Waterborne vs. Solvent-Based Car Paint: Which Is Better?

Waterborne vs. Solvent-Based Car Paint: Which Is Better?

Every vehicle needs a new paint job from time to time. Even if you are careful about taking care of your car’s finish, every coat of paint will eventually go bad. This might involve fading, cracking, peeling, or any number of other unsightly side effects. And so, if your vehicle is suffering from these issues, or if it’s just become entirely too scratched up and ugly, you will need to get a new paint job. You will have to make the choice between water-based car paint and solvent-based paint, and that choice will be our focus today.


Waterborne Vs Solvent Based Paint

Paint consists of a pigment that has been suspended in a liquid. Of course, the liquid used will make a big difference in the properties of the paint. Waterborne paint is obviously water-based, meaning that it consists mostly of pigment and water. A solvent-based paint will generally use toluene, xylene, or some other chemical solvent. For those who don’t know, a “solvent” is any substance that is used to dissolve another substance. In this case, chemicals like toluene and xylene are used to dissolve the pigment. There are a number of reasons why people choose one or the other. Let’s talk a little bit about their pros and cons.


Pros Of Waterborne Auto Paint

First of all, waterborne paints are a lot less toxic. While you certainly wouldn’t want to drink the stuff, it presents far fewer hazards to both humans and the environment. This makes waterborne paints a better choice when painting in confined spaces, as you won’t have to worry about the fumes. Paint fumes are normally not that dangerous, but if they build up in a small garage they could make you lightheaded or even make you pass out.

Waterborne paint also tends to produce a brighter, more vibrant kind of color. Because water is a color-neutral substance, there will be nothing to interfere with the tone of the paint, preventing you from getting the color you want. Thus, if you are looking for a very specific kind of color, waterborne paints are also a better choice. Waterborne paint also tends to have better opacity, meaning that you can cover the same area with less paint. This also means fewer coats, saving both time and money. Speaking of saving money, waterborne paints can be made with less pigment, and that is why they tend to be cheaper.


Pros Of Solvent-Based Paint

Naturally, water-based paint tends to be a bit thinner. Thus, despite its opacity advantages, waterborne paint isn’t the best for cover-up jobs. If you are trying to hide flaws and imperfections (or a previous paint job), then you will have a harder time here. The thickness of solvent-based paint does make it better for certain things. Despite its thickness, solvent-based paint will usually dry faster. Many of those chemical solvents will evaporate more quickly than water.

Waterborne paint also doesn’t tend to produce as durable of a finish when compared to solvent-based versions. A waterborne paint job isn’t exactly fragile, but solvent-based paint will usually hold up longer, especially in harsh weather. Humidity is another factor to consider when repainting your car. The humidity in the air will affect drying times, and high levels of humidity can sometimes keep the paint from adhering properly. Solvent-based paint has the advantage of being less susceptible to humidity.

Regulations Might Play A Role As Well

Because solvent-based paints contain toxic chemicals, certain states have chosen to regulate their contents. Thus, depending on where you live, you might not be able to use the best solvent-based products. California, in particular, has taken steps to limit the toxicity of solvent-based paint by prohibiting certain ingredients. Of course, no one is going to throw you in jail for using the wrong car paint, but you can end up with a hefty fine.


Which Is Better?

When choosing a tool for any job, you have to think about the specifics of that job. Thus, there are some situations in which solvent-based paint is better. However, we find that waterborne paint is a better choice all around. For one thing, you don’t have to worry so much about environmental regulations when you use this type of paint. For another, the lack of toxicity makes it much safer for all involved. Thirdly, waterborne paints tend to be cheaper while still offering the same level of effectiveness.

In the end, solvent-based paints have a slight durability advantage, and their greater thickness can be a slight advantage as well. However, water-based paints are the superior choice for most jobs. You see, the durability advantage enjoyed by solvent-based paints isn’t as nice as it sounds. All vehicle paint jobs will be covered with a layer of clear coat, and that layer is meant to protect your paint from damage. So, since you will always be adding a little extra “armor” to the finish anyway, the waterborne paint jobs will probably hold up just as long as any other.



When it comes to the question of waterborne vs. solvent-based paint, the advantages of waterborne paints outweigh those of solvent-based paints, mostly because they are much more universal. Most people are moving away from the use of toxic chemicals, so it makes sense that solvent-based car paints are now mostly reserved for special purposes.

If your vehicle needs a new paint job, you might be asking yourself: “where is the best auto body shop near me?” If that’s the case, we would recommend calling our experts here at Elmer’s Auto Body. Our shops use only the highest-quality PPG paint and have been proudly serving the community for over 70 years. To find out more, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (856) 218-0202.

The Importance Of Proper Frame Damage Repair For The Safety Of Your Vehicle

The Importance Of Proper Frame Damage Repair For The Safety Of Your Vehicle

In many ways, the frame of your vehicle is the most important part. Engines and transmissions are the most expensive parts to replace, but they are still interchangeable components. A frame, on the other hand, isn’t really an interchangeable component. You can’t simply remove the old one and bolt another one in place. If a damaged frame cannot be repaired, the whole car is a loss. Why? Because it simply isn’t safe to drive a vehicle with a damaged frame.


Knowing When Your Frame Has Been Damaged

The frame of your vehicle is not readily visible, so it isn’t always easy to see when those critical struts have been damaged. However, other cases are much more obvious. For instance, if you have been in a head-on collision and the front of the vehicle is crumpled in, you can bet that the frame has been damaged.

One good idea is to look at the vehicle from all angles and see if it has been “twisted” by the impact. If so, the lines and corners won’t be quite right, and that twisting indicates frame damage. You also might be able to detect frame damage when you drive your vehicle. Telltale signs include:

  • Unusual vibrations coming from the wheel area
  • Odd noises and/or vibrations when turning
  • Lack of stability in general
  • In severe cases, the vehicle may lurch to one side, making it hard to stay in your lane.

In the end, though, you won’t usually know for sure until a qualified professional has assessed the vehicle. If you see any of these signs, it is essential that you get the vehicle to a shop immediately. Yes, it’s inconvenient to be without your car for any length of time, but serious injury and death tend to be a lot more inconvenient.


Why Is It Unsafe To Drive A Vehicle With Frame Damage?

If your frame has only sustained minor damage, you might feel that you can ignore the problem and keep driving. This, however, is a very bad idea that could even result in serious injury or death.

Even if you are a careful and competent driver, an accident can happen at any moment. Even if you do everything right, someone else’s carelessness can still cause a collision. That’s why you always wear your seat belts, that’s why you always keep your airbags in good shape, and that’s why you never drive a car with a damaged frame. That frame is like a cage that gives you some protection against the outside world. Think of it this way: Would a smart knight go into battle with weak armor? No, of course not.

In some cases, frame damage may even cause a collision. As we said in the earlier section, frame damage can make it hard to keep your vehicle on a straight course. Obviously, that can cause you to run right into another vehicle through no fault of your own. So, if you’re thinking of driving a car with such issues, don’t do it.


Can Frame Damage Be Repaired?

In many cases, frame damage can indeed be repaired. However, it depends on the full extent of the damage. You should probably know this right away: If the frame damage is bad enough to be visible after the accident, it probably can’t be repaired. However, there are many instances in which a frame just receives a little warping from the impact. That metal can be straightened, but only to a certain point. If you go too far with that straightening, you will weaken the metal significantly. So, you can bend and beat the metal back into place, but only to a certain extent.

The location of the damage also plays a role in this question. There are some parts of a vehicle’s frame that are less essential than others, and some parts can even be replaced. In the end, it comes down to two questions:


Frame Types Also Make A Difference

There are two basic types of vehicle frames: Unibody and body-on-frame. A unibody frame is incorporated with the outer parts of the car (i.e., the “body”). This allows the components of the frame and body to mutually support one another. Most cars will have this type of frame, so this is probably what you have.

Most trucks and larger vehicles, on the other hand, will have a body-on-frame design (also called a ladder frame). In these vehicles, the frame is a separate piece, shaped roughly like a ladder with wheels, to which the body is bolted. In most cases, bolt-on-frame designs are easier and cheaper to repair because they represent an older and simpler design.


No matter what kind of damage you are dealing with, the help of competent professionals will be needed. Frame repair is not the kind of job that you can do at home in the garage, so it pays to trust those who have earned your trust. If you are now asking yourself: “where can I find a trustworthy auto body shop near me?”, then we have the answer. All you need to do is call us at (856) 218-0202.

Auto Body Repair: How To Maintain Your Car’s Resale Value

Auto Body Repair: How To Maintain Your Car’s Resale Value

Did you know that, from the moment you drove your car off the lot, it lost about 20% of its value? Cars depreciate in value with each new mile on the engine. Worse, minor and major accidents alike can diminish their worth. Therefore, if you plan on selling or trading in your vehicle after a certain number of miles, you are going to need to know how to maintain your car’s resale value. Here are some tips to ensure that you get what your car is worth.


1. Stay On Top of Cleaning and Waxing

When was the last time you washed and waxed your vehicle? It’s hard to stay on top of your car’s exterior, especially during the winter months, but that is when a little elbow grease is most important.

Keeping the paintwork on your car in decent condition will impact the resale value later on. Therefore, you want to do whatever you can to keep the paint looking fresh. Discoloration and rusting are almost impossible to reverse, so be sure to wash and wax your vehicle throughout the year, every year. Also, do not forget to clean out the headlights with some polish and vacuum out the interior of your car. Be sure to remove any stains from the seats. Avoid smoking in the vehicle, as well.

Stay On Top of Cleaning and Waxing

2. Fix Damages With Quality Parts

If you have had an accident, then you are going to end up doing one of two things: either wait for the money from your auto insurance company to cover it or pay for the repairs out of your own wallet. Either way, you may want to cut the cost by purchasing aftermarket or cheaper used parts. Understandably, you want to get back on the road again, but choosing parts that are of poor quality will only hurt you in the long run.

Low-quality parts not only impact the performance and longevity of the car but also resale value. If you instead visit a respectable auto body repair shop like Elmer’s Auto Body that only uses OEM parts, you can potentially save the resale value and even get more for your car when you sell or trade it in.


3. Watch the Mileage

Consider how often you need to use your car. Unless you are in a big city, you may need your vehicle to take you everywhere. For most Americans, the odometer can run away from you. But see, here is the problem: The more miles on your vehicle, the less it is worth. On average, Americans add an extra 12,000 to 15,000 miles to their odometer each year, while 20,000 miles or more is heavy use. After 100,000 miles are racked up, the value of your vehicle will plummet. 200,000 miles? The value decreases even more. So if you want to sell your vehicle in the future, you may want to reconsider that tour across the states.


4. Upgrade Your Car After an Accident

If you had an accident and are worried about the blow to resale value, why not make your car like new? Keeping the car in working order with OEM parts works, but you can further boost the value with specific upgrades. Speak to your trusted automotive technician to see what they recommend or do some independent research.

Here is an example of some upgrades you can make to increase the resale value of your car, even after a collision:

  • Rear-view or reverse camera
  • Blind spot alert system
  • High quality tires

Why are these important? Because more modern cars have these as a standard feature. Older models don’t, but if you add them? Consider the value of your vehicle increased.

Rear-view cameras and blind spot alert systems are essential for safe driving. Not only does it make it easier to see other drivers in parking lots and on highways, but it can also save you from another accident before you sell your car.

Tips To Enhance Your Vehicle's Value After An Accident

5. Diminished Value Claim

Another method for regaining some value after an accident is a “diminished value claim.” What it does is allow you to recover the amount of market value that your car was worth before the accident by a percentage.

If an accident depreciates the value of your car, you may have a claim. You will need to know how much your car was worth before the accident, who is to be held liable for the accident (it cannot be you), the laws of your state, and also the insurance info of the other driver(s) involved.


Looking For Auto Body Repair?

When you are gearing up for a car resale, the last thing you want to do is worry about a diminished resale value. Whether you have been in a car accident or not, consider auto body repair. Keeping your car in good condition can prevent its value from dropping too rapidly. The automotive technicians at Elmer’s Auto Body can help you retain the value of your car, especially after accidents. We only use OEM parts to ensure your vehicle is restored to the condition it was prior to the collision. Get in touch with one of our Elmer’s Auto Body locations today to schedule an appointment.

Unseen Damage Caused By Rear-End Collisions

Unseen Damage Caused By Rear-End Collisions

Most of us have had the experience of being rear-ended in traffic. Since these are usually just minor bumps, people sometimes tend to dismiss these accidents without reporting them. This is especially true if there is no visible damage to either vehicle. However, a lack of visible damage does not rule out the possibility of hidden damage. Not all problems are easy to see, so never just assume that your car is fine after a collision. Let’s talk about the most common types of hidden damage.

1. Frame Damage

This one is obviously the most dangerous possibility. A car with a bent or broken frame is absolutely unsafe to drive. Not only does it provide much less protection against impact, but it can also throw your entire vehicle out of alignment. If you thought it was bad having a wheel or two out of alignment, imagine what happens when the whole car is warped!

When your vehicle has a damaged frame, it might even start swerving to one side. If this happens at the wrong time, it can throw you right into the other lane and right into the path of another vehicle. The worst part of all? You will have no ability to correct the situation. The only thing you can do is throw the steering wheel hard to the opposite side, which may or may not be effective. Needless to say, it’s better to just get the frame repaired or replace the vehicle.

2. Transmission Damage

Many vehicles have their transmission in the rear, or they have transmission components in the rear. Together with the frame and the engine, your transmission is one of the three most important parts of your vehicle. Your transmission uses a series of gears and chains (similar to bicycle chains) to move your car in and out of the various gears. This requires specific timing and adjustment, and a collision can easily throw that timing out of whack.

Also, if any part of the transmission system is damaged, it will likely leak transmission fluid. Without that, your transmission will not work properly and may even be ruined. When you start working all those chains and cogs with no lubrication, all that metal grinding on metal can be disastrous.

3. Hidden Fender Damage

You surely know that all vehicles have front and rear fenders, but think about this: Are they always visible? The answer is no, many modern vehicles have fenders that are hidden by panels of steel or plastic. This is done mainly for cosmetic reasons, but it does have one negative side effect: It is harder to tell when your bumper has been damaged.

A damaged fender is no joke. When a collision occurs, the front or rear fender is usually the first part to take the impact. There’s a reason why they call these things “bumpers.” So, since these chunks of steel are your first line of defense, you need to make sure that they are strong at all times. For this reason, you should always get your vehicle checked out by a certified auto body shop after a collision.

4. Electrical Problems

A minor rear-end collision can also cause problems with your vehicle’s electrical system. There is a complex network of electronic components in every modern vehicle, consisting of wires, relays, fuses, switches, and various other things. If one of these components should become detached, all sorts of problems can occur. Your electrical system powers door locks, tail lights (and all other lights), turn signals, AC, stereo, etc.

The vehicle’s electricity comes from the battery, which is charged by the alternator, which is run by a belt pulley from the engine. Alternators and batteries are usually located in the front of the vehicle, but some designers have put these components in the rear. You’ve probably known at least one person whose car battery was located in the trunk. Even in a minor collision with no visible damage, those electrical components can easily be damaged or detached.

5. Suspension Problems

When we talk about your car’s suspension system, we are mainly talking about the shocks. These are large spring-loaded rods that allow your vehicle to bounce on its wheels to some extent. This makes for a much smoother ride, and it also maximizes the friction between your tires and the road. By suspending all of the vehicle’s weight over the tires, the suspension system puts all that weight and pressure right where it needs to be. This makes your vehicle less likely to slide or slip when driving on wet/icy roads.

Naturally, a rear collision can easily cause damage to the rear wheels. If the suspension system connected to those wheels is damaged, you may not notice the effects until much later. In particular, you will probably notice that kind of damage when you hit a bump in the road or when you drive on wet/icy roads.


After a collision, you need to take action immediately. You’ll want to exchange information with the other driver and with any witnesses, and you’ll need to call the police and your insurance company. Once all that is done, however, your next job will be finding a good body shop in your area. Only a qualified professional can verify that your vehicle is still safe to drive. So, if you’re at that stage, you might be wondering: “Where can I find the best auto body shop near me?” To answer that question, just give us a call at (856) 218-0202.

A Beginner’s Guide to Car Dents: Everything You Need to Know

A Beginner’s Guide to Car Dents: Everything You Need to Know

Everyone has seen or experienced a dent. It’s just an impact that causes the metal to be pushed inward, which is both unsightly and potentially unsafe. However, it never hurts to learn a little bit more. So, let’s talk about car dents. More specifically: What are they, what causes them, and how they are repaired?

What Is A Dent?

Obviously, a dent exists when a particular surface has been caved inward. This is most often the result of an impact, and it doesn’t always take a large impact. You probably know all this, but here’s the important part: Knowing when a dent is truly a dent. Sometimes, a light impact (like a hailstorm) can damage the paint without actually denting the underlying metal. When this happens, you just need a new paint job. If this happens, you can count yourself among the lucky ones.

When the metal of your vehicle has been dented, but only to the tiniest degree, that is usually called a ding. A ding is obviously much easier to repair, and will certainly be cheaper to repair as well. When you truly have a dent in your vehicle, it will be pretty obvious because they are always larger than dings or spots of damaged paint.

Most Common Causes Of Dents

A lot of things can hit your vehicle while it’s out in the world, and it can even happen in your driveway at home. For instance, falling sticks and limbs from nearby trees can potentially cause a dent (or at least some ugly scratches). Impact with another vehicle will usually cause a large dent at the point of impact. Believe it or not, shopping carts are also one of the most common causes of denting. Although shopping carts don’t travel at a very high speed, they are made of steel and can build up some serious momentum on a downhill grade. We already mentioned hail, and that isn’t the only weather hazard, either.

Golf balls, baseballs, and other flying objects also frequently cause vehicle dents. Depending on where you live, this might be an everyday hazard. Finally, there is also the potential hazard of wildlife on the road. Hitting a large animal such as a deer or a vulture can cause major damage, and even hitting a small animal can cause minor damage or throw you off course and cause an accident.

How Dents Are Repaired

Now let’s focus on the positive part: How do you repair these issues? There are several methods, so we will discuss those that are most frequently used. However, the first thing you need to consider is whether or not you can employ paintless dent repair (PDR) techniques. Normally, repairing a dent requires that you repaint the damaged area. However, there are methods that allow a trained technician to remove dents while preserving the paint layer.

So, what’s the catch? Well, there’s only one: PDR only works for small to medium-sized dents. If you are dealing with a large dent, the paint will have already been damaged by the impact. As such, it cannot be saved no matter how skilled the technician might be. However, the majority of dents tend to be small enough for PDR to work. If your vehicle is dented in a serious way, you’ll probably need to replace the entire part anyway.

Dent Removal Techniques

There are a great many techniques that can be used to remove dents and dings. Sometimes, a special glue can be used. They apply the glue to the dented area, which allows a special tool to grip the glue and pull the dent outward. This is an older method, but it works quite well. In fact, it is probably the most common way to remove small dings.

For larger dents, things like that won’t do the trick. Instead, they have to use another special tool to hit the part from the inside, denting it in the opposite direction. Once that is done, any excess metal is trimmed away. This technique is sometimes called “knockdown.” Sometimes, this kind of thing can be done without hitting or tapping the metal. If the metal is flexible enough, pressure alone might be used. There are even some technicians who use a magnetic induction technique which involves heating the metal and then using a magnetic field to warp it in the right direction and assist in its removal.

Can Dented Plastic Be Repaired?

No vehicle today is made exclusively from steel. They all have at least some plastic parts, and this may include outer parts that are prone to denting and other impact damage. If you are dealing with a dented plastic panel or something of that sort, it can probably be repaired. They simply heat the dented area and use a suction puller to slowly remove the dent. As long as the plastic hasn’t been cracked or broken in any way, dented plastic parts can be repaired.


Although it is sometimes possible to repair a dent on your own, it really is better to trust trained experts. Besides, this kind of thing requires special tools that most people do not have. If you find yourself asking “where can I find a good and affordable auto body shop near me?”, we have the answer. Elmer’s Auto Body has been in the business for 75 years, and we always deliver the best in service and quality. To find out more, call us at (856) 218-0202.

Auto Body Repair And Insurance: What You Need To Know

Auto Body Repair And Insurance: What You Need To Know

Everyone who ever had to bring their car to an auto body repair shop understands how fast the costs can quickly spiral out of control. You can expect auto body repair to cost anywhere from $75 to $2,500. Luckily, provided you paid for car insurance, the insurance provider will often cover you. You do need to follow the process.


Take Action from the Start

Truthfully, insurance companies won’t always play fair, and you need to take action to make them play fair. Document everything right from the start. Right after the accident happens, assess the damage and snap photos as evidence. Granted, the police will take photos of their own, but you can never supply too much evidence for your case. The documentation will let you fight if you need to.

If you suffered a bad injury, call the ambulance and the police first. While waiting, exchange contact information with the other driver, but don’t worry if they refuse. You can grab this information from the police report. Let’s say that the other driver says that they don’t have car insurance. Tell the appropriate authorities since this isn’t legal in any of the 50 states.


Don’t Put off Medical Examinations

You must receive a medical examination as soon as possible if you think you suffered even a light injury. Don’t put off even a light one because this documentation will help you with insurance claims. If you wait, the other party’s insurance will claim that your injury came from another cause. That will stop you from receiving the most on your claim.

Minimizing Vehicle Depreciation After An Accident

Get the Repair Estimate

At Elmer’s Auto Body, we encounter situations where a customer will send in photos of the damage, or they might request a consultation over the phone. You may want to take this one step further. We encourage our customers to bring their car into the shop. In doing this, we can give them a more accurate and thorough estimate.

When someone sends us a photo, they might miss a key repair that we need to bill them for. For example, we see a common scenario where technicians might look under the vehicle only to discover extensive damage that you didn’t see. That will tack on extra costs to your repair bill. If you already sent the quote to the insurance company, you would need to adjust it.

When we talk about car repairs and auto body work, remember how insurance will calculate with depreciation in mind. In other words, an older car won’t receive the same payment as a newer one. That’s because your insurance company will assume that some parts of the car suffered wear and tear before the accident.

Important to Note: You don’t ever have to accept the quote from an insurance company blindly. In some cases, you would do well to hire a lawyer and fight it. If you think that an insurance company is trying to pay out the least amount possible, explain why you think the costs will be higher. If you can’t settle it that way, hire a lawyer with documentation to fight the case.


The Next Step: Blueprint of the Vehicle

Next, your insurance company will request blueprinting and teardown of the vehicle. During this process, they will tear down the parts to thoroughly examine them and ensure that you don’t require further repairs. The auto body repair shop will create a blueprint to understand the full picture of the car’s condition.


Repair of the Metal and the Frame

After a car accident, auto body technicians first focus on the frame to repair the car back to its condition from the accident. However, it will never return to its original condition and auto body repairs will lower the value. Once they repair the frame, they will work on the metal of the car. They will replace metal panels where needed and use special equipment to bring the car back to its original condition.


How Does the Payment Work?

Most auto body repair shops understand the process well, and they will work directly with your insurance company to repair the vehicle. In some cases, you may need to pay a deductible, but this depends on the terms and conditions of your policy and how much coverage you bought. Most shops will only accept payment after they complete the work. You also want to understand the warranty policy. Solid warranties will cover the workmanship and the refinishing for as long as you own the car.

You Choose the Auto Body Repair Shop

Don’t let an insurance company tell you that you can’t pick your own auto body repair shop. While they may keep a list of preferred repair shops, you can choose whatever auto body repair shop that you prefer. Don’t let them steer you on this because they most likely just want to keep their own expenses as low as possible without regard for your well-being. Choose a quality auto body repair shop.


Final Thoughts

Google, “Auto body repair shop near me,” to check for businesses that could help you with your auto body work. You could also speak with our experts here at Elmer’s Auto Body. We are a family-owned and operated business that has done business in South Jersey for over 70 years. We seek to make auto body service easy, convenient, and fast. Give us a call now at (856) 218-0202.