Category Archives: Blog

The Driving Safety Hazard You Are Probably Overlooking

Category : Blog

One of the most dangerous things that can become a real driving safety hazard on your vehicle if they are not properly maintained is something that many drivers never really give a second thought to. Not the tires, the engine or even the brakes, as most people are very good at keeping an eye on the condition of these safe driving essentials. We are talking about your headlights. 

Chipped, cracked, dirty, cloudy oxidized and/or discolored headlights endanger your safety every time you take your vehicle out after dark or in a rainstorm (and we have plenty of those in South Florida) If any of these conditions are affecting your lights then their function is compromised and your visibility is reduced. It can also make it harder for other drivers to see you coming in time on a quieter, darkened road. 

The average age of a vehicle (trucks and cars) on the road today is approximately eight years old. After just a year or so on the road though, especially in our tricky South Florida driving conditions the outer lens covers of a vehicle’s headlights have already become grimy, pitted, discolored and oxidized and even if you are one of the few people who does pay closer attention to cleaning your headlights the pitting and scratches do not go away. So those temporary solutions in the form of a specialized headlight cleaner as well as being just that, temporary solutions, are also not able to handle that kind of permanent damage. 

For less than $100, we can protect both of your headlights from the everyday hazards the road throws at them on a daily basis, including rocks and gravel, as well as the hazing and yellowing that UV exposure causes. 

The material these kits are made from is designed to last eight years and or even longer. Classic Touch uses quality X-PEL headlight protection film patterns to ensure a perfect custom fit to your vehicle’s headlights.

Being safe on the road not just about making sure your tires have the right amount of pressure, or that your brakes are functioning properly; it also requires making sure that when you are driving at night or in bad weather that you can see clearly.  Why spend money over and over again on a product that will work for a few weeks, when one application of X-PEL protection film means your car’s headlights will be protected and safe for years to come?

Click here to learn more about Classic Touch’s Headlight Protection Services 


South Florida Wheel Care and Wheel Cleaning Basics

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Category : Blog , Wheel Repair

Whether you’ve just completed your project vehicle, or finally purchased that AMG you’ve had your heart set on, you’ve got to have wheels that set your car or truck apart from the rest. And let’s face it- some wheels are more expensive than the vehicles wearing them. That’s why it is important that you care for your wheels in a manner that keeps them looking great for years to come!

Brake dust is the number one cause of dull, unattractive wheels. No matter the composition of your brake pads, or your driving habits, brake dust is inevitable. Other factors include road debris, tar, and the wandering dog or cat (seriously). In some South Florida locations salt from the ocean may also cause a buildup on your wheels that can damage the finish.

Below are a couple of tips for maintaining the luster of your new wheels.

  • Wheels are made available in several different finishes. Make sure that your wheel cleaner is intended for your particular finish whether your wheels are chrome, painted, hypersilver, polished, or a machined surface. You will also need towels, scrub brushes, a bucket of warm soapy water, carnauba wax or similar, a hose and spray nozzle.
  • Before cleaning your wheels, be sure to allow time for your wheels to cool to the touch. You can aid in the cooldown process by hosing the wheels off with cool water from a garden hose. It is best to park your ride in the shade before getting started.
  • Just like the body of your vehicle, most wheels are painted and clear coated. Never use harsh cleaners or soaps to clean your wheels. Lightly dirty wheels can easily be cleaned with a good quality car wash soap and water, but if there is an extra build up of brake dust and road grime a very soft bristle brush will help take it off after washing with soap and water.
  • Regular weekly cleaning of your wheels will help prevent brake dust ever building up and giving you tough cleaning issues. After cleaning, applying a light coat of wax will protect your wheels and help stop brake dust or ride grime sticking to your wheels. If cleaning chrome rims, do not apply wax, as the chrome needs to breathe. Instead, use a cleaner intended for chrome surfaces.
  • Removing the wheel and cleaning the backside can increase the amount of light reflected through the spokes, thus making the front shine more brilliantly. To remove years of buildup, you may have to use a brush to scrub until the surface is clean of all dust.
  • When detailing your wheels, you may come across chips and scratches caused by kicked up debris or perhaps your neighbor got careless with this lawn care techniques, blasting your beautiful wheels with sand and rocks. You may have misjudged a turn or entered an area downtown where you should have brushed up on your parallel parking skills. Whatever happened, your wheels look pitted, scratched and dented. This is known as curb rash.

This is not something, unfortunately, that any amount of wax, or polish with “buff out”. Curb rash calls for South Florida wheel refinishing, the kind we specialize in here at Classic Touch of South Florida. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.


wheel repair

South Florida Wheel Repair: How to Fix Curb Rash

Category : Blog

Curb rash occurs when there are scratches or dings on the hubcaps of your car. While the damage can appear merely superficial, these scuff marks can leave room for rust spots and grit damage, especially here in South Florida where there is a lot of moisture in the air.

When looking to get your wheels repaired, taking care of curb rash for both the improvement in aesthetic appeal and physical health of your tires is crucial to avoid major damage in the future. It’s important to look for a South Florida wheel repair shop that you can trust to restore your hubcaps to their former glory and avoid unnecessary costs down the road.

ASSESSING CURB RASH DAMAGE

If your wheels have curb rash, you will see slight to moderate scuffs around your hubcaps. This can be due to bumping a curb when parallel parking, general wear and tear on the roads, or a remainder from a close call with another car in the past. If you do a lot of city driving, your vehicle is even more susceptible to curb rash.

Curb rash can also occur on the outer edge of the wheel, leading to an increased chance of popped tires as the tire walls are more easily punctured when worn down or scuffed.

FINDING A WHEEL REPAIR SHOP

When looking to repair your wheels, it is important to pick a shop that specializes in South Florida wheel repair. You want to make sure you are getting the best value for your money, because solid-performing wheels are critical to the efficiency and safety of your vehicle. In the case that the damage to wheels is superficial, your shop will recommend wheel repair for your precise wheel type, such as surface repair and refinishing.

WHEEL REPAIR IN SOUTH FLORIDA

If you are looking to have your wheels repaired, give the pros at Classic Touch of South Florida a call for a free quote. Our shop is dedicated to repairing mild to severe wheel damage at a fair price and with high-quality materials, and best of all we’ll come to you, so there’s even less hassle.


Think a Bent Rim is a Cosmetic Problem? Time to Think Again..and Call a South Florida Wheel Repair Shop

Category : Blog , Wheel Repair

There are some very powerful centrifugal forces at work when rolling, turning, and propelling a vehicle into motion, which means that its wheel rims need to be in almost perfect balance and shape for everything to function as it should.

Some people do feel that if a bent rim is hard to see it is probably not worth spending the money to get it fixed just yet. However, a bent rim can lead to far more than just a visible blemish and should be accessed as soon as possible by a South Florida wheel repair specialist. 

The Damage Can Get Much Worse

Any bend in a wheel rim will quickly damage and weaken the integrity of the wheel itself. The bend is a weak point which, if it is stressed again, or worse still hit by road debris, the wheel rim itself may crack, resulting in a dangerous critical failure.

Misalignment

A bent rim can also throw a vehicle’s overall wheel alignment right off. The result of that, as most drivers know, is uneven tire wear, tires that wear out far faster than they really should have done and the car itself pulling and tugging to one side as you drive. If you pay for a wheel alignment but still do not address the bent rim issue then the problem will only reoccur again and again. One visit from a mobile South Florida wheel repair specialist can pay for itself in the decreased need for pricey alignments alone. 

Wheel Vibrations

A wheel rim that has to medium to severe bend in it will often lead top some very noticeable, and disconcerting wheel vibrations. This does not just making driving harder though. If the situation is allowed to continue the vibrations will damage your vehicle’s transmission, and we all know how expensive that is to fix and/or replace. 

Having a bent rim repaired is therefore not just a matter of helping to restore the beauty of your vehicle’s overall experience but it is also crucial to the safety and integrity of your vehicle. At Classic Touch of South Florida, using the Kwicksilver method of wheel and rim repair, we may be able to repair and restore even severe damage for just around $100. 

Learn more about Wheel Repair at Classic Touch of South Florida. 


6 Sensible Tips for Safer Nighttime Driving

Category : Blog

Summer is over, winter is here. One of the things this means for drivers is that they are likely to spend more of their time driving in the dark, as the days get shorter and sunsets occur far earlier.

Even if you consider yourself ‘used to it’, nighttime driving, especially winter nighttime driving, can be especially challenging and, at times, dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 40% of fatal automotive accidents in the United States occur at night, partially because driving after dark often affects peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to distinguish color for even the most experienced drivers.

There are some measures you can take to make your after dark drives safer though. Here are some of the most important.

Take Extra Care of Your Headlights

Ensuring that your vehicle’s headlights are functioning as efficiently and effectively as possible at night or in other low-light daylight conditions – rainy days, foggy days, snowy days, all of which are common during the colder months – is a must. This does not simply mean checking the bulbs though. Your headlight covers need to be kept clean, so you should wipe them off at least every few weeks or so. You also need to check the angle of your headlights and adjust them if they are not aimed properly. You should also consider getting them some much needed headlight protection as foggy, scratched headlights really can prove catastrophic, especially when driving at night.

Windshield Care is Crucial

For safer nighttime driving your windshield needs to be as clean and clear as possible, and the same is true of the rear windshield and your side and rearview mirrors too. Fog and ice can still cause problems on even the cleanest windshield though. There are all kinds of treatment products that can be found in auto stores that will help prevent icy build up and/or fogged windscreens and mirrors and at just a few dollars each they are often a wise investment.

Finally, before the bad weather really sets in check your windscreen wipers and replace them if necessary. Getting stuck with broken wipers on a cold dark night is no fun and it certainly isn’t safe either.

Light Up Earlier

Don’t wait until it is pitch black to turn your headlights on. Instead use sunset as your cue and ‘light up’ at that point instead. This is not so much to improve your vision but to help ensure you are as visible as possible to other vehicles on the road.

Keep the Cabin Dark

Keeping the cabin of your vehicle as dark as possible will help increase your nighttime vision. If possible dim your dash lights (most newer vehicles do offer that option) and avoid using map lights or courtesy lights while driving.

Watch Your Distances

Do not be tempted to “outdrive” your headlights and be conscious to maintain a safe stopping distance between your vehicle and the road – and traffic – in front of you. In fact, helpfully, you can use your headlights as Headlights a measuring tool: on average low-beam lights have a 160-foot visibly range and high-beam lights have a 500-foot visibility range.

Don’t be a Deer

You know all about what happens when a deer gets caught in the headlights don’t you? Well exactly the same thing can happen to a human if they stare directly into the headlights of the oncoming traffic. Which is not a good thing at all. Oh and speaking of deer remember to be on the lookout for them – and other woodland creatures – as well.


Car Vids: Watch The Wreckage Of The World’s Most Expensive Car Crash

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Category : Blog

Bad car accidents are usually tragic, with global statistics pointing out that auto accidents result 1.3 million deaths a year. The stats don’t stop there,as a colossal 20-50 million people are injured or yearly in auto accidents. No wonder then people have gone as far as calling cars the real weapons of mass destruction. However, most of the accidents are to be blamed on human error rather than the machines themselves

Back in December, 2011, in the land of the rising sun, there was a crash of catastrophic proportions that a video of which surfaced that lit up the internet. All the cars, with the exception of one lonely Prius, were exotic supercars. This included eight Ferraris, one Mercedes Benz and a Lamborghini. The accident happened on the Chugoku highway in Western Japan. The total damage was said to be in the region of $ 4 million and a single driver error was to blame (hate to be that guy). Amazingly though, no one was seriously hurt.

If you tend to rubberneck on the highway when you pass a smash (as we all so, admit it ;)) you’ll love this video


5 Simple but Overlooked Ways to Extend the Life of Your Car

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Category : Blog

 

Car repairs can be expensive and while some repair jobs cannot be avoided, a number of them might have been had the car owner taken just a little bit more care to try and extend the life of their car and all the associated parts. Some routine maintenance tasks are obvious but there are some ways to extend the life of your car and cut down on the number of visits it has to make to the mechanic shop every year that are lesser known. Here are some of them:

Drive Less – That of course sounds like rather simple and patronizing advice. But all those little trips , the ones that you made when you really could have walked but it was a bit too cold, or you were in a bit of a hurry, are the ones that can do the most damage to your car in the long run.

Starting up is an effort at any time for a car, but especially in the winter, and if you are barely going to give the engine time to warm up before you stop it again, and then repeat the process on the way back you are forcing your car to do extra work that it really shouldn’t have to (plus the gas you are wasting as well)

Keep an Eye on Your Tire Alignment – If your car begins to shake, even slightly, when you start to pick up a bit of sped then the chances are very good that the tires need re-aligning. Even when drivers know this is the case they often put the job off until they have more time. by doing that however not only are you damaging the car but the tires will be wearing unevenly so you will be shortening their useful life as well.

Change Your Air Filter – Everyone knows that changing a car’s oil filter regularly is a must be fewer people realize that the air filter should be changed about every 12,000 miles as well. Its not a very difficult job if you like to do your own car maintenance but it won’t take a mechanic that long if you don’t.

Keep Your Paint in Great Shape – OK, so you do hit the car wash once in a while and you’ve even been known to splash out on a waxing. But that’s not enough to protect your car’s paint in long run. Waxes offer no long term protection for your car because they break down quickly when exposed to the sun’s harsh UV Rays. Waxes also get sticky in the hot sun and actually attract and hold dust and dirt next to your paint which is why freshly waxed cars seem to get dirty so quickly here in Florida.

A car’s paint is about more than just aesthetics. The rust that can develop as a result of aging, flaking paint can lead to all kinds of physical damage, not to mention that if you had thought of eventually trading in the vehicle, or selling it on your chances of being able to do that will be significantly reduced.

A single one time paint protection treatment like our Invisibra is fast, easy and far more affordable than you might have imagined. And it’s certainly a small price to pay for keeping your car looking – and running – great longer.

Don’t Put of Repairs – Often when it comes to making small repairs drivers put the tasks off for as long as they can, often in an attempt to save money. Doing so is probably costing them money in the long term though because the longer something is wrong with your car the more damage is potentially being done that will shorten its useful life.


Car Maintenance – What To Do When Your Car Overheats In the Summer Traffic

Category : Blog

The summer is here and many of us will be hitting the road to drive to our vacation destinations. Although it happens less often with a newer car that has an owner who is careful about car maintenance, the combination of stop and go holiday traffic, big traffic jams, long journeys and high temperatures can often result in a car overheating, something that could you leave stranded on the side of the motorway rather than checking into your lovely hotel.

Apart from following a regular car maintenance schedule  what should you do to try and make sure that you stay safe when your temperature indicator heads into the danger zone or smoke begins to bellow from beneath the hood? Here are a few tips:

Cooling Things Down Fast

If your car starts to overheat and you have the air conditioning on, turn it off immediately. The air conditioner puts an extra load on your car that very often is the cause of over heating, especially if you do not make a habit of going to an auto car parts store and stocking up on (and then using) the right coolants for your engine.

If turning off the AC does not help turn on the heaters, with the blowers on full. Yes its a horrible thought and yes it will make life very miserable for the people in the car but what it will also do is transfer a lot of that heat from the engine to the cars interior. This is a trick that many people are unaware of, but it usually works quite well and is a good temporary fix. And a few minutes inconvenience is far better than being stuck at the side of a road for hours.

Staying Cool in Traffic

If you are stuck in a traffic jam and your engine begins to overheat putting the car into neutral and then revving the engine can help. Doing that will force the water pump and the fan to speed up which can also help cool the engine off quickly.

Don’t ride you brakes in a traffic jam. If traffic ahead of you has slowed to little more than a crawl – something that is fairly common on busy holiday weekend – don’t ride your brakes as you move along, that will make overheating more likely to occur. Instead stay where you are until the space between you and the car in front of you gets too large.

If you think the car really is ready to boil over at any second, pull off the road onto the hard shoulder as soon as you can and open the hood to let the engine get some fresh air and begin to cool down. Do not at this point ever open the radiator cap to try and add water just yet though, doing so can result in damage to your engine and severe burns to you. Let the air do its work for a while before you even attempt such things.

Preventing the Problem

The occasional meltdown is possible in any car, even a very well maintained one if the weather is very hot and the traffic is very heavy. If, however,  your car overheats on a regular basis, even when it is not so hot outside, then there may be a more serious underlying problem that has to be dealt with. There may be a leak in the coolant system or your thermostat may be malfunctioning. Both of these items can be fixed with a quick car inspection and a visit to a car parts retailer and doing so before you head of on holiday can save you a lot of heartache!


As Seen On TV Car Care Products – Do They Really Work?

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Category : Blog

You’d have to virtually live under a rock to have not seen at least one late night infomercial about car care products that promise to do everything from ‘magically’ removing severe scratches to instantly restoring old headlights. The commercials all start in much of the same way with some loud person exclaiming ‘You won’t believe this!’ or some other catchy phrase about how one doesn’t need to invest thousands of dollars to get their car to look ‘showroom ready.’ And what’s more magical about these products is that the price that they come at is truly mindboggling! For only $19.95 or sometimes less you can fix those dents, remove longstanding scratches, stop leaks and so much more. But inevitably every consumer wants to know,

‘Do they actually work?’

Unfortunately the answer is usually an resounding ‘no’ and all sorts of investigative teams as well as Consumer Reports have spent countless hours and money testing such products. After all, we all want to have shiny, like new cars even when they are decades old. But in most cases, consumers who purchase these ‘amazing, unbelievable and miraculous’ products may as well take a match to their hard earned cash.

Windshield Wonder

The infomercials claim that this wondrous microfiber tower which is only 16 inches and attached to a curved handle and also comes with a specialized kit that includes 2 fiber bonnets, storage pouch and a spray bottle claims to be the easiest and fastest way to clean windshields and leave no streaks. The biggest claim made by this product is that it can get into the cracks and crevices between the dashboard and shielded glass.

At least forty non-affiliates have tested this product since its release and although one gave it an A+, all of the others state that it is essentially a waste when you can get the same effect with an old rag and glass cleaners at a much cheaper cost overall.

Pop A Dent

This car care product states that any consumer can literally ‘dial’ out any sized dent on their car and restore it to looking like new simply by using what is essentially a small suction device. The oft heard quote, ‘It’s like dialing a dent away’ rang in the ears of listeners and was enough to prompt hundreds if not thousands into buying it.

Consumer magazines tested this product a lot and also compared it to like products. The success was also mixed with the dents being removed about 80% of time. The remaining 20% both the companies that tested it and consumers who had purchased it stated the results were not only disappointing, absolutely nothing happened other than money disappearing from their wallets.

Seemingly of the times it did work, the dents that were performed on were less than six inches in length or diameter and very shallow. Additionally, the product also comes with a finishing agent which many consumers reported damaged their exterior paint! The entire process takes more than a few hours to complete and usually several tries are needed to get even the subtlest results and in some cases the tool actually left other marks or indentations thereby complicating their issues.

At the end of the day the overall feeling is that this product simply wasn’t worth the hassle.

Fast Brite

Of all the car care products this one is probably the simplest. It is an oxidizer which claims to restore headlights to their showroom shine, removing any cloudiness and also has the added benefit of a sealant which should protect the headlights for months following one cleaning session.

Of all that tested and used it every review claimed that while the product did remove some grime, the finished product resembled nothing like showroom glean and shine. Basically what consumers received for their $14.99 plus shipping and handling was a cleaner like any other which removed surface dirt and it takes many more swipes than the one highlighted in the commercial. Numerous swipes in fact just to get the normal, everyday dirt off.

The jury is once again in and unanimously it is found that consumers should save their money and try something else. And it’s basically the same stoty across the board for all of these “As Seen on TV” offerings.

At the end of the day protecting and improving the appearance of their vehicle is important to any driver, for sure. But there really are no shortcuts. If you need a dent removed from the vehicle, take it to a bodyshop. If you want clearer headlights, prevent damage from occurring in the first place by having an Invisibra Headlight Protection treatment applied. And as for those paint scratches? An Invisibra will prevent them from ever occurring for years. Saving money with DIY can be fine, just not when it comes to something as valuable and relied upon as your car.


Is Your Tech Laden Car A Target For A Hacker?

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Category : Blog

Today’s new cars are more tech laden – and tech dependent – than ever before. Even economy level models of various car model lines are equipped with things like GPS navigation and basic wifi connectivity. And to most of us, this is all a wonderful thing. But there are some who are concerned that drivers face a new threat thanks to all of this – that their car’s systems could be compromised by a hacker or infected by a malicious virus, much in the way that a standard home computer, and increasingly a mobile device, can.

Is Car Hacking Real or Just a Crazy Theory?

None other than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admits that there have been cases documented in which a car system were maliciously accessed and compromised, but have yet to say how many. The issue was one of its principal arguments against self driving cars in their report on that issue in May 2013 though and so far the position on the issue hasn’t changed too much as even more tech is being added to vehicles all the time.

And in the world of academia, researchers proved as long ago as 2010 that hacking was certainly possible and in the case of some vehicles it was actually quite easy. Scientists from Washington University and the University of California at San Diego tapped into the electronic control mode – aka the ECM – which interacts with most of a car’s functional systems, including the engine, transmission, traction control and braking systems.

After having done so they were able to adjust the car’s combustion rates and, in some cases, completely disable the engine. They also found it was possible to disable the brakes and override any automatic cutouts to keep the car running sans brakes. In some cases they could go the full monty – jam the horn, lock the doors and disable the automatic safety unlocking mechanism and shut the engine off in seconds. And all of this was six years ago now.

What is Being Done to Stop the Threat?

Before you give up driving your car for fear that it will turn into some kind of venomous KITT the next time you drive to work, it should be noted that the recorded instances of car hacking are limited, and most involve the infection of the infotainment systems thanks to a virus introduced via a car’s smartphone connectivity feature. There have also been some cases discovered in which less than scrupulous car dealers have hacked a car’s odometer in the 21st century version of ‘turning the clock back’ to reduce the number of miles on an odometer but that is something of a different issue.

No injuries or deaths have been reported officially – there is a rumor among conspiracy theory types that the fiery car crash that killed Michael Hastings, an LA journalist possibly working on the Jill Kelley story, was the result of a car hack but there is no real evidence of that – but that does not mean that car manufacturers and tech suppliers are not aware of the threat and are working towards creating the kinds of firewalls that you add to your own PC at home to stop it.

One company – Robert Bosch GmbH – better known as the Bosch Engineering Company to motorists, already has their security division  Etas GmbH working hard on a solution. They already have a software solution – Escrypt GmbH – that acts as a firewall and according to the company’s director of operations in Japan, where the software was developed, VP Wolfgang Sienel thas stated they already have some Tier 1 car manufacturers that are active clients, although he is not at liberty to say just who that might be.

So how real is the threat of car hacking? Even Etas GmbH, who have a product to sell, admit it is more of a nuisance issue right now more than anything else, but the potential for harm is there, which is why the NHTSA have set up a special new division to examine the issue and a number of others, including car manufacturers, are doing the same.