• How Frame Straightening Machines Work

    Auto body shops have specialized frame straightening machines capable of repairing damaged vehicle frames. When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll see a frame straightener at an auto collision center.

    The damaged vehicle is placed on a platform. It features two towers, which are upright posts, and a hydraulic ram. Clamps are mounted on the vehicle to hold it still, and chains connect the frame to the machine. Using hydraulics, the towers pull the chains in precise ways to gently and slowly straighten the frame until it’s been restored back to factory specifications.

    Expert collision repair services in San Jose are available at Michael J’s Body Shop. Give us a call today at (408) 279-2070, and our team of trained frame straightening technicians will have you back on the road in no time.

  • A Look at the Evolution of Auto Safety

    Auto safety features have evolved considerably since an experimental steam-powered car killed a scientist, Mary Ward, in Ireland in 1869. Ward has the dubious distinction of being the first known car crash victim. Back then, steam cars were seen as an eccentric hobby, and safety features were unheard of. Just as auto body shops have become more technologically advanced over the years, so too have the cars themselves.

    Early Auto Safety Improvements

    Driving pioneers had to use a hand-crank to start their cars, and to stop them, most of the drivers used a lever system to apply a block of wood to the wheels. This primitive brake became virtually useless when rubber tires were introduced. The need for safety improvements in general and better braking in particular became clear in 1899, when North America’s first recorded death by car occurred . Henry Bliss, a realtor in Manhattan, disembarked from a streetcar and was quickly struck by a taxicab. Bliss suffered massive internal trauma and died the next morning. After Bliss’ death, manufacturers and the public became keenly aware that changes were called for. In 1922, the first four-wheel hydraulic brake system was installed in a car, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the first model received standard disc brakes.

    Evolving Auto Safety Features

    In 1930, Ford began requiring all models to have a “safety glass.” This was a big year for auto safety, as it’s also believed to be the first time that safety proponents called for installing seat belts. Padded dashboards were also recommended. Here’s a timeline of other major milestones:

    • 1934: First barrier crash test performed by General Motors
    • 1936: Back-up brake system introduced by inventor Hudson Terraplane
    • 1937: First turn signals introduced by Buick
    • 1948: First front seat belts installed (not a common option until later years)
    • 1958: Three point lap and shoulder belt invented by Volvo
    • 1984: Mandatory seat belt laws passed
    • 1989: Mandatory front air bag laws passed

    Auto Safety Failures

    Of course, not all inventions worked. There have been plenty of failures along the road. In 1907, the O’Leary Fender was invented. It was a mesh-like device that attached to the front of a car for the purpose of pushing pedestrians out of the way. Needless to say, it didn’t catch on. Another ill-conceived idea was a padded crash compartment, into which passengers were supposed to crawl when a crash was about to happen.

    Here at Michael J’s Body Shop, we have all the high-tech collision repair equipment needed to do flawless dent repairs and bumper repairs in our San Jose location. We even offer rental car assistance! Call us at (408) 279-2070 with any questions you may have.

  • Overcoming Driving Fear After a Major Accident

    The average car accident lasts a mere matter of seconds, but it always leaves a lasting impression. A serious wreck, especially one that caused major injuries, can cause psychological trauma. If you’re feeling nervous after a wreck, you might find yourself unable to drive your repaired car home from the auto body shop . Aside from working with a mental health counselor, there are a few strategies you can try to overcome your fear.

    Bring a friend along for a ride.

    The first time you drive after the accident, you could ask a sympathetic friend to join you. Choose someone who has a naturally calming presence, if possible. Your first drive after the crash shouldn’t be to a scheduled appointment or other time-sensitive commitment. This will only make you feel pressured. Instead, you could drive you and your friend to a coffee shop or your favorite retail store.

    Take a defensive driving class.

    Defensive driving classes are appropriate for drivers of all skill levels. Taking one doesn’t mean that your technical skills were to blame for the crash, as any driver could potentially get into an accident. However, a defensive driving class can help you feel more confident behind the wheel. Even if you don’t learn anything new, you’ll gain more time behind the wheel without any additional negative experiences. Plus, your insurance company may offer you a discount for completing the course.

    Resume driving activities gradually.

    It probably isn’t reasonable to expect that you’ll be able to take a cross-country road trip the week after the crash. Ease into your driving activities gradually to give your mind time to heal and adjust. Start with shorter trips and avoid rush hour traffic. As you gain confidence, you’ll be able to get back into your usual routine.

    When you choose Michael J’s Body Shop to perform your collision repairs in San Jose, you can have full confidence knowing that your car is as safe as it can possibly be. For more than 20 years, area residents have trusted our experienced collision repair technicians to restore their vehicles back to pre-accident conditions. Call us today at (408) 279-2070, and we’ll make the repair process as stress-free as possible for you.

  • Comparing Basecoats, Clear Coats, and Sealers

    An auto body paint job is a lot more involved than just spraying on a quick layer. When you take your car to a professional auto paint shop, your ride will be treated to multiple coats of carefully applied, specially formulated paint and protective materials. First, primer is applied to any unpainted surface. When working on a car that has been previously painted, the technician will use sealer or primer-sealer. As the name suggests, a sealer seals the underlying surface and prepares it for a fresh application of paint.

    After applying the primer or sealer, the technician will apply the basecoat of paint. Basecoats tend to be strongly pigmented for maximum color and gloss. Usually, two to three layers of basecoat are needed, with drying time in between applications. Lastly, the technician applies the clear coat. Clear coats lack pigment. Instead, they specialize in durability and gloss. The job of the clear coat is to protect the basecoat.

    Looking for a high-quality car paint shop in San Jose that prides itself on superior craftsmanship? Look no further than Michael J’s Body Shop—a full-service collision repair company. Call (408) 279-2070.