How to Protect Your Car at the Beach House

In San Francisco, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy the beach most days of the year—but there’s no denying that coastal conditions can be challenging for your vehicle. The combination of salty sea air and abrasive sand can cause a variety of issues, from minor cosmetic concerns to serious corrosion of mechanical components. 

Whether you live at a beach house year-round or seasonally (or simply in close proximity to the ocean), it’s important to be aware of the impact of the elements and stay proactive in protecting your vehicle. With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure your vehicle remains in top shape, no matter how close it is to the shoreline. 

Wash & Wax Frequently

Regular maintenance is your first line of defense. If your car is regularly exposed to sand and salt, it’s essential to wax and wax it frequently. Make sure you’re not skimping on water while rinsing off the soap; using a good amount of water will help remove contaminants that might otherwise be ground into the paint when you’re drying your vehicle.

Use Car Covers with Caution

Although car covers are often recommended to prevent sand-induced paint scratches, they may not be the best choice for everyday use. Any sand that’s trapped on the car before it’s covered will remain underneath the cover and increase the risk of scratching the paint if the cover is moved—especially if it’s a particularly windy day. 

To make matters worse, layers of sand can build up inside the cover over time, making it the source of the exact issue you’re trying to stop! If you do use a car cover, wash it frequently to remove any sand that might be inside. 

Consider a Paint Protection Film

If you’re particularly concerned about safeguarding your paint, you may want to consider a paint protection film. Although it’s a more sizeable investment than a car cover, the costs are minimal compared to the expense of repainting your car. Even partially coating your car in areas that are prone to paint damage (like fenders and door panels) can significantly reduce the need for repainting. 

While there are DIY paint protection film kits available, we strongly recommend having professionals handle the installation because it can be a challenging and time-consuming process; DIY kits can also end up costing you more than if you had chosen a professional application. 

At European Collision Center, we use BodyGuard, an industry-leading paint protection film that helps protect your vehicle from minor chips, scratches, and chemical or environmental stains. It comes with a 10-year warranty and is nearly invisible once installed, so you can enjoy the beauty and vibrancy of your vehicle’s paint for many years.

Stay Vigilant With Corrosion 

Despite all the emphasis on sand, it’s important to remember that the most insidious threat to your car at the beach is salt. The corrosive nature of wet, salty air can damage your car more critically than just the paint job—although it can damage that, too! The key is to be vigilant and keep an eye out for any corrosion that could be developing, especially in unexpected places. 

Although it might be tempting to leave your windows cracked on a warm day, leaving them closed will help reduce salt exposure in your interior. Another area you should monitor is the tire air valves; ensuring the valve caps are always on will help you avoid salt-related damage. The tips we mentioned for safeguarding against sand will also work for salt; car covers, frequent washing and waxing, and paint protection films will all help protect your vehicle from corrosion. 

Protect Your Vehicle with Comprehensive Auto Body Services 

Whether you’d like to have a paint protection film installed or your vehicle is suffering from paint damage or corrosion, European Collision Center is here to help you protect your vehicle and preserve its value. As a full-service auto body repair center, we provide comprehensive repairs, from minor scratches to major collision damage. 

We see all makes and models and proudly hold OEM certification for MercedesBMWAudiPorscheRivian, and Tesla. In addition, we handle all the necessary coordination with your insurance company to ensure a convenient, hassle-free experience. Get in touch with us today at (415) 551-9700 or contact us online.

Why Should You Use an OEM Body Shop?

In today’s rapidly evolving auto industry, the pursuit of excellence has become more than a priority—it’s a necessity. Auto manufacturers have significantly raised the bar in terms of quality and safety standards; as a result, auto body repair shops have a greater responsibility to uphold these exacting standards when repairing vehicles. 

This is where the pivotal role of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) certification comes into play. 

What is OEM Certification?

Automotive technology changed a lot over the past 30 years, from the materials used in manufacturing to increased reliance on automated Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, and blind spot protection. While these advancements have made cars safer and more reliable than ever, vehicle technology quickly outpaced the auto body industry’s ability to keep up with the latest repair needs and procedures. 

To provide better service for their mutual customers, auto manufacturers introduced OEM certification programs. These programs formally acknowledge collision repair shops that adhere to exacting criteria and repair standards set by automakers and authorize them to conduct repairs on vehicles produced by a specific manufacturer.

Although the definition of OEM certification can vary based on the manufacturer issuing it, it generally means that the certified shop has undergone specialized training provided by the automaker or its representatives. The training covers the intricacies of the manufacturer’s models, repair procedures, approved materials, facility requirements, and designated tools and equipment that should be used during the repair. Depending on the manufacturer, shops may also be required to meet additional customer service and safety standards. 

In addition, OEM certification requires that only genuine parts made by the vehicle’s manufacturer or their authorized suppliers are used in repairs. Using OEM parts ensures that the replacement components are of the same quality and specifications as the original parts, which maintains the overall integrity and safety of the vehicle. Certified shops are also subject to regular quality control audits to ensure the repairs offered consistently meet the manufacturer’s high standards.

Why Does OEM Certification Matter?

So why does OEM certification matter? It guarantees your repairs will be performed by technicians who have undergone specialized training on your precise make, using the exact parts and repair methods specified by the manufacturer—which ensures your vehicle’s safety, performance, and value are maintained. For many drivers, choosing an OEM-certified shop also offers peace of mind and confidence in the quality of their repairs. 

This is especially important as cars have become more complex to repair. Even a seemingly minor accident can damage sensitive sensors and cameras located throughout the body of a modern vehicle—which can significantly impact how your safety features function. 

Despite this and the growing demand from consumers for OEM-certified auto body repair, many shops are still reluctant to pursue certification due to the cost. While participation in OEM programs does come with substantial expenses, it’s well worth the investment for shops that value their reputation and prioritize high-quality repair work and customer satisfaction. 

European Collision Center’s Dedication to Excellence

At European Collision Center, the pursuit of excellence is one of our core values. We believe OEM certification is an investment a shop makes not only in itself but also in its employees and the quality of repairs it offers customers.

While we offer repairs for all makes and models, we proudly hold OEM certification for PorscheAudiMercedesBMWRivian, and Tesla. We’re dedicated to maintaining the highest standards in the industry to ensure our customers receive the high-quality repairs they deserve. 

To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today at (415) 551-9700

Why Are Auto Collision Repairs So Expensive Now?

New vehicles are more advanced than ever, featuring cutting-edge technology and sensors that are designed to enhance driver and passenger safety. However, these sophisticated features come at a price—namely, higher repair costs after accidents, which also have a direct impact on insurance premiums. 

Rising Repair Costs, Increased Complexity

According to Mitchell, a leading provider of data and software for insurance companies and auto body repair shops, the average cost to repair collision damage has increased by 36% since 2018. This staggering increase, which is expected to exceed $5,000 by the end of the year, is largely responsible for the 17% rise in insurance premiums seen over the past 12 months. 

New SUVs, pickup trucks, and electric vehicles, in particular, are becoming increasingly complex. While many of the latest models include luxurious features that greatly enhance the driving experience, this advanced technology means that even the simplest repairs can result in surprisingly high costs. 

In the case of materials that are designed to crumple to absorb impact and protect passengers, repairs can be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. Many components, including bumpers with embedded safety sensors, often require replacement instead of repair. In addition, systems that didn’t suffer any damage must also be inspected or recalibrated to ensure they’re functioning properly. 

The Challenges of Electric Vehicle Repair

Repairing electric vehicles also presents a unique set of challenges due to their engineering and the parts they use—as well as a shortage of mechanics who are properly trained in their repairs. However, despite news reports of astronomical repair bills, analysis of repair data and insurance claims has shown that EV repairs aren’t significantly higher than those of a conventional gas-powered vehicle of the same age and price range. 

One case that’s made its way through the news cycle is that of Chris Apfelstadt and his Rivian R1T pickup truck. After a rear-end collision, Apfelstadt was shocked to discover that the seemingly minor damage to his bumper would cost $42,000 to fix—approximately half the truck’s sell price. Repairing and repainting a panel that extended from the truck’s rear to the front roof pillars resulted in a series of expensive repairs, including removing the interior ceiling material and the front windshield. To further complicate matters for both drivers and insurers, there are a limited number of certified repair shops for newer manufacturers like Rivian. 

Understanding Electric Vehicle Repair Costs

Although electric vehicles are associated with higher costs, it’s important to consider that most electric vehicles in today’s market are luxury models—which will always contribute to higher repair costs. However, repairing EVs from top brands like Hyundai or Nissan will cost approximately $800 more than repairing their gasoline counterparts. 

When it comes to the higher-end market, the repair costs for electric and gasoline vehicles are relatively similar. One main difference to be aware of is that battery-powered cars may need more expensive parts and specialized mechanics, which can contribute to higher overall costs. 

The good news is that automakers are aware of the rising cost of repairs and are actively working on solutions to make them more efficient, especially for electric vehicles. Companies like BMW, Ford, and General Motors have started to equip their vehicles with crash-force sensors and repair-friendly components, as well as developing repair processes for battery packs. These strategies are aimed at reducing repair costs and simplifying the repair process for auto body shops and insurers. 

Trust the Experts for Advanced Repairs

In an era where automotive technology is advancing at an exponential rate, it’s become increasingly vital to choose a repair shop that specializes in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) repairs and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) calibration. 

At European Collision Center, we recognize the importance of staying up to date with the latest advancements and hold OEM certifications for MercedesBMWAudiPorscheRivian, and Tesla, however, all makes and models are welcome and receive the same high-quality repairs and meticulous attention to detail. To make your repairs as convenient as possible, we also offer complete insurance coordination. 

From minor scratches and chips to extensive bodywork, we’ll give your vehicle the focused attention it deserves—with all safety features functional and fully intact. Call us today at (415) 551-9700 or send us a message online. 

Understanding Your Rights: Choosing a Body Shop for Collision Repairs in California

Following an accident, insurance companies often attempt to steer you toward their preferred body shops. However, as a consumer in California, you possess the legal right to choose any body shop you prefer to handle your repairs. At European Collision Center, we deeply respect these rights and go the extra mile to ensure that you confidently choose our shop. We work collaboratively with all insurance companies, including yours. 

To ensure you’re able to make the most informed decisions about where to take your vehicle for auto body repairs, here’s a closer look at your consumer rights.

Get Acquainted with the California Motorists Bill of Rights

The California Motorists Bill of Rights establishes fundamental rights and regulations for consumers dealing with an auto body repair facility. Here are some key provisions of the bill:

  • Right to Choose the Repair Facility: In California, you have the right to select any repair facility you prefer, unless your insurance policy explicitly dictates otherwise. This empowers you to make a well-informed choice and opt for a reputable body shop that aligns with your specific needs and preferences.
  • Notifying Your Insurance Company: Before proceeding with repairs, it’s important to notify your insurance company. Most insurance policies require you to file a sworn proof of loss, present the damaged property, and submit it for examination under oath.
  • Obtaining Repair Estimates: Contrary to popular belief, you’re not obligated to obtain multiple repair estimates. California law mandates that you receive a written estimate from your chosen shop before any repairs commence.
  • Responsibility for Repair Costs: As the vehicle owner, you generally bear the responsibility of paying the repair costs directly to your chosen repair facility, unless your insurance policy states otherwise. While your insurance company may cover the loss, deductibles or depreciation may be subtracted. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions of your policy to avoid any surprises.
  • Repair Facility Accountability: The Automobile Repair Act of 1971 establishes stringent regulations that all repair shops in California must adhere to. This includes being registered with the state, displaying a sign, and maintaining specific standards. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to the revocation of a repair facility’s license. The act also ensures customers get correct information, requested repairs are included in official documents, customers receive copies of those documents, and that industry standards are followed.

Seeking Recourse for Disputes with Your Insurer

Knowing how to seek recourse in case of difficulties or disputes with your insurance company about your auto body repair is crucial. Here are two options for resolution:

  • Consulting with Your Insurance Company: If you encounter any issues with your insurance company, it is advisable to first consult with your insurance agent or broker to see if they can help you resolve the issue. 
  • Department of Insurance: If you’re not able to reach a satisfactory resolution with your insurance company, you have the option to reach out to the Department of Insurance, State of California. Their toll-free line at 1-800-927-4357 can connect you with professionals who ensure fair practices and will assist you in resolving disputes with your insurer.

Additional Rights and Considerations:

In addition to the rights outlined above, it is important to be aware of the following:

  • Freedom to Choose a Repair Shop: Insurance companies are prohibited from requiring, directing, suggesting, or recommending a specific repair shop unless you explicitly request it in writing. If an insurer elects a particular repair shop, they are obligated to make sure the vehicle is restored to its pre-loss condition without any additional cost to you, as per the policy or applicable laws.
  • Use of Non-OEM Replacement Parts: Insurers cannot mandate the use of non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement crash parts for repairs unless these parts are equivalent in quality, safety, fit, and performance to OEM parts. If non-OEM parts are specified, insurers must cover any necessary modifications and provide warranties that are comparable to those of OEM parts.

Choose an Auto Body Repair Facility That Respects Your Rights

When it comes to auto body repairs in California, it’s crucial to be knowledgeable about and assert your consumer rights. By law, you have the freedom to select any auto body shop for your repairs.

At European Collision Repair, we’re committed to delivering exceptional auto body repair and refinishing services while prioritizing your safety and satisfaction. Our team upholds a strong code of ethics, emphasizing integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship. We genuinely care about your experience and stand behind all our repairs. Whether you need an extensive repair or a minor fix, we’re here to assist you.

If you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle, or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us at (415) 551-9700

Auto Insurance Changes in 2023

This year, California drivers can expect to see several changes to their auto insurance policies. The California legislature has enacted several new laws that affect how insurance companies do business, including changes to liability coverage and the use of time-limited insurance policy limit demands. Whether you’re buying car insurance for the first time or you’re reviewing your policy to ensure you have enough coverage in case you need auto body repair, here are some of the most significant auto insurance changes to be aware of. 

Insurance Rate Increases

After two years of steady pricing, many drivers can expect to see increases in their auto insurance rates. Towards the end of 2022, California regulators signed off on eight auto rate increases—half of which were for GEICO. State Farm, Farmers Insurance, and Allstate are also expected to increase their premiums. On average, it’s predicted that most consumers will see an increase of about 8.4%.

Protection Against Illegal Insurance Sales

While not directly impacting your car insurance, this bill will certainly be welcome news for consumers who were targeted in illegal insurance practices. SB 1040 allows Insurance Commissioner to ensure those who have sold insurance without a license pay back the amount they collected from consumers—including people who sold extended vehicle warranties through robocalls or took money from individuals for insurance they weren’t legally allowed to sell. 

The Protect California Drivers Act

Passed in 2022, the Protect California Drivers Act updates California’s minimum auto insurance requirements to provide more coverage for victims of car accidents. The current liability insurance limits haven’t been updated since 1967, yet the costs of medical care and vehicle damage have risen significantly. This new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2025, will increase the minimum liability for physical injury or death and property damage. The limits will increase again in 2035. 

As of January 2025, the minimum liability coverage required by California state law will increase to the following amounts:

  • $30,000 for physical injury or death of one person
  • $60,000 physical injury or death of two or more people 
  • $15,000 in property damage coverage

In 2035, these amounts will increase to:

  • $50,000 for physical injury or death of one person
  • $100,000 physical injury or death of two or more people 
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage

The law also requires drivers to increase their liability coverage by 2025 and purchase additional liability coverage in another ten years and requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to increase to match the liability coverage limits.

Time-Limited Insurance Policy Limit Demands

Lawyers often use time-limited insurance policy limit demands to make insurance companies vulnerable to bad faith claims. These demands seek maximum recovery with minimal detail, which often causes insurance companies to reject the demand. To address this issue, the California Legislature has enacted crucial legislative changes that took effect on January 1, 2023.

With the passing of this law, claimants must follow specific requirements for time-limited demands to settle a claim against an insured person. The demand must be:

  • Written
  • Labeled as a time-limited demand
  • Specify a period of time for the insurer to accept the demands
  • Offer to settle all claims within the policy limits

The insurer may seek clarification or additional information, but they must respond in writing if they choose to reject the demand. These changes are aimed at creating a more equitable process for both sides in settling claims and ensuring that cases worthy of early resolution receive the appropriate attention based on the facts and evidence.

Review Your Policy Periodically
The recent changes to auto insurance laws have implications for both insurers and policyholders, particularly the changes in liability coverage; it’s important for drivers to review their policies periodically to ensure they have adequate coverage for their needs. This will help protect you in the event of an accident and ensure your medical bills and collision repair are covered. 

If you need an auto body shop, contact European Collision Center. From high-quality OEM repairs and factory repair methods to insurance coordination, we make your repairs as convenient and stress-free as possible. Call us today at (415) 551-9700!

Tips for Safe Driving in the Rain

Rain fall on the ground in rains season.

Whether you’re on the road during a light shower or a heavy downpour, rain is one of the most challenging driving conditions we experience in San Francisco. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, weather conditions are responsible for over a million accidents each year; of these, 46% of accidents happen in the rain and 70% happen when the ground is wet.

Rainy, wet conditions are directly associated with higher accident rates, but by understanding how wet roads affect the way your vehicle handles, you can drive safely and reduce your chances of an accident. Here are 11 tips to keep in mind when the roads are wet:

  1. Wait for the Weather to Improve

If you feel uncomfortable driving in the rain, you may want to consider postponing your trip or commute until the weather improves—especially if you plan to be driving at night. Driving at night in the rain can be very dangerous, especially with raindrops amplifying the glare coming from oncoming traffic.

If waiting out the entire storm isn’t an option, consider waiting out the first 15 after the rain has started to fall. The first 15 minutes is typically the most dangerous time to drive because the water mixes with the oil on the road, causing the road to be extra slick. After about 15 minutes, the oil will be washed away and the road will be a bit safer.

  1. Double Check Your Car’s Safety Components

Make sure your car’s equipment is in good working order before driving in rainy weather. Before driving in the first rain of the season, it’s always a good idea to perform a check on your:

  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Brake pads
  • Tire tread and pressure

Keep in mind that bald tires can severely reduce your vehicle’s traction and increase the risk of accidents. Likewise, under-inflated tires can increase the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when your tires drive on the surface of the water, rather than on the road. Since the tires aren’t gripping the road, you can easily lose traction and slide around. Keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance is the best way to ensure your safety components will work when you need them.

  1. Slow Down

It’s best to drive slower than the posted speed limit in wet weather conditions because your vehicle’s reaction time is considerably slower than it is on a dry day. In general, your stopping distance is doubled. Most vehicle safety experts recommend reducing your speed by about 1/3 of the posted speed limit.

  1. Turn on Your Headlights

Since rain reduces visibility, it’s critical to ensure you can see the road well—and to make your car as visible to other drivers as possible. Turn on your headlights, even if there’s only a light drizzle. Not only can this help prevent an accident, but it can also prevent a ticket! Remember: California law requires you to turn on your headlights if the weather conditions make you use your windshield wipers.

  1. Use Your Windshield Wipers

This tip may seem like common sense, but many people don’t think to use their windshield wipers in light rain. If your windshield wipers smear the raindrops across your windshield, rather than clearing them, or you hear scraping noises, it’s time to get them replaced.

  1. Keep Your Distance

As mentioned above, your vehicle’s response time is lower in wet conditions, so it’s important to keep a greater distance between your car and other vehicles. You should maintain a distance of several car lengths to allow for safe stopping.

  1. Avoid Heavy Braking and Cruise Control

Heavy braking in wet weather can be dangerous because it can cause your brakes to lock up or a loss of control. Instead, try slowing your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you normally would. Avoid using cruise control, too, so that you’re able to pay more attention to the balance between gas and braking.

  1. Keep an Eye Out for Standing Water

Driving through 6 inches (or more) of standing water can increase your chances of hydroplaning. Whenever possible, try to avoid driving in areas of the road that have collected water by changing lanes or safely steering around puddles.

  1. Let Up Off the Gas

If you start hydroplaning, stay calm and take your foot off the accelerator while steering in the direction you want your car to go. Don’t make sudden turns or slam on the brakes, as these can make it easier to lose control.

  1. Ventilate Your Vehicle

Rain increases the humidity levels inside vehicles, which is why the windows get foggy. Use your defroster or air conditioning to reduce any fog that builds up. If you find your defroster isn’t working as well as you like, you can also roll down your windows, which will help to balance out the temperature difference.

  1. Keep an Eye on Brake Lights

A good rule of thumb for all driving conditions is to keep an eye on the brake lights in front of you, especially if you can see a few cars ahead. This can alert you to quick slowdowns and give you plenty of time to decelerate if you need to.

Go Slow, Be Alert, Stay Safe

No one ever wants to be involved in an accident. However, staying safe in rainy conditions is easier when you keep your speed low, stay alert to road and traffic conditions, and make an effort to drive safely. Keep plenty of room between you and the car in front of you, and make sure you’re doing what you can to keep your visibility as high as possible.

We hope you never get into an accident, but if you do, we’re here to help. From high-quality OEM repairs and factory repair methods to insurance coordination, we make your repairs as convenient and stress-free as possible. Contact European Collision Center today at (415) 551-9700 or send us a message online. Stay safe out there!

OEM v. Aftermarket Parts -The Real Truth

Depending on the auto body shop you choose, you may have a choice between OEM and aftermarket parts for your repairs. If you’ve never had this type of repair done on your vehicle, you might be wondering if there’s really a difference between the two. Is one better than the other? Here’s a look at how these parts differ and how you can make the best decision for your vehicle.

How Are OEM and Aftermarket Parts Different?

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer.” These parts are made by your vehicle’s manufacturer, so they are specifically designed for your make and model. They fit perfectly and are of the exact same quality as the parts installed in your vehicle when it was in the factory. However, OEM parts are more expensive than aftermarket parts.

Aftermarket parts are made by other manufacturers—not automakers. These parts are often designed to fit more than one kind of vehicle, which means they may not be an exact fit. In some cases, parts may even need to be modified to fit properly. Since aftermarket parts are often more of a “universal,” part, they tend to be cheaper in quality and price.

OEM or Aftermarket: Which Should I Choose?

Although some aftermarket parts may be acceptable for auto body repairs, others may not be. This is because there’s often a lot of variation in the quality of aftermarket parts. For example, many of them don’t have the same level of rustproofing as an OEM part. The fit or finish may not match your vehicle, or the panels may not align properly.

With OEM parts, everything looks, fits, and functions exactly like the original factory parts that came with your vehicle. Unlike many aftermarket parts, OEM parts are crash-tested, and most are backed with a one-year warranty.

Another factor to consider is ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) safety features. This is a series of electronic systems that use sensors and cameras to assist drivers and increase vehicle safety, like lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and forward-collision warning. Many of these sensors and cameras are located in areas that often suffer collision damage, like the front and rear bumpers. OEM parts are made to fit your specific vehicle and support the functionality of ADAS, unlike aftermarket parts. An ill-fitting part could potentially block a sensor or cause other issues that prevent ADAS from working as it should.

Since aftermarket parts are less expensive than OEM, many insurance companies will push for drivers and shops to use them. Sometimes insurance companies will insist drivers use “preferred shops” that use only lower-cost parts so they can save money on the claim. Regardless of whether you want OEM or aftermarket parts, you have the right in California to take your vehicle to any shop you like. If you’re set on OEM parts for your repair, you also have the right to ask to pay for the difference.

Depending on the shop and the age of your vehicle, you may also have the option of used parts. These typically come from a salvage yard and can be significantly cheaper than OEM or aftermarket parts. However, since they’re used, they may come with wear and tear. If you decide to go with this option, make sure the parts have been inspected and warrantied.

Ultimately, the decision between OEM, aftermarket, or used parts will depend on a few factors: your budget, the shop you choose, and the level of quality you’re looking for in a repair.

For OEM Repairs in San Francisco, Visit European Collision Center

If you’re searching for high-quality OEM repairs for your vehicle, you’ll find them at European Collision Center. We’re a full-service collision and body repair facility certified in OEM repairs for Mercedes, Tesla, BMW, Audi, and Porsche—but all makes and models are welcome and receive the same level of attention to detail and quality. We feel OEM offers the highest quality, safest repairs for your vehicle, and we adhere to factory repair procedures on every make and model we service.

For OEM repairs that will truly restore your vehicle and all its features back to its pre-accident condition, call European Collision Center at (415) 551-9700 or fill out our online form.

What Causes Faded Paint on My Car?

sunburn in the car's roof, fading paint on the hood,

When your car was new, it was sleek and vibrantly colored. Over time, that beautiful, radiant color and shiny finish may start to look dull and faded. Unfortunately, faded paint is a fairly common problem that can be caused by a combination of environmental factors and improper care. The good news is, if you understand what causes paint to fade, you can take steps to prevent it from occurring.

Some of the most common reasons for dull or faded paint include:

  • Sunlight
    The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are one of the top culprits when it comes to faded paint. This is because UV rays can contribute to oxidation, a chemical process that occurs from the paint’s exposure to heat and oxygen. Over time, the paint begins to lose its oil content, which causes it to dry out. This makes the paint lose its vibrancy and take on a faded, chalky appearance. Eventually, oxidation can also cause the clear coat to deteriorate, leaving the body of the vehicle susceptible to rust.
  • Salt
    Although we don’t have rock salt on the roads to worry about here in San Francisco, we do have plenty of salt air! Salt can be very corrosive, especially if it’s left on the paint for an extended period of time. The heat from the sun increases the pores in the paint, which allows the paint to absorb a greater amount of salt and moisture. When exposed to UV rays, salt crystals will begin to eat away at the paint. Not only does this cause fading over time, but it can also result in rust formation.
  • Air Pollution and Exhaust
    Unburnt fuel in the environment and from your exhaust can also damage the paint. Carbon particulates are hard and jagged, which allows them to bind to a car’s clear coat and create scarring. Over time, this can lead to oxidation.
  • Car Washes
    Some automated car washes use spinning plastic brushes and harsh soaps that can damage the paint and cause the clear coat to appear dull.
  • Improper Hand-washing Methods
    Like an automated commercial car wash, using bristle brushes on your car or harsh soaps can damage the paint and cause a dull appearance.
  • Acid Rain
    Acid rain contains acidic material that can ruin the paint on your car and even weaken the metal below. Although the moisture will evaporate, the acidic compounds remain and can cause damage, especially in combination with the sun’s UV rays.

Prevention and Repainting

As you can see, there are many things that can cause your vehicle’s paint to fade or become damaged. How can these be prevented? First, you should try to park your car in the garage or in a shaded area whenever possible. If you don’t have a garage or shady area, you may want to consider using a weatherproof car cover. If you can reduce the amount of time your vehicle sits in the sun, this will go a long way in preventing oxidation.

Secondly, you should get your car professionally detailed every few weeks or whenever your exterior looks dirty. This will get rid of corrosive elements, like exhaust, rain deposits, bird droppings, dead insects, and other impurities that can damage the paint.

Along with improving the appearance of your vehicle, the paint is essential for preventing rust and corrosion from developing on the body. These can compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle – and your safety. A nice paint job also increases your vehicle’s resale value, so there really aren’t any downsides to keeping your paint in good condition.

If your vehicle looks faded or the paint has been damaged in an accident, contact European Collision Center for expert paint matching and repainting services that will help it regain its luster! Give us a call at (415) 551-9700 to schedule your appointment.

Is Rush Hour Traffic Getting Back to Normal?

If you commute to work during typical business hours, you may have noticed a change: rush hour isn’t quite as “rushed” as it used to be.

traffic jams in the city, road, rush hour

It’s not just you. Traffic data suggests that the daily commute – particularly in the morning – has changed drastically since the start of the pandemic, and it’s unclear if it will go back to its pre-COVID-19 patterns.

In general, rush hour traffic has become more spread out and shifted to include the later hours of the morning as more Americans have transitioned to remote work. Although it’s expected that more people will return to the workplace following Labor Day, traffic experts believe that traffic will continue to stay lighter than it was prior to 2020.

Less Road Time, More Accidents

Less congestion on the road seems like it would have no downsides. Commutes are quicker and there’s less time waiting in stop-and-go traffic, which means less stress and potential for road rage. However, it also means there are more dangerous hours on the road, as open roads encourage speeding and increase the potential for deadly accidents.

Even with fewer people on the road, it’s more dangerous out there than it was before the pandemic.

In 2020, the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled on U.S. roads was 1.37, a 23% increase from 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The reason behind this is simple: there was less traffic, so people could go faster. The National Safety Council also estimates that just under 4.8 million people were seriously injured in collisions in 2020.

To add to the issue, police aren’t stepping in the way they would have prior to the pandemic. So, people are speeding because they know they can get away with it.

Now, with traffic returning, many areas have reported incidents of sudden braking and other potentially hazardous driving behaviors as drivers adjust to slightly more congested roads.

Stay Safe

Whether you commute to the office daily or work remotely, it’s important to keep in mind that many people are still adjusting to life after a year of lockdown—and more traffic on the roads. Stay safe by keeping your eyes on the road, limiting distractions, and give people who want to go faster than the speed limit allows a wide berth.

If you do get into an accident, we’re here to help! From high-quality OEM repairs to complete insurance coordination on your behalf, we make the repair process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Give us a call at (415) 551-9700 or contact us online. Stay safe out there!

According to BMW: Why You Should Use A BMW Certified Collision Repair Center Body Shop

Collision repair shops often discuss the benefits of taking your BMW to a BMW Certified Collision Repair Center body shop, but what does the automaker have to say about the matter? Here’s an overview of what BMW says about having your repairs completed at one of their approved locations:

Working with a certified BMW body shop is the best way to guarantee your vehicle is fully restored to its pre-accident condition. Shops in the BMW Bodyshop Program have BMW-trained technicians who use only genuine BMW parts, repair methods, and the latest diagnostic equipment, ensuring you have safe, quality repairs and lasting peace of mind. 

BMW-approved repair shops allow you to maintain the integrity and value of your vehicle, no matter what it’s been through. From the smallest of flaws to severe damage, BMW Certified shops have the ability to make your vehicle look flawless with the following: 

Need BMW-Certified Collision Repairs? Visit ECC 

Whether you need a minor repair or a major one, you can rely on the experts at European Collision Center. As a BMW-Certified Collision Center body shop, we’ve undergone rigorous training to prove our ability to fully restore BMWs back to factory standards. We’ve invested in the right equipment, and we use only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts on anything we replace. To make your repair process less stressful, we also work with your insurance company on your behalf. This not only streamlines the entire process, but also ensures you get the most out of your insurance benefits. For more information on our services or to schedule your appointment, contact us today at (415) 551-9700 or fill out our online form.

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