Young Male Driver

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If you have a young male driver in your household chances are he is going to receive a few speeding tickets and get into more than a few accidents. Hopefully he will never be in need of an auto body repair shop in Salt Lake City or Washington DC. But he probably will. I know this because I was once a young male driver myself.


When I took my driver’s license exam I did not pass my first time around. I can remember passing the written portion and feeling pretty good about that. But when I went out for my road test I accidentally ran a red light. I remember asking the instructor, “Does that mean I failed?” He did not answer my question and simply instructed me to return to the Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot. I did as instructed and felt pretty humiliated being around the other people who had passed the exam. Two weeks later I retook the exam and passed. I was extra careful and I remember the instructor once telling me that “the car’s not going to get up the hill by itself.”


Over the years after I got my license I was constantly being issued speeding tickets and getting into minor fender benders. My first speeding ticket was $80 which seemed like a lot of money at the time. I was a high school student in the late 1980s. I remember driving to my girlfriend’s house on a Friday night through a suburban neighborhood and not paying particularly close attention to my speed. The cop was parked on the side of the road and pulled out after me. I remember seeing his light flash in the rear view mirror and feeling a deep sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. Another time I remember driving to pick up a pizza with the radio blasting. I recall looking in the rear view mirror at the one day growth of scruff on my face. When I looked back at the road I ran right into the car in front of me. There were three old ladies inside. Luckily no one was hurt. My car’s front bumper was smashed in and had to be towed away to the collision repair shop in Salt Lake City.


After those two events I learned to be more cautions and pay better attention when I drove. As a result my tickets and accidents dramatically decreased in number. I suppose the take home message is to impress upon the young male driver in your household the importance of paying close attention when he is new to the road.

Box Truck Memories

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When I graduated from college I drove a delivery truck for a wholesale flower distributor in Connecticut. The year I spent driving this truck was a great driving educational experience. For one thing, the box truck I drove was larger than anything I had driven before so I needed to become more vigilant about my surroundings than I had to be with the Ford Escort I normally drove. The truck had no rear view mirror because the truck’s storage area blocked any possible view of what was behind me. As such I had to rely primarily upon the truck’s side mirrors. I drove the truck through all four seasons. Navigating the truck through snow taught me how to react properly in slippery conditions. I had to learn how to find the various flower shops on my delivery route. This sharpened my sense of direction and spatial intuition which is a skill that is becoming rarer in the age of the GPS. As an aside, I have definitely noticed this ability has atrophied since I started to rely on GPS.

Another thing I learned while driving that box truck was how to deal with other people. People are intimidated by vehicles larger than their own. When I had to change lanes on the highway people were more apt to get out of my way than they would if I was driving my Ford Escort. Other people were more aggressive for some reason. One time while making a delivery in Greenwich, Connecticut I was in the process of pulling into a diagonal parking space on a downhill slope. The road had a bunch of other shops on it and was pretty busy. While I pulled into an open spot a woman tried to get to the spot before I did by pulling up into the blind spot on the right side. I felt my truck come in contact with her car and stopped immediately. A police officer was soon on the scene and the woman tried to blame the accident on me. I noticed that the bumper of her BMW that came into contact with my truck was held on by silver duct tape.

All that was long ago and now I split my time between Washington DC and Salt Lake City. So what is the point of this story? No point really except to treat every new experience as a chance to learn. Also do not forget to remain vigilant when driving  lest you need the assistance of an auto body repair shop in Salt Lake City.

Car Karma

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If you have purchased a used car in Salt Lake City you may have sat in the front seat after the transaction is complete and looked at the odometer. There are likely thousands of miles registered all driven by some person other than you. You might wonder who drove the car and where did they go? Did they use the car to commute to and from a job that they hated? Perhaps the prior owner was a salesperson with a large territory who loved the open road. Were the prior owners a miserable married couple with two screaming kids in the back seat? Or perhaps the car was owned by good looking, newly married spouses, optimistic with their whole lives ahead of them. Did the car have more than one prior owner? What other states and cities has the car driven through?

Was the car purchased by the dealer at an auction or was it traded in by someone who once bought it new? Was the car in a horrible accident? ?as it used in the commission of a crime or has its existence prior to your ownership been fairly uneventful?

Some of this information you can get by ordering a car history report but most of it you will never know. After the transaction you have legal title to the car which means you can pretty much do what you want with it. But legal title does not mean that you know everything about the car. Much of its history and karma (carma?) is shrouded in mystery. Will you respect this mystery? Will you simply shrug your shoulders in the face of this mystery? Will you even give this mystery a moment’s thought? The choice is yours and most likely you have more pressing issues on which to focus your attention. But that does not mean that the mystery is not there. It is simply an aspect of your new, used car with no intrinsic importance except the importance you assign it in your mind.

The Importance of Taking Your Used Car in for Regular Maintenance Checks

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Used Car Salt Lake City

The first car I ever owned was a white 92 Ford Escort. I bought it used in 1994 freshly graduated from college. I needed something to drive to and from my job as a truck driver with a whole sale flower delivery company. The car was great for this task.

I made sure to change my oil every 3,000 miles but I did not give it regular maintenance checks. Usually I waited for a part to fail before I took it in to get fixed. I did not have a great deal of disposable wealth at the time so I did not make regular maintenance checks a priority. This, however, is not something I would recommend to anyone thinking of buying a used car because regular maintenance checks can prevent small problems from developing into larger and potentially more expensive or dangerous problems down the road. Luckily I emerged from the experience unscathed.

The car actually lasted a long time. I drove across the country twice in it. It finally died in 2001. I had taken my dog to a state park for a walk in the woods that day. I remember driving 70 miles per hour on the interstate to get to and from the park. That night I arrived home and parked my car on an inclined street in front of my house. I made sure to turn the wheel into the curb so that it would not roll down the hill unexpectedly. The next day I came out to the car to see one front wheel pointed towards the curb but the other pointed straight. The tie rod had broken. Luckily this happened after I arrived safely home with my dog. I shudder to think what could happen if the tie rod broke on the highway at 70 miles per hour.

I was lucky, but it could have easily been different. All this is to emphasize the importance of regular maintenance checks. When you buy a new car from a dealer it is usually easier to set these maintenance appointments up. Used car dealers can be hit or miss with this. A broken tie rod is a relatively inexpensive fix. Flipping a car on the highway at 70 miles per hour will certainly be more expensive.

Important Auto Repair Tips- Collision Repair Salt Lake City

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Spending money to repair a damaged vehicle is never anyone’s first choice. However, if you do your research, you can find an auto body repair shop that could potentially save you money in the long run. Follow these five tips and finding that collision repair service will be easy.

Know Your Insurance Policy- What’s covered and what’s not?

Surprisingly most Americans are unaware what their auto insurances coverage. They know the monthly premium they pay and that’s it. However, there is much more to know about your auto insurance policy than what you pay once a month. Things you may want to look into with your policy include your deductible, declaration page, comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. iStock_000002860278Medium Car Insurance Policy

Once you are familiar with your auto coverage, it will make shopping around for an auto body Salt Lake City, shop much easier. Often times your auto insurance agent may offer you a list of preapproved collision repair shops to take your vehicle to…this is not always your best option. It may save you time… but frequently these preapproved repair shops only receive a set negotiated rate and will take short cuts when it comes to your repair.

It’s ok to get several cost estimates! This will save you money and assure the job gets done RIGHT!

It’s in your best interest to get more than one cost estimate. It’s fairly easy to do too…go online and search, auto body repair Salt Lake City, call three or four to set up a time for them to look at your vehicle. Most auto body shops offer free estimates anyway.  It’s important to take good notes at your first visit so you know what to compare at other repair shops.  Things they will most likely tell you are the repairs needed, as well as the cost of parts and their services.

Nothing gets done unless you say…

Once you’ve chosen your repair shop it’s important to let them know that no work should be done until you’ve authorized it first. It’s also important to keep your initial estimate with you when you go in to pay for your repair. Look over your final bill and make sure everything matches the initial estimate. It should look identical, if not then something is wrong and you need to address the error. It’s ok to speak up about it!Injury-Auto-Accident

Uneccesary Insurance Policy Warranties

Many insurance agencies offer incentives to shop within a certain network and many times it comes in the form of warranties.  Many companies may offer a warranty on replacement parts; however this warranty isn’t really necessary.   Most collision repair shops already guarantee their work and manufacturers guarantee their parts. If you agree to pay for an extra warranty, you are wasting your money.

Rental Car?

It’s important to clarify whether or not your insurance will allow a rental car during the time it takes to get your car repaired. Auto body repairs often take longer than expected and if your policy grants the use of a rental, take advantage of it!car-rental-companys


Many of these tips you may have heard before, but it’s important to be aware and to do your research before anything gets done or your repair. If you are informed, you’ll be able to make wiser decisions. Good luck with your fix! Hopefully it’s a good learning experience.

Common Mistakes Auto Body Shops Make

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paint-peelingIt’s gonna happen to the majority of us. More than likely we each will get into a fender bender (or worse) in our lifetime and have to figure out where to go from there. While I’ve dabbled with some custom work myself, I usually leave any body work to the pros – providing they’re pros. Through my years, I’ve seen 4 main areas where auto body shops drop the ball. Here’s my experience to help you know what to keep an eye for when you take your auto for repair.

  1. Mediocre Paint Job
    One of the common mistakes that auto body shops make is a poor paint job. There are a couple of ways that an auto body shop can mess up an automotive paint job. One such way is by not properly matching colors. Color matching on a vehicle requires both proper equipment and a well trained eye. Currently, there are many different shades of colors that can sometimes appear the same unless under fluorescent lighting.  It’s also best to see what the pros are using (and what your repair shop should be using) for auto paint and you can find out more about that at Cars Direct. Another way an automotive paint job can be botched up is simply by being painted carelessly. It takes time and energy to paint a vehicle because a technician must first clean the car, then mask parts that do not need to be painted such as the muffler, and then primed. By skipping any of these steps, the paint job can be lumpy or sloppy. Many times, technicians do not take the needed time to prep the vehicle prior to priming.
  1. Panel Gaps
    Putting a vehicle together requires both precision and diligence. If a technician does not make the effort to put the panels together tightly, gaps can be formed. When unnecessary gaps are in a vehicle, air and moisture can leak into the vehicle which, in the long run, can cause more problems. It is important that all the automotive parts are properly aligned.
  1. Faulty Equipment Installation.
    When an automotive technician works on a vehicle, often times they have to take pieces apart to work on the initial problem.  If a technician is hasty in putting the pieces together, they can overlook reinstalling the parts. Even if they forget to reinstall a small part or reconnect a wire, it can wreak havoc on your vehicle. Many times, a customer may go to an auto body shop to have one problem fixed and leave with problems such as issues with windshield wipers, radio, or car locks. These such problems are often caused because of failure to reconnect a wire or reinstall a small part.
  1. Failure to Align Tires
    Something that is overlooked at an auto body shop is failure to align the vehicle’s tires. This can be a serious problem because a poor alignment can affect the durability and health of tires. Nothing quite as frustrating as getting a beautifully repaired vehicle that seems to keep wanting to drive itself off the road. Be sure to have the alignment checked and corrected as a misalignment will begin to make you question all the other repairs even if they’re pristine.

As I mentioned, I have had a couple of years of experience (:)) and in those years, I’ve had some body work that has needed to be completed on several vehicles. Thankfully only a few had anything to do with me, but that’s part of the problem. You can be the best driver and you’re still likely to be in an accident caused by someone else.  I had this experience when I visited Salt Lake City, UT a couple of years ago.  It’s even worse when it happens when you’re out of town, but thankfully I was able to find Go Collision and they did a fantastic auto body repair job, although I still made sure to inspect the final product, but it did come out fantastic.  That was a real treat since I hadn’t know that much about the auto body shops in the area and they turned out to be great.



New DC Made Album – Tim Whalen

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Guys, I have to say that I am so stoked! There’s nothing like jamming out to your music in a car that’s been set up for audio correctly, with music that matches the setting and it’s always better when one of your favorite artists releases a new album. What made it cooler was that one of my favorites, Tim Whalen, just recording right here in Washington DC! If I had known he was around the corner, I would have tried to get in to see him!

As one of DC’s favored jazz pianists, composers, and even arrangers, most of us that enjoy Jazz in the DC area know of Tim. He’s played all around town and teamed up with other outstanding musicians to have several sold out venues, ranking from Smithsonian, to local bars around town. He’s outstanding to listen to live, but wait until you put the music in the car! It can completely envelop you and leave you feeling like he’s right there playing with you. Someday, I’m gonna have to post how to get the best audio out of your auto, but until that time, you just need to make sure to pick the right music for the job and Tim’s stuff is great.

I just had to post and tell everything that Tim released a new album, that he recording right here in the DC recording studio from Blue House Productions. I’ve heard they record all styles of music and have some outstanding equipment and recording rooms, although you’ll not want to be hearing my singing voice. Stick to Tim’s new album Oblivion: the Music of Bud Powell and trust me, you’ll thank me later. You can grab it right off his site at Way to go Tim and Blue House – it’s a win for DC

Best Trucks/ SUVs of 2015

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It’s always exciting to see the new models each year and as we near the time when we’ll already begin to be seeing next year’s trucks, I thought it would be great to take a look at some of the best trucks of 2015.  I grabbed some of these images from

2015 Ford 150Ford 150

While it’s been the best-selling vehicle in the industry, it finally received a long-awaited redesign this year. The changes brought about more extensive use of aluminum allowing the truck to actually be lighter, greatly improving gas mileage, but managed not to sacrifice any of it’s “cojones” in the process.

2015 Jeep RenegadeJeep Renegade

I’ve always loved the hamster commercials and the Renegade looks like a Jeep Wrangler and a Kia Soul got together and did what hamsters do best. The outcome? A compact crossover that boasts a 2.4 liter, turbocharged 4 cylinder engine with up to 184 horses to back it up. It also comes with a “trail rated” 4×4 system. How fun can you make a hamster look alike.

2015 Lincoln MKCLincoln MKC

Alright, now this is just a mighty release. While the basis is picked from the Ford Escape, this is the luxury version. Eco-boost, 2.3 liter turbo-four – so it’s acting like a 6 cylinder with all the bells and whistles you could want from a luxury crossover.

20115 Porsche MacanPorsche Macan

Now who doesn’t love a Porsche? Well, to be honest there’s been a couple of mishaps in their run (Panamera). The sporty Macan is destined to become one of Porsche’s most popular models. It rivals the Audi q5, but with more…. Porsche-like aggression and performance. To top it off, it is just as quick as the 911 Carrera sports coup but much more affordable.

With a little bit of everything, I think that’s a great cross-section. If you didn’t see yours there, don’t be discouraged, or worse yet angry, just shoot me a line and let me know and we can always make another list.

Highlight from the Washington DC Auto show

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The Washington DC Auto Show is always a blast.  The 2015 DC Auto Show was no disappointment.   Here’s 10 of the many highlights about the Washington Auto Show of 2015; I really think you’ll enjoy reading them!

  1. Usually the Auto show lasts 5 days, but this year it lasted 10! Also with opening hours between 10am and 10pm some days, the two story convention center allows even more time for more residents to enjoy the latest innovations and technologies.
  2. autoshow-hands-onThe “Hands on” contest is back on this year! A Hyundai Sonata is up for grabs this year in the hands on contest. All contestants must physically maintain contact with the car at all times, apart from a 15 minute break every 3 hours. The last person to keep contact with the car wins it!
  3. 2015 Green car awards. This year, the Green SUV of the year award went to the stunning Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel for its excellent fuel efficiency and is approval for B20 biodiesel use. It outdid its finalists including, the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, Lexus NX 300h and Mazda CX-5.
  4. 2015 Green car awards. This year’s luxury green car award goes to the BMW i8, with its sleek finish and exceptional performance. With a gasoline engine, the i8 can drive on battery power for 22 miles and up to 310 miles on hybrid power. Its competitors being the Audi A8 L TDI, Cadillac ELR, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid and Tesla Model S.
  5. For the kids, there will be an exceptional amount of characters to keep them entertained, too! Guests include; Spongebob and Patrick, Red Bird from Angry Birds, Lego Movie Characters, Star Wars Characters and more!
  6. There will be a few celebrity guests, including WWE’s Randy Orton, NFL Legend Charley Taylor, NFL Legend Dave Butz, NFL Legend Mark Moseley and more!
  7. There are so many exotic cars to see at the Auto Show, including plenty of different models of Rolls Royce, McLaren, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Ferrari. Some these beauties are even used for car service in West Palm Beach. They’re definitely the show stoppers!
  8. New technology will be on show at the Auto Show, Including Toyota’s hydrogen powered FCV model concept, which may be offered to consumers as soon as next year! The fuel cell converts hydrogen’s energy to electricity that charges the car’s battery, all that needs to be used is clean water. They will make a huge impact and be a great long term solution to the environment.
  9. Ride N’ Drive is a great experience for anyone that wants to drive a different model of car, and look at the new features from the inside. There’s so many cars to choose from, like; Toyota, Mazda, Scion, Kia etc.
  10. With over 700 vehicles on display and in so many different makes, there will surely be so much to see! With new and improved body types, to new materials and eco-saving fuel.

I loved the show and can’t wait to go again next year.  You can keep up-to-date at