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Five Ways to Protect Your Car From Summer Damage

Sunny Clouds in the SkyJust as UV rays can burn and damage skin, they can also wreak havoc on your vehicle’s paint job. Before summer kicks into high gear, it’s a good idea to come up with a plan to protect your paint job from sun fade and other summer damage.

As the weather heats up, it’s also common for dead bugs and bird droppings to land on your vehicle. As these break down, they release caustic substances which can eat away at your paint.

To keep your paint job looking its best when summer threatens to damage it, follow our tips, inspired by this post by State Farm.

  1. Wash your car thoroughly and frequently: Dirt and dust particles can cause microscopic scratches in your paint job that take away from your car’s luster.
  2. Apply a protective wax: This adds a protective layer between your paint and the sun’s UV rays. It also shields your car from dead bugs and bird droppings that may stick to it. Make sure you reapply the wax regularly.
  3. Protect leather seats with a leather conditioner: Leather seats are vulnerable to becoming brittle in the sun and cracking or tearing. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly apply leather conditioner. Another great way to keep them safe? Invest in some seat covers.
  4. Park in the shade when possible: This is a simple way to keep sun damage at bay. Avoiding direct sunlight will prevent your paint from fading and your dashboard from cracking; not to mention, it will be more comfortable when you reenter your car.
  5. Take your vehicle to Young’s: Sometimes, damage to your paint is inevitable. In these cases, you can always take your car into Young’s so you can get fixed up with a fresh paint job.

Young’s Auto Body wishes you safe and fun summer driving!

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Summer: the 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers

Cell_phone_use_while_drivingFor many teens, summertime means relaxing drives to the beach or rides with friends. Unfortunately, that often means distracted driving — a major cause of car accidents. According to AAA, the 100 days between May and August are the most dangerous ones for teen drivers. Now, they’re asking that parents be proactive in making sure their children have plenty of experience behind the wheel.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers, and for varying reasons. Teen girls are more likely to text while driving, while teen boys are more likely to be distracted by other teen passengers. Additionally, teen drivers statistically have three times as many accidents as adults who drive the same amount of miles. AAA says that the combination of distractions and inexperience is too often lethal for young people. In Pennsylvania alone, 17,023 drivers age 16 to 19 were involved in crashes in 2015.

AAA Mid Atlantic recommends the following to keep your teen driver safe this summer:

  • Eliminate trips with no purpose
  • Limit night driving
  • Restrict number of passengers
  • Keep open communication

One very effective method for keeping your teen driver safe is to come up with a parent-driver agreement.This way, your son or daughter knows there are conditions that allow vehicle access. These may include no texting while driving, no speeding, or no driving past 11pm.

For more information about educating your teen driver, take a look at this press release from AAA.

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3-Week Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign in West Chester

seat beltBeginning May 16, 2016, 87 police departments throughout southeastern Pennsylvania are taking part in a seat belt enforcement effort. Police departments from Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County, and Chester County, including West Chester, will be monitoring highways for drivers and passengers who don’t buckle up.

“The enforcement, coupled with educational outreach efforts, aims to increase seat-belt use and raise awareness of the state’s primary law stating all vehicle occupants under 18 years old must wear a seat belt. Drivers and front-seat passengers over 18 years old who are cited for another traffic violation will receive a second ticket if they’re unbuckled,” PennDOT said.

Click It or Ticket

The Click It or Ticket campaign will run through June 5 and include Memorial Day Weekend. Violators will be issued tickets of up to $75. Law enforcement will be especially focused on roadways with high numbers of unbelted crashes. PennDOT information tells us that wearing your seat belt can increase your chance of surviving a car crash by 60%.

According to PennDOT data, there were 3,440 crashes in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties in 2015 in which people were not wearing seat belts, with 64 people dying in those crashes. The reported seat belt use rate in Pennsylvania decreased in 2015 to the lowest rate since 2005.

For more information, visit JustDrivePA.org.

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Tips to Stop Distracted Driving

Distracted DrivingDid you know that April is Distracted Driving Awareness month? Despite all of our advancements in hands-free technology, distracted driving continues to be a very serious problem on our roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 3,179 people were killed (10% of all crash fatalities) and an additional 431,000 were injured (18% of all crash injuries) in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014. Recent AAA studies find that 87 percent of drivers report engaging in risky behaviors while behind the wheel and aren’t aware of how long distractions last.

Although April is the time of year that we bring awareness to this issue, we ask that you do your best year-round to limit your distractions behind the wheel. Below, find some of AAA’s tips for safe driving:

  • As a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of some other activity, it’s a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while you’re behind the wheel.
  • Store loose gear, possessions or other distractions that could roll around in the car so you don’t feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
  • Put aside your electronic devices. DO NOT use cellphones while driving – handheld or hands-free – except in absolute emergencies.
  • Make vehicle adjustments before you begin your trip – address vehicle systems like GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems – before hitting the road.

Don’t forget that any passengers in the front seat can also make great co-pilots and can be in charge of navigation and music. Additionally, giving your friends a bit of responsibility limits the chance that they’ll become another distraction.

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Are you the Typical American Driver?

red carThe AAA  Foundation recently released the results of the American Driving Survey, and we were wondering how you compare to the average American. To start, the average American drives 29.2 miles per day with two trips, for a total of 46 minutes. In addition, the following facts are true about average American drivers:

  • About 50% of miles are driven in a car, while 40% are driven in an SUV or pickup truck.
  • Women report more driving time than men, but men spend 25% more time behind the wheel.
  • Drivers age 30-49 spend more time on the road than any other age group.
  • Drivers with higher levels of education tend to drive farther than those with lower levels of education.
  • Most drivers drive fewer miles on the weekends.
  • Of people who drive on Saturdays, people in their 20’s make up the largest group.
  • Millennials also make more trips with passengers than other age groups.
  • Still, most Americans make 60% of drives alone.
  • Most (58%) households report having the same number of cars as drivers, while 28% said they have more vehicles than drivers, and 14% had more drivers than vehicles.

You can read the full report on the AAA Foundation’s website. This information is a result of the first year of the American Driving Survey, conducted between May 21, 2013 and May 30, 2014. Researchers conducted interviews with 3,319 drivers.

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When Do I Need My Wheels Aligned?

chester county wheel alignment

While attempting to dodge all of the potholes this winter, you may have caused some damage to your alignment. Wheel alignment is an important part of car care. Poor tire alignment may decrease your miles per gallon and wear out your tires quickly.

But how do you know when it’s time to get your wheel aligned?

  • Drifting. If you notice that your car is pulling to the right or left when you are trying to drive straight, then it is probably time for an alignment. Properly aligned tires drive straight and true, along with your steer wheel.
  • Unevenness. If your front and back tires have different wear patterns, this could mean your wheels are working against each other.
  • Passive pulling. In some cases your car may not actively pull to one side, but if you notice a natural drift when you aren’t steering, then this could be a milder alignment problem.
  • Shaking. If you notice that your car is shaking or vibrating, this could be another sign that the wheels are pulling against one another.
  • Steering wheel. Improper alignment can also cause your steering wheel to look crooked when you are traveling straight.

For the most part, these are all sure signs that your vehicle needs a wheel alignment.  Plus, proper tire alignment results in better gas mileage and a healthier vehicle overall.

Give us a call  at (610) 431-2053 for a free estimate on your tire alignment job.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car

FireworksWe all make New Year’s resolutions to keep ourselves mentally, physically, and financially in the coming year. However, how often do you resolve to do better at maintaining your vehicles health? You car is a big investment, and you trust it to keep you and any passengers safe on a daily basis. If you’ve been ignoring repairs or maintenance, consider making some of these resolutions for 2016:

  1. Schedule two checkups this year– Preventative maintenance is often cheap insurance. Get your car checked out by a professional in the winter as well as the summer to ensure it’s in the best shape.
  2. Keep the car clean, inside and out– Regular cleaning and detailing can maintain your vehicle’s value and in some cases prevent you from getting sick.
  3. Check on tires and wheels regularly– Worn or uneven tires can be dangerous and cause stress on your suspension and alignment. These types of repairs are expensive, so choose tire maintenance as an affordable preventative option.
  4. Stick to the fluid change schedule– Oil, brake fluid, and coolant are all paramount to the longevity of your vehicle. Although it may be tempting to put off an oil change, it isn’t worth it in the long run.
  5. Take care of minor maintenance and repairs quickly– If you hear a funny noise, don’t just wait and hope it goes away. Take your car to the shop at the first sign of an issue to prevent it from snowballing into something larger.

When you think about it, you can follow through with all of the above resolutions for roughly the price of an annual gym membership. You aren’t the only one who deserves to stay in shape this year.

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Thanksgiving Travel Expected to Be Extra Busy

ThanksgivingThe travel forecasts for our area are in and, partially in thanks to the lowest gas prices in five years, you can expect the roadways to be crammed. AAA estimates that 542,000 Philadelphia area residents will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving, and 89% of those travelers will get to their destinations by car. This marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel, and the largest number of travelers since 2007.

“This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007,” said Jana L. Tidwell, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones.”

The Thanksgiving travel holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29. As usual, the majority of traveling will be done on the first and last day of the period. In Philadelphia, gas prices are averaging at about $2.24 per gallon and nine out of ten travelers in our area will be driving. That being said, you can expect some delays on your commute home Wednesday evening.

Last year, AAA rescued 5,204 drivers in the Philadelphia 5-County area over the holiday. The most common cause for these emergency calls include dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts. It’s recommended that you check your tires, oil, and battery before taking off for your own Thanksgiving road trip this weekend. Be sure to make an appointment with Young’s Auto Body for any wheel alignment or auto body issues you’d like to address as well.

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One Third of Americans Ignore Maintenance Needs

Car KeyA new analysis of AAA data reported that a high number of breakdowns that AAA responds to each year could be avoided by routine maintenance. In fact, a recent survey found 35 percent of Americans have skipped or delayed service or repairs recommended by a mechanic. According to Jana Tidwell, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, ignoring maintenance often results in paying higher repair costs. Many repair facilities estimate that driver can save an average of $100 per visit by properly maintaining their vehicle.

In 2014 alone AAA responded to more than 29 million calls for roadside assistance, the majority of which were due to battery failure, flat tires, and drivers locked out of their cars. That being said, we’ve compiled the following advice to prevent such situations:

Battery Failure

The average lifespan of an automotive battery is three to five years, even shorter in hotter climates. To avoid a surprise battery death, you should have yours checked when it reaches three years of age, then continue checking it on an annual basis.

Flat Tires

AAA found that 60 percent of Americans do not check tire pressures regularly. All four tires and the spare should be checked monthly for air pressure and tread. If you can stick penny in the tread of your tire and see Abraham Lincoln’s face, your tires are probably too bare. If you use lug nuts, be sure to leave the lug nut key somewhere easy to find.

Locked Out

AAA reports that it hasn’t seen a reduction in “locked out” calls, despite the popularity of keyless entry systems. Our best advice for this issue is to always check for keys before exiting the vehicle and keep a spare handy!

For more tips, check out our Preventative Maintenance blog post.

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New Reviews of Apple’s CarPlay

Apple CarPlay

Photo from Flickr

With distracted driving becoming such a problem in the age of technology, many automakers as well as tech giants have been scrambling to make hands-free applications more accessible while driving. Apple’s new CarPlay is being installed in dozens of new GM brand cars for 2016, and now we’re receiving some of the first reviews from test drivers. So far, things are looking pretty good.

Some of the brands launching new vehicles with CarPlay include Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC brands. CarPlay connects to your phone using a USB port in the car. It requires an iPhone 5 or newer and displays an iOS interface on the vehicle’s dashboard. You can control the various apps by tapping the screen or using the voice button to instruct Siri. Only apps that can be safely used while driving are available with CarPlay. These include maps, music, web searches, messaging (using voice commands), and phone calls.

What do real drivers have to say?

While we haven’t yet taken in a spin in a CarPlay-equipped vehicles, we do feel like we have a good idea of what to expect thanks to reviewers from the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press. Both reviewers commented that Apple Maps did not work as seamlessly as Google Maps, which is also the general consensus on other mobile devices. However, both also praised the voice recognition technology and messaging abilities. Siri will read any incoming messages to you as you drive and is miles ahead of the competition when it comes to translating your voice into text.

Of course, even voice messaging can be a bit distracting to drivers. Still it’s a much safer option than texting while driving To read the full reviews on Apple CarPlay, be sure to click the links above.