Summer Shake Out

Hi All—Rico here!

Summer is already more than half over! Can you believe it?

Time to make the most of this weather and soak up our remaining sunny days... Alki, anyone?

Here are a few tips for keeping the sand & grime at bay:

  • Shake out your floor mats
  • Vacuum the seats and floors when possible
  • Keep those windows cracked to help ventilate and dry the interior of your car if wet dogs, kids, adults, towels or clothes are transported in your vehicle.

And after you decide those beach days are in your rear-view mirror for the year, take some time to get that car of yours back in tip-top shape to head back to work or school. Aka…operation remove those sandcastles now in your floormats and seats!

This is the perfect time for an "end of summer clean up” and get your car ready to kick off the rest of the year.

We'd love the opportunity to detail your car and have it sparkling and ready for you. Whether you're heading back to work or dropping your kids off at college! Stop by the shop so we can take a look at your carpets and interior, and talk about price and options for your car.

Lastly, this is also a great time to have a pro take a look under the hood done. Hiiighly recommend Tom’s Automotive, located just around the corner from us.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, making many many more memories to put in the albums.

Summertime: Clean Car Interior Carpets & Upholstery

Hi All—Rico here!

It’s officially summertime! Are you enjoying this gorgeous weather? Taking in some rays at Alki? Cruising down to Lincoln Park?

In Seattle, this is definitely the perfect season to shampoo the interior carpets of your cars.

Why? It’s warm and dry enough for your vehicle's interior to get completely dry after a deep clean and shampoo. 

If you were to try a deep car interior clean during the winter months, you risk things like mold, critters and not enough circulation for a thorough drying of the carpets. Plus, you'd "enjoy" the experience of driving in a damp car, which isn't pleasant or healthy, for that matter.

Interior carpet shampooing can help with many things like:

  • Keeping your carpets looking, and feeling, great

  • Preserving the integrity of the carpets

  • Alleviating pollen build-up

  • Removing any insects that aren’t visible with the human eye

Stop by the shop so we can take a look at your carpets and talk about price and options for getting your car's interior a deep clean that will last for months.

 

Fender Bender T0-Do's

Hi All—Rico here!

The sun is out....and school is almost out too! That means, road trip season!

This tends to be the time of year that many singles, couples and families embark on annual road trips or spur-of-the-moment getaways to enjoy this great weather and scenery we're having. 

With so many more cars on the road, it does increase the likelihood of experiencing a fender bender. If you happen to get into an accident, do your best to remember these few things and you're sure to get through that difficult time.

Check and make sure everyone is okay. This is the very first thing to attend to! Do you need medical attention? Does anyone else involved in the accident require medical attention? Are there pets involved that might need medical attention? Pay attention to these things first and make sure your immediate physical needs are covered.

Do you need to have the authorities involved? Decide if this accident requires the police to be involved. If you’re not sure, air on the side of caution and call for assistance.

Take photos or videos of the car(s) or items involved. Be sure to take photos of anything affected in the accident before moving your vehicle or anything involved. These can be helpful on a variety of fronts, especially for insurance companies to review and process claims.

Exchange insurance information. If the accident involved another vehicle, exchange insurance and contact information with the other party. Even if it seems like you might not need it, it never hurts to have it for the “just in case”.

Does your car need towing? If your car requires towing, have it towed to a shop that you trust. Rico’s Auto Shop is an expert in dealing with accidents and coordinating all insurance requirements on your behalf and can help to make a very stressful situation for you much easier!

File a claim with your insurance company. Contact your insurance company to file a claim and have a record of the accident on file. This will also start the process of the insurance company evaluating who is at fault, how the claim will be processed, and ultimately work to coordinate the repair of your vehicle.

Keeping a little cheat sheet in the car with these reminders can be very helpful. When you find yourself in a stressful situation it’s normal to overlook or forget important steps.

Once your vehicle is in the shop, we'll take care of working with the insurance company so you and your car can back on the road as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

Breathe Easier with a Clean Car

Hi All, Rico here!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but allergy season has officially hit!

Which means, the pollen count is high. 

Both trees and flowers are starting to blossom and the wind is carrying the pollen throughout our city, much of it landing on our vehicles.

People often don’t think about this. Pollen gets on the exterior, in the interior, in the air filters and everywhere between! That said, it’s a great time to keep on top of vacuuming out your car and making those places that circulate air throughout the car are thoroughly and regularly cleaned.

It’s also a smart time to do a deep clean and shampoo the interior since the weather is warming up and interior carpets will be able to dry completely.

If you suffer from any form of allergies, hay fever or asthma, this is a great (and simple) way to help limit your suffering when in your car!

Some ways to help prevent the pollen from taking over your vehicle are below:

  • Vacuum regularly. We suggest at least once per week to keep on top of it and keep the pollen from settling in.

  • Wash and wax. By waxing, it will help to seal your car and prevent those pollens from sticking to your car.

  • Replace filters. Check your cabin air filter to make sure you’ve got a clean and functioning filter.

  • Keep windows closed. By keeping your windows closed as much as possible this time of year, it limits the opportunities for the pollen to sneak in.

By taking a little time to care for your car, (cleaning it, and preventing pollen from gaining ground in your interior) you'll enjoy a more comfortable ride and happier airways!


We’ve got several detail options at AutoBuff if you want an extra set of hands to keep your ride in tip top condition... down to the details.

Bring your car by and we can give you an estimate on the spot.

Let's Talk About Paint Matching

Hi All, Rico here!

Let's talk about something a little different his month— paint color matching.

Have you ever scratched, bumped or had to repaint a part of your car and noticed the color you chose to repaint it with is not quite the exact same shade?

Even if you haven’t done it yourself, I’m sure you’ve seen a car with a paint color that has had a touch up that doesn’t quite match the original color.

There’s a reason for that; color matching is precise and not as easy as just picking “silver” if the bodywork on your car is silver.

It’s a science!

You have to know very specific information about your existing paint in order to match it perfectly. Things like the resins, pigments and solvents used in the paint.

Every car has a color code

You’ll need to use the manufacturer, model and year your car was manufactured in order to find the correct color code for your specific vehicle.

Little known tip

Many manufacturers sell small bottles of specific colors that you can get inexpensively at a dealership. Small amounts, made to match. 

For small scratches, we suggest you get the smaller amounts available at the dealership, then bring them in and we'll use them directly on your vehicle. Less waste, when we don't need to mix up a larger batch of color, and less money and hassle when you don't have to deal with the dealership. Right?

Find an expert!

You’ll want to find someone who has experience and expertise with color matching and painting for your touch up or whole body paint job.

Lucky for you, we've got a superior paint booth and technician. From a small scratch to a major paint job, we’re skilled and prepared to help with your vehicle's detail, paint and bodywork here in West Seattle.

Where's Value in Regular Car Detailing?

Hi all, Rico here!

I wanted to talk about car detailing this week. It’s an important thing to add to your list of to-do’s and keep up with regularly. Let’s talk about why…

First off, what exactly do I mean by car detailing?

Car detailing is much different than an exterior car wash, or a quick vacuum. Car detailing means getting into the nitty gritty.

This means an exterior wash that includes the trim, headlights, the wheels and chassis, along with an interior thorough vacuum and appropriate cleaning (depending upon the interior materials of your car) of all interior nooks and crannies.

Why detail rather than a quickie car wash?

A car wash is really a quick exterior wash and doesn’t address anything internally, nor does it provide a thorough cleaning. It can also be dangerous to go through a car was with brushes. Many of the brushes used can damage the paint on your car.

The brushes aren’t cleaned, so figure whatever was left over from the person before (sand, dirt, etc.) is going to be rubbed onto your car when you drive through.

Why is it important to regularly detail your car?

There are so many reasons to regularly details your car! They start with overall condition—by putting in the time and TLC, your car will undoubtedly hold up better in the long run. It also protects from sun damage.

Huh? Sun damage?

In Seattle?

Yep, keeping your car shiny and clean keeps that reflection bouncing off and not damaging the surfaces as easily.

Lastly, comfort.

Ever find yourself driving or sitting at a stoplight and looking down to realize you really need to clean off that dashboard? We call that a distraction. Keeping things looking and smelling clean allows you to keep your eyes where they belong—on the road.

By putting in the time and money to maintain your car, it will help you to keep the value when you part ways with it in the long-term. It of course helps to sport a shiny look and keep you feeling proud as you show it off to the world.

 

What's the Difference? Auto Body Shop vs. Auto Repair Shop

Hi All, Rico here!

Have you ever stopped to think about the difference between what an auto mechanic or repair shop would do, and what an auto body shop does?

Until you’re faced with the need of either, I’m sure the answer would be "no". (I mean, c’mon, it’s not like most of us sitting around daydreaming about this stuff in our spare time.)

Understand for the future

This information is important to know and understand, in the event you do find yourself in need of auto body work.

Lucky you—I’ll give you a quick lesson on what auto body work actually is, and when you would seek out a shop, like mine, to do the needed work.

So, what exactly does an auto body shop do?

It’s pretty simple to explain. We fix the bodies, the metal frame and components that house and protect the people, the engine, all the parts and things, on vehicles. Ok, that may sound simple, but the art of it is actually very complicated and important.

Body work means more than just making a car look pretty.

An auto body shop ensures the entirety of your car’s body is aligned and in tip top shape. This work really is all about the details! Trucks, SUVs are also welcome to the shop.

When do you need to go to an auto body shop?

Had a bump, slam or major ding? Even a slight bump can shift the body of your car. It could be a panel, bumper, fender or something you can’t see hiding underneath.

A shift, bend or knock to any of these areas can create misalignment and ultimately compromise the safety or integrity of the body of your car.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my lesson, and this has helped to clarify when you could be in need of an auto body repair shop in the future.

As always, we care about the safety of you and your vehicle, and we're always here to help!

Kid's Cars: Body Work & Clean Up While They Are Home from College

Hello and Happy New Year to All! 

Rico here!

I bet if you have a son or daughter away at college, you’ve found yourself thinking about their car at least a time or two.

Are they taking care of it? You’re not alone. I thought about my daughters while they were at school. And let’s be honest, they’re likely not 100% on track with these tasks because they’re busy on this new venture of independence and school.

That’s ok. It's a perfect time to plan to help them out a bit with these “to-do’s” when they’re home on break over the holidays.

Bring their car by for an estimate if there's been any auto body damage in the recent months. Door dings, bent bumpers, side mirror damage. 

And, schedule a nice detail job for their car too. A good exterior wash and interior clean will do a world of good. The kids will feel great in their vehicle and you'll feel great knowing you've got some good protective wax for the paint and a nice clean interior too. 

Take their car to Tom's Automotive, just down the street from us, for complementary services to ours. More along the lines of automotive maintenance, like:

  • Oil changes

  • Windshield washer fluids and new wiper blades

  • Power steering fluid check

  • Brake fluid check

It’s also a good idea to check to make sure that the emergency necessities in the car are stocked up. These are things like a first aid kit, bottled water, tire pressure gauge, flashlight with fresh batteries, etc.

By keeping up on this timeline, it helps to keep the car in tip top shape structurally, but also ensures the utmost safety for your son/daughter.

Car Prowls During the Holiday Season

Hi All, Rico here!

 

Well, it’s hard to believe we are now officially in the middle of the holiday season!

 

Some of us are spending a little more time on the roads, and our cars are in parking lots or different neighborhoods while shopping or out socializing.

 

Unfortunately, there are lots of prowlers keeping an eye out for cars that have something of value in them. Let’s talk about how to keep you, your car, and your items safe!

 

Lock and alarm your car

Pretty simple, right? Well it’s easy to forget when you’re shuffling around. Take an extra second to make sure you’ve locked up!

 

Keep it clean

The less items out in your car that are of valuable and visible to people, the better!

 

If you’ve shopped, hide the items before you park at the next location.

 

Sometimes prowlers are sitting in parking lots and keeping an eye out for someone who obviously has items in their car.

 

Park in the open

Even if it means a few extra steps—park somewhere where your car is clearly visibly to bystanders. Steer clear of heavy foliage or large cars that might hide your car.

 

At the end of the day there’s no sure-fire way to prevent someone who is deadset on getting in your vehicle. But, by following these simple steps above, it will certainly lessen the likelihood of your car being the target!

 

Have a merry season, everyone!

Prepping for Holiday Road Trips

Hi All, Rico here!

 

It goes without saying, but I'm gonna say it.

 

A big reason that we are in business is because of the need for auto body work in West Seattle. This, of course, is a result of fender benders and accidents with vehicles. And we definitely appreciate that you, our customer, trust us with your cars after these accidents!

Annnnd....

Precious cargo

At the same time, we want for you to be safe; both while driving and in arriving at your final destination. As the holidays approach, more and more people will be hitting the road to visit family and friends.

 

That means more cars on the road, longer distances traveled, and in turn more chances for an accident. So, we wanted to arm you with some safe driving practices before you hit the road this holiday season.

 

Be prepared.

  • Are you anticipating icy or snowy roads? Bring chains! (Make sure you know how to use them before you hit the road.)
  • When is the last time you had your car serviced? Make sure you’re up to date on all service needs. (Think oil, brakes/hoses, battery, tires & antifreeze fluid.)
  • Do you have a pack of safety items? Put one together! (Think flashlight, blanket, water, flares, etc.)

 

Plan your route ahead of time.

Plan ahead for the best route possible. This could mean the shortest route, or possibly a longer route that might avoid major traffic or bad weather conditions. Either way, be prepared for what that route might bring.

 

Get some sleep.

I know, it sounds so basic! Being well rested is so important for a long trek. It helps you to be on top of your game and be able to be alert and have quicker responses times. We all know those yawns and heavy eyes that come after a restless night—and they’re not safe when operating a vehicle. (Especially on longer trips!)

 

Relax.

Especially when planning a long trip, it’s important to try to stay as relaxed as possible. No, we’re not talking about kicking your feet up and zoning out. Loosen those shoulders up, take deep breaths, and make sure you’re in a healthy head/body space for the long trek.

 

All of these things will start you off on the best possible foot for your long trips over the holidays. Of course, these are good things to be mindful of even outside of the holiday season! We're here if or when you need us.... just take a little time to make sure you’re all set before you set out for festive fun this year!

Light Checks for Night Driving

Hi all—Rico here!

That time of year is here—Fall has arrived and Summer is officially in our rear-view mirror. And days, sad to say, are getting shorter.

 

For our shop, that means we start to see more damaged cars and trucks in as a result of bumps and crashes that take place during darker and/or rainy times. With that said, it's important to talk about the importance of headlights and safety for driving in these darker conditions.

 

See and be seen!

To see, and be seen, are two of the most important things when driving. Since you’re the one primarily driving your own vehicle, it’s easy to forget to make sure the lights on your vehicle are working properly. All of these lights have a purpose, and each are a piece of ensuring the safety of the car you’re in, as well as all of the cars around.

 

When I say lights…I mean all lights!

Lights don’t just mean your head and tail lights. It means every light on the exterior of your vehicle. When doing a check, be sure you check all of these:

 

  • Headlights
  • Brights
  • Fog lights
  • Tail lights
  • Brakes
  • Turn signals

 

How to check your lights when you’re alone:

Turn on your full lights and walk around your car. Then one by one turn on your left and right turn signal. Lastly, turn on your hazard lights to ensure they work. You can even test your head and tail lights while facing toward, or backing up to the window of a building.

 

If you do find yourself in a fender bender, take a deep breath!

 

Your vehicle can be towed to our shop and we can help you to get everything taken care of; including insurance, body work and getting your car back in a safe state to hit the road again!

 

 

Front-End Auto Body Repairs: Subaru BRZ

Time to highlight some exciting work going on this month in our shop. We have this Subaru BRZ that had a little front end run-in and needed some TLC to fix it, and bring it back to life.

 

Painting cars requires a process. Lots of prep work, taping, covering areas that need to be protected and then layering the paint for the perfect finish. Here are some shots of bumper removed from the car and being painted separately to ensure every inch is covered.

 

After it makes its way through all of the steps, we end with a car with no visual spec of the damage that was once there.

 

We still have a few bits to complete, yes, including replacing the bumper back on, polish it up and then it'll be ready to hit the road again. Bring your car to Auto Buff if you meet someone by accident.

 

Car Accidents & What You Need to Know

Hi All, Rico here again -

Today, I want to talk with you about something we all do everything in our power to avoid—getting into a car accident! This should be something we think about, talk about, and be prepared for. By being prepared for the worst-case scenario, an accident happening, it helps to ensure that you have the best possible outcome in a difficult and scary time.

Here are some things to remember if you find yourself a part of an accident, whether it was caused by you or not.

  • Make sure if at all possible that you are in a safe area that is clear from any traffic
  • Check on any other parties involved in the accident
  • Call the police
  • Take a look to see if there were any eyewitnesses. (If so, ask if they will provide their contact information.
  • Take photos of the vehicles involved. (This can be helpful later for insurance purposes.)
  • Gather information from any other parties involved. (This would include names, insurance information, license plate number, location of accident, make/models of any vehicles involved and the information of any responding law enforcement.
  • File a claim to your insurance company
  • Have car towed to your trusted auto body shop

If this was an accident where others were involved, make sure to take some time to survey the people and make sure everyone is alright. (This includes yourself!)

Shock and adrenaline often take over in accidents and we forget to just breathe and make sure we’re alright.

Also, remember that the injuries sustained in an accident can take a bit of time to reveal themselves. Be aware of how you’re feeling in the days following the accident as well. Being thoughtful with how you handle the steps following an accident is very important.

Definitely get checked out by your health care provider if you're uncomfortable, feeling pain, feeling "woozy". Best to get checked out sooner than later, always.

Try to remember that it’s a process, and finding the right team to help you along the path can also help.

Have an auto body shop that you trust picked out that you trust.
Have an insurance firm that is reliable and trustworthy.

Having the right team can be very helpful in the steps following the accident. Often, once the car is brought to the shop and claim opened with your insurance, you won’t have to deal with insurance or other related functions again. Your team will handle it for you.

Auto Details Matter: Wax to Protect

The sun is nearly peeking out, and in the shop, if feels like we're are all ready to dive into all of those activities we’ve been missing while enduring the winter and rainy months!

With the temperature rising (hopefully soon!), comes different wear and tear on everything. The sun and warmth doesn’t just affect us and our yards, it plays a role in everything we do ...and drive.

Those rising temps create an environment that is extra hard on your car or truck.

Wondering what you can do to help prepare your car for warmer months?

Adding back a layer of protection is a great idea. 

We're talking about wax.
But before we can apply and buff a beautiful, shiny, protective coat of wax, we'll need to give the vehicle a good wash first. 

Yes, inside as well as out. Might as well make it a good -and thorough- job. 

Consider it a kind of Spring Cleaning for your car. It's a great time to wash, refresh and protect your vehicle. 

 

Spring Safety Checklist for Your Family Vehicles

Hi All—Rico here!

Spring has arrived! I know you’ve got to be as excited as I am that the sun is back, and we can crawl out of our winter hiding to enjoy the great outdoors!

With the weather being better, it’s easier to hop in your car for a quick (or long) trip to explore.

Taking a little time to make sure your car is ready for that trip can save you headaches and high repair costs in the long run.

Here are some things to check, in order to maintain your car this Spring:

  • Tire pressure. You can use a tire pressure gauge to check your tire pressure wherever you are. Keep one handy in your glove box or side panel pocket to check your tires when you add gas at a service station.Research what levels your tires should be at, and ensure they’re within the limits.

  • Tire treads. Your local tire shop can check your tread to ensure it’s within a safe range. You can even find tips online for checking it yourself with a penny if you’re feeling brave! And if you’re feeling brave , here’s a link to do the penny test.

  • Alignment and suspension. Stop by your local tire shop to have your alignment and suspension checked. Lots of shops will check it for a nominal fee.

  • Wiper Blades. Are your wiper blades leaving streaks or not wiping the windshield clean? Pick up a new pair to keep your vision of the road optimal. Takes about 10 minutes to pickup & install in the parking lot of the auto shop store.

  • Windshield. If you have cracks or dings in your windshield, consider having it replaced. There are also options for filling damaged areas without replacing the entire windshield. Some insurances even offer a free replacement!

  • Lights. Have a friend walk around your car with you to make sure all of the lights on your car are in working order.

    If you're local to West Seattle or the surrounding area, Kandie and her crew at Tom's Automotive (2 blocks from us) are happy to replace the wiper blades as well as check your lights and fluids too.

  • Fluids. Check the fluids in your car periodically. Here are some that are easy to check for yourself: engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid. If you’re a little hesitant to do it yourself, stop by Tom's Automotive to have them checked!

There are plenty of options when it comes to maintaining your car. These are fast tasks to get through when you set by a minimal amount of time each week to address each one!

In the long-run, it will help to not only keep you safe on the road, but also preserve the value of your car.

Accidents still happen
If you happen to meet someone by accident, definitely bring your vehicle here (or have it towed) and we'll work with your insurance directly to get an estimate and the fixes needed to get you and your vehicle safely back on the road. 

Be careful out there!

Spring Auto Detailing in West Seattle

Hi All—Rico here!

Gotta tell you, we're excited to see the sun, slowly and surely, creeping back into our days here in Seattle! The promise of Spring feels close, all right. This time of year means changes for all of us... on a couple of levels.

You may be thinking about getting your cars cleaned up from the wet and muddy winter, but also prepped for the road trips looming on the horizon.

The one word that comes to mind?

DETAILING!

Detailing your car is a great way to keep your car looking and smelling clean, of course.

Did you know that regularly detailing your vehicle will help it to retain its value long-term? Detailing is more than just washing the exterior and vacuuming carpets. It's shampoo means digging those items you’ve dropped between the crevices that you thought would be forever lost.

It means shampooing your carpets to keep them looking -and smelling- clean. It means taking the extra time to ensure you’ve wiped, cleaned and sanitized most every inch of your car.

Here are a few things that are on our list when you get your car detailed at our shop.

  • Exterior

  • Interior

  • Vacuuming

  • Shampooing

  • Wheels

  • Tires

  • Trim

  • Windows

Picking the right time to detail is incredibly important too. You want to wait until the dreary wet winter months are in the rear-view window.

The sun and dryer weather help to ensure that your carpets will dry properly. Shampooing during wet months can result in mold or little critters forming in those carpets. Nobody wants those!

We have all sorts of detailing for your car at the shop. We even offer gift certificates.
After all, who wouldn’t love a car spa day as a gift?!

Pop in or call the shop to see what options we have that fit your vehicle’s wants and needs. We look forward to handing your keys back over to you so you can drive out of the shop with a spiffy and shiny vehicle for the sun to sparkle off of!

For the Love of Kids, Carseats & Caution

Hi All—Rico here!

This month I’d like to take some time to focus on the safety of children in cars. There is so much information out there about where kids should and/or shouldn’t sit, who should/shouldn’t be in a car seat and all of the specifics for kids in cars.

In my opinion, airing on the side of caution to keep our youngsters safe is always the best policy!

There are tons of statistics out there about how many kids are injured or killed in car accidents each year which I won’t share. It’s simply far too many and a lot of them could be prevented.  

Here are some helpful reminders and tips for you to consider prior to hitting the road with a child in your car. 

Car seats are important!

  • Kids under 8 or under 4’ 9” have to be secured in a child safety system

  • Kids under 13 should ride in the back seat whenever possible

  • Kids too big for an infant carseat but not ready for the actual car's seat need to ride in a booster seat

  • Kids riding in a booster seat must use a shoulder strap at all times

  • Kids cannot graduate out of a booster seat until they are at least 40 pounds

For more information about safe driving with kids in the car please check out laws, facts and tips here.

For tips on picking the correct car seat for your child click here.

Above all else, just take a little extra time to ensure the safety needs of your child are being met for every single trip in your car.