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Driving


OK. Here I go again about the clean windshield issue.

If you read this blog regularly (Terry and I call it the LABS project), maybe you’ve read a few posts I made about windshields and Aquapel by PPG.  And you would also know that my ’94 740 BMW (with over 230K miles … paid fo’) got smacked by a flying shock absorber a few weeks ago and I had to come off the hip for $635.00 + change for a new windshield. No tears, please. S–t happens. Stay with me, I’m almost there.

Anyway, since I had to replace the windshield, this meant I needed to re-apply the Aquapel rain repellant to my new windshield. Why? Because, as I posted before, the stuff works. And it works like magic. Ergo, I was not going to drive around for long with a new windshield and no Aquapel protection. I got around to doing this two weekends ago (Why am I just now writing about it? I don’t know – and who cares!). I also bought enough to re-apply my wife’s Explorer since it had been close to a year since I did both vehicles. See loves it, too. While I was at it, I put on some new wiper blades for her (she loves me!).

Anyway, it rained the following week … all day. To work and from work. Lots of rain. First time out with a fresh Aquapel application … awesome. This is the truth. I’m 1 mile from the interstate. Take it for about 13 miles then a couple of miles to the office on surface roads. For those 13 freeway miles, at 70 mph, I never used the wipers … NEVER. Rain just blows off the windshield at this speed. Unbelievable. You got to get this stuff – it’s magic. And you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to use it. Until next time.

Richard

PS – I do not work for PPG and no one paid me to say these nice things about Aquapel. It’s just good stuff that works!

UPDATE: 14 Mar 07 … I have discovered you can purchase Aquapel on the Amazon store – just search Aquapel.

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Where did all the dads go that showed their kids how to do all the little things on a car? Like check the oil, the air in the tires, changing a flat, etc. To look around at all the cars running around, it doesn’t appear anyone keeps a tire pressure gauge in their glovebox any longer. I don’t know about you, but my dad taught us to keep the correct air pressure in our car’s tires. And I still do it today. And winter coming on, everyone needs to check the air pressure in their tires. It ain’t brain surgery.

I can’t say this any better than the following from the Car Care Council website on proper tire inflation:

Description: Proper tire inflation pressure is the specified air pressure given by a carmaker for a certain tire on a specific vehicle. This pressure specification should not be confused with a tire’s maximum pressure, which is usually listed on the tire’s sidewall. Some vehicles may specify different pressures for the front tires and the rear tires.

Purpose: Correct inflation pressure is critical for good fuel economy, safety, maximum tire life, and proper vehicle handling performance.     

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: For the small amount of time it takes, checking tire inflation at least once a month is one of the best investments you can make to get the maximum life out of your tires. Proper inflation can also improve gas mileage by more than 3%, when maintained regularly. Keep this in mind: Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi (pounds per square inch) drop in pressure of all four tires. You may want to check your tires more often during the winter months. Tires will lose about 1 psi of pressure for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature drop.

Keep an accurate tire pressure gauge in your car’s glove box (many gauges at “air stations” give false pressure readings) and check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. Never trust the appearance of a tire as a gauge for inflation. A tire could be 10 psi low on pressure and not appear to be low on air. Use the recommended inflation pressure listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the inflation sticker found on the driver’s door jamb. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the spare. There’s nothing more annoying than a flat spare when you have a flat tire.  

Look, Christmas and the holiday gift giving season is right around the corner. Forget all the cutesy stuff and go for practical. Get the ones you love who drive a tire pressure gauge and teach them how to use it and prepare them a schedule to remember to check their tire pressure on a regular basis. It might just save their life and will save on gas and wear and tear on that expensive vehicle in the driveway. It ain’t brian surgery.

Have a great day!

Richard


This post is about one of those instances in your life that happens in about 3 seconds but it takes about 15 minutes for you to tell it. I promise, I won’t take 15 minutes.  This is about my desire to bring back vehicle inspections for all cars. You see, in GA, they did away with car inspections years ago and gave into the tree huggers and now we just do emissions inspections. If we still had car inspections – you know, make sure crap doesn’t fall off of your car – I wouldn’t be writing about this incident.

My wife and I carpool to work. I travel a total of about 15 miles – mostly on I-75 north from my home in west mid-town. Her office is about halfway to my office. About 4 miles into the trip, cruising along at 70 MPH in the far right lane, a pickup truck in the next left lane about 50 feet ahead runs over something with his tire. It shoots out into my lane about 40 feet in front of us.

First thought – a piece of wood, I can survive hitting it. In a flash, a nano-second, I see sparks coming off of this object. Definitely not wood – this is something metal … not a good thing. Nano-seconds later, this metal thing hits my car – I’m thinking it has gone under the carriage and will certainly punch a hole in an oil pan or tear up something vital to the vehicle. Wrong.  It hit the bumper.

Nano-seconds later, this thing has shot out again to about 40 feet  in front of me. My mind is saying, “What the hell is this thing – it’s alive!” It’s in the air again. It bounced off the pavement like a spring. Brain computes … “Damn, it’s a freaking shock absorber.” Headed dead center for my car and at a much higher elevation – like eye level.

Nano-seconds later, I make an evasive move to the emergency lane to try to avoid hitting this flying shock absorber. Too late. Impact. Like someone had shot this thing at us like an arrow. One end of this flying shock absorber nailed the windshield right in my vision. Almost made it all the way through The inner layer of the glass sprayed all over my lap. The impact noise was deafening. Where it ended up I have no clue. But the damage was done.

Thankfully, my wife and I were fine – just a bit shooken up. I’m out $635.07 for a new windshield – I have a $1000 deductible on my old ’94 beemer. By the time I dropped off my wife a couple of miles down the road, we had had time to compose ourselves and catch our breathe. I had a very small crack about where this flying shock absorber hit the windshield, I had planned to have a service do the small repair to keep it from spreading. As we exited the freeway to her office, sitting at a traffic signal, I said, “Well, we don’t have to worry about fixing that crack any longer.” We both had a pretty good laugh.

What ticks me off is that I was almost killed by a damn flying shock absorber. A shock absorber just fell off someone’s car. Just ain’t right. If I’d been killed, at least I know I would have been breathing clean air as I took my last breathe, thanks to the idiots who did away with the inspection process.

Requiring people who get behind the wheel of tons of steel to keep them in good working order ain’t brain surgery. Bring back vehicle inspections.

Have a great weekend.

Richard


Regardless of how well we drive and watch out for the other guy the chances are you will make a visit to a collision repair facility every 7 years.  The good news in the last statement would be the fact that you make the visit to the collision center rather than the hospital or worse yet the morgue.

Most individuals have no idea what to do or how to react once an accident has taken place.  Sure most of us realize we should call law enforcement and medical care if needed but what next?  Do we call a repair facility, do we let the insurance company tell us where to take the vehicle or do we leave it up to the tow truck?

We suggest you locate the most reputable shop in your local area and let them create you an estimate.  The vast majority of all estimates are created using similar software (3 major estiamting software programs are used).  The differences in any estimate should be very slight unless your estimator is experienced and knows to look for hidden damage on the vehicle.  The most common practice is to look over the vehicle, assess the damage and submit an estimate to you or your insurance carrier.  Typically the carrier will have one of their field personnel go to the shop and look over the vehicle with the shop estimator. (Negotiations usually take place at this juncture)

Experienced shops and insurance field adjustors will know to look for hidden damage behind the main panels and underneath.  Sometimes a supplemental claim will be filed once the hidden damage is discovered.

One important factor when deciding on a repair facility is the method in which you are treated at the shop.  Were you greeted by friendly employees who were dressed properly for the job?  (Example: clean polo or button up shirt with the facilities name embroidered on the left or a dirty t-shirt extolling the virtues of street pharmaceuticals or beer)  One can generally tell the quality of the repair by the quality of the outer office and employees.  Collision repair is a very professional and highly skilled job which requires a lot of capital investment and investment in human relations.  Well run shops will often have a waiting room resembling a Dr’s office and there is good reason for this.

The vast majority of individuals involved in a motor vehicle accident have collision insurance.  The insurance company by default is involved in our repair just as they are with our hospitalization.  We have to make a co-pay (deductible) just like medical insurance and we expect the shop to eat the charges that exceed the allowable amount determined by the insurance carrier.   The major difference would be that the shop has to repair the vehicle to our liking and keep it within the allowable amount of money as suggested by the insurance carrier.

Often there is much disagreement between the two parties as to what actually constitutes a quality repair.  That is when we, as consumers, must get involved and demand a complete quality job.  Again, choose the repair facility wisely and if there are discrepancies between what the shop wants to do versus what will be paid for by your insurance carrier you must get involved and demand a quality repair.  You car is one of the largest investments you will make in your entire life. And your life depends on this vehicle performing properly and safely to protect you in case of an accident. It’s your car and your choice where you get it repaired. Don’t let any one tell you different.

Richard & Terry


Atlanta is a big city with lots of traffic and gridlock. “Rush Hour” is pratically all day. Drivers in Atlanta wreck their cars a lot. This post is about some ways to decrease your odds of having a wreck. It falls into the larger category of Transportation.

Sunglasses are a pretty simple item. Wearing sunglasses while driving in the sunlight oughta be a law. Why folks don’t wear sunglasses while driving in the sun is beyond our logical reasoning. Sunglasses cut the glare. Glare causes blind spots. Blind spots cause wrecks. Pretty simple. It ain’t brain surgery. If sunglasses improve your vision while driving in the sunlight, why doesn’t everyone own a pair and use them why driving? Good question.

While we’re talking about seeing better while driving. Do your own unscientific survey the next time you head into work. Check the windshields of the drivers around you and notice how dirty and filthy they are. No wonder so many people have wrecks. Clean the damn windsheild every now and then. It takes, what, 3 minutes? Keep some Windex and paper towels in your car trunk – lord knows, gas stations don’t keep window cleaning equipment at the pumps any longer. And when we say clean the windshield, we mean clean both the inside and outside.

Most times it’s the small things that make a big difference. Nationwide, the average collision repair invoice is about $2200 – plus all the hassels. Spend a little money on a good pair of sunglasses (and use them) and keep your windshield and car windows clean. Your life while driving will better, you’ll be a safer driver, and you just might avoid an accident or save your life or someone elses (maybe ours).

It ain’t brain surgery. Until next time.

Richard & Terry