Friday, May 19, 2017

What acid rain does to your car's finish

In our part of Wisconsin, River City Auto Body sees the impact of pollution on vehicles resulting from acid rain. Actually, we see it from acid snow and acid fog as well. Even acid dew. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any sort of moisture that makes it to the ground after passing through pollution is acidic. And it takes a toll on your car.

First, acid precipitation is unavoidable. If you garage your car, at some point, it's going to get wet. Acid rain results when sulfur and nitrogen particles are emitted into the atmosphere. A third of the particles comes from cars, trucks, chimneys and smokestacks. Two thirds of these particles come from electric power plants. We have them all over… if you don't live next to a power plant, wind currents take care of sweeping the nitrogen and sulfur into our area from points west. Sulfur and nitrogen react with water to make sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Which weakens and fades paint over time.

The real enemy however, is the sun. The precipitation hits your car… during evaporation the droplet magnifies the sun's intensity causing the acid to pit the surface microscopically… then the acid is left when the water evaporates.

Imagine the gradual effect of millions of tiny acid-made pores over the life of your car's finish. Even on some of the newer cars River City Auto Body repairs, the paint damage from just a year or less is visible to the naked eye.

Here's how you can minimize acid rain damage beyond just covering the car when it rains:

·         Wash your car frequently with mild soap followed by hand drying it with a clean cloth. River City Auto Body thinks the Auto Detailing Network is right on when it suggests a thorough wash weekly.

·         Wash it right after a rain. Just hosing off the rain spots won't help because it only activates the acid deposit.

·         Use wax or sealants designed to protect the clear coat finish, or – better yet – have your car professionally detailed.

·         Come see River City Auto Body for painting and finishing to bring back that showroom look.


 Photo by Olga Yastremska, used with permission.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Five tips for handling damage during hail season

Hail can fall any time of the year, but according to National Weather Service statistics, May is the most common month in southeast Wisconsin for hail that's pea-sized or larger. It was exactly a year ago that dozens of vehicles were at River City Auto Body with damage from quarter-sized hail that fell late morning on Saturday May, 7… exactly when there were a lot of cars out and about on family errands.
Hail damage is cosmetic. Your car still runs. But you have to look at the pockmarks and dents every time you're in your vehicle. Unrepaired cosmetic damage from hail is going to lower the resale value of your vehicle, or will cost you when your lease ends.

Here's how to handle hail damage:

1) If you're driving, safely reduce your speed. A pea-sized hailstone can fall at as much as 20 mph on a parked car. If you’re traveling at 65 mph in a head wind, the velocity of that little dent maker is more than tripled. And you'll hit more of them by covering distance.

2) If possible, get under an overpass in the breakdown lane with your hazards on until the storm passes. Hail episodes seldom last more than five minutes in a location.

3) If you have hail damage, don't delay in calling River City Auto Body and your insurer. Most dents are small. They can, however, compromise the paint's ability to prevent corrosion or rust on the underlying metal the longer the dents go unrepaired.

4) Hail damaged sheet metal may need to be hammered and painted. For lightly damaged surfaces, trained technicians may recommend paintless dent removal (PDR), which involves using tools on the underside of a damaged panel. Either process takes time… PDR takes less time, but usually in a hail event, a repair facility has several cars with the same damage awaiting repair.

5) Check the repair thoroughly under daylight and fluorescent light from a few angles. If it's not done to your satisfaction, remember it is YOUR car, not the insurer's.

 Photo by Andrei Seleznev, used with permission.