Car Care & Maintenance

10 Effective Methods To Take Care Of Your Car

So, what’s your plan to take care of your car?

Keeping your car in the best possible condition is the best way to maximize your investment. That way, when you’re ready to part with it, you can sell your vehicle for the highest possible price. Buyers are willing to pay a lot more for a car in pristine condition.

Below are ten steps that can help you maintain your car and keep it looking just like new if you perform them consistently.

Protect your car’s exteriors

1. Give your car a nice wash

Regularly washing your vehicle will help maintain the deepness and richness of its color, and help protect it against dirt and toxins that might otherwise eat away and gradually erode your paint job. When you wash your car, use microfiber towels and separate buckets for washing and rinsing; this will help you avoid swirl marks.

If you recently had your car detailed, consider how to keep your car clean after detailing. [wiki: take care of your car]

2. Never forget your undercarriage

How to keep your car clean varies if you live or work in a rural area where there are dirt roads or in a cold region where salt roads are common. For example, it’s important to have your car’s undercarriage cleaned to prevent corrosion. Bring your vehicle to a professional car wash that can perform a good undercarriage cleaning. If you’re concerned about rust, apply a preventative coating to the underbody of your car.

3. Wax the exterior paint

For additional protection, apply a protective layer of wax to your car every six months.

4. Fix scratches and dents

If you find rust, scratches, or dents on your car, don’t delay – have them fixed as soon as you can. If left untreated, they could expand into a much worse problem.

5. Give a little TLC to your windows, mirrors, and windshield

Take care of your car with these 10 essential points

6. Wash your tires and wheel rims regularly

Be careful when cleaning your wheels since many wheel finishes and coatings are easy to scratch or stain if you use the wrong product or chemical. While you’re at it, check your tire pressure every two weeks and rotate your tires every six months. Some drivers, depending on where they live, will change from summer tires to winter tires.

7. Protect your car from extreme weather

Rain, hail, snow, extreme sun, you name it – the weather can cause lots of problems like nicks, scratches, and dents and make the luster of your paint job fade more quickly. To help avoid these scenarios, try to keep your car covered – whether you keep it in a garage, under a cover, or under a carport. Don’t just cover it during winter, but year-round. Also, try to park in the shade whenever you can since sun damage can make your car appear older than it is.

8. Schedule it

To integrate car cleaning and maintenance into your routine, create a schedule so that you can get everything done on a timely basis.

9. Interior maintenance

It’s important to vacuum and remove any carpet or seat stains as soon as possible, as well as sand, dirt, and grime.

10. Get the perfect cleaner

Select cleaner and conditioner designed to clean the specific kind of upholstery in your car, whether it’s cloth, vinyl, or leather. Using the wrong type of cleaner risks significant damage to your carpet and seats. Also, make sure to clean your dashboard and hard plastic surfaces. Don’t use a cleaner on the steering wheel and brake pedal, as it will make them slippery and hard to control.

Over the long term, regularly washing your interior will make a big difference and help prevent your leather seats from cracking or fading.

To sum up: keep the body and underbody of your car clean, and keep dirt out of the carpet and stains off interior surfaces so they don’t age prematurely. That’s what it takes to maintain a pristine condition car!

Get help from the expert mechanics & auto body experts to fix any minor or major issues at Graham Collision. Connect with our team and book an appointment now.

Auto Body Shop Auto Dent Repair

Scratch Free Car – Here Is How To Make It Happen

A scratch free car is like a dream, isn’t it? If you love your car, then even one small scratch – not to mention an even longer and larger one – can ruin your day. And if left untreated, a scratch can quickly grow from a blemish into a more serious problem.

So how to protect your car from scratches? There’s a lot of buzz about scratch-free car paint. Although it’s being worked on, scratch-free car paint isn’t a viable solution yet. But here’s some good news: you can significantly reduce the likelihood of getting a scratch by focusing on:

  • How you drive and park your car
  • How you wash your car
  • How you treat your car

Strategies to prevent scratches

Let’s look at some specific strategies that you can start applying right away:

How you drive and park your car

Drive cautiously and be hyper-alert in busy, congested areas. Avoid tight sections where an object or vegetation could nick your car.

Now, what if we told you that you could minimize the risk of car scratches while also getting your daily exercise? The next time you enter a parking lot, park farther away from the building’s entrance in quieter and more remote sections – even if it means you have to take a little stroll. Look for a spot where there isn’t a car next to you. If that isn’t possible, make it a policy not to park next to cars with visible scratches and dings on their exterior.

Whether you have a new car or just take pride in your old beater, there’s a lot you can do to reduce the probability of scratches happening to you:

How you treat your car

Keep scratches at bay by treating your car with respect. Don’t let anyone sit on your car, because that can cause a scratch in your paint. And don’t put items on your car roof, even temporarily, because that can also cause a scratch. [ Reference: How To Maintain Your Car ]

How you wash your car

Generally speaking, washing your car yourself is less risky than using an automatic car wash, which is more likely to scratch your car. On the other hand, if you don’t know what you’re doing, washing your car is one of the easiest ways to accidentally scratch your paint. This can happen when you use a sponge on your car. Instead, use a soft microfiber towel.

Another cause of scratches is contaminating your bucket of soap with grime. If you just use one bucket, make sure to rinse off your towel each time and use your elbow grease to scrub it clean. Otherwise, you are essentially rubbing dirt back into your car’s paint. If you’re able to, try using two buckets next time you wash your car.

Don’t use a paper towel or dry cloth to get rid of grime, which could create friction and cause a scratch. Also, if you clean from the bottom up, you risk transporting the grime on the bottom of the car to the top. Always wash from top to bottom.Maybe one day there will be scratch-free car paint and a scratch-free car. But for now, don’t take scratches lightly. If left untreated, they could become a catalyst for corrosion. If you discover scratches or dents on your car, or are in a collision, bring your vehicle to your nearby Graham Collision center and let our professional and highly trained technicians take care of your car – and you! Graham Collision : Auto Body Shop is always open with solutions. No job is too big or too small for us. Simply visit our Urbandale or Waukee center and get immediate assistance today.

Collision Repair Experts

If You Have Hit A Parked Car – 2 Essential Points To Know

Ever wondered, if you have hit a parked car, what should be your next step? What kind of litigation you may have to face? If you are backing out of a driveway or parking spot, or take your focus off the road for even a second, you may inadvertently drive into a parked vehicle. In such a situation, for a minute it may feel like the world is ending, there are steps you can take to help ensure that you and the other vehicle’s owner can rectify the situation faster.

Once you hit the parked car, you must not leave the place in panic. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in every state.

Next step is to inform the police about the situation. You can park your car in a parking spot or nearby safe area on the side of the road and observe any damage to your or the other vehicle.

If possible, take pictures of your car and the other vehicle involved in the collision. This will help you to generate the evidence of any damage to either vehicle. It will also allow you to keep the license plate of the other vehicle on record.

In instances where the owner of the parked car is not present, wait for him or her to arrive. You should wait at least a few minutes to see if the owner will show up at the scene.

If the owner of the parked car does not arrive and you need to depart, leave a note on the windshield. The note should include your name, phone number, and address. It should also provide a brief explanation of the accident.

Finally, contact your insurance company after you hit a parked car. Your insurer can help you navigate the claims process and explain if your insurance rates will rise following the accident.

What to Do If You See a Driver Hit a Parked Car

If you see another driver hit a parked car, assist him or her to ensure that they properly report the accident. Conversely, if the driver leaves the scene, stay behind to help the owner of the parked car document the damage. Provide the owner of the parked car with as much information as you can. He or she can then use this information to report the accident to the police and their car insurance provider.

What to Do If Another Driver Hits Your Parked Car

If another driver hits your parked car, try not to get upset. Collect the driver’s name, address, phone number, and other contact information if he or she is present. Or, check your car’s windshield to see if the driver left a note.

Call the police to report the accident. When the police arrive on the scene, get a copy of the accident report.

Capture photos of your car and any damage associated with the accident and notify your car insurance provider. Next, your insurer can guide you through the claims process and help you get your car repaired.If another driver strikes your parked car and its bumper, fender, or other exterior components are damaged, the Graham Collision team can help. Our certified auto body technicians can assess any damage to your car’s exterior components and repair or replace them as needed. To learn more about our auto body shop services or to schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call us today at 515.223.4501

If you found this article useful, you must like our other articles providing detailed guidance on how to keep your car dent free & in a brand new condition in case of collision. Checkout our Blog section now…

Auto Body Shop

3 Consultative Services You Should Get From An Auto Body Shop

So, what does it mean to have “Consultative Services From An Auto Body Shop”? You may be familiar with the term consultative sale & service before, but your mind may picture a boutique hotel or a software company when you hear it first. While that may be true, consultative services is a general term that means to serve as per the requirements after proper consultation & not selling anything that’s on-board, something on top of the regular service offered by a business. In the auto body repair business, that means the auto shop will go above and beyond to ensure you’re well taken care of and satisfied. You are paying for the things your automobile actually requires.

It can be very stressful, and inconvenient, when you’ve been in a collision with another vehicle. You don’t want to have to hassle with getting your car to the mechanic so body work can be performed. And if you have suffered an injury, you’re in no shape to worry about the state of your vehicle.

In these events, many autobody repair shops, including Graham Collision, will go the extra miles beyond what is standard in the industry. This usually involves picking you up and towing your car, but there are the many services that could be included as part of consultative car body shop services.

Urgent Towing By Auto Body Shop

This is a primary and the most common part of the consultative services your trusted collision & body repair shop can offer. In an unfortunate event you are in a car accident, your automobile may not be in a condition to move or get operated. This is a common condition in a serious collision, but you often have search a tow truck online or call nearby towing services to come get it and drive it to your mechanic. This can be time consuming and expensive.

At Graham Collision Repair Shop, we don’t put you in such a situation. Our team offers you quick towing services whenever you need. Just one call, and our team members will be there to help you with the tow and get your broken car or truck to our bodyshop where expert mechanics will take care of everything.

Pickup & Drop Offs By Collision Repair Team

In many serious collisions, it’s hard to commute after towing, as you don’t have any car for a while. Perhaps you have an extra car at home and don’t need to invest in a rental car; however, you do need a ride back home after your damaged car has been towed to the shop. This poses a major convenience to you so you don’t have to bother anyone to come pick you up from the scene of the accident. Your friends and family will appreciate not having to leave work or school to come get you!

At Graham Collision, we understand this very well. So, we’re ready to offer you easy pickup & drops from the towing site to your home.

Cleaning &  Detailing

We know that the last thing you want to see while receiving your car back is – any sign of the collision permanently patched on your car. That’s why our mechanics are extra focused on cleaning & detailing, once the damages are fixed. 

We offer full body wash, interior cleaning with power vacuum and smudge removal on the exteriors & glasses. [check our Minor Repair services.]

Get In Touch


Connect with us & be on the list for any possible emergency. We’ll keep you on our database & be ready to help on a single call. As they say, “It’s better to be prepared, than to be ready.”

For any Auto Collision Repair job in Des Moines, IAConnect with our team now or CALL US NOW!

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Auto Dent Repair

Why Sign Up For Paintless Car Dent Repairs?

If you own a car, you must have had to deal with unsightly dents at least once in your life! Such dents and dings ruin the aesthetics of your car and over the long run, can lead to chipping paint and rust spots. Regardless of how the dent was caused, make sure that you get rid of it as soon as possible so it doesn’t potentially affect your car’s resale value

Thankfully, you can get dents fixed quickly by signing up for paintless dent repairs in Urbandale, IA. Paintless Dent Repair or PDR for short, can  restore the appearance of your car and is an affordable alternative to other traditional methods too. 

The process involves pushing the dent back to its original shape by using suction with the help of specialized tools. Here are some of the benefits associated with it:

Fast repair

Conventional repairs can take more than a day because they are very labor-intensive. These involve fillers, painting, and other things which not only take a lot of time, but also lower the resale value of your vehicle. 

That’s not the case with paintless dent repairs. Each dent can be repaired within a few hours with this method. More often than not, you will be able to collect your restored car the same day. 

It’s affordable 

If you are worried about how much fixing a recent dent will cost, you will be happy to know that PDR is easy on the wallet. The best thing about paintless dent repairs in Waukee, IA is that you won’t have to invest in replacement parts or paints. It’s a cost-effective, fool-proof solution to all those dents and dings!

It’s environment-friendly 

As you may be aware, car paints release toxic fumes in the air during application. On the other hand, PDR simply involves pushing and pulling mechanisms to flatten the dent. Solvents and paints don’t come into the picture! If you want to lower your carbon footprint this year, this is the way to go. 

Looking to get your dents or dings fixed? You have come to the right place. We will assess your car and let you know whether it can be fixed with a paintless dent repair job. 

Call us today for more information.

Collision Repair Experts

Do Rear-End Collisions Cause Hidden Car Issues?

Rear-end car collisions are scary, but sadly, they are more common than you think. While dents and dings caused by such accidents can be easily fixed, there is a possibility that minor rear-end collisions may lead to serious operational problems. These might not be visible immediately. That is why technicians recommend that you have your car assessed post-collision for your safety. This will also help you to detect issues before they become more serious. 

In this article, we will cover some of the common, yet hidden issues that might be caused by minor rear-end car collisions: 

Significant damage to the trunk 

The car’s trunk might not open or close easily after. In such a scenario, it may not be a good idea to leave your car in public places as this could lead to theft. Moreover, if the trunk seal has been damaged, moisture might seep into it and lead to mold growth. No one wants that! 

Read Collision Damaging Trunk Door
Read Collision Damaging Trunk Door

Alignment glitches

Does your car vibrate when you make turns? Does it have shaky steering? The culprit might be alignment issues caused by a rear-end collision. It is important to fix this as soon as possible because this puts undue pressure and stress on your car’s suspension system and brakes. Failure to do so results in accelerated wear and tear of these critical parts and increases safety risks. 

Electrical damage 

Did you know that even  a minor bump can cause issues with your car’s battery, brake lights, or taillights? Because of this, your car may brake down on you suddenly when you’re in the middle of nowhere! All the more reason for you to get your car examined after a minor collision. 

Don’t compromise your safety! Get in touch with us to restore your car to its former glory after a collision. If you’re looking for car collision repairing experts in Urbandale, IA, get in touch with us today. We are here to offer you 360-degree assistance to deal with every aspect of car collision repairing – from completing insurance paperwork, claims processing, to getting major and minor car repairs done in a jiffy! 

Auto Dent Repair Auto Ownership Collision Repair Experts

What to Do After a Crash | Collision Repair in West Des Moines | Graham Collision

Graham Collision is dedicated to the safety of drivers in the Des Moines metro area with two conveniently located auto body shops in Urbandale and Waukee.  Follow our simple instructions after a collision, and stay safe driving out there.

  1. After a Collision, Stay Calm.

It is important to calmly assess the situation so that you can address emergencies at hand.  This is the time to call 911 if any injuries are evident.  The authorities will alert any emergency personnel as well as any officers to report to the scene

  1. Move to a Safe Location After a Crash

If your vehicle is operable, move to a safe location. Look for a nearby parking lot, or pull to the side in a safe shoulder location.  The authorities will want you to allow traffic to flow and stay out of harm’s way. Turn off your car’s engine, turn on the hazard lights and use the road flares to warn other vehicles to slow down if necessary.

  1. Check In on the Other Party

Once you are in a secure location, now is the time to check in with the other party.  Check for any injuries, and ask to exchange information. The important information to take note of includes:

  • Full name and contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license and license plate number
  • Type, color and model of vehicle
  1. Document the Accident

Take pictures of your vehicle from the front, sides, side angles and of course the back of the car.  Do the same for the additional party, and take photos of the location.  Document the officer, and request a copy of the accident report.  Talk to any witnesses if applicable, and ask for statements.

  1. Call a Certified Auto Body Repair Shop

With over 50 years in the collision industry, we can help walk you through the entire process.  From getting your insurance notified, towing arranged, and your vehicle repaired.  We’re here from start to finish to get you driving off in better shape than you imagined.

(515) 278-1243

About Graham Collision

Graham Collision is a family owned and operated business with two locations to serve the needs of our valued customers. We have been in business for more than 50 years. Graham Collision combines exceptional skill and auto repair knowledge with the latest in advanced technology and techniques, so that we can provide our customers with safe and superior quality repair. Here at Graham Collision we care about our customers and their vehicles. We take pride in treating our customers with ultimate respect, to us we think of our customers as family. We try to make the repairs process pleasant and painless, they have already been through enough with the accident, working with the insurance, etc. We communicate with our customers throughout the repairs, as well as explain the repair processes.

Request an Estimate

Auto Dent Repair Auto Ownership Collision Repair Experts

Signs You Need Auto Repair | Urbandale and Waukee | Graham Collision

Visual Signs You Need Vehicle Repairs.

Visual signs are the most common sign that it is time to repair your vehicle.  By staying up to date on cosmetic issues, you are protecting the value of your investment, and protecting your car from long term damage.  Here are queues to watch for with your car:

  • Gaps between body panels
  • The vehicle paint is slightly off in certain areas.
  • Misaligned bumper
  • Hard to open/close car doors
  • Illuminated dashboard lights
  • Headlight, brake light or fog light issues
  • Uneven fender distance from tires

Physical Signs You Need an Auto Body Estimate

Beyond cosmetic issues that arise, mechanical issues can appear as a result of a collision. In our previous blog, we reviewed the danger of underlying damage from dents and dings, but beyond the visual queues, sometimes other warning signs appear. Here are the top signs to watch for when operating your vehicle:

  • Steering is choppy when you turn the wheel
  • The car veers to one side when you remove your  hands momentarily
  • The brakes are squeaky or pulling
  • Power steering that requires a little more muscle
  • Whistling noise at higher speeds while driving
  • Clicking coming from the steering wheel

If any of these signs appear, at Graham Collision, you can always request a free estimate.  If the warning signs are visual, we have a fast efficient process via our website where you can send photos of your vehicle.  If the signs are physical, stop by either of our conveniently located shops in Waukee or Urbandale.

About Graham Collision

Graham Collision is a family-owned and operated business with two locations to serve the needs of our valued customers. We have been in business for more than 50 years. Graham Collision combines exceptional skill and auto repair knowledge with the latest in advanced technology and techniques so that we can provide our customers with a safe and superior quality repair. Here at Graham Collision, we care about our customers and their vehicles. We take pride in treating our customers with ultimate respect, to us we think of our customers as family. We try to make the repair process pleasant and painless, they have already been through enough with the accident, working with the insurance, etc. We communicate with our customers throughout the repairs, as well as explain the repair processes.

Auto Dent Repair Auto Ownership Collision Repair Experts

Should You Fix That Dent? | Auto Care Ownership in Iowa | Graham Collision

Should You Fix That Car Dent?

As car owners, we know that with regular use, dents and scratches can happen to your auto investment.  Whether your auto has just a cosmetic ding, or a larger problem as result of a collision, the pros at Graham Collision are here to help guide you through the process.

Step 1: Evaluate Severity of Auto Dent

Car dents happen as simply as a result of door dings, or careless driving mistakes, or even through environmental hazards like hail.  Even more often, a car owner may have no idea how the dent occurred.

While there are many DIY videos for dent removal out there, for an investment as large as an auto, you should take your vehicle to an auto body shop.  The auto body insurance claim process can be intimidating for many, but with 52 years of auto body repair under our belt, we can guide you through the process. 

>> Send Your Photos in for a Free Estimate Online <<

The most important issue with collision repair isn’t how to get the dent repaired, its when.  We find that most large dents will be fixed right away.  But when it’s only a small scratch, we understand that it can be easy to delay repairs.

Step 2: Know The Dangers of Delaying Auto Repairs

Whether you are planning to repair the dent yourself, or taking it to a professional body shop, the best approach is to get it taken care of sooner than later. Here are 4 reasons why you should look into repairing your auto right away.

1. Vehicle Safety

Your safety should always be the number one priority when evaluating auto repairs.  Underlying structural damage can be easily masked by dings and dents.  At Graham Collision, we are a certified I-Car Gold Class Auto Body Shop.

This is exceptionally important when we are looking at bumper damage. Your vehicle’s bumper may seem like an afterthought, but the simple structure actually plays an important role protecting your car during a collision. Bumpers absorb most of the impact during low speed collisions to help protect you, your vehicle, and passengers from more serious damage.

2. Long Term Auto Damage

With most dents, scratches are a package deal.  Matching your auto paint is a skill that the auto pros at Graham Collision are trained meticulously to perform.  If these scratches are left uncoated, cracks and peeling are inevitable through our harsh Iowa seasons. Cracks caused by impact from a collision allow for environmental elements, such as water to seep underneath the clear coat and paint.  Over time, this seeping can cause rust spots and weaken the body of your car.  

3. Risk of Reduced Resale Value.

Your auto is likely to be your second largest investment after your home. That’s why we recommend taking all steps to protect the value of your automobile.  The exterior appearance is an important factor in auto sales, and can lower the value of your investment.  Factors like unrepaired dings, or uncertified body repairs will bring down the value of your vehicle.

4. Save Money by Scheduling Repairs Sooner.

Scheduling your dent removal sooner, will save you money in the end.  If you delay repairs until rust spots appear, the repair process will take much longer and cost more money.  The sooner you make the claim, the better chance you have in winning your insurance claim. 

So next time you find a dent in your vehicle, save some time, protect your investment, and request a free estimate from the local Urbandale and Waukee auto body shop pros, Graham Collision.  We’ll get you off driving safely and quickly while protecting your investment.

About Graham Collision

Graham Collision is a family-owned and operated business with two locations to serve the needs of our valued customers. We have been in business for more than 50 years. Graham Collision combines exceptional skill and auto repair knowledge with the latest in advanced technology and techniques so that we can provide our customers with a safe and superior quality repair. Here at Graham Collision, we care about our customers and their vehicles. We take pride in treating our customers with ultimate respect, to us we think of our customers like family. We try to make the repair process pleasant and painless, they have already been through enough with the accident, working with the insurance, etc. We communicate with our customers throughout the repairs, as well as explain the repair processes.