Category: Car Care
Have you ever done something while driving and thought to yourself, “Is this legal?“. You’re not alone. We’ve created a list of driving law myths that may surprise you. Maybe your parents have been wrong all these years about leaving that interior light on while driving. Keep reading to find out the truth about some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding driving laws in Texas.
It’s illegal to drive with headphones: FALSE
While it’s legal for drivers in Texas to use headphones while driving, we don’t recommend it. Noise-canceling headphones don’t allow you to hear sirens or honking that could help prevent you from crashing with a nearby vehicle. There are some exceptions though, anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed to use headphones or any other wireless listening device while driving.
Neon underglow lights are illegal: FALSE
Some car-enthusiasts like to customize their ride with neon underglow lights. While these custom lights are legal in Texas, there are some exceptions. It is illegal for vehicles to have red lights of any kind in the front of part of the vehicle, as law enforcement and emergency vehicles use the colors red and blue.
Laser detection devices are legal: TRUE
While laser detection devices are legal in Texas, laser jammers are not. Laser jammers interfere and block the signals emitted from police radar guns. If you are pulled over and caught using a laser jammer, you could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.
It’s illegal to drive a vehicle without a windshield: FALSE
While driving a vehicle without a windshield is completely legal in Texas, driving a vehicle with no windshield wipers is not. All vehicles with windshields must have working wipers and be without an obstructed view like a sticker or large crack. This law seems contradictory, as it’s one of the strangest myths to date.
Driving with a dog in your front seat is legal: TRUE
Let’s face it, we were all hoping this myth was true. As of today, there are no established laws stating you aren’t allowed to drive with your furry friend in the front seat of your car. But be aware, a pet on your lap can cause distracted driving and potentially be a safety hazard.
Driving barefoot is illegal: FALSE
Driving barefoot is legal in Texas and all other 49 states. While some don’t recommend it, you won’t be fined for it when pulled over.
It’s illegal to ride in the open bed of a truck: FALSE
We’ve all ridden in the bed of a truck at least once in our life. But is it legal? The answer is yes, but only if you’re over 18. Riding in the bed of a truck isn’t the smartest or safest thing to do, it’s better to grab a seat inside the vehicle with a working seatbelt.
Driving with the interior lights of your vehicle on is illegal: FALSE
This myth is old as dirt. Some grow up believing that driving with the cabin lights on in your vehicle is illegal, but the truth is, it’s not. Some say the light coming from inside the car creates a distraction for other drivers so it’s best to keep it off to avoid a hazardous scenario.
If you were aware of these driving law myths, take our quiz to see just how knowledgable you are about your state’s driving laws.
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One of the most essential maintenance checks on your car is your tire quality. Buying tires, and knowing when to buy, is important for your safety and to prevent unnecessary wear and damage to your car.
Most tires need to be changed between 25 and 50k miles. Not all drivers wear their tires the same. Sometimes it depends on how frequently the driver uses the vehicle. Sometimes it’s the type of terrain you drive on or even the type of car you drive. The type of tires, themselves, have different lifespans. Regardless, buying new tires is important when you have significant wear.
When do I know it’s time to get new tires?
This will depend on the kind of tires you have. There are a few signs to look for to determine if you need new tires.
- Tread – You should be able to stick a penny in your tread, the top of Abe’s head downward, and not be able to see the top of his head. If you can, it’s time for new tires.
- Age – Your tires have an expiration date on them. While this may not be the most reliable way of telling if your tires need replacing, if you drive a lot, and it’s past your expiration, it’s probably time. Also, tires should not be used after 10 years, at which point they start breaking down.
- Uneven wear – If your tires show more wear on the edges, or on one side more than the other, you need to get them replaced. Uneven wear can be caused by a number of factors, including under-inflation or needing an alignment.
- Sidewall damage – Some damage in the tread (like a nail, for example) can be repaired, but damage to the sidewall affects the integrity of the entire tire. If you see signs of sidewall damage, get new tires ASAP.
It’s important to properly maintain your tires to get the most mileage out of them and to stay safe on the road.
There are quite a few options when it comes to buying tires. A good tire shop will help walk you through your options and the benefits of certain tires. Here are a few things you’ll want to look at before you go to buy.
What size tires do I need?
Look at your car specs. Your owner’s manual should list the minimum specifications for buying tires. This is what the manufacturer recommends for safety and optimum car performance. You can also find this on the inside of your driver’s door. When buying tires, be sure to get an appropriate size.
What type do I need?
There are three main types of tires you can buy: Summer, All-Season, and Winter. Each has pros and cons. In warmer weather (like Central Texas) you’ll likely want summer or all-season tires. Summer tires often have better grip, handling, heat resistance, and less chance of hydroplaning. All-season offers a bit stiffer handling, but it can better handle snow (should you run into it) and last longer.
Here’s a breakdown:
Best for: Sports cars, beginning drivers, summer temps, rainy weather
Drawbacks: Don’t last as long, not meant for cold temps, can’t drive well on heavy snow and ice.
Best for: A variety of weather, drivers with trucks and SUVs, commuters, rolling resistance
Drawbacks: Not as good for gas mileage, stiffer handling, and slightly less effective traction in rainy weather
Best for: Regular snow driving, ice traction, road grip, SUVs and pickups
Drawbacks: Not as good for gas mileage, more expensive, need to be switched out in the summer
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Nothing ages your car more than bubbling, chipping, or rusting paint. Your car is a large investment that you want to maintain properly, both to save you money over the years and to have a car you’re proud of.
Taking care of your paint is easy. Get in the habit with these tips.
Dirt and grime can become stuck on your paint, and over time, certain road materials can damage your paint. Letting dirt and chemicals from the road stay there can eventually cause rust. Experts recommend washing your car every two weeks, depending on how often you drive and the sort of road conditions you’re driving on.
Use the proper tools when washing
There’s a myth that you can use dish soap as a substitute for car wash soap. This can strip the wax and polymers from your car that protect your paint.
Instead, buy a quality car wash soap in order to remove dirt and preserve your wax. Using a microfiber wash mitt or microfiber towel is also recommended for your paint. Some sites suggest using a T-shirt, but even clean, the cloth can scratch the surface and grind the dirt that may be on the surface into the paint.
Don’t forget to dry
Mineral deposits can be left behind with water droplets. Use a 100% cotton detailing cloth or a sheepskin chamois to gently get the water off.
Use wax and/or paint protectant
All protectants deter oxidation, but paint sealants are more advanced to protect your paint. Many waxes combine enriching oils and protective polymers for an attractive, and hardworking, shine.
Detailing clay can easily be used to clean tough deposits on your paint, such as tree sap, tar, or bug residue. Many recommend using this at least once a year to get rid of stuck-on contaminates.
Parking in the shade will help protect your car paint from sun-caused fading. If you can park in a garage, this will further protect your car from the elements and unexpected damages.
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When a car has been in a wreck, some of the damage will be obvious. You’ll have broken taillight or a dented door, or a crunched hood. What is not immediately noticeable, and may be impossible to see unless you are an expert, is any damage that may be behind the body of the vehicle.
Technicians are trained to look for damage in the operating parts and the computer system within a car. They can determine if there is further damage beyond the cosmetics of the vehicle.
A dent may not be just a dent
Never assume that if a collision is minor that the damage is just a dent. For example, if someone backs into your car and puts a dent in your car door, there could be further damage inside, such as the power windows not operating properly.
If the dents are much larger and caved into the vehicle, the car should definitely be inspected by a technician for safety reasons.
Review the estimate
When you bring your vehicle in to a body shop, the location should give you a repair estimate. This estimate explains the cost for parts and the labor to repair the vehicle. Be sure to review the estimate and ask any questions before the work begins so that you have a good understanding of what you are paying to fix.
Many collision centers, like Fogle Collision, will offer free estimates. To get a preliminary estimate, you can use our new Smartphone Estimating Tool. You will get a repair estimate within 24 hours of submitting photos. However, we can fully determine the damage once a technician takes a close look at the vehicle.
The first cars available for purchase did not offer a variety of color choices. All the vehicles were in black because the luxury was owning a car, not the paint color. Now you have a multitude of options for repainting, changing colors, and customizing.
Auto painting is no longer about applying a coat and making sure it is even. Giving a vehicle depth and a unique appearance takes skill and training.
According to PPG, the most popular car colors are still monochromatic: white, black, and silver. This year has seen a lot of blues and oranges from manufacturers. But custom paints are a whole other game.
Many car owners who want to stand out look for a unique color for their vehicle. For example, a Molten Pearl Lexus or Austin Yellow BMW are not . These colors are not offered by the vehicle makers and it takes a professional auto body shop to do the work.
Bright and unique colors are striking on luxury vehicles as well. A Bentley isn’t offered by the maker in bright blue, but it is possible with a custom auto paint job. If you are a fan of maroon, you can have a Rolls Royce painted that color. And colors are not limited to just one color per vehicle any longer. A car can have a variety of shades and designs.
The possibilities are endless with custom auto paint jobs. Want the exterior of your car to change colors? An iridescent paint detail creates different color tones in different lighting, and is an emerging trend among car enthusiasts.
In 2011, Range Rover created a custom Spectral Amber ChromaFlair option that features tones of lemon and lime.
More unusual, an incredible color changing paint detail was created on a BMW X6 with “thermochromic” paint that changes with heat. As hot water is poured on the vehicle, a painting of The Incredible Hulk appears. While this is definitely on the rare (and expensive) side, it demonstrates the breadth of possibilities for drivers looking to customize their paint.
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Car owners are responsible for maintaining their vehicles’ tire quality. Insufficient tread or air pressure leads to more than just a flat tire. In 2017, tire-related crashes resulted in 738 fatalities nationwide. While the number of tire-related crashes has dropped in the past decade, they can still happen and cause serious damage.
Every car owner should take a few routine steps to check and maintain the quality of the tires on a vehicle.
Maintain proper air pressure
Experts recommend checking your air pressure once a month, and every time before you take a road trip. Most vehicles have a tire pressure sensor, but it is best to manually check.
You can find your recommended air pressure on the tire, the inside of the door frame, or in your owner’s manual. Under-inflated tires can lead to tire damage, and over-inflated tires can lead to a blowout.
Good tire tread is necessary for traction and to maintain the durability of a tire. When tires look smooth, they need to be replaced.
A simple way to measure the tread is to insert a quarter with George Washington’s head facing down into the tire. If the top of his head shows, the tire is worn and should be replaced.
Having tires rotated regularly helps them wear more evenly and not as quickly.
Good alignment and balance
Maintaining proper alignment and balance on a vehicle can prevent a tire from wearing excessively. If your car doesn’t track in a straight line when your hands are off the wheel, you might need an alignment. Signs you may need your tires balanced include steering wheel or floorboard vibrations.
At Fogle Collision Center, we recommend everyone to maintain their tire quality to prevent a blowout. If you do get in a collision, contact our expert team to vehicle repaired and get you back on the road.
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As a car owner, you have a decision to make about repairs if you have a dent in your vehicle that isn’t major damage. The smaller dents may be the result of hail, a minor accident, or anything else that struck your vehicle. More significant damage requires a visit to an auto body shop.
With smaller dents, you could choose not to make the repairs, especially if the repairs could cost more than the value of your vehicle. However, the fix may be easier than you think.
What is paintless dent repair?
Paintless dent repair, or PDR, is a process of removing dents from a vehicle without altering the finish on the vehicle.
Often, these dents are fixed by gently working out the dent from the back side of the panel. Some can be fixed pulling or suctioning the outside of the dent to pop it back out. This method is often for small dents, like hail damage.
This doesn’t work as well for fixing dents that have a crease or have damaged paint. The dent may be able to be popped out, but you’ll still need paint work to make it look like new. These, or bigger damage, are better fixed by traditional body repair.
Finding the right repair
As with any auto body work, the best process to finding the right place for repairs is shopping around. With damage from a major collision, the repairs must be made at an auto body shop. If the damage consists of smaller dents, you may have more options. Some repair shops that don’t specialize in body work will offer PDR.
If you have a regular body shop, ask if they provide PDR and what the price difference would be for that service versus collision repair.
Listen to the recommendations from auto technicians. If more than one suggests collision repair over PDR, it may be because the damage is greater than it appears. For example, a dent in a door may not look significant but could have unseen damage to mechanisms inside. This would require collision repair to fix the internal problem.
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Many drivers fear to have a tire blowout while behind the wheel. It can create a sense of panic, and loss of control if you are not prepared.
Here are a few of our tips on how to handle a tire blowout.
Recognizing when a tire blowout occurs
A driver must know the signs of a tire blowout so the driver can react quickly and properly. A tire blowout typically starts with a loud, popping sound followed by a “whoosh” of air leaving the tire. As the tire goes flat, the driver will likely feel the vehicle slow down and pulling the car in the direction of the damaged tire.
Reacting to a tire blowout
When a blowout occurs, remain calm and do not panic. It can be tempting to become startled by the sudden pop and change in the car’s handling, but quick and unplanned maneuvers, such as an abrupt turn of the wheel or slamming on the brakes, can create a recipe for disaster. Experts recommend holding on to the steering wheel and allow the car to slow down gradually. Once you know you have control, pull your vehicle over and turn on your emergency hazard lights.
Preventing a blowout before It happens
There is a simple step that drivers can take to reduce the odds of a blowout from happening. Make it a habit to check your tire pressure and look at your tires regularly. Underinflated and damaged tires are a leading blowout contributor. Most vehicles made within the last decade feature tire pressure monitors, but a quick inspection of the tire’s condition is helpful.
Remember, if a blowout happens, stay calm and drive through the blowout until you can safely and slowly pull over. Our expert team at Fogle Collision & Automotive in San Antonio is here to help you with towing, wheel alignments, and car collision repair. Give us a call today to have your vehicle checked so you can get back on the road worry-free.
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When you’re out in the heat, you (hopefully) take extra precautions to protect your body. You might drink extra water and put on sunscreen. But do you take precautions when it comes to your car being exposed to sizzling temperatures? Like your body, your car takes some damage in the heat. Here are our top tips to keep your car running well and looking good in the summer sun.
Check your battery
Hot temperatures have the potential to damage your car battery. Take a look and make sure it is clean of dirt and corrosion, both of which can affect the charge flow. Excessive heat can cause fluid within the battery to evaporate, shortening the battery’s life. If you have the type of battery that needs fluid refills, check the levels often.
If your interior lights or headlights are looking dim, this could be a sign that the battery isn’t functioning well. Test your battery if this happens, and replace it if needed.
Keep it clean
Keeping your vehicle clean protects your car’s exterior from the scorching sun. Dirt and debris can scratch your car’s surface so regular cleaning and a topcoat will keep the paint in good condition. A coat of wax also keeps your paint job protected from the sun and weather.
Catch some shade
Keeping your car shaded will not only help protect the vehicle from sun damage, but it will also make getting into the vehicle a lot more comfortable on a hot day. A sunshade is a good alternative when a shady parking spot isn’t available. Either way, the shade will help prevent strong rays from beating down on the vehicle, potentially fading, cracking and drying out interior components like seats and the dashboard.
Keep an eye on fluids and tires
Fluids are crucial to making sure your car is running efficiently in the heat, and they could be more prone to evaporation during the hot summer months. Make sure your car has the proper level of fluids like oil, coolant, and windshield fluid. Tires are vulnerable in the heat, thanks to the hot, expanding air within them. Like fluids, keep an eye on your tires, regularly checking the pressure.
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