Select Page

Blog in Indian Head, MD

Ask the Experts – What to Do When You Have an Accident

Ask the Experts – What to Do When You Have an Accident

No one wants, predicts, or needs a car accident. Unfortunately they happen to almost everyone, whether it is through your fault or the other person’s. It can be scary, but after you’ve made sure everyone involved is ok, what should you do? If you’ve ever been involved in situations where its not clear whose fault it was, or insurance isn’t sure how to determine what it will cost you, its great to have some advice beforehand about what is a good, and not so good idea for handling an accident.

To be prepared

You might have heard that a camera is extremely helpful during an accident. Nowadays, almost everyone has a camera on their cell phone (and usually a pretty good one!). Having a car charger to make sure that you can keep your phone charged is a great idea, and in case of loss of power, a portable charger can come in handy. If you have a camera that you can view pictures on, that works as well.

As you know already, it’s important to always have your license and registration on hand. If you don’t, you can receive a citation should the police be necessary to call. Its also helpful to have a pen and paper in your car, as you’re probably going to need to exchange information with the other driver.

This may be something that sounds obvious, however isn’t the first thing you’d think to throw in your trunk, but a first aid kit can be extremely important in case of emergency. If you are in a fender bender versus a major accident with potential scrapes and cuts (for you, passengers, or the other person) you will want to have a first aid kit handy. You never know what kind of weather, time of day, climate, or dangers you may end up exposed to as a result of an accident, so its always best to be prepared with a blanket and a flashlight.

What to do

First things first, stop your car! Always make sure that you stop and check in with the other person driving. You don’t want to be the person who hits and runs. Not only can this result in major consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life (depending on the severity of the damage) but it’s just not the right thing to do. Be a good citizen and stop!

The next thing you’ll want to do is to check on the other person. Are they ok? Then call the police and report the accident. The last thing you want to do is not report an accident to your and find out that the other person did, and now you are the one being judged at fault. Besides that, if anyone sustained any injuries, you’ll want to call the police for medical assistance. The other hopefully unlikely scenario is that the other person says that they won’t report anything, but then does report you as a hit and run. In this case, you could be arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident. It is always best to report accidents to the police, who will inquire about personal injuries, and make a detailed report about who said what. Make sure you protect yourself. Make sure you also report the accident to your insurance company. The sooner you file a report with them, the sooner they can help cover the damages, if any, to your car. If you do unfortunately end up in an accident and you’re not sure where to take your car to address the damage, you can always give us a call at Charles County Auto Body and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have; you can also schedule an appointment here:

Steps to Paint a Car

Steps to Paint a Car

It may sound simple, paint a car. Painting a car with damage from an accident requires more, but we’ll walk you through the basic steps to painting a car that needs some fresh color from scratches and basic things that can minorly damage the paint on your car.

Get it Inspected

The first thing you want to do is have your car visually inspected. The person inspecting your car will catch tiny scratches and dents that you might not have seen. This is important because you’ll want to know where you’ll need to sand or repair before repainting.

Washing your car

Getting your car clean will ensure, just as it would if you were painting a wall, that your car will have a smooth and clean paint job. You’ll want to pressure wash your vehicle, paying close attention to the places where dirt might hide, like under the wheel wells. Included in the cleaning process is waxing and grease removing. You can use a grease remover to get rid of excess grease on your vehicle.

Sanding your car

Part of the smoothing process is sanding your vehicle so that the paint will adhere correctly. Many people will use a sanding machine to make the sanding job uniform. You’ll want to scuff the vehicle afterwards. This is all part of making sure the surface of your car is ready to help paint adhere to it. Next you’ll wash your car again after this sanding process to ensure that any dust or dirt that might have got on your car from the sanding process is removed.

Paint booth

After your vehicle is dry, it will go into the paint booth and will get masked to make sure that anything that isn’t supposed to get painted won’t. The only sections that ought to be exposed in the paint both are the sides of the car and the areas that you want painted. If you want a design for example, you may have to repeat this process twice or even a few times in some instances. After your car is maxed, the exposed areas will be waxed and degreased again. Once again ensuring anything that has become attached to your vehicle, like dust, dirt, or grease will be removed. Then the portions of the vehicle that are exposed might have a tack cloth used to back up the waxing and degreasing process.

Prepare the paint!

This can vary from paint to paint. The type of paint you choose will determine how, and how much to prepare for the first coat on the car. Then the paint will be loaded into the paint gun, which will be used by the technician who will apply the paint evenly, standing at a constant distance away from the car. Most of the time (depending on the type of paint) the technician will wait 10 to 15 minutes for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. They will then repeat this process for the third coat. After 30 minutes, the final coat will be applied to add shine to the car, and will be applied in 2-3 coats 10-15 minutes apart. After waiting another 15-20 minutes, the car will be “baked” in the paint booth, to ensure drying and adhering of the paint.

If your vehicle is properly prepped and painted, you will end up with a shiny, newly painted car! As stated before, this process can absolutely vary depending on whether your car had major damage and repairs prior to painting, as well as what kind of paint you are applying, but the basic steps of cleaning, sanding, and painting are fairly standard. If you have any questions, you can always give us a call at Charles County Auto Body, where we perform repair and paint jobs. Our technicians will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also schedule an appointment with us here:

Insurance Process for Your Car

Insurance Process for Your Car

Insurance process for your car
Car accidents. We’ve all had some experience in anything from fender benders and minor collisions to major accidents. After making sure everyone is ok, our first call is usually to our auto insurance company. We create a claim and wait to hear where we should take our car and what our insurance will end up covering. If you’re like many people, you’ve spoken with your agent before, but you probably don’t have much of an idea of what goes on with the other side of the insurance claim at the auto body shop. Here’s a quick breakdown for how insurance communicates with everyone including auto body shops to get the job done and get your car
back on the road!

Insurance checks the car damage and recommends where to go
The first thing insurance does is file your claim and speak with the other driver (if someone else was involved). This helps them determine who was at fault, if anyone. Sometimes if the accident was weather related, it is not anyone’s fault but mother nature. In Indian Head Maryland, we always advice keeping a sharp eye out for deer and other wildlife. Insurance might also talk to the witnesses listed and even visit the accident scene. Insurance could send someone out to inspect the damage done to your vehicle and take some photos. Then they will let you know where to take your vehicle to get it fixed. You can also seek out an alternative place. Charles County Auto Body, for example, prides itself on being a more affordable alternative to dealerships.

Insurance checks your personal damage
Hopefully you won’t be dealing with any major medical issues as a result of your accident. In some cases, however, you will want to be on the safe side and either go to the hospital or schedule a visit to your doctor. Your insurance company will likely have you sign a medical release form to view your medical records. Insurance will determine what, if any medical issues arose as a result of the accident. They may also directly contact your medical providers to determine the cost of medical treatment.

For the auto body shop
The very first issue to address is how to get your vehicle to the shop. In the case of Charles County Auto Body, we have 24-hour towing and emergency roadside assistance for Charles County and Southern Maryland. This can be good to note because it does not just apply to accidents. If your car is stuck in the mud, snow, or ice, we can give you a hand at any hour of the day, which sometimes can save you further damage from having your vehicle sitting outside overnight. In the case of accidents, however, the technician at the body shop will receive an estimate from your insurance carrier. Your carrier will relate the damages and the body shop will communicate with them to ensure all damage from the accident to your vehicle is addressed. At Charles County Auto Body, we use the most current diagnostic equipment available, including original factory equipment. If the car isn’t determined to be totaled (the cost of the fix is more than the cost of your car), the Body shop will then repair your vehicle. They will also usually take the time to repaint and detail the area of your car that has been affected by the accident. At Charles County Auto Body, we make it our mission to get your car back on the road in less time than it takes other shops to simply figure out what’s wrong!

If you find yourself wondering how all this works, don’t hesitate to ask questions! Some common insurances that we work with are; USAA Insurance, ERIE Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Allstate Insurance, and State Farm Insurance. If you have these or any others, Charles County Auto Body wants to make sure you are taken care of, and that doesn’t just mean your car. Believe me, we understand what a headache it can be to sort out all the details of an insurance claim. We want you to leave satisfied, and if that means you are confused, ask questions so we can clarify this process and make it as smooth as possible!

Ask the Experts — How much does it cost to get my car painted?

Ask the Experts — How much does it cost to get my car painted?

Having been in this business for over 47 years, we have heard a ton of questions! Far and away, the most frequently asked question we get is “How much will it cost for an all over paint job on my vehicle?” However, this is not a one-price-fits-all question; it involves several variables and therefore we are unable to provide a quote over the phone or based on photographs. Trust us, we would love to have a simple price for these jobs, but this one is pretty complicated! Find out why on this week’s Ask the Experts!

There are many factors that go in to assessing the necessary process needed to paint a vehicle. This is why we can’t have a set price. Some of the variables are the condition of the current paint on the vehicle. For example, is the clear coat peeling? Is the paint faded? Has is become de-laminated or are there cracks in the current paint? This can all affect how much we will need to sand and prep your vehicle for a fresh coat of paint, making a phone or photo estimate nearly impossible!

Another factor when considering a paint job estimate are hidden issues, such as rust or dents and dings that may be included in the estimation for a paint job. When getting quotes, you may want to clarify whether they will be painting the entirety of the car, or is they will just be doing the visible areas. Many shops will do an economy paint job, which can help reduce costs, but this will not include certain areas of your vehicle getting painted, such as the door jambs, the inside of the trunk, or the underside of the hood. While this may seem cost effective, it will leave you with different colored areas on your vehicle.

While this may seem overwhelming, have no fear! Our paint and body experts here at Charles County Auto Body will be more than happy to provide you with a free, no obligation estimate for your car or trucks paint job. Please give us a call today at 301.743.5404 to set up an appointment with one of our friendly Estimators!

I Was Just in an Accident…What Should/Shouldn’t I Do?

I Was Just in an Accident…What Should/Shouldn’t I Do?

This is a very great question people are faced with when becoming in involved in an accident. No matter how big or small the impact was, there are similar steps to follow in any case. Since it is usually a person’s first time being in an accident when these questions arise, we are going to help you with a few things to do (and not do!) when you are first involved in a car accident. Let’s see what our Collision Center Experts say on this week’s Ask the Experts blog!

Car accidents are jarring, scary, unexpected, and sometimes result in injury. Let’s start with a few things you SHOULD do after an accident. Your number one priority should be to assess your physical health, and that of those around you, and call 911 if you discover an injured party. Another question people find themselves asking, if no one is hurt, is whether they need to call the police or not. There are some instances, if both parties are cooperative and there is minor damage that the police will not respond to the scene of a fender bender, however, when filing an insurance claim, it is always helpful if you have a copy of a police report. Make sure you report the accident and then let the officer decide if they need to respond or not. You can always go to a local station and file a report if they do not come.

If you can do so safely, make sure you move your vehicle to the side of the road for your own safety and the safety of the other motorists on the road. If it will be too dangerous, or if your vehicle is too damaged to drive, then leave it where it is, but make sure you are safely away from the road, to avoid further injury. Now you will need to exchange information. This is particularly easy when both parties are calm and respectful, so try to keep your wits about you. Always get the driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information. Take as many photos as necessary with your smart phone, your insurance company may need these later for your claims.

Now that we have covered things TO do, here are a few things NOT to do in the event of an accident. Never, ever leave the scene of the accident without talking to the police and the other driver, as this could result in serious charges in most states. Never agree to work things out without involving the police, as this could lead to you being stuck with thousands of dollars in damages that you may not be at fault for. Finally, don’t refuse medical care. If you have just been in an accident, your adrenaline is probably rushing and you may not notice an injury right away. Always check with your doctor after you’ve been involved in an accident.

Once you’ve gathered your info and spoke with your auto insurance provider, the next step is to have your vehicle brought in to the Auto Body Repair Experts at Charles County Auto Body! We will take of you and your vehicle every step of the way. We will even work with your insurance provider to get you back on the road in no time! Contact us today for more info at 301.743.5404.