Paint Damage from Falling Leaves?

Fall weather tends to turn our thoughts to shorter daylight, more football, Halloween and the Holidays.  Some may even make a special trip to the mountains or countryside just to see the beautiful array of colorful leaves as they turn and begin to drop.  So many vibrant colors…but maybe you weren’t aware that those spectacular Autumn leaves can actually damage to your car in multiple ways?  Yes, one or two won’t cause Armageddon…but if allowed to collect unchecked and unremoved…those leaves can do some serious damage to your vehicle’s paint job, especially if it’s clear coat has more than a few years of wear and tear.

parked cars with yellow fallen tree leaves on hoods

Paint Damage? How Can Leaves Cause That?
Fallen leaves contain small amounts of sap and pollen that when rained upon…causes acid to leech out of the leaves and penetrate your car’s clear coat…resulting in dull spots and paint peel. If left unchecked, wet leaves can even cause rust to form, especially when they get trapped between moldings and trim.  Maybe you’ve even seen a wet leaf left sticking to the hood of a car until it dries…creating an actual leaf print in the paint.

Leaves Cause Other Damage Too?
Leaves left trapped between the body and hood can cause damage to your vehicle’s HVAC (air conditioning & heat) system by pulling in tiny pieces of leaf debris.  Accumulated leaves left unchecked can block air inflow and damage the engine or heating system. Also, mold and mildew can easily form from rotting leaves.

How Do You Prevent Fallen Leaves Damage?

  1. Don’t park directly under trees…if at all possible.  It helps avoid leaf buildup.
  2. If/when leaves do appear on the hood, roof & trunk of your car, hose them off ASAP. Don’t just wipe them off with your hand or a brush…that actually scratches your paint.
  3. Open the hood and use an air compressor or high power vacuum to remove any leaves or pieces of leaves that you see.  Ask your trusted auto mechanic to inspect the engine compartment and ensure no unwanted leaves have accumulated.
  4. Wash & Wax regularly. Visit your car wash and take advantage of undercarriage sprayers and high-pressure wands to get to every nook and cranny of your car. Apply a coat of strong, durable wax to help protect the paint from acid and sap in leaves.

Following these protective steps will allow you enjoy to the spectacle of the Autumn foliage when you head out on that road trip to the countryside…without worrying about car damage.  Your Irish Coffee or Hot Toddy will taste even better while you enjoy the landscape!

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Car Detailing Benefits

Maybe you’ve wondered what exactly car detailing involves?

Vehicle Detailing is a thorough cleaning and reconditioning process that’s a meticulous step-by-step procedure aimed at restoring its beauty.


But here’s an important distinction:  car “wash” and car “detail” are two VERY different auto care services. Here’s why…

Detailing Services can not only include automobiles…but also: RVs, trucks, buses, SUVs, boats, motorcycles and yes, airplanes too! Most authentic detailing businesses can accommodate most or all of these vehicle types.  Here are a few variables to know in advance:

  1. What type of detailing package you’re receiving?  It’s likely you’ll encounter a wide variety of service packages and prices…because there are no standard industry guidelines.  Factors that define the variety quotient are:  overall quality of service, levels of training, professionalism as well as the phusical products and equipment used to perform the services.
  2. Why do I need car detailing?  Protection from the elements is the single most important reason your vehicle needs authentic detailing services…at least twice a year.  Specifically, a quality coat of wax applied to the painted surfaces that protect it’s finish from contaminates and oxidation.
  3. What expectations should you have?  – A thorough, high-quality detailing service package should take several hours to perform, depending on your vehicles condition.   Actual results of a detailing job will also vary, based on the level of service provided and the age or condition of the vehicle.  But you SHOULD expect that every nook and cranny of your vehicle will be assessed and cleaned.

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Top 10 Most Liked Car Brands 2017 – J.D. Powers

It’s called the annual J.D. Power APEAL Awards… “U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout” (APEAL) Study…and it assesses what new-vehicle owners like and dislike about the performance, design, layout, and features of their new cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. And yes, survey respondents are genuine owners of their respective vehicles for a minimum of 90 days.

This year, J.D. Power got detailed responses from roughly 70,000 vehicle owners this year…telling how happy they are with the car regarding 77 different aspects. Their answers are then compiled into a satisfaction score…with 1,000 points being the maximum.

Here are the top 10 ten brands (and their points score) that owners liked the most…in reverse order

10) Mini – 838 points – Though the Mini is BMW’s entry-level brand, it’s price tag can become quite high as options are added.

9) Jaguar – 838 points – Jaguar adds a new dimension of stellar ride quality and elegant styling that’s classically beautiful.

8) Lexus – 842 points – Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division…is actually the only Japanese car brand to hit the top ten.  Maybe not as fun to drive as other top 10ers…but luxurious it is indeed.

7) Cadillac – 843 points – Barely beating Lexus for seventh place…Cadillac (not unlike Jaguar) makes excellent strides at combining style with excellent driving dynamics.

6) Lincoln – 849 points – Surprising to some that it made it this high up the list, many people consider Lincoln to merely be repackaged Fords.  However, the Continental and upcoming Navigator are relative standouts.

5) Mercedes – 851 points –  Mercedes-Benz is one of four Germany top 10ers…but it’s also the lowest ranked of the German pack.

Wanna see the top 3?

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PA Body Shop’s Heroic Stand – ‘Insurance Companies Are…Really Bad”

It’s no secret that independent auto body repair shops are at constant war with the ‘too big to fail’ insurance companies. We battle them every day here at Johnny’s Custom Auto Body and know first hand.

This Pennsylvania independent body shop owner lets consumers know exactly how he feels about the insurance industry.  Ron Perretta, owner of Professionals Auto Body in central Pennsylvania, urges consumers to avoid DRP shops in a YouTube spot titled, “Dishonest Insurance Companies.”

“Everyone knows how dishonest insurance companies are, short-cutting repairs by using junkyard and imitation parts, wanting to repair parts that should be replaced, and pushing hard to use their contracted shops that work for the insurance companies, not consumers,” ~ Ron Perretta 

Perretta, who started the business in 1979, reminds consumers that they have the right to choose which shop repairs their collision-damaged vehicles.

“Insurance companies are bad, really bad…They think they can kick you around until you do what they want, like they do their contracted shops.” ~ Ron Perretta (our Hero!)

Progressive and State Farm are “the worst for short-cutting repairs” Perretta states…and recommends a local Erie, PA Auto Insurance company which has high J.D. Powers customer satisfaction ratings for five (5) years straight.

Then Peretta continues: “Dump these companies that try to bully you and push you around.” .

Finally, the pièce de résistance…an adaptation from a famous Paul Harvey speech. Get your tissue box, the press Play.

pièce de résistance

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2017 Best Connected Car Devices

New devices that capture your cars’ computer sensor data using its on-board diagnostic port (OBD II is available on cars built from 1996 on) and adds a layer of additional features on top…have proliferated over the past few years.  These OBD 2 adapters also offer tracking and monitoring of driving and car diagnostics remotely from your Android or iOS device…transforming this information into a resource that helps easily understand a check-engine light, potentially improve your insurance rate based on how/when you actually drive, and create added safety features through tracking and emergency response services.

The following list of Consumer OBD monitoring devices currently on the market will help you compare Wifi and Bluetooth driving assistance systems and:

  1. Get device and their app reviews. Determine if the adapter/dongle can work with your car model and your Android or iOS phone.
  2. Filter based on monthly pricing, or by feature (theft tracking, api access, insurance or parental monitoring, etc).

Automatic – “Your Smart Driving Assistant”

  • App Marketplace
  • OBD-II Port and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Collision Detection using built-in accelerometer

CarLock – “The baby monitor for your car.”

  • The CarLock Cloud will inform your emergency contacts via SMS if you had an accident. – Add backup SMS or call notifications (SIM card included)
  • Export your trips data to your computer with CSV or XLS export
  • CarLock actively monitors the health of your vehicle and alerts you in advance if your car battery is running dangerously low or is experiencing high battery drain.

Dash Car – “Smarter. Driving. Every Day.”

  • Integrates with IFTTT
  • Take pole position on the leaderboard, win rewards and share road trips
  • Dash works with preferred OBD devices, starting as low as $10. Provides automated VIN decoding, multi-car support and push alerts.

Mojio“Connect your car to apps on your phone”

  • 3G Connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
  • App Marketplace

Vinli “Your, Connected”

  • Turns your car into a rolling WiFi hotspot
  • 4G LTE, Wifi, and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Standalone GPS and app store


See More Devices


Car Washes & Your Vehicle’s Paint

Is there a legit but secret method of washing your car that will not cause damage to its paintwork?

PopularMechanics says…at the veryleast… avoid the gas station quick car washes with the big brushes.   If you care at all about your vehicle’s exterior finish…they can do more harm than good.  But a gold old DIY car wash at home will achieve the best results.

Most people that a wash and wax is the best way to keep their car shiny and clean. Their heart is in the right place, but there is much more to washing a car than those two things.  Mike Pennington and Rick McDonough of Meguiars explain these steps as a proper way to wash your car and maintain a clean exterior.

  1. Evaluate the Condition of Your Vehicle
  2. Read the Label
  3. Washing Your Car
  4. Prepare the Surface
  5. Polishing for Extra Gloss
  6. Wax to Protect
  7. Maintain a Shine and Protection
  8. Wash the Windows
  9. Wash the Wheels

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Here’s another viewpoint from the car enthusiasts TV show, FifthGear:

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Long Lost ‘Bullitt’ Mustang Found in Mexicali Junkyard

Love those classic car chase scenes from the 70’s?  The French ConnectionGone in 60 Seconds…and yes, the legendary racing enthusiast…Steve McQueen in Bullitt…shot right here in San Francisco.  That 1968 Mustang GT that McQueen did most of the stunt driving in is about as iconic as they come. It was found just across the California border in a Mexicali, Mexico junkyard…and was confirmed authentic by the most respected Ford authenticator in the field.

Voted a top 10 most legendary cars in Hollywood history was actually one of two Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT’s used in the Bullitt movie: one kept clean and crisp for the chase scenes wall all know and love…and another that did most of the stunt dirty work in those infamous chase scenes. It was that stunt double that many thought so battered and bruised during the movie…that caused it to get scrapped for junk years ago.

Read More & Even More


Audi’s New In-Dash Traffic Light Technology

Driver assist technology is taking a small but practical jump forward with Audi’s launch of a traffic information feature that  is now available in select 2017 Audi A4, Q7 and all road models.  Part of the Audi connect system…the new feature is designed to help traffic flow and integrates vehicles with surrounding traffic light infrastructure.

“The launch of this technology is another in a long list of firsts for Audi that have positioned us as the industry leader in connectivity solutions…” ~ Scott Keogh, President,  Audi of America.

This new Traffic Light Information feature is a “vehicle to infrastructure” (V2I) tool designed help drivers in a practical everyday driving way…while helping Audi to innovate the driver experience and move it toward an autonomous future.  In fact, Audi is developing more infrastructure connected capabilities by growing relationships with the Google Earth mapping system and local retailers.

What does Audi’s traffic light feature actually do for drivers?

  1. Time to Green – Drivers pulling up to stop lights will now know how long until the light turns green.
  2. Speed Recommendation – that drivers should maintain to hit the most number of green lights and reduce time on-the-road.

Aiming for beneficial pragmatism as opposed to possible feelings of intrusiveness…Audi hopes to avoid alarming their customers about the quantity of information that their vehicles collect about them…as well as offering better traffic solutions and reducing congestion.

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Johnny’s Custom Auto Body Celebrates Small Business Saturday 11/26/16

Small businesses create nearly seven out of every ten new private sector jobs and employ half the private sector work force. They represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses with employees and have created 63% of the net new jobs over the last 20 years. ~ Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) ~ Forbes

The Small Business Saturday Story

  • 2010 – Day One –  The first-ever Small Business Saturday took place on Nov 27.  It encouraged people across the country to support small, local businesses.
  • 2011 – The Day Became Official – The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday.
  • 2012 – EVERY STATE IN THE UNION – From Washington D.C., to Washington State, governors, mayors, and even President Obama championed Small Business Saturday.
  • 2013 – Neighborhoods Celebrated The Day – The day continued to grow, with more individuals and local organizations pledging to support the day as Neighborhood Champions.
  • 2014 – SMALL BUSINESSES OWNED THE DAY – American Express encouraged small business owners to take charge of the day, helping them promote their businesses with free personalized ads, which appeared millions of times across the web.
  • 2015 – ONE FOR THE BOOKS – Shoppers supported their neighborhood businesses like never before, continuing to embrace the day as a holiday shopping tradition.


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Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup – Review Mashup

The new Mercedes-Benz new pickup truck, built in conjunction with Nissan probably won’t go into production till last quarter of 2017…but the pre-release hype is already off the charts.  Here’s a “Reviews Mashup” from some of the biggest names in automotive industry expertise…on the Mercedes Benz X-Class” concept:

Road /Show (CNET)

Roadshow brings expert perspective to the entire industry. We’ll give you unbiased buying advice and reporting on everything that moves you today, plus insight into everything that will move you a decade from now. We’ll inform with the latest news on the industry and entertain with the most amazing automotive video on the web. To drive this, we’ve built an amazing team of veteran auto journalists, tech gurus and peerless video producers — people with the knowledge, the skill and the perspective to craft an incredible suite of fresh content every day.


Mercdes-Benz unvelied the X-Class pickup concept. Mid-size diesel truck to be based on Nissan NP300 Navara.  Autoblog obsessively covers the auto industry. We are a trusted source of auto research, information, and automotive issues

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“The pickup is the ideal vehicle for the international expansion of our product range with a newly developed model,” Mercedes-Benz Vans heads Volker Mornhinweg said in a statement. “We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car.”

concpet photo of white Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup
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Mercedes-Benz hops into beds with new X-Class pickup truck – MotorAuthority

by Jeff Glucker
Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck conceptMercedes-Benz has finally pulled the wraps off its mid-size pickup truck, the long-rumored and finally unveiled X-Class. The X-Class still is a concept at this point, but it’s a concept in that wink-wink nudge-nudge sort of fashion. The final version should arrive at an upcoming auto show before hitting showrooms late in 2017. Well, not U.S…

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The Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup Truck Is Here And It Looks Sleek – Jalopnik

by Andrew P Collins on Truck Yeah, shared by Raphael Orlove to Jalopnik

Last March Mercedes-Benz announced that they were going to mock up a mid-sized pickup truck with more payload capacity than any American-market equivalent. Now we know what they’ve been hyping: it’s a truck for Mercedes customers, not the other way around.

Read more…