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Ask A Tech

How things work around here. You've got questions, we've got answers!

Ask our Tech team anything.  The ACE Techs are standing by to answer your collision and automotive repair questions. To ask a question, please complete our Contact Us form.

The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Winter 2016. "How do I spot black ice on the road?"

Answer:   "Great question!  For the answer, we went straight to the weather experts ... Accuweather."  

Black ice forms when the air is at 32 degrees or below at the surface and rain is falling, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Mussoline. The ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, thus creating ice. Sleet and the refreezing of snow or water can also generate black ice. This type of ice gets its name from its ability to blend in with its surroundings. It's called black ice because it tends to look like the rest of the pavement on the road, but it's actually clear. The complexion of black ice makes it extremely difficult to spot, but using a car thermometer as an initial gauge can be helpful in determining the road conditions. A car thermometer, like any digital thermometer, tries to find the air's ambient temperature. So, if a vehicle's thermometer is close to freezing, the car driver should be cautious on the roads. While the sensors themselves are usually very accurate, their placement on a vehicle can make them less reliable. Located outside the car, behind the front bumper, these sensors sometimes pick up heat from the car's engine, resulting in a higher temperature reading, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Frank Strait. In addition, these thermometers can also read lower if rain water hits the sensors and evaporates while the car is at a higher speed. Overall, car thermometers give relatively accurate readings, but for various reasons they can be incorrect, so they should not be used as the absolute authority. 

Due to the restrictions of a car's thermometers, the best way to know if roads are icy before heading out the door is to be aware of when, where and how black ice forms. The prime times for the development of this ice are around dawn and in the late evening, when temperatures are typically the lowest. During the day, the best thing to do before getting in a vehicle is to take a look at the pavement. Before getting on the roads at night, drivers should be informed of the area's weather conditions, as black ice is hardest to see in the dark, according to Lee. The most common locations for the emergence of black ice are shaded or tree-covered parts of driveways and roadways due to the lack of sunlight and bridges and overpasses because of their ability to freeze quickly. While driving on black ice is similar in some regards to driving on snow, the biggest difference between the two is the amount of traction the vehicle retains.

For more information on each topic shown above, check out the full article at Accuweather.com.  

Source:  (Accuweather.com).


The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Fall 2016. "I know that winter can be a difficult driving season, but what about the fall?"

Answer:   "Unbeknownst to many, as experienced during the winter season, driving during the fall can be very dangerous.  If you know what to look for, you can avoid many fall driving hazards, keeping you and your family safe."

Driving during the fall season creates hazards most of us are unaware of.  As the summer season bids farewell to COLORful COLORado, we thought it a good idea to provide drivers in our great state with some practical fall driving tips, courtesy of our friends at SafeBee.com.  

1.  Avoid braking on fall leaves.   

2.  Be aware of the danger of seasonal sun glare.

3.  Be smart while driving on wet pavement during seasonal and more frequent showers. 

4.  Be careful on bridges during the early morning hours.

5.  Give your eyes time to adjust from light to dark as our days get shorter.

6.  Schedule a seasonal vehicle check up.

7.  Be aware of wildlife during the start of deer breeding season.

For more information on each topic shown above, check out the full article at SafeBee.com.  

Source:  (SafeBee.com).

Photo credit: The Season of Fallen Leaves via photopin (license)


The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Spring/Summer 2016. "I've been told that spring and summer driving are the most dangerous for teens.  Can you tell me why the spring and summer seasons are so dangerous?"

Answer:   "Great question and very timely!  Teens are more at risk due to their inexperience on the roads in direct relationship to the increased number of vehicles that inhabit our roads and highways during the spring and summer seasons.  As things warm up and roads are free of snow and ice, more and more vehicles crowd our streets, making driving more complicated and at times, much more dangerous."

As AAA reports, 'the average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 16-19 increased by 16% per day compared to other days of the year.'  To help keep your teen driver safe, please see this article from the Deseret News published June 3, 2016.  The article is full of tips to keep your teen driver safe.  

For more information, check out the Deseret News story here.

Source:  (Deseret News).



The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Winter 2016.  "I hear many insurance and media outlets refer to the dangers of vehicle puffing or puffers during the winter season.  What is puffing and how can I keep my car safe?"

Answer:   "Puffer or puffing refers to drivers that warm their cars during the winter season, leaving the vehicle unattended in driveways, parking lots and in front of residences.  The risks involved included vehicle theft, the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning and an increased probability of crime related to property and/or individual."  

When it comes to protecting the public as it pertains to the dangers of puffing, NoCo residents are fortunate due to the efforts of two local groups; Coloradans Against Auto Theft and Colorado Auto Theft Investigators. Just last week, at the end of January 2015, these two organizations teamed up to create 'Puffer Week', a week-long event to create awareness for this risky seasonal activity. Per a recent article from 9News, 'the week-long statewide awareness and enforcement push aims to educate the public about the risks, dangers and heightened crime associated with auto theft, specifically "puffers" - cars left running unattended.'  Facts about puffing disclosed in the 9News article include:  

  • Puffers accounted for nearly 15 percent of all auto thefts in 2013.
  • The average number of vehicles stolen per day, 7.
  • Peak month for risk of theft, January.

For more information on the recent Puffer Week, check out the 9News story here.

Source:  (KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation).



The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Summer 2015.  "What is the best resource for automotive recall news?"

Answer:   "Great question!  A solid source for automotive recall news can keep you and your family safe and your automotive investment running efficiently for years to come.  Check the following websites for automotive recall news."

 Source:  Automotive News. Interactive Graphic Created by and View the full interactive graphic here.



The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Spring 2015.  "While out driving recently, I accidentally hit a pothole.  Now it feels like my car is pulling to the right.  Can you tell me how I can diagnose a steering or suspension issue?"

Answer:   "As we all know, driving in the spring means dodging potholes.  We addressed some other pothole related issues in past q. & a. but never a road or diving diagnosis.  Here are some possible trouble areas to check to help you diagnose a possible tire, steering and/or suspension problem.

SYMPTOM:  Pulling to the left or right while driving.  

POSSIBLE TROUBLE AREAS:  Pulling to the left or right while driving could mean ... low or uneven tire pressure, uneven tire wear, an alignment issue or your steering components could be damaged; tie rods or steering rack.  

Issues related to tires, steering and suspension can be serious and need to be checked out and resolved ASAP!"

Source:  About Autos.


The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Winter 2014.  "My son is a commuting freshman in college this year.  I worry about him on the Colorado winters roads going back and forth between home and school.  I would like to put together a winter survival kit for his car.  Can you please provide me with a short-list of items? Thank you."

Answer:  "Winter in Colorado is wonderful, beautiful and at times, dangerous.  Good thinking on putting together the winter survival kit!  Glad to help keep you and all of our readers, safe during the long, dark, cold Colorado winter months.  We found a great list of winter survival kit items on the Ready Wisconsin website.  Below is an abbreviated list of items.  For the entire list, check out the Ready Wisconsin web page here.  

  • Shovel.
  • Windshield scraper and small broom.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Battery powered radio.
  • Water.
  • Snack food including energy bars.
  • Raisins and mini candy bars.
  • Matches and small candles.
  • Extra hats, socks and mittens.
  • First aid kit with pocket knife.
  • Necessary medications.
  • Blankets or sleeping bag.
  • Tow chain or rope."

 Source:  Ready Wisconsin.

Winter Survival Kit

The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Fall 2014.  "Is the fall season a particularly dangerous time to drive?"

Answer:  "Great question!  While many believe that winter is the most dangerous season to drive, fall is a close second, presenting it's own unique driving dangers and difficulties. Our friends at Esurance put together a very helpful list of fall driving dangers. The following is just a short list of why driving in the fall can be so dangerous. To access and read the entire 'Dangers of Fall Driving' article from Esurance, check out their website.

  • Back to school traffic.
  • Seasonal weather more specifically related to rain, frost and fog.
  • Fall foliage leaf peepers.
  • Wildlife activity; deer, etc."

 Source:  Esurance.

Fall Road - Source: Esurance 

The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Late Summer 2014.  "Can you provide me with a list of things I should do after an accident?"

Answer:  "Safety is always a concern, especially when drivers are involved in an accident. To answer your question, we sought out the advice of two very well-known automotive organizations; Edmunds and AAA.  Please see list highlights below.  For the full list from Edmunds and AAA, please visit the links shown below.

  • Keep calm.  
  • Call the police to ensure the accident has been fully documented.
  • Official file an accident report.
  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
  • Photograph and document the accident with your smartphone.
  • Contact your insurance agent."

Source:  Photo courtesy of Edmunds, Inc. "What to Do After a Car Accident" - Edmunds. "Auto Collision Tips" - AAA.

After an accident - Source: Photo courtesy of Edmunds, Inc.

The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Early Summer 2014.  "What are the top 10 maintenance items I should perform or have done before Summer begins?"

Answer:  "Great question!  Summer can take a toll on each and every car.  There are some tried-and-true things you can do before and during the Summer season to keep your car running in tip-top condition. Check out this list of the top 10 Summer vehicle maintenance tips."    

Source:  How Stuff Works.

Source: How Stuff works

The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Spring 2014.     "Do you have any defensive driving tips for navigating the Spring pothole season?"

Answer:   "Yes we do. Truth be told, we found a wonderful resource online for you to review prior to the Spring pothole season."  And remember ... If You Find Yourself in a NOCO Pothole with Tire or Vehicle Damage, Please Give ACE a Call. Schedule an appointment today!"  

Source:  Pothole.info "Driving Tips to Avoid Potholes - And Rising Tire Prices."


The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Winter 2014.    "Are there precautions I can take to increase the odds of my car functioning properly when the temps dip below freezing?"

Answer:  "Absolutely!!  We scoured the web and came up with several smart things you can do during the long Winter months to keep your car running in tip-top condition."  And remember ... If You Need Any Automotive Maintenance Whatsoever, Please Give ACE a Call. Schedule an appointment today!  

Change the Battery.  ACE recommends changing your battery every 3-to-5 years.  If your battery is in good working order, check the battery cables to ensure a tight connection.

Check Your Belts.  In particular, check your Serpentine or (S) belt. Cold weather can negatively impact the performance of a worn or cracked S belt.

Top Off Those Fluids.  Specifically; antifreeze, oil and windshield wiper fluid.  While you're at it, you should also give your windshield wipers a good once over.  If they look dry and worn, replace with a new set.

Check Tire Pressure Often.  During the cold Winter months, tire pressure can fluctuate dramatically.  FYI.  Don't use the PSI on the tire!  The PSI on the tire represents maximum capacity for the tire, not your car's specific load."

Source:  Chicago Tribune > Cars Section > "Tips For Cold, Cold Car Care".



The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Fall 2013.   "What items should I check on my vehicle as we approach the Fall season?"

Answer: "Check out this great list of Fall car maintenance items."  And remember ... If You Need Help Getting Your Car Ready For Fall, Give ACE a call to schedule an appointment!  

  • Check for worn wiper-blades.
  • Check your battery.  The extreme heat of summer can reduce the life of a battery.
  • Check your brakes.
  • Check your belts and hoses.  Look for thin or cracked spots.
  • Check your tires.  Extreme temperature changes can alter your tire pressure.
  • Check/top off all vehicle fluids.
  • Check your air filter.
  • Check your lights/lamps front and back."



The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Late-Summer 2013.   "Do you have a list of items I should have in my car emergency/preparedness bag or kit.  Maybe something for the upcoming fall and winter season?"  

Answer: "Great question!  Here is a short list of things you should have in your car for seasonal breakdowns, etc. 

  • Bottled water
  • Jumper cables
  • Hand/foot warmers
  • Extra sox, gloves, hats
  • Blankets
  • First aid kit
  • Took kit
  • Shovel
  • Bag of sand or kitty litter (useful when stuck in the snow)
  • Spare tire w/ tire changing tools and instructions
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Roadside flares/reflective triangles
  • Flashlight (LED preferred)
  • Tow strap
  • Nonperishable snacks
  • Tire gauge
  • Spare gas can"


The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Mid-Summer 2013.    "I will be taking a long summer road trip with my family. Do you have a good pre-road trip vehicle checklist?"

Answer: "Summer is family road-trip time!  Before setting out on your annual pilgrimage, give your vehicle a good once over to ensure the safety of everyone in the vehicle.  We recommend reviewing the following Pre-Road Trip Vehicle Checklist:

a.)  Vehicle Fluids - Check all vehicle fluids including; coolant, motor oil, transmission, brake, power steering and windshield fluid levels.

b.)  Tires - Check pressure, tread and general condition of tires.  If necessary, have your tires rotated and vehicle aligned.  Also check condition of your spare tire and ensure all tire-changing tools are in good working order.

c.)  Windshield - check for any cracks or chips.

d.)  Emergency Kit - Pack an emergency kit with the following items; flashlight with fresh batteries, cell phone charger, first-aid kit, jumper cables, blankets, snacks, flares/road reflectors, drinking water, aerosol tire-inflating product, etc.

e.)  Road-Side Assistance - Be sure that your road-side assistance vehicle policy (if applicable) is current and that the proper phone numbers/contact info is in the vehicle.

f.)  GPS - Be sure that your GPS device is functioning properly and that you have the necessary charging cables.

g.)  Insurance - Be sure to have your proof of insurance in the vehicle at all times in case of accident."

If you need assitance for items, a., b. or c., we recommend setting up an appointment with one of our very ACE auto sevice technicians prior to hitting the road.  Make an appointment with our Lincoln Avenue Shop today by calling (970) 493 1819."   


The ACE Ask A Tech Question, Spring 2013:.   "With Pothole season right around the corner, why is it important to check my wheel alignment?"

Answer: "If you car is properly aligned, the benefits are numerous.  ;-)  For starters, you reduce wear and tear and extend the life of your tires ... saving you money.   Proper alignment will also help improve the performance and handling of your vehicle, maximizing your comfort while improving your fuel economy.  More importantly, your safety and that of your passengers is at risk when your vehicle is out of alignment.

As the Spring season approaches and the prospect of dodging Potholes will become all too evident, why not get your vehicle to Auto Collision Experts (ACE) for a 2-wheel or 4-wheel alignment today.  Make an appointment with our Lincoln Avenue Shop today by calling (970) 493 1819."    


General Ask A Tech Questions.   "What follows are the 5 most often asked questions we get at our shop."  

Answer:  "As we said ... you've got questions, we've got answers.

Q. Do I have to schedule an appointment for an estimate?

A. No, you do not need to schedule an appointment, however, if you know of a time that works best for you, please notify us. Our office hours are Monday - Friday, 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Q. Will you book a rental car for me?

A. Generally, the insurance company makes all rental car arrangements. We will call the rental car company when you drop your vehicle off and they will pick you up.

Q. When my vehicle is ready, can I drop the rental car off at your shop?

A. Yes, as an added convenience to our customers, you can bring the rental car here when you arrive to pick up your vehicle.

Q. What type of paint do you use?

A. We use a PPG waterborne and environmentally-friendly paint. It aligns closely with original manufacturer waterborne paint technology for superb color match.

Q. What can I expect with the ACE Warranty?

A. We guarantee our workmanship and our materials for the life of the vehicle as long as you own it. Any questions or concerns will be taken care of."

If you would like to submit a question to our Tech team, please do so on our Contact Us page. Thank you for your interest in ACE.