Are Car Alarms Worth It?

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

You’re sleeping peacefully, and then you hear it-the car parked on the street starts blaring. You wait for your neighbor to come out and turn the alarm off, but after about five minutes, you doubt that they are coming. Your chances of getting back to sleep are not good.

Car alarms are incredibly irritating: they are loud, ugly, and constant. Given that your first response to a car alarm is to wonder if a cat is around instead of a thief, you may wonder if alarms are worth the annoyance. This blog will explore car alarms’ efficacy and other options for keeping your car safe.

Do Car Alarms Work?

The first patented, fully electric car alarm was made in 1918 by St. George Evans and Edward Birkenbuel. The alarm would trigger if you did not enter the right three-digit combination when starting the car. The idea is that the noise would scare the thief off and alert passersby to his or her presence.

This is a great idea in theory. However, in practice, car alarms are not incredibly effective. A study titled “Rethinking the Regulation of Car Horn and Car Alarm Noise” found that about 95 to 99 percent of New York City car alarms were set off by something other than a thief. In other words, almost every time a car alarm goes off, there’s nothing to worry about.

Because we are so used to car alarms getting set off at the wrong time, most of us don’t pay attention. The study found that about 95 percent of people who have heard a car alarm have never felt prompted “to take some action against a possible car theft.” More people have called in car alarms to the police as noise complaints than as possible thefts.

To make a long story short, if a thief is trying to break into a car and triggers the alarm, the chances of someone coming to stop him or her are pretty slim. Besides, most professional car thieves know how to disable a car alarm within a few minutes, so the alarm won’t be bothering anyone very long.

Some people have even reported thieves taking advantage of our apathy. If a car alarm is going off, people might not hear the sound of the thief breaking a window to grab whatever is in the car. Your car alarm is not likely to save your car (or its contents) from being stolen, and it might be a nuisance to those around you when it goes off at the wrong time.

What Does Work?

Since car alarms are ineffective, you’ll need to keep your car safe in other ways. You can start with basic ideas like:

  • Always remember to lock your car.
  • Never leave your keys in your car or leave your car idling.
  • Park in areas with adequate lighting-thieves are more likely to steal cars in inconspicuous locations.
  • Don’t leave your windows or sunroof open or even cracked. Even just a little space can help thieves break in.
  • Don’t leave desirable items, like your phone or what you just bought from the mall, in your car. If you must leave your things in the car, keep them in the trunk where they are out of sight.

Though these tips are common sense, they can still protect your car by making it less of a target. Hopefully, thieves will decide your vehicle isn’t worth their time and will move to something easier.

If you want an extra layer of security, you can try a passive immobilizer. This is a smart key that contains a computer chip. The engine has a corresponding chip, and the engine will not start unless it can sense the smart key. An immobilizer makes it all but impossible for a thief to start your engine, except for a very few sophisticated hackers, and the only way to steal your car would be to tow it.

Should We Get Rid of Car Alarms?

Since car alarms don’t work and you can find other options for car security, some people want to get rid of car alarms entirely. Some anti-noise groups have launched campaigns to reduce their use, or at least to make the alarms less likely to go off for non-issues like the vibrations in the road from other cars.

Their campaign is based on research about noise levels. Many studies show that excessive noise lowers sleep and productivity levels, which costs individuals time, health, and money. Because of this pushback, many newer cars have less sensitive, quieter alarms if they have them at all.

 

If you are worried about your car alarm constantly going off or about your car’s security, you should speak with a professional. Central Body Company, Inc. can advise you on what to do to keep your car safe. Contact us to get the best tips and advice for your car.

Car-Washing Tips to Protect Your New Paint Job

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

When you dropped your car off at the auto body shop, you couldn’t wait to see its new paint job. Perhaps you asked the auto body pros to fix those unsightly scratches on the hood and the doors. Maybe you requested a full paint makeover so your favorite ride will bear your favorite colors. Whatever the situation, your excitement was hard to ignore.

The paint technicians quickly completed the requested service, and you loved the outcome. But on the drive home, you started worrying about all those sources of grime that can quickly gunk up your new paint job.

If that worry sounds familiar, put it to rest. You can’t keep bird droppings, tree sap, winter road salt, or even dirty rain from contacting the beautiful paint on your car, but you can wash your car regularly and properly, as described below.

Wash on a Regular Schedule

How often you should wash your car depends on where you park it and how often you drive it. If you drive your car daily and park it in a covered spot at night, give it a good washing every two to three weeks.

By contrast, if you park your primary vehicle in a lot or on the road at night, you’ll probably need to clean it every 7 to 10 days. And if the car gets driven only occasionally, it likely needs to be washed less often-about every two or three months. Wash With the Proper Supplies

A car wash is only as effective as the supplies you use. Purchase or gather the following before you begin the cleaning process:

  • At least three buckets
  • A hose connected to a water source, or plenty of water
  • A tire and wheel degreaser
  • A bristle brush
  • Soft sponges or a microfiber wash mitt
  • Several microfiber cloths
  • A carwash solution
  • Several thick, soft microfiber towels
  • A large squeegee with a rubber blade
  • An ammonia-free glass cleaner
  • Polymer car wax
  • A poly foam wax applicator

Don’t skimp on quality when you choose what to wash with, especially when it comes to the cleaning solutions you use. Dishwashing detergent and a household window cleaner contain chemicals that strip away the protective layers on your paint and the glass. You can find car-friendly washing supplies at an auto parts store or in the automotive aisle of a superstore.

Wash Using This Step-by-Step Process Approved by Pros

With your supplies at your side, you’re ready to actually wash your car. Follow the steps below to ensure you perform an effective and car-safe wash.

  1. Park your car in a cool, shade-covered spot. You want it to be out of the sun so the minerals in the water don’t leave spots. The car will also stay cooler to the touch in this location.
  2. Begin with the tires and wheels. Fill one bucket with water. This bucket is exclusively for the tires. Spray the degreaser onto the tire, and scrub the tires with the bristle brush. Rinse the tire, and dry it with a microfiber towel. Complete this process on each tire, one by one. If desired, you can wax your tires as well.
  3. Fill the other two buckets with water. Put carwash solution in one bucket. The other bucket is your rinse bucket.
  4. Get the entire car wet. Use your wash mitt or your sponges to wash the car, working from the top down. Dip the mitt or sponge into the wash solution first, and then scrub it across the car in circular motions.
  5. As you scrub, look for stubborn grime, like sap or bird droppings. If your vigorous scrubbing doesn’t remove these stains, apply a small amount of liquid paint cleaner to a microfiber cloth and rub it on the affected area.
  6. Each time you remove the cleaning device to rinse it, dip it into the rinse bucket, and squeeze it out thoroughly. Then dip it back into the wash bucket before returning it to the car. Repeat steps four, five, and six until you’ve scrubbed the entire car.
  7. Rinse off the car with your hose or several fresh buckets of water. Make sure all the soap is off the car surface before you proceed to drying.
  8. Dry the car with your microfiber towels. When the towel becomes damp to the touch, pick up a new towel. You can also use your rubber squeegee to gently scrape away water. This method prevents mineral spots from appearing on the paint.
  9. Clean the windshield and the windows one at a time. Spray the surface with your auto glass cleaner. Then buff the surface with a microfiber cloth. Don’t touch the windows with your hands; your skin has oils that can transfer to the glass and create streaks or spots on the windows.
  10. A completely dry car is ready for wax. Apply the thinnest coat of wax possible with a foam wax applicator. Use a microfiber towel to buff the wax coat. Let the wax cure for several hours (check your wax’s instructions) before applying the second, final coat, which should also be very thin.
  11. You only need to apply a fresh coat of wax at the start of every season-spring, summer, fall, and winter. In between those applications, just use a spray wax and a microfiber cloth to touch up this protective coat.

That’s it. You now know how to wash your vehicle like a pro. Next time you get out the bucket and suds, wash your car according to the instructions above so your new paint job will retain its just-out-of-the-shop gleam.

Been in a Crash? Take These 10 Steps

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

Car accidents are no walk in the park. Despite your best efforts to avoid getting into a crash, you still might experience one or two in your lifetime. But do you know what to do once you get into a car accident? In the blog below, we list 10 steps you should take after you get into a car accident.

1. Take Deep Breaths

First and foremost, after you’ve been in an accident, you should try to stay as calm as possible. The accident will likely have increased your adrenaline, but taking deep breaths will help you calm down and keep a clear head.

2. Remain at the Scene

Whether you caused the accident or another driver is at fault, you should remain at the scene. When the authorities arrive, you’ll want to speak with them and tell them what happened. Additionally, if you caused the accident and left the scene, you could be charged with a hit-and-run offense.

While you wait at the scene, turn on your hazard lights to let others driving around you know that there’s been an accident.

3. Look for Injuries

If possible, examine yourself for injuries. If you have other passengers in your car, also check them for injuries. When you call the authorities, you’ll want to know who has been injured so the police can send the proper professionals to the accident scene.

If you are able to, talk to the other driver and his or her passengers to make sure that they haven’t suffered any serious injuries.

4. Call the Authorities and Paramedics

After you’ve calmed down and assessed the extent of your injuries, call the police immediately. If your accident occurred on a major highway or on the interstate, you’ll want to call highway patrol. Tell the dispatcher if anyone involved in the accident has suffered from an injury so that paramedics can be sent to the scene.

5. Exchange Information

While you wait for the police and medical personnel to arrive, exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver. You can either write down the information on a piece of paper or type it into your phone.

  • Exchange the following details with the other driver:
  • Full names
  • Names and contact information of insurance providers
  • Insurance policy number
  • Car makes and models
  • Approximate time of the accident
  • Location of the accident
  • License plate state and number
  • Phone numbers
  • Addresses

If there were any passengers in either vehicle or witnesses who saw the accident, you’ll also want to get their names, phone numbers, and addresses. Make sure to exchange information off to the side of the road so you don’t endanger yourself or impede the flow of traffic.

6. Take Pictures

If you have a camera in your car or on your phone, use it to take pictures of the damage your car sustained from the accident. You should also take pictures of the other driver’s car. If you take pictures with your phone, email copies of these photos to yourself so you have backups in case anything happens to your phone.

7. Fill Out a Police Report

Once the police arrive on the scene, they’ll ask you and the other driver what caused the accident. After the officer takes down your information and the other driver’s information, he or she will have each person involved (including passengers and witnesses) fill out a police report.

You can typically pick up a copy of the police report a few days after the accident occurred. Your insurance provider will want a copy of the report to determine who was at fault for the accident. The police officer will also give you a case number that you’ll need to give to your insurance provider.

8. Call Your Insurance Provider and File a Claim

You should contact your insurance company and file a claim as soon after the accident as possible. Most providers have a 24-hour number you can call. Give the representative the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your policy number
  • The accident case number
  • The location and time of the accident
  • The other driver’s information

You can also get in touch with the other driver’s insurance agency to check and see if he or she filed a claim after the accident. This tip ensures that the liable party is held responsible for his or her actions.

9. Contact an Auto Body Repair Shop

If your car wasn’t too badly damaged in the accident, you’ll want to repair it quickly. After you’ve taken the previous eight steps, call a local auto body repair shop to schedule their repair services.

Do your research online and read up on reviews from other customers. Use online resources such as the Better Business Bureau to find out if the shop you’re considering has a good rating. Insurance companies often try to steer their customers to their “preferred shop”, this is usually in their best interest and not your own. Most states, including Nebraska and Iowa, have laws allowing for every consumer to choose their own repair shop.

Most shops can repair any kind of damage on a car so long as the repair costs don’t exceed the car’s current value. If the repair costs are higher than the car is worth, your car will total out and you’ll likely need to buy a new car.

10. Hold on to Any Related Paperwork

Finally, hold on to any paperwork associated with your case. Even if months pass by, you could still need that information to settle the property damage and personal injury claims with the insurance companies.

If you were involved in a car accident, take the steps listed above as soon after the crash as possible. And when you need to have body work done on your car to restore it to its previous condition, contact a trusted auto body shop to do the work for you. For more tips and information, read through our other blog posts.

10 Steps for Your First RV Trip

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

After a couple years of scheming and saving, you finally bought your first RV. It has all the interior features you were looking for, and you had the exterior repainted at your auto body shop. You dream of all the places you will go, and you look forward to a brand new perspective on life as you travel outside of your comfort zone.

But you’re also a bit nervous. You’ve never driven anything that big before. How can you ensure that you and your passengers will be safe and comfortable throughout the trip? And how do you prepare and plan for a trip that doesn’t involve airfare and motels?

It’s natural to feel a little anxious before you start something new. In this blog post, we provide 10 steps that should get you ready for your first RV trip, no matter the destination.

1. Find a Destination

Why make this your first step? Here are a couple reasons.

First, some of your necessary preparation will vary based on your destination. A longer trip requires more supplies and more thorough maintenance. Traveling to the Grand Canyon in the middle of summer involves different prep work than a trip to Yellowstone in the fall.

Second, you can use your chosen destination to keep yourself motivated. Getting ready for a trip isn’t necessarily fun. However, if you can focus on the concrete details of your upcoming trip, you’ll have a much easier and more enjoyable time prepping your RV, buying supplies, and planning your route.

2. Perform a Gut Check

Like any road trip, the success of your RV outing relies on a functioning vehicle. All the camping gear and gadgets in the world won’t help you if the guts of your RV don’t work right. Check all your fluids, and ensure the engine battery is charged. Consider bringing your vehicle to a mechanic or your RV retailer if you have concerns about brakes or any other mechanical issues with your RV.

3. Examine Your Electrical Systems

First, figure out if you have a 50-amp or 30-amp rig. You will want to try and stay at RV parks that provide 50-amp power outlets if you have a 50-amp rig, otherwise you won’t be able to use all your RV’s features. Make sure power reaches all your systems because emergency electrical repairs can disrupt any trip.

4. Keep Cool and Carry a Fridge

Don’t forget to check your RV’s air conditioner and air filters. You might get away with simply rolling down the windows in a normal car, but that won’t work when you’re parked at a campground in the blistering hot Arizona sun. You also want to ensure you have a functioning fridge. Otherwise, your food choices will be limited to non-perishable snacks and eating out.

5. Clean the Roof

It’s easy to look past roof problems until your first thunderstorm leads to leaks and wet furniture. Most RVs utilize rubber roofing, which keeps your RV nice and dry as long as you keep the roof well maintained.

Clean your roof with a sturdy brush and a non-abrasive cleaner. Using the wrong cleaner could lead to a damaged and compromised roof. After cleaning, inspect the seams of your roof, and reseal any gaps if necessary.

If you have concerns about the roof cleaning and sealing process, an auto body shop with RV experience can help you out.

6. Check the Gas and Water

As you get closer to your trip, make sure that your gas appliances work well. Sometimes gas appliances struggle when not used frequently. The refrigerator, furnace, and water heater all rely on functioning gas, and you will rely on those appliances during your trip.

Additionally, you may need to sanitize your water system so that you can have clean water without any bad tastes or smells. You can use a bleach/water mixture to rinse the system, but don’t forget to drain your water tank and valves completely afterwards.

7. Load Tools and Spare Parts

Tools are essential on any road trip. When something in your RV starts to rattle, you will breathe a sigh of relief once you see that you can fix the loose part yourself. Don’t forget any spare parts that might be unique for your particular vehicle because you can’t wait to order and ship a part while on your first camping trip.

8. Go for a Spin

Don’t make across-country trip the first time you drive a big rig. Consider taking a small, overnight trip first so that you can get a feel for driving and living in your vehicle.

9. Plan Your Route

With enough experience, you can try hopping in your RV for a long weekend and seeing where the road takes you. For your first trip, however, you should do as much planning as possible. Popular RV campgrounds can fill up quickly, so try and make your reservations as soon as possible.

10. Remember Your Tires

As you start your trip, don’t forget to stop by a gas station and check the air pressure in your tires. RVs put a lot of weight on the tires, and you don’t want a tire to burst or wear out on your vacation. Make sure each tire is filled to your RV’s recommended pressure setting, and resist the urge to overinflate.

Follow these 10 steps, and you’ll feel more comfortable about your upcoming trip. Whether you travel north, south, east, or west, your first RV trip will certainly be an adventure. To make sure you look good riding out of the garage and onto the open road, don’t forget to visit an auto body shop before your trip.

A Car Care Timeline for the First-Time Car Owner

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

Congratulations-you just drove home with your very own set of wheels. You’ve never taken care of your own car before, and you want it to run its smoothest for years to come.

To prevent costly repairs, your car requires constant upkeep. Fortunately, car care isn’t too hard when you follow this timeline.

Monthly

Along with washing your car regularly, you should keep your eye on a couple of mechanical issues.

Check Tire Pressure

When your tire pressure gets too low, your tires can unattach from the rim, causing you to crash. To prevent problems with your tire pressure, check it monthly using a pressure gauge.

The recommended tire pressure number is listed in your car’s owners’ manual, and often on your driver’s side door. If the number on the tire gauge is lower than this number, fill your tires with air until they reach the recommended pressure reading. You can fill your tires with air by purchasing your own air pump or using one at a gas station.

Check Fluids

The various fluids in your car lubricate its parts and keep it running without damage. Each month, check the following fluid levels:

Engine oil: Keeps your engine cool and prevents its parts from wearing down. Check your oil by removing the oil dipstick, located under your car’s hood. If the oil level is low, take your car to a mechanic.

Coolant: Prevents your car from overheating. Check the coolant level while the car is off. Add more if needed, but make sure it’s the same type as the fluid already in your car.

Power steering: Helps you steer the car smoothly. It rarely gets low, but if it does, top it off.

Transmission fluid: Helps your car’s gears move. Turn your car on when you check the transmission fluid. If it’s brown or smells like it’s burning, take your car into a shop.

Brake fluid: Allows you to brake smoothly. Like transmission fluid, brake fluid shouldn’t look brown. Get it changed every few years or so.

If you have questions about checking or changing these fluids, talk to a mechanic.

Yearly

In order to drive legally, you’ll need to obtain a registration inspection each year. You should always register your car with the state you live in; you’ll need to update the registration if you move. Your state may require a safety inspection and/or emissions check to ensure your car doesn’t have any problems that will endanger you or others.

Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for specific details.

In Nebraska, you aren’t required to get a regular safety and emissions check. However, you do need to get a vehicle inspection each year in order to register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Officials will check your vehicle identification number, your title, and your odometer reading.

Every 3000 miles

Complete these tasks regularly to prevent damage and save money in car repairs.

Get Your Oil Changed

If you don’t get your oil changed regularly, dirt will build up and your oil will lose its ability to lubricate your engine. To prevent this situation, you need to get your oil changed about every 3000 miles. Each car has different requirements, so check your owner’s manual.

Oil changes are a complicated process, so take your car in for professional attention.

Rotate Your Tires

Each time you get your oil changed, ask the mechanic to rotate your tires as well. This means that the mechanic will change the location of your tires to prevent them from wearing out. Ask your mechanic when it’s time to get new tires.

Get Your Brakes Checked

While you’re already taking care of other maintenance issues, ask the mechanic to check your brakes as well. Brake pads can wear out over time, making it harder to stop your car. Since the life of brake pads varies widely, ask a mechanic when it’s time to change yours.

Every 30,000 miles

Some car parts will run smoothly for a long time. But they may still require maintenance every so often.

Change Air Filters

Air filters keep dirt out of your engine, but they can get clogged with dirt over time and lead to engine failure. Manufacturers recommend that you get your air filters changed about every 30,000 miles.

Check the Battery

Your car battery will last you about four years. If your car has problems starting, though, you may need a new battery. Ask your mechanic to check your battery and other car parts as well.

 

This car care timeline may seem extensive, but it’s actually much easier than it looks. All your car requires is a bit of regular upkeep so it can keep taking you places every day. Mark these dates on your calendar and give your car the care it needs. If you notice any issues with your car, bring it to a mechanic right away.

CENTRAL BODY COMPANY INC.
4682 Leavenworth, Omaha, NE 68106
Phone: (402) 551-3177
Fax: (402) 551-1642

CENTRAL BODY COMPANY INC.
1401 S 16th Street, Council Bluffs, IA 51501
Phone: (712) 352-0099

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