post-accident. An estimate is not always 100% accurate, but disassembling the vehicle during the estimate can improve accuracy.
Auto insurance policies don’t always cover every part of a repair – exclusions are the repairs that aren’t covered.
LKQ (Like Kind and Quality)
Replacement parts that are salvaged from another vehicle are inspected by both the seller and the repair technician to determine whether they’re similar enough to the damaged part to be used in a repair.
R&I (Remove and Install)
When a part is removed from a damaged vehicle, set aside while repairs are done or repaired separately, and then re-installed on the vehicle, it’s called an R & I.
R&R (Remove and Replace)
Damaged parts that are removed from the vehicle and cannot be repaired or reinstalled are removed and replaced by new parts.
The repair shop must receive a repair authorization from a customer before they can begin repairs on a vehicle. Depending on the repairs and the customer’s insurance policy, the shop may also need approval from the insurance company.
Repair Order or Work Order
During the repair process, the shop tracks everything that happens on the repair order. This includes the hours of labor, repairs completed, and the materials and parts used.
So you’ve been in an accident, you’ve gotten estimates, selected your collision repair shop, and you’re ready to have your car back! Your repair technician brought up something called a pre and post collision diagnostic repair scan, but you’re not convinced it’s necessary. So, what do you need to know to make an informed decision?
A diagnostic scan looks for errors in your car’s computer systems.
A diagnostic scan looks at every computer system, sensor, or automatic feature in your car to make sure they’re working right. Today’s vehicles are full of so much technology that they often have hundreds or thousands of computer systems working together to operate things like cruise control, rear backup cameras, blind spot sensors, or lane departure warnings.
Virtually every car produced since 1996 can benefit from a scan.
The mid-90s brought us the first car with computer systems that did not trigger dashboard warning lights. The number of computers in cars today is so much higher than the number of dashboard warning lights – there isn’t room to put that many warning lights in a car.
Today’s computer systems are so diverse, they change so rapidly, and they aren’t standard among different auto manufacturers that there isn’t one scanning system that works for every vehicle. They require wireless access
Your insurance company may not want to pay.
Insurance companies and auto manufacturers are in disagreement over when diagnostic repair scans are necessary. Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), like Ford, Honda, and GM, have released statements saying that diagnostic scans are necessary for most cars after an accident to ensure passenger safety. Insurance companies want more clarity and more specific guidelines so they aren’t paying for unnecessary scans, or scans that don’t find any errors.
Auto manufacturers release repair guidelines for every car.
Every auto manufacturer (OEM) releases repair procedures for every make and model of every vehicle they produce. Your repair technician should always follow the OEM repair procedures. If these procedures state that a diagnostic scan is necessary, it’s likely for your safety.
If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask your repair technician or your insurance company!
What can you do about diagnostic scans?
You can find many of the official OEM statements regarding diagnostic scans at www.oem1stop.com. If your insurance company states that they won’t pay for a scan and your repair technician says it’s necessary, call your insurance company.
About a third of new cars are leased instead of purchased outright every year. This statistic isn’t surprising, considering that lease payments are generally lower than monthly payments for financing a new car.
Every car on the road requires auto insurance, so let’s take a look at the rules for insuring a leased car.
Basics of Leasing and Car Insurance
Leased cars can be insured the same way as any other car, except that, like a financed car, there will be another party named as an insured party: the leasing company. The leasing company is still the owner, so they have an interest in your coverage.
You’ll have the same options as far as kinds of insurance, but you may want to consider a few things that you wouldn’t have to if you owned your vehicle outright.
Consider your Lease Agreement
What are your insurance obligations according to your lease? It may or may not have certain requirements. Consider what you might owe if something were to happen: what are your potential expenses?
U.S. auto insurance laws are set by state, but currently, every state requires liability coverage. This helps cover the other person’s expenses if you’re in an accident and cause injuries or property damage to someone else.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may also be required depending on where you live. If you’re injured or your property is damaged by someone who doesn’t have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover your bills, this can help you with your costs.
Your lease may require collision coverage to pay for repairs if you hit another vehicle or object while driving.
Your lease may require comprehensive coverage to pay for repairs if your vehicle is damaged but not in a collision. Things like vandalism, a falling tree branch, or weather damage can be covered here.
What about Gap Insurance?
Leased vehicles may have a gap in basic insurance coverage. Sometimes this gap is covered as part of your lease, so make sure to check before you purchase it. If you total your leased car or it’s stolen, it’s considered a “total loss” and may not be covered.
A full coverage insurance policy generally covers the depreciated value of your car at the time of the loss. The depreciated value may be less than what you owe on the lease, in which case you’d still be responsible for the difference. Gap insurance covers the difference so you’re not left with the bill.
Minimum Coverage isn’t an Option
When you don’t own your car outright, you probably can’t get minimal coverage. Your lease agreement may require you to have full insurance, including comprehensive and collision coverage, in case your car is totaled.
Chances are, if you’ve been in an accident or if your vehicle was vandalized or damaged by weather, you’ve been shopping around for repairs. You may have noticed that lots of the advice online recommends comparing estimates at different repair shops. But, if your car has the same damage, why would different repair shops give you different estimates? Which one should you trust?
There are a lot of reasons an estimate may vary from shop to shop, and understanding what they are can help you make an educated decision about which shop should repair your car.
The materials used can vary.
Different shops use different tools, different materials like paints, plastics, screws, welding, etc. and different hardware and software in their computer systems. All of these can add up to varied estimates.
Not all replacement parts are created equally.
There are several different options when it comes to materials used for replacement parts, and some are better than others, depending on your needs. The cost of these replacement parts varies too! Usually, your options are OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts, non-OEM parts, or recycled parts.
Different locations cost different amounts.
If you’re taking your car to the middle of town, rent prices or taxes or general overhead for your repair shop are likely to be higher, as is the cost of hiring employees who can afford to live nearby. Taking your car to a less expensive area means the shop will have lower overhead costs.
Experience and the need to get your business.
More experienced shops with loyal customers and an established reputation can afford to charge more because they have too many clients, while newer, less experienced or less established repair shops may need to take any business they can get at any price.
Estimate qualities aren’t always the same.
There are a lot of debates going on in the automotive industry at the moment about how to correctly estimate and perform repairs. Most of this is due to the rapid evolution of automotive technology, but the standard hasn’t yet been set. Some shops may perform a more thorough repair that requires them to dismantle your vehicle, some may have fancy equipment and use sensors, some may base estimates on photographs, and some may rely on insurance company regulations more than others. Some shops may tend to overestimate while others tend to underestimate. It’s always a good idea to ask questions so that you understand exactly how your estimate was done and how it could change as repairs start.
Car insurance is a legal requirement for drivers in most states, but understanding an auto insurance policy is not an easy task. It’s important to know what your coverage includes now whether you’re choosing a new policy or you have one that you’ve never (or rarely) used, before you’re in an accident, so we’ve put together a basic explanation to help you get started.
Generally, liability coverage is the minimum required insurance. It covers accidental damage to property or personal injury caused to an accident to the other party involved in a crash but not for you, your vehicle, or your passengers.
Injury and property damage can include medical expenses, lost wages, property in addition to a damaged vehicle, or court costs, depending on your policy.
When your vehicle is damaged in a collision with another vehicle or an object, this covers the cost to repair it, up to your policy limit.
If your vehicle is damaged from something other than a collision with another vehicle or an object, this covers the cost to repair it, up to your policy limit. Comprehensive coverage includes things like vandalism, theft, floods, or storm damage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Sometimes, PIP is required by law. It covers your medical costs if you’re injured in an accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver and they can’t afford to pay for things like your medical costs or repair bills out of pocket, this covers it. It’s meant to cover what the other driver’s liability insurance would have covered if they had it.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Similar to uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage covers what the other driver’s liability insurance is unable to cover. If the other driver is underinsured, it means that the money they owe you is beyond their policy limit, and this policy kicks in there to make up the difference.
Other Kinds of Insurance Coverage
There are many kinds of auto insurance coverage available, and you can often choose to combine them in personalized ways. Your insurance provider can help you to understand them better!
If you are in an accident, remember that your insurance policy may or may not cover the cost of the damage, and the other driver’s insurance may or may not, depending on the policies and on the accident. However, your insurance company can never tell you where to have your vehicle repaired – that’s always up to you.
Car accidents are stressful at any time of the year, in any weather, no matter where you’re driving. But during the summer, with so many more drivers on the road, driving in unfamiliar places, an out of state car accident is much more likely!
Do you know what to do when you’re in an accident out of state? Do you know if your insurance covers you when you’re out of state? What about finding a new auto repair shop, or visiting a doctor?
Auto Insurance Check-Up
Before you embark on a road trip, call your auto insurance company to verify that they cover you where you’re going. Most policies cover you in the 48 contiguous states. Your insurance company can provide you with out-of-state policy details.
Traffic Laws Check-Up
Do a quick google for the states you’ll be driving through and verify that the traffic laws are the same. It is unlikely that they’ll be much different, but some states do have varied laws. Keep an eye out for road signs while you’re there!
Document your Accident Thoroughly and Immediately
You are in a new place, you’re not a local, and it won’t be as easy for you to get information and documentation later as it would if you were home.
- Call the police and make a police report. Make sure to get a copy or have one sent to you as soon as possible.
- Get the contact and insurance information from the other driver and make sure it is accurate. Write down their license plate number and vehicle make and model.
- Take photos of the scene, including the street signs, the vehicles, the location, and any people who are nearby.
- Talk to anyone who witnessed the accident and get witness statements, names, and contact information.
- Write down what happened as best as you can remember it.
Do you need a doctor?
If you need to go to the hospital, go. If you are concerned that you might need to see a doctor, do it now. Don’t risk your health because you are in an unfamiliar place.
Consider a Lawyer
If you think you might need a lawyer, you’ll need one in the state where the accident occurred. You can ask for references or you can ask a lawyer in your home state for a referral, but don’t give an official statement to anyone except the police if you’re considering a lawyer, even if an insurance adjuster shows up.
Whether your car is old or new, built to be green or not, we can all make our vehicles and our driving habits a little more eco-friendly. If you’re trying to minimize your footprint, these are a few things you can do without giving up your car or shelling out for a new hybrid or electric version.
Stay on top of regular maintenance.
The more well-maintained your car is, the better it will run. The better it runs, the more efficiently it uses fuel and minimizes the pollution it emits. It’ll also help your car last longer! So, what kinds of maintenance are we talking about?
● Replace your air filters regularly,
● Change your oil regularly,
● Make repairs quickly when things go wrong,
● Don’t ignore dashboard warning lights,
● Check your tire pressure regularly
● Check your spark plugs, and
● Attend your regular check-ups!
Drive better to maximize fuel efficiency.
Believe it or not, with any car, the way you drive can affect your fuel economy and how eco-friendly your car is. It may seem like being green is more expensive, but in this case it’s saving you a lot of money at the gas pump! These are some better driving tips for being green.
● Follow the speed limit,
● Don’t accelerate or brake quickly,
● When you can, use cruise control,
● Park in the shade so your car doesn’t get too hot in the sun,
● Use your air conditioning only when necessary, and
● Drive with the windows down only at speeds under 40 mph.
Make better choices when it comes to using your vehicle.
There are a lot of things you can do to use your car better, making it more efficient.
● Consolidate your errands into fewer trips, grouping similar errands together
● Don’t store things in your car; the more weight you add the more fuel it requires to move
● When you fill your gas tank, stop when the nozzle turns off the first time
Ask your mechanic the right questions.
Your mechanic might have some tips that are specific to your location, your vehicle, and your driving history. Don’t be afraid to ask!
● What can I do with my car to help the environment?
● Where can I take used materials like oil and other fluids for safe recycling?
● Is there material in my car that isn’t environmentally friendly that could be replaced with one that is?
When it’s time to change the oil in your car or you need to have the muffler replaced or you’ve been in an accident, there are tons of things to consider, from where to have the work done to what kind of parts to use to how the repairs or upkeep will affect the value of your vehicle.
Everyday wear and tear and regular use of your vehicle wears down all of its parts, inside and out. One of the best things you can do on a regular basis to maintain your vehicle’s value is to keep it clean, inside and out.
Keep your seats clean.
The best way to keep your seats clean is to cover them, especially if you have cloth seats or children. If you prefer not to use seat covers, regularly wiping and vacuuming your seats should keep them in good shape.
Use floor mats and clean the carpets.
Cars come with floor mats for one reason: to make them easier to clean. Simply shaking the dirt and debris off of the removable floor mats on a regular basis is a good way to keep them clean. If you can vacuum once a month, clean spills immediately, and remove stains as soon as possible, your floor will be in much better shape.
Dust and wipe the dashboard.
After the floor, one of the most noticeable kinds of dirt in a car is dust, especially on the dashboard. Wipe it down monthly to keep your car looking (and smelling) new. Leaving dust on the dash means you probably also have dust in the ceiling and on the floor, which can also trap smells from smoke, fast food, moisture, and more.
Keep the cup holders clear.
Cup holders tend to be where we store things from drinks and change to trash and lip balm. Cars can be exposed to extreme temperatures inside, and it’s easy to end up with a big mess on your hands.
Keep things smelling fresh.
All of the cloth in your car’s interior is a trap for smells, which can build from dust, dirt, mud, food, smoke, moisture, and your gym bag that lives in your trunk. After vacuuming all the cloth, spray it with a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts water and leave the windows and/or doors open until it dries. Your car will be scent-free in no time.
It may seem like there are reasons why each season is more full of car accidents than any other, but the truth is that the changing of the seasons leads to more accidents than anything else. Each season brings new weather and changes in the behavior of people, plants, and animals, all of which can affect things like visibility and the safety of road conditions. So, what changes in the summer can make accidents more likely than at any other time of the year?
School is Out!
When school gets out for the summer, it means there are lots of youngsters running around, whether they’re behind the wheel or playing outside. Younger children and their families may be walking in neighborhoods, playing at parks, and kicking balls that end up in the street, so watch out for extra distractions. Older kids, on the other hand, may be old enough to get behind the wheel, populating the road with a higher number of inexperienced and easily distracted drivers.
Construction Season Begins
The more road construction there is, the more likely it is that drivers are taking unfamiliar detours, temporary signs and signals are in place, and traffic lanes are shut down. Keep your eyes peeled for these new road rules that you (and other drivers) may not be used to.
The heat of the summer can bring all kinds of changes, from overheating cars and an increase in tire blowouts to more motorcycles and bicycles on the road. Keep an eye out for hard to see cyclists! Summer heat is also more damaging to your vehicle, so make sure that your tires are properly inflated and your fluid levels are where they should be.
Vacation Season Begins
Summer is the most popular tourist and vacation time of the year all over the world. The chances are higher now that there will be foreign drivers, out of towners who don’t know the local roads, people relying on GPS navigation systems and trying to operate phones while driving than at other times. Keep an eye out for distracted or lost drivers, and make sure not to drive distracted!
Vacation season also means people are more likely to stay up late, drink more alcohol, and let loose. Driving under the influence is never a good idea, but keep an eye out for those who start earlier in the day or who may be tired from the night before.
Automobiles are made of lots of moving parts, but they can’t run without liquids to fuel them, keep them lubricated, and help them work. This is a basic guide to the fluids your vehicle depends on and the importance of auto maintenance.
After fuel, which is absolutely necessary for any non-electric vehicle to run, engine oil is the next most important fluid in your car. It has several purposes: it keeps things cool, it keeps them lubricated, it prevents friction, and it cleans the engine.
Most cars have a stick that allows you to easily check the color, consistency, and level of the engine oil. It’s important to keep enough in your car and to change the oil and its filter regularly.
Brakes are one of the most important systems in any car, especially when it comes to safety. Modern brakes are hydraulic, which means they only work because of the fluid in the system. Over time, brake fluid can be contaminated or the system can fail, so if you notice your brake fluid leaking or your brakes aren’t working properly, it’s time to have them checked out.
Power Steering Fluid
This fluid helps make steering, especially at lower speeds, much easier. Without power steering fluid, every time you turn the wheel you’d be fighting the friction between the rubber tires and the road, which are designed to grip!
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Although you can drive your car safely without windshield wiper fluid, it still plays a role in helping you see where you’re driving. It’s easy to maintain and inexpensive to buy, just make sure it’s full so you have it when you need it.
Coolant, or antifreeze, is a special kind of liquid designed to absorb heat and prevent the engine from overheating. There are several ways that coolant can work in the engine, but without enough coolant, your engine is likely to overheat and stop working properly.
Transmission fluid plays a role in the transmission similar to that played by engine oil in the engine: lubrication, cooling, and reduction of friction. While transmission fluid shouldn’t require upkeep, if you notice issues with your transmission, errors in manufacture, contamination, or damage caused in an accident could be to blame — check your transmission fluid.