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 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. 

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.

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.

Contact Us Online

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Posted in BMW

What are the Top New Safety Features for your Car?

If you stop and think about it, riding in a metal crate on spinning wheels at a high rate of speed is a pretty risky thing to do. Yet, we all do it. In fact, most of us hop into a car every day without thinking twice. Why is has it become so normal, and why has it gotten progressively safer to take the wheel, put it in gear, and press the accelerator?

There are safety belts, of course, which weren’t mandated equipment until 1968. In the decades since, engineers have designed systems that protect you and your passengers as you hurtle down the road. First introduced in the 1970s, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control gave drivers more control during emergencies. Of course, airbags save lives—more than 50,000 since they were first deployed in the late 1980s.

What Are The New Features?

But what are the safety features now that can keep you, your passengers, and those you share the road with safer? Here are a few that you might want to consider the next time you purchase a vehicle:

  • Forward Collision Warning(FCW): This feature detects objects or pedestrians in the road ahead and alerts you so you can stop, slow, or avoid a collision. An advanced version of this is Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), a system that perceives a potential collision with an object or pedestrian ahead, gives you a warning, and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or lessen the severity of impact.
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW): This safety feature monitors your vehicle’s position within the driving lane and alerts you when you approach or cross lane markers. A more cutting-edge option is Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA), which helps you in steering to keep you within the driving lane.
  • Blind Spot Warning (BSW): This feature detects vehicles in adjacent lanes while driving and alerts you to their presence.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Warning (RCTW): This system alerts you when you have the car in Reverse and vehicles are approaching from the side and rear. The more advanced version of this is Rear Automatic Emergency Braking (Rear AEB), which automatically applies the brakes in this situation.
  • Lane Centering Assist (LCA): Gives you continuous active steering so you stay in between lanes. It also goes by the names Active Steer, AutoSteer, and others.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC):  Assists you with acceleration and/or braking to maintain a prescribed distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Some systems can come to a stop and then continue on their own.

Unfortunately, no matter how many systems and features are in place, people and cars get into accidents. That means you are sometimes going to need an autobody repair shop. When that happens, consider bringing your car, van, or light truck to the pros at European Collision Center. We work on nearly every vehicle but specialize in working on BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Tesla, Sprinter, Mini, and other European vehicles. We adhere to all factory repair procedures and have the right tools, equipment, and methodology for flawless cosmetic paint restoration, detailing, minor or major collision repair, and lease return repair.

For European autobody repair done the right way, call ECC at 415-551-9700, send us an email at, or contact us online today!

How to Care for Your BMW’s Paint

How To Care For Your BMWs Paint

There’s nothing quite like the shine of a pristine new BMW, which may have you wondering if it’s possible to keep it looking that way forever. Believe it or not, maintain your glossy new-car shine isn’t as difficult as you’d think! By following these easy tips and keeping up with a proper routine, you can keep your BMW looking as good as the day you drove it off the lot.

  1. Wash your car regularly
    Many things in the environment can ruin your paint if they aren’t washed off soon enough. Bird droppings and other types of animal excrement are corrosive – so the longer they stay on your car the more damage they cause. Other things that can corrode your paint the longer they sit are dead insects, pollen, dirt, and other types of debris. Once the paint has begun to corrode, the damage becomes permanent and needs to be repaired professionally.

    To prevent this, it’s recommended that you wash your car at least once a week. Hand washing will allow you to get more detailed, although taking your car through a carwash is better than nothing. If once a week doesn’t work well for your schedule, try to wash your car by hand at least once a month. When it comes to automated car washes, some use brushes, and others use cloths. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but it IS important that the car wash is clean and well-maintained. Brushes that are tattered and worn at the ends can collect dirt – which can be abrasive on your paint. High water pressure can also damage the paint, so avoid pressure washing stations.
  1. Wash your car regularly – and correctly!
    Washing your car by hand is the most economical way to keep your car’s paint maintained, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it correctly. You should always wash your BMW in a cool, shady spot. It’s also best to use soft water, as the minerals in hard water can leave behind water spots on the paint.

    Although many DIY tips suggest using household cleaners, laundry soap, or dish soap, these should never be used because they can strip away the finish. It’s best to use a soap designed for vehicles and to wash your car from the top down. When it comes time to dry your car, use clean microfiber cloths. These are significantly more gentle on the finish than terry cloth or cotton towels, which can actually make the finish dull – or scratch it. Your microfiber towels should be laundered in hot water (without fabric softener) separately from clothing and other items.
  1. Treat matte finishes differently
    Cars with a matte finish require different care than the standard glossy finish. Car wash brushes can be abrasive and have a smoothing effect on matte finishes over time. They should always be hand-washed. Likewise, polishes, which have micro-abrasives that gently clean the surface of glossy vehicles, can remove the distinct rough surface of matte paint.
  1. Apply polish and wax
    Once your car is clean and dry, it’s time to polish and wax it. Polish helps to restore the luster of the finish and smooths out minor scratches. It cleans the surface, preserves the paint, and adds a level of weather-proofing. Although you shouldn’t use polish on matte finishes, it’s safe to use on all other types of auto paint, including metallic or effect paint.

    After you’ve polished your BMW, follow up with wax. The wax will seal in the topcoat and keep the paint protected. In general, waxing should be done every three months, but it’s also dependent on the weather and how you store your vehicle. If you keep it in a garage, the wax will last for longer than if it’s parked outside or under a carport.

    Some experts recommend waxing your car after every wash, just to add an extra level of protection to the paint. If every three months or after every wash doesn’t work for you, aim for doing it twice a year in the spring and fall. Paste and liquid waxes tend to last the longest, but spray-on waxes work fine on newer vehicles.

While washing and detailing your car is the most affordable route, sometimes it can be difficult to keep a regular schedule. If you find yourself pressed for time, schedule an appointment with European Collision Center. We offer everything from simple washes to complete interior and exterior detailing. Keeping your BMW clean will ensure you continue to have a beautiful, glossy car for many years – and preserve the resell value!