Santa Clara Auto Body Blog

Read the latest auto body and collision repair news from Anderson Behel

5 Common Causes for Car Accidents

on Tuesday, 14 August 2018.

Poor driving habits lead to car accidents more and more as people break the law or practice distracted driving. So, here are 5 major reasons why accidents happen, brought to you by Anderson Behel, the finest collision repair facility in Santa Clara, CA.

Texting/Phone Calls

As far back as 2006 researchers found cell phone use and driving cars is a bad combination. In fact, many researchers say driving and talking or texting is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When your car is moving 60 miles per hour, you’re covering the distance of 17 football fields (that’s 100 yards each) every minute. That “one second” you look down to take a call or answer a text becomes a lot more significant when you think of it in those terms.

All Other Distractions

By the way, any similar distraction can have tragic consequences; this includes eating, reading (yes, we’ve seen people on the freeway reading iPads, books, magazines and newspapers while driving!), grooming and applying makeup. Anything in the car diverting your attention from the road is a hazard. Every second your eyes are focused someplace other than where the car is going is a second your life is in danger.

Driving Under the Influence

Buzzed driving is drunk driving—period. Every time you slip behind the wheel of a car with any amount of an intoxicating substance in your system, you’re putting yourself and every other person you’ll encounter at risk. There really is no such thing as “just one.” Intoxicants slow your perceptions and your reflexes, both of which you need in abundance when you’re in control of a 4,000 pound mechanical object hurtling along at a mile a minute.

Violating Traffic Laws

Speeding, running stop signs and red lights, changing lanes suddenly and too frequently, tailgating, improper turns, driving the wrong way on a one-way street; pretty much every traffic law in existence was mandated by a tragic situation. Somebody got killed or badly injured and legislators realized the activity leading to the tragedy should be illegal. When you break traffic laws, you’re taking your life and others’ into your own hands.

Inclement Weather

While it’s tempting to blame Mother Nature here, the reality is many accidents in inclement weather can be traced back to driver error as well. The number one cause is driving too fast for conditions. Heavy rain and/or snowfall mean the roadway is slippery and visibility is reduced. So why do so many people keep driving as if it’s 72 degrees and sunny? Similarly, we’ve all seen footage of multi-car pileups in fog, because drivers kept speeding along, even though they could barely see five feet ahead. And believe this: Anything you see five feet directly in front of your car at 60 miles per hour is about to get hit.

Bottom line, when it comes to examining what causes car accidents, the main behind-the-scenes factor to consider is the driver’s mental attitude. We are not infallible, nor are we invulnerable. If protecting your life isn’t enough to get you to consider changing your behavior, compare car insurance quotes with an accident or two on your record. Maybe the potential hit to your pocketbook will help you drive more carefully.

About Anderson Behel

With today’s sophisticated cars, it’s more important than ever that your body shop be certified to repair your type of vehicle. At Anderson Behel, Silicon Valley’s leading collision repair company, we’re proud to hold several certifications, which means we’re a Honda Certified Body Shop, Acura Authorized Body Shop, Nissan Authorized Body Shop, Subaru Auto Body Shop and most recently a Porsche Collision Center. What does this mean? At Anderson Behel, we’ve invested in the finest training, equipment and tools to do an O.E. repair on each and every Honda, Porsche Acura, Nissan and Subaru that comes into our shop. Why not work with a body shop that is qualified, experienced and certified by the carmaker itself to work on your car? It just makes good sense and that’s why we proudly tell the world that we’re certified on these 5 leading brands.

Is Algae a Greener Alternative Fuel?

on Friday, 03 August 2018.

Hopefully, in the next few decades we will be able to wean ourselves off of gasoline as we develop other types of fuel that are more efficient and better for the environment. Electric and hybrid vehicles are now commonplace and hydrogen and biodiesel vehicles are also gaining in popularity, but what do you know about the greenest fuel of them all—algae? At Anderson Behel in Santa Clara,  we’re always looking for ways to save the planet and algae-based fuel looks like it might fit the bill, in many ways.

That’s right. When most people think about algae they think about that green goopy stuff found floating in lakes and ponds. But, believe it or not—pretty soon you’ll be able to power your car with that sticky green scum.

Microalgae is made up of millions of single-celled organisms that are capable of photosynthesis. This means they absorb sunlight and then convert it into energy. Some kinds of microalgae produce oils to store that energy and those oils are what scientists have figured out to turn into fuel for our vehicles.

Although a great idea for its renewability and low pollution, there are still challenges. According to several news sources, there’s only a very specific type of algae that will work for this fuel so scientists need to figure out how best to harvest this strain. Also, it is incredibly expensive. Once those hurdles are overcome, then algae stands a chance of becoming a widely accepted fuel source.

This fuel is better for the environment because it reduces pollution and is a true renewable resource. Algae-based fuel is already in use so it’s not just a pipe dream. It powered a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Houston back in 2011 and Japan’s Euglena Co. will soon be using it to power a fleet of buses in that country.

Developing algae as an automotive fuel began seriously 6-8 years ago when the Algaeus, the world's first algae-powered plug-in electric hybrid vehicle came onto our radar as a prototype concept car. In 2009, the Alegaeus completed a 10-day drive from Los Angeles to New York City, averaging 147 miles per gallon in the city, where it runs on electricity alone. On the highway, where it works as a hybrid, it averaged 52 miles per gallon. Most amazing of all, the drivers of the car stopped only six times for fill-ups. With a nickel metal hydride battery and a plug to the hybrid car, this vehicle's engine runs on algae fuel instead of gasoline and for this cross-country test drive, the Algaeus used only approximately 25 gallons from coast-to-coast.

A handful of startups have cropped up to develop algae as a fuel, including Sapphire Energy, a company that produces algae fuel on a farm in the deserts of New Mexico.

Proponents of algae fuel claim that it has the potential to be a new source of 100 percent carbon neutral energy that won't require changing the country's current energy infrastructure. That's because algae has the identical chemical composition as gasoline and is, therefore, compatible with existing gasoline technology, from refineries to car engines.

Unlike an oil rig, an algae farm can be located almost anywhere, and does not require converting farmland or nature preserves. Land that is currently sitting and not fulfilling any purpose is ideal for algae production, even landfill or other forms of re-used land.

Right now, algae fuel isn't obtainable by consumers, but its developers hope to make it available commercially within the next five years. Algae has gone from being a concept to becoming a reality and scientists, carmakers and environmental leaders all over the planet are gravitating toward this highly green and efficient alternative fuel.

If we’re going to beat our addiction to gasoline in this country and worldwide, we should take a long look at algae, because it offers all of us a healthier and more sustainable way for transportation today and in the future, brought to you by all of the people here at Anderson Behel in Santa Clara.

Sources: Wikipedia, the Wall Street Journal and

Bikes and Cars: Explain the Risks to Your Kids

on Friday, 27 July 2018.

Riding a bicycle to school can be a highly enjoyable for your child, but entails a little more skill than simply walking. Before your child starts riding a bike to school, take the time to practice their riding skills with them in a safe place without traffic, like an empty parking lot--the same way we learned to ride  years ago.

At Anderson Behel, we were taught how to ride a bicycle to and from school when we hit the right age and it was one of our first steps into the "real world" while instilling a sense of independence and responsibility into our developing brains. We are sharing these safety tips, because often here in Santa Clara, CA we read about tragic accidents between young people on bikes and adults in cars every once in a while.

Number One Rule: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Children should work on their essential skills for bicycling, such as starting and stopping, looking over their shoulders, riding in a straight line and signaling to vehicles. The better your children are at riding their bikes logically means that they are less likely to get into accidents.

Always Use the Proper Equipment

Your son or daughter should only use a bicycle that is not too large or small. One of the wisest things your young person can do to stay safe while bicycling is to wear a helmet. If your child falls or is in an accident, a helmet is the ideal protection against the head and/or brain injuries.

A helmet should always fit properly or it is not effective. It should fit low on your child's forehead and situate itself exactly two fingers above the eyebrow. Your child should be able to look upwards and see the helmet itself, because otherwise it's too far back on his or her head.

In addition, your child should always dress to be easily seen by motorists at all times. Just like pedestrians, bicyclists can be seen more easily when they wear bright-colored clothing. At night, your child should have a bright white light on the front of their bicycle and a red reflector on the rear of the bike to make it easier for drivers to see your child while riding their bicycle when it's dark.

Always Remember the Bicycle Riders' ABCs

Your children should always be absolutely certain that their bicycles are road-ready before embarking on any trip.  Prior to each and every ride, they should check the following:

Air in their tires,

Brakes, and

Chain.

Be Street Smart and-and Safe Every Day!

If your child can learn these three basic rules and adhere to them, they will be safe while cycling on the road by learning a wide range of useful lessons that they can use for the rest of their lives.

Sources: Kids and Cars; NHTSA and Car Talk

How to Drive Safely with Your Dog

on Thursday, 19 July 2018.

Now that good weather is here and the snow shovel has been safely stashed away, you may be thinking road trip. And if you're like many of us, you probably have pets who like to go along for the ride.

We got thinking about things that make for a good road trip with pets, from choice of vehicle, to the right accessories, to things to bring and trip planning. Here are some tips for safely and enjoyably taking the critters on the road. So, here are some helpful tips from all of us at Anderson Behel, a company that always stresses safety. 

Pick the right ride

 

The first step is to choose the right car, SUV, or minivan. Start by narrowing your choices to one of our Recommended vehicles. That ensures you begin with something that's reliable, scored well in our testing, and performed well in government or industry crash tests.

A hatchback or small wagon is perfect for smaller pets. They have room for some extra gear or a carrier, and allow sufficient space for your pet to stand up and stretch its legs. Larger dogs tend to mean bigger vehicles, especially if they're part of a larger family. SUVs are a good choice, and come in a variety of sizes to meet your needs. Minivans provide the most room, and have a lower load floor than most SUVs that makes it easier for the pets to get in and out—especially as they get older.

Whatever size you choose, keep in mind that vehicles with tie downs in the cargo area make it easy to safely secure a crate. Many wagons, SUVs, and minivans have this feature. Chances are, you'll want to keep the pets off the seats or cover them, but it's still a good idea to avoid cloth seats. Some carmakers like Subaru and Volvo offer optional plastic liners and pet barriers for the cargo area, and plenty of others are available through pet stores or on the internet.

Pet barrier

Available in a variety of sizes for wagons, minivans, or SUVs, a barrier gives your pet some room to move, but keeps them safely contained behind the rear seat and off the upholstery.

Harness/restraint

According to Barkbuckleup.com, a 60-lb dog traveling at 35 mph can turn into a 2,700 pound projectile in an accident. For the safety of your pet and your family, look for a harness that lets your pet sit or lie down, but will keep them restrained in an accident.

Cargo area mat or liner

Mats and liners help protect carpets and make cleanup easier. Look for one with a 2-3 inch lip around the edge to keep spills contained.

Mat/travel bed

If you have a pet bed at home, you can bring it along to help keep your pet comfortable and make them feel more secure. Or get one just for your car. Beds for the cargo area are one option, as are hammocks that fit over the rear seat area.

Water bowl

A resealable container is fine, but you can find ones that are collapsible, spillproof, or both. One cool model from BarkBuckleUp.com fits in a cupholder.

Loading ramp

Smaller and older dogs can more easily get in and out using a ramp, and it makes loading easier on your back, too. A variety of models and sizes are available. Telescoping or foldable models provide extra length without being too long to fit in your car.

What to bring

Pack all your supplies in a zippered tote. If you travel often with pets, some of this stuff can just be stored in the tote at home. If you have more than one pet, the best bet is to bring a separate tote for each one. That way, you can keep their food, medications, and toys organized. Some suggestions for the tote include:

  • Pet friendly guide book - For tips on lodging, pet stores, emergency services, and pet friendly parks along the way. Also check out websites like petfriendly.com and petswelcome.com.
  • Collar ID Tag - Get one with your pet's name, your name, and your telephone number. A cell number is best for the road, or you can tape a local number to the collar. Bring along your own vet's number, too. Permanent microchips for tracking are also available. Ask your vet.
  • Pre-packaged food - Bring along your pet's usual food, and prepack each meal in a Ziplock bag. Familiar food is good for your pet on the road, and can save money over buying as you go. Packing by serving is less messy and more convenient. If you have more than one pet, label each one's food separately, and always bring spares in case you get stuck.
  • Biscuits, treats, toys - A favorite toy or two relieves stress.
  • Water in resealable plastic container - Any plastic bowl will do, but a number of sources offer specialty travel bowls.
  • Dog towels - if your dogs like to swim, bring along some old towels. They're also handy if the pooch takes an unexpected mud bath. Your friends and hotel staffs will thank you.
  • Leash, and maybe a longer run - It should be obvious, but don't forget the leash. A longer run is good if you're going to be tying the dog outside.
  • Documentation of shots - Don't leave home without them.
  • Medications - Don't forget any pills, ointments, or anything else you give your pet at home.
  • Plastic bags - For cleaning up after your pet.
  • Litter and box - If you're traveling with a cat.
  • Pet carrier - For cats and smaller dogs.
  • Cleaning supplies - in case there's an upset stomach or "accident" on the road.

Plan ahead

As much fun as it can be for both the pet and the family to bring Fido or Snowball along on a trip, traveling with animals generally requires a bit more planning. If you're staying in hotels, make sure they're pet friendly before you book. And keep in mind that some hotels and motels that say they allow animals may have weight limits. If you have a 200-pound Mastiff, make sure you let your hosts know ahead of time.

While on the road

  • Stop every couple of hours to let your pet take a break and have some water.
  • Never let your pet ride with its head out the window - eye, ear, and head injuries could result.
  • Don't leave a pet in the car unattended in the car without leaving windows a few inches open. Open the sunroof if you have one. And never, ever leave a pet in the car on hot days.
  • Always put your pet on the leash before opening the door or tailgate to let them out.

Pet friendly vehicles

Some carmakers including Subaru and Volvo cater to animal lovers with special equipment packages. These save you the trouble of locating components separately, can be included in your financing, and are covered by the manufacturer warranty.

Vet tips

Dr. Ernie Ward is veterinarian, lecturer, and author based in Calabash, N.C. Dr. Ward gave us some of his own tips for traveling with pets.

  • Make a travel litter box. For trips over 6 hours, provide a litter box for cats. This can be made from a small cake pan or small cardboard box filled with litter.
  • Give your dog a new toy for travel. The novelty of "new" will entice your dog to pass the time playing with its new toy.
  • Exercise your dog prior to a long trip. A tired dog will be less anxious and nervous due to the stabilization of the brain chemicals responsible for stress.
  • Take your dog for a walk as soon as you arrive at your destination.
  • Bring recent vaccination and medical records. Should your pet become ill, these documents can save valuable time and expense.
  • Bring a photo. It's a good idea to carry a recent picture of your pet. The easiest way is to take one with your phone, or bring a print. If you get separated from your pet, a picture is really worth a thousand words.

The Porsche Club of America

on Friday, 06 July 2018.

As a Porsche certified shop, we often share information about this elite world-class brand with our blog readers who own Porsches or dream of one day acquiring one. At Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA we are proud to be able to repair Porsches and using OE procedures to perform exemplary work for these discerning car owners. So, here is some information about the Porsche Club of America (PCA): 

The Porsche Club of America celebrates the finer things in life. We desire the comfort of good friends and good conversation, and we praise to a fault the world's finest automobile. Since its founding in 1955, our close-knit community of Porsche owners has grown to 145 regions throughout the United States and Canada. If you own a Porsche, join now!

We race each other, show our prized possessions, and conduct rallies, autocrosses and tours. The club sponsors driver education, Porsche restoration, and technical sessions. Each of us know our Porsche - or Porsches if we're lucky - inside and out. We even have an award-winning magazine, Porsche Panorama, which tells our stories and provides and insider view to everything Porsche.

The Porsche experience reaches across the cars and the years to people, binding together the family whose name the cars bear, the men and women who design and build them, and those across the world who drive and cherish them.

We know the unbridled joy that a Porsche can provide, and we've built a community around that very feeling. The Porsche Club of America offers driving experience, technical assistance and camaraderie second to none. If you're as obsessed as we are about Porsche, join our club today. The road awaits.
If you're not yet a Porsche owner and are actively looking for a used Porsche to buy, consider our PCA Test Drive program.

Mission
Porsche has no equal, and since 1955, the Porsche Club of America has catered to the particular needs and interests of the Porsche owner. Our main mission is to heighten the Porsche owning and driving experiences, which we accomplish by meeting a number of objectives:
To promote the highest standards of courtesy and safety on the roads
To enjoy and share good will and fellowship engendered by owning a Porsche
To maintain the highest standards of operation and performance of the marque
To establish mutually beneficial relationships with the Porsche factory, dealers and other service sources
To exchange ideas with other Porsche Clubs throughout the world
To establish mutually cooperative relationships with other sports car clubs

Let's Meet Andres Lopez, Body Technician

on Monday, 25 June 2018.

Q: How long have you been with Anderson Behel and how many years of industry experience do you have?  

A: I have been with Anderson Behel with 2.5 years and I have 5 years of industry experience.

Q: What do you do when you're not working at Anderson Behel?

A: I love riding my bicycle, watching soccer and hanging out with my family.  

Q: What are the 3 things you want to do in your life (Bucket List?)

A: 1.) Open up my own garage 2.) Ride my bike up a famous mountain and 3.) Go to the World Cup 2016

Q: What sports teams do you follow?

A: Club America (soccer team in Mexico), the Raiders and the Earthquakes

Q: Favorite movies?

A: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and all of the Star Wars films  

Q: Favorite TV shows?

A: Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Ballers

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?

A: My late grandfather Juan  

Q: What are some of the customer service things you're proud of at AB and describe your view of what exceptional customer service is?

A: The owner David Mello cares about his employees. It's like a family here. They stress safety and following the O.E. specs on all of our repairs, because they want to do the work right here at Anderson Behel.

 

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