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Grand Rapids Body Shop | Auto Body Repair | Suspensions and Alignments


Benefits of Proper Wheel Alignment

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Whether commuting to work or driving across the beautiful state of Michigan, your car takes you many places. 

One of the main components of a well functioning car is proper wheel alignment. Correct wheel alignment ensures your car’s steering systems, tires and engine work efficiently to provide a safe car ride. After an accident, you should always check your vehicle for proper wheel alignment.

It is recommended that your car’s wheels be realigned at least once per year, or if your car begins to drift one way while driving. The most convenient time to get your car’s alignment checked is when you get your tires rotated. 

Read below for five benefits of properly aligning your wheels:

  • Increase fuel efficiency. Cars with improper wheel alignment suffer a decrease in fuel efficiency by up to 7%. Improper wheel alignment means your wheels don’t work together correctly and your car’s engine works harder to propel you forward, causing a reduction in fuel efficiency.
  • Reduce auto repairs. Driving with improper alignment causes your car’s parts to wear unevenly and prematurely. Every time you hit a pothole your car’s suspension and steering systems take the hit. When your wheels aren’t aligned correctly, some take more impact than others causing them to break down prematurely, sending you to the repair shop.
  • Increase the life of your tires. Improper wheel alignment causes your car’s tires to damage quickly. With proper alignment your tires work together in harmony and wear that the same pace allowing you to keep your tires for as long as possible.
  • Improve car safety. Improper wheel alignment causes unnecessary wear and stress on steering joints, wheel bearings and other steering components. Stress on these auto parts ultimately reduces their effective lifespan and leaves you in risk of harm’s way.
  • Experience a smoother drive. If wheels are misaligned it can cause the vehicle to veer to the left or right resulting in a need for the driver to continuously correct the steering. A need for constant steering adjustment to over compensate for bad wheel alignment is tiring, inefficient, distracting and dangerous for both the car and the owner.

If you are unsure if your car’s wheels need to be realigned, consider contacting a professional.

For more information on the benefits of proper wheel alignment from the experts at O’Neill’s Body Shop, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.949.6840.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving topped the list of factors leading to car crashes or near-crashes  in 2017. Everyone thinks that these types of accidents won’t ever happen to them — until they do.

Most people assume distracted driving refers strictly to texting and smartphone usage. While these activities remain some of the most dangerous distractions, several other routine driving activities also cause distracted driving.

Driving requires visual attention, manual stability and mental focus, so avoid:

  • Taking your eyes off the road (Visual)
  • Taking your hands off the wheel (Manual)
  • Taking your mind off what you’re doing (Cognitive)

Texting requires all of these, making it one of the most dangerous distractions to a driver. But it’s not the only way to distract yourself. Have you ever taken your eyes off the road to adjust the temperature or radio in your car? Ever ordered a quick bite to eat on a road trip and decided to save time and just eat while driving? Have you ever been late and lost and too focused on GPS?

Do your turn to yell at your children fighting in the back seat?Ever been in a rush to get somewhere so you apply your makeup in the car?

For even the best drivers, these activities represent distracted driving. It seems like these are just simple tasks when in reality, these take your eyes off the road remain dangerous — and in some cases, deadly.

Say you’re driving 55 mph down the road and your phone buzzes. You check it because you’ve been waiting on a call all day. You claim your eyes were off the road for only a second. It’s estimated that those who take their eyes off the road for little tasks as such, do so for about five seconds. Those five seconds your eyes leave the road, you’ve covered the length of a football field – blindfolded.

There’s research showing that the brain remains distracted for 27 seconds after performing any of these activities. This allows for plenty of time to cause an accident.

Next time you’re out on the road, set up your navigation before taking off, ask the passenger for help if needed, don’t text or talk on the phone and focus on the road.

Eliminate these distracting habits while driving and keep yourself and others out of harm’s way.

Although we cannot prevent car accidents, O’Neill’s Body Shop can help you get your vehicle back on the road looking and driving as good as new. If your car has been in an accident, O’Neill’s Body Shop is here to help, no appointment needed. 

For more information on the dangers of distracted driving from the experts at O’Neill’s Body Shop, please contact our office today or call us directly at 616.949.6840.

Should You Ignore That Dent?

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Dents often leave a noticeable blemish on your once beautiful car. Unsightly and undesirable, many people view dents as the scars of an embarrassing accident. Despite this, most decide to ignore these dents to avoid the cost of repairs. If the car runs and the dent causes no vital damage, why not? Well, sometimes ignoring the dent results in many unwanted problems down the road. Knowing when to fix a dent saves money and leads to a healthier car.

Unattractive dents diminish the resale value of your vehicle. Even if you don’t plan on selling your car now, you may consider it at some point in time. When buying a used car, many people rule out dented cars in the search, and even a single dent often leads to buyers demanding a discount. Repairing your dent boosts your negotiating power when the time finally comes to resell.

Many cars nowadays have flexible, plastic bumper covers. If the damage bends the quarter panel, then the bent metal under the bumper may cause instability when driving or other damages, even if the bumper looks fine.

Preventing the Spread of Rust

Dents also create a vulnerability to rust. The paint finish on your car not only gives your car style, but also protects the underlying sheeting from exposure to the elements. When the paint coating is infiltrated, air rusts and corrodes the metal. Like an infection from a cut, the rust spreads, and the once harmless dent transforms into a nasty growing rash on your car. Rust attacks especially quickly during Michigan winters filled with road salts.

If you notice a scratch or puncture from the dent — no matter how small — repair the dent immediately. A dent lowers the resale value of your car; spreading rust and corrosion send your car to an early grave.

For more information about whether you should ignore a dent from the experts at O’Neill’s Body Shop, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.949.6840.

Restoring Your Classic Car

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An alluring part of the American Dream, owning a classic car captures the imagination of Americans everywhere. These vintage beauties hark from a simpler time, but slowly deteriorate with each passing year. Restoring your historic-era car takes dedication and skill — but when done correctly — heads will turn whenever you take it out for a  spin.

The heart of any car — the engine brings the vehicle to life. A dead engine probably requires a certified mechanic’s expertise. If the engine runs smoothly, steam or power wash the engine compartment and repaint it. Next, check the gearbox and transmission and change the oil. Also replace any worn parts, such as drive belts, radiator hoses or spark plug wires. Add transmission fluid if need, and check the clutch if restoring a manual shift car.

Polish the car with chrome polishing to return the exterior to its former glory. Coat the rubber that lines the doors and windows with silicone spray to help them operate smoothly. Repair any cracks in the windshield, no matter how small, or replace the windshield entirely.

Just as important as the exterior, the interior should provide the same luxurious comfort that it offered in its heyday. Install new upholstery if required and replace dirty floor panels. Stain remover can remove most upholstery stains. For stubborn, worn-in stains or upholstery with cracks or tears, replacement might be necessary.

Body Painting a Vintage Automobile

Often major roadblock to completing restoration, body panels require extra care. To add more value to the vehicle, restore the original paint color for authenticity.. Even if the original paint seems fine, a new and healthy coat of paint protects the frame from rust. Rusted, dented or damaged body panels need to be replaced completely. Contact a professional to carefully replace or paint historic body panels.

For more information about restoring your classic car from the experts at O’Neill’s Body Shop, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.949.6840.

What to do After a Fender Bender?

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While auto accidents occur every day, the experience still scares most people. In a heightened state of confusion, many drivers act hastily and make crucial mistakes. However, knowing what to do when you have been in an accident makes all the difference.

After the collision, pull off to the side of the road. Vehicles sitting in the middle of the road create a hazard for oncoming cars. If moving your car without the help of a tow truck proves impossible, switch on your hazard lights and walk to the side of the road. Next, ask everyone involved if they are okay. A serious injury warrants an emergency call.

If everyone claims to be okay, discuss with the other party whether or not to call the police. Accident reports are required by law in the state of Michigan when property damages exceeds $1,000. If you believe that the damages accrue up to that amount, call 911 and wait for the police. Keep in mind that visibly minor dents and scratches can underlie more serious damages to the vehicle.

Take notes of the incident. Note the weather, road conditions, location, direction of the vehicles, the speed limit and any other relevant information that your insurance company needs. Take pictures of the damages and the scene of the accident. If the other party refuses to comply and tries to drive away, locate eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information.

If possible, exchange information with the other driver. Useful information includes their name, address, phone number, email, insurance company, policy number, and driver’s license number. Never exchange your Social Security Number; neither a police report nor an insurance claim requires a SSN.

With all of the necessary information gathered, call your insurance agency as soon as possible. If the accident was the fault of the other driver, you may call their insurance company and file a claim with them if you do not wish to file a claim with your own insurance company.

Lastly, bring your car to a body shop to inspect the damages before resuming your daily drive. Minor damages such as dings and scrapes may just be the tip of the iceberg. Typically, the insurance company of the driver at fault pays for the repair costs.

For more information about what to do after a fender bender from the experts at O’Neill’s Body Shop, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.949.6840.