More than Paint and Body

Your car is much more than a car, it’s your transportation to where you need to be. So you try to give it the attention it deserves and you take your car to a paint and body shop in order to fix it up and maintain its lifespan. What you didn’t know is even though we are a “Paint and Body” shop, we have so much more to offer you and your vehicle. Here are a few of our services out of our variety that maybe you weren’t aware of:

Woman Washing a car with a sponge and soap.Car/Truck Detailing

We will help you achieve the upmost cleanliness. We’re not talking your average suds and water routine…we’re talking full on car makeover to make everyone from your passengers to passer byers take a second look. We only use the best of the best products to make sure the exterior of your car or truck is gleaming and beaming! We will wash, dry and wax to make sure your car is streak free and squeaky clean, and that’s just the exterior.

We don’t slack when it comes to those hard to reach places between the seats, commonly referred to as ‘the black hole’ you know where you drop something and never see it again? Well we give the interior a top to bottom through cleaning; dust-mites, stains and crumbs don’t stand a chance. You may not even recognize your vehicle when we get through detailing it…

Paintless Dent Repair

We’ve all been there…you walk into a restaurant to enjoy a nice dinner and when you return back to your vehicle there is a fresh door ding from that monster of a truck you parked next to. Over the life of your car it will inevitably suffer many bumps and bruises like this whether it’s a door ding or the product of some unexpected hail fall. As you watch these imperfections accumulate you think to yourself, “How am I going to repair this without breaking the bank?” Have no worries! Ernie’s has the perfect solution to your problem that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

We have knowledgeable and skillful technicians who are trained to carefully mold the dented area back into shape until it blends seamlessly with the body of your vehicle. It will be as if these minor dents and bruises never even existed. Paintless dent repair offers a convenient, low cost solution for minor dents in your vehicle.

Mirror Replacements

Your mirrors are essential to your vehicle, they’re your eyes on the road and help you to make important judgment calls such as switching lanes, emerging on the interstate and simply just knowing your surroundings. When it comes to damaged mirrors; whether it be scratches, cracks, or any other issues you’re facing it’s important to get them repaired ASAP. We’re here to help, just bring your vehicle on in and you can entrust that our through and skilled technicians will replace your mirror flawlessly. We offer precise measurements and high quality mirror glass to make sure it fits perfectly with your vehicle.

We offer a variety of other services to help you make you vehicle fresh and new so be sure to stop in or contact us and see how we can service your vehicle TODAY!

Pink Heals

We are so incredibly happy to share that Ernie’s has recently reached out to help support an extraordinary non-profit organization called Pink Heals.

The Pink Heals Organization is 100% non-profit. They dedicate their time, donations, and efforts towards the betterment of not just one specific disease, but all diseases and illnesses locally. The pink represents their main focus which is to support not only illness but women and their families as well. The organization has many different chapters all over the country, so that each chapter can remain as local as possible.

Fire TruckThis organization does not utilize any of the money from donations to sustain itself. They make sure to see that all of the money is put back into the communities and dispersed amongst local non-profits, local research or individuals in the community that raised that money!

The event that we had the privilege to participate in was painting a fire truck pink in order to represent the organization, spread the message, and unify the community.  The fire truck that we painted was named, “Baylie” whom is the newest edition among the Pink Heals trucks. A plaque is mounted on the side of the fire truck showcasing the dedication for the name Baylie. We were helping the Hays Country Chapter in order to spread local support and bring people together in order to help an amazing cause.

Ernie’s is so incredibly humbled and proud to have been part of such a selfless and helpful organization. It was an absolute joy to help bring the community of the Hays County chapter together and raise awareness and money for not just one illness but for all women and their families and all the local researchers and organizations as well.

To find out ways to get involved with the Pink Heals Organization see the link below!

http://www.pinkfiretrucks.org/about-us/

 

The Cost of Being Uninsured

A recent report shows that while the number of uninsured motorists on the road has decreased in the past decade, the cost of being uninsured has sharply risen.

The report, titled “Uninsured Motorists, 2014 Edition,” shows that the percentage of uninsured U.S. motorists fell to 12.6 percent in 2012 from nearly 15 percent nine years earlier. However, the report estimates that $2.6 billion was paid to cover uninsured motorist claims in 2012 – a 75 percent increase over the 2003-2012 period studied. That number, according to the report, only accounts for bodily injury payments and not property damage. There are roughly 30 million uninsured motorists in the U.S. – a number that represents roughly one in eight drivers.

The report doesn’t offer a clear reason for these numbers; however, the economy seems to be at play. Researchers noted that, leading up to the most recent recession, a 1 percent increase in the nation’s unemployment rate correlated with a .5 percent increase in the number of insured motorists. Yet during the recession, the ratio of uninsured motorists to bodily injury claims slightly decreased.

In addition, the report shows that some states with higher unemployment rates have higher ratios of uninsured motorists to bodily injury claim frequency. These states include Oklahoma, Mississippi, Florida, New Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee. Also, some of the most populated states have higher numbers of uninsured motorists, including:

• California (4.1 million)

• Florida (3.2 million)

• Texas (1.6 million)

• Ohio (1.3 million)

• Tennessee (1.2 million)

“Motorists who forgo purchasing insurance create a problem that is of great concern to auto insurance policyholders, insurers, regulators and the general public,” the report states. “In addition to paying for insurance that covers their own actions, insured drivers pay a portion of the costs incurred by drivers without insurance through uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. For insurers, costs associated with UM claims can be substantial.”

Fighting Back Against Insurance Scare Tactics

We came across this article and felt it was something that needed to be shared. You can read the full article here for some reference, but it basically boils down to one thing: Louisiana Attorney General was tired of the scare tactics being used by State Farm, to coerce their customers into using their “recommended repair shops”.

In this business we respect referrals of course, but there’s a difference between being referred for the quality of your work, and having customers scared into your business. Here at Ernie’s we know that the law protects consumers from insurance companies forcing their hand, but not every consumer knows this, which is why we make it a point to explain that we gladly work with any insurance company. And we emphasize that your insurance company does not have the right to force you to go to a particular mechanic, where they can save some money at the expense of your service quality. Do research, and take your vehicle to a repair shop you feel comfortable with. You’re responsible enough to have insurance, and they’re responsible to cover you under the terms of your policy, wherever you decide to take your vehicle.

 

What are car crashes costing you?

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) just came out with a study that highlights the economic toll and societal impact of motor vehicle crashes. In the year 2010 the price tag for vehicle crashes was $871 billion. Yep, billion… with a B. Out of that $871 billion, $277 billion is related to just the economic cost; that’s about $900 per person living in the US. Do you have $900 to just give away? I know I don’t.

The remaining $594 billion is accounted for the loss of life and the decreased quality of life due to injuries.

When looking at the data, there are a number of behavioral factors that attribute to that huge price tag. In 2010 drunk driving accidents cost the nation $49 billion, or $158 per person. According to the NHTSA, more than 90% of that $49 billion was attributed to a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit of .08.

21810631_mlSpeeding actually costs the average american more than drunk driving did. Speeding cost us $59 billion dollars or $191 per person living in the US.

Distracted drivers are almost as bad as drunk drivers. Statistics say that distracted driving cost approximately $46 billion, or $148 per person.

There is some good news, however. The NHTSA revealed that seatbelts did prevent $69 billion in medical, lost productivity and injury costs, but not wearing seatbelts adds about $72 billion in costs from crashes.

So what does this study mean? Well, building cars with more safety features is a must. Better education about drunk driving and distracted driving is imperative to saving lives. And we are doing a good job wearing seatbelts, but it could still be better. According to US Secretary Anthony Foxx, “No amount of money can replace the life of a loved one, or stem the suffering associated with motor vehicle crashes. While the economic and societal costs of crashes are staggering, today’s report clearly demonstrates that investments in safety are worth every penny used to reduce the frequency and severity of these tragic events.”

Cars without Drivers…? What…?

When someone thinks of the Geneva Convention, it’s highly doubtful they make any connection to driving a car…  it is even less likely they make a connection to the subject of autonomous vehicles. So how are the subjects connected?

1968. Vienna. During the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic (referr
ed to by automotive industry insiders as the “Geneva Convention”) established within Article 8 the following: “Every driver shall at all times be able to control his vehicle or to guide his
animals.”  Could this be an impediment to self-driving cars?  Well, many Europeans think so.

So much so that Germany, Italy, and France pushed an amendment, adopted in May 2014 by the U.N. Working Party on Road Traffic Safety, to allow cars to be self-driven as long as the technology being used can be “switched off” by the driver, who must be behind the wheel at all times.  If the amendment is fully adopted then the 72 countries that are signatories must incorporate the new language into their laws.

Back home inSelf Driving Car the United States the federal and state governments are also grappling with a myriad of conflicting laws that may adversely affect the use of autonomous vehicles.  While five states and the District of Columbia have currently passed laws and regulations governing the use and testing of autonomous vehicles, some are still grappling with the very complex issues that must be addressed such as; data ownership and collection, liability, insurance, and even environmental concerns.

At the upcoming Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Detroit this month the Governmental Committee will be providing a presentation that summarizes the ongoing global, national and state based efforts to enact laws and regulations to address issues and concerns about autonomous vehicles and autonomous driving.  This is not a focus on the technology per se; but the ongoing and extremely fluid attempts to regulate the activity of autonomous driving and with a specific emphasis on the liability (or exemption of liability) for those manufacturing the technology, those manufacturing the vehicles, and those who will be repairing the vehicles.

It is important to note that no state law that has been passed to date addresses what should be most important to the collision repairers themselves.  What is the level of liability (or exemption from liability) for a collision repair center, and their technician, when they repair a vehicle equipped with self driving technology and it is involved in a subsequent accident?  Language does within these laws however that speak to the liability of original equipment (OE) manufacturers and the original equipment (OES) suppliers or vendors.

The CIC meetings will be held from 8:00AM to 5:00PM on July 29th in Detroit during NACE Week at the Detroit Marriott, located at 400 Renaissance Dr West, Detroit.  The exact time of the Governmental Committee Presentation was not determined prior to our press deadline.  Please visit the CIC web site for updated information @ ciclink.com.

 

Kevin “THE EWOK” Morin

Ernie Valdez III with Kevin "EWOK" Morin at Ernie's Paint and BodyOur very own Ernie Valdez III, recently had time to catch up with a local athlete who truly embodies the core values that we use in the day to day operations of our business; integrity, hard work and commitment to being the best.

MMA Fighter Kevin “Ewok” Morin is a Central Texas resident that has dedicated his time to learning and mastering the art of Jiu-Jitsu. He is now an MMA fighter out of Luling MMA with 2 Regional Open Golden Glove Championships. Kevin works hard, is passionate about what he does, and is committed to excellence; these are the exact values that make us proud.

We wanted to take a moment to congratulate Kevin on his recent win! Kevin won the title by TKO, avoiding a kick and countering with a blow to his opponent’s shoulder which knocked it out of place.  With his opponent unable to continue, the fight was stopped and Kevin was declared the winner with hardly a scratch on him.

We work hard to be the best, and we are truly proud of Kevin, who has proven his commitment to being the best, time and time again. For more information about Kevin please visit his Facebook Page and show him some “Like”: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kevin-the-EWOK-Morin/605416819550704

Summer, Summer, Summer Time

A hot, summer day in Central Texas can be a great thing or a terrible thing, depending on one thing: preparation. Here are a couple of preparation points to make the most of your summer this year without worrying about avoidable vehicle catastrophes.

keyless ignitionSmart Keys and Keyless Entry

Recently we learned here at Ernie’s that manufacturers recommend replacing the batteries of Smart Keys and Smart Entry Keyless start systems every year. Why every year? Well, radio and electronic devices significantly shorten the life of your battery. So, try not to store your Smart Keys in the same pocket as your cell phone, and if you use keyless start, keep your keys away from your radio. And, of course, get your batter replaces yearly so you can avoid waiting for rescue in the summer sun without air conditioning.

tailgate on pickup truckBed Liners

Summer season through football season… the best time to own a pickup! BBQs and pregame fun are always better with a tailgate! Make sure your bed is up to the challenge with a bedliner. Spray in bed liners offer truck owners a cost effective way to maintain the value of their investment, without limiting their fun in the sun or team spirit celebrating. Want to know more about bedliners? Contact us to learn more about your options, costs and the full benefits!

 roadside emergencySafety Kit

You can’t always avoid bad things from happening, but you can make sure you’re prepared to fix small issues or wait safely for help to arrive. Keeping a safety kit in your vehicle can be the difference between a quick resolution and a long unprepared wait for rescue.

Along with a filled spare tire, jack and a tire iron, it’s ideal to keep the following items in your trunk for emergency situations:

  • 12-foot jumper cables
  • Two quarts of oil
  • Gallon of antifreeze
  • First aid kit (including an assortment of bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors and aspirin)
  • Blanket
  • Extra fuses
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Multi-head scredwiver
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • Pocket knife
  • Utility Gloves to protect your hands
  • Pen and paper (this can be kept more readily available in your glove compartment)
  • Granola or energy bars
  • Bottled water
  • A heavy-duty bag to carry it all in

Baby Got Back…Up Cameras

back up camera 2

We came across an article in one of our monthly newsletters that was pretty interesting, and a definite game changer on the road (no pun intended) to safer driving conditions.

According to the source, a recent study by iSeeCars.com found that currently, less than nine percent of vehicles on the road have a back-up camera system installed. For the sake of keeping this a short read, here are some other interesting points from the study:

  • The study predicts that by 2018, 31 percent of vehicles on the road will be equipped with backup camera systems.
  • In 2007, of the cars released that model year, 2.8% were equipped with backup camera systems; five years later, the 15.7% of 2012 model year vehicles were equipped with such systems.
  • 30.4% of 2013 model year vehicles were equipped with backup camera systems, just under double the percentage of the year before.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recently ruled that back-up cameras or “rear visibility technology” will need to be installed by manufacturers for all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds built in or after May 2018.
  • The backup camera feature is standard in a higher percentage of larger vehicles, such as SUVs and minivans.

back up camera 1So what does all of this mean for drivers?
I think we can all agree that this is a good thing for everyone. Even those of us who work at paint and body shops know that eliminating blind spots while maximizing the range of visibility for a driver is an undeniably good thing. We can hopefully look forward to fewer collisions; whether accidental bumping while parking, to the more serious incidents involving hard to see people and pets.

Keeping Up with Kia

 

kia logoEvery month we receive several updates to stay ahead of the curve, and best serve our clients automotive needs. We’ve decided to start sharing these insights with you! We want all of our area car owners to know that we’re here to help them, even if their issue is relatively “obscure”… such as noise in the sunroof of a Kia Forte Koup built between June 5, 2009 and December 8, 2009.

As a matter of fact, just yesterday, we received information about two issues Kia owners may experience, and some great information that can possibly save our clients money without compromising quality.

Sunroof

The first issue we were advised of is the same noise created by the sunroof of the Kia Forte Koup. Due to interference between the rail and the panel, noise is created, especially when driving on uneven roads or cornering. If you’re having that issue… or another… we have the solution.

Drifting Concern

Due to assembly variations that may remain on suspension components, there can be adjusting or settling, and sometimes drift concerns. If you have experienced any unintentional drifting while driving, we can help… even if you’re not driving a Kia.

Kia Parts

Repairs can be expensive, but we value our integrity and commitment to giving clients quality service while keeping their costs as low as possible. The updates we received this month for Kia included great resources to ensure we offer the best pricing without compromising quality or aesthetic. While this update was regarding Kia parts, we can do this for any car owner. Above all else, we pride ourselves in doing great work for every client and making every effort to keep costs appropriate.