Tag: summer vacation

Car Rental


Renting a car during your vacation or vehicle repair? Safety and Health Magazine, recommends you take a moment to understand the electronic features of the car before you drive off.

– Don’t assume the features work and don’t assume the features work as you expect.

– If you rent a newer car, it could have features that you are not familiar with, including automatic emergency braking or blind spot warnings.  These useful features should make for a safer driving experience but be sure to understand how they work.


Customer Service Representative

1215 Thomas G. Wilson Drive

Conway, AR 72032


Hitch trailers correctly and save lives



A nice, clear day. It’s hot and the lake beckons with cool breezes, some fishing and maybe a dip to cool off.

Get that boat on the trailer and get going!

Not so fast.

Most people don’t know that one of the most dangerous things they can do on the highway involves towing a trailer.  What you do between hitching and driving could save your life or ruin it.

According to Dangerous Trailers, every year about 400 people lose their lives at the scene of the accident when an improperly towed trailer unhitched from the tow vehicle and careens across the highway, or even hits the car towing it.  About 10,000 people are injured every year in towing accidents.  Property damage accidents alone surpassed 1 million since 1975.

So what can you do when you need to get your boat to the lake?

1 Check your tires.  Check the tires on the tow vehicle and the trailer.  A blowout on the road can be deadly.  Don’t take chances.

2 Spend 25 cents.  That is how much it costs to buy a pin that holds the safety latch in place. In many states, this is the law.

In 2017, on a closed course at Lancaster National Speedway in New York, a professional driver tried to tow a small trailer without the pin. On the first turn, the latch came undone and the trailer careened across the track and hit a wall, according to Inside Edition. On the highway, this could be deadly.

3 Use two chains. The trailer hitch must be connected with two chains, not one. The chains must be crossed under the hitch, so that the hitch is cradled in case the latch comes undone.

4 Use the right size ball for your hitch. A 1 7/8-inch ball on a 2-inch trailer hitch could easily come loose and cause an accident.

5 Check and recheck. Check and recheck every time you start the tow.


Customer Service Representative

1215 Thomas G. Wilson Drive

Conway, AR 72032


Road Trip! Check off these important points before setting out


If vacation-time means a road trip, a few simple preparations can keep you safe and out of trouble.

Under the hood:

Check all fluids, including oil, coolant, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid. Check the air filter. Check the battery.

The tires and the spare:

The owner’s manual, or your online car health guide, will tell you what the tire pressure should be. Make sure tires are properly inflated. That goes for the spare, too. Imagine the trouble this could save.

Inspect the tires to make sure there is enough tread. The old penny in the tread trick should work: Hold the penny so that Lincoln’s head is upside down and facing you. If you can see his whole head, it’s time to replace the tire.

Lights and signals:

Besides the obvious safety issues, proper lights and signals are just one more reason why you won’t get a ticket — or a nasty look from other drivers.

Safety gear:

At an absolute minimum, make sure you have the tools to change a tire.

But also consider carrying a spare, fully charged cell phone and battery-powered phone charger, drinking water, a gas can, and a flashlight. It is not a bad idea to carry an emergency reflective triangle and a flare; especially useful if you will be going into back country.

Just in case:

Do you have a spare key accessible from outside the car? What about jumper cables? A bowl so that Fido can have a drink?  How about a rain poncho?


Take your license, proof of insurance and registration.


Customer Service Representative

1215 Thomas G. Wilson Drive

Conway, AR 72032


Tips To Endure The First Holiday Travel Of The Year


New DriverWith the summer season nearly upon us, everyone is gearing up for this summer vacation travels.  This holiday weekend is the start of the summer time vacations that everyone looks forward too. We here at A & J Collision Repair want make sure that you have a safe and fun trip while driving to your destination.

Directions Are Everything

Sure, there are all the stereotypes about men not wanting to ask for directions, and the validity of those stereotypes is for another time. That being said, getting quality directions that you can trust and that you know will get you there is paramount to making your trip as smooth as possible. Calling your destination, be that a brother, grandmother, uncle, or hotel, for directions is a good first step. Not only will they more than likely know the best way to get you there, but they will also probably know go detours in the event of traffic, accidents, or construction.

In the event that your destination doesn’t have good directions for you, there are seemingly endless websites online that will give you turn by turn directions, distances, times, and even maps. Take those with a grain of salt as they may not be completely up to date due to construction changes to traffic patterns, addition or subtraction of exits, or the addition or removal of traffic signs saying which roads you’re allowed to travel on.

Games, Movies, Books, and Snacks

The kids don’t like the 13 hour drive any more than you do, but at least you get to drive. Video games, card games, personal video players, even books (if motion sickness isn’t an issue) are a great way to help make the drive pass for kids. Many of your local electronics stores sell VHS and DVD players that have small monitors already attached for a very reasonable price and allow you to avoid having an entire home entertainment center installed into your car just for road trips.

Make Sure Your Car is Working Fine

Checking your tires for air pressure and tread and checking the oil and coolant in your engine is an easy way to make sure that you’re not one of those families on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Every year families find themselves on the side of the road with flat tires from worn tread or bad air pressure or with engines billowing smoke from something that would have cost next to nothing to have checked and fixed ahead of time. Spending a little bit of time and effort up front can save you spending a lot of time and money later.

Check Your Insurance

While you certainly don’t want anything bad to happen, in the event that something bad does happen, it helps to have your insurance information with you. Pretty much any state you’re travelling through will require you to have some sort of car insurance, even if it’s just cheap car insurance. Making sure that you have your insurance information, whether it’s North Carolina car insurance, Virginia car insurance, or another state, is a good way to make sure that if the worst happens, you know what you’re covered against.

Before you set out you should also check to see what your insurance covers in the way of towing, roadside assistance, and rentals in the event something does happen to your car and you need help or another way to continue your vacation. Getting stuck at your destination because your insurance doesn’t cover a rental and your car exploded is no way to spend the your time.

Be Prepared

This is the holiday driving season, when the seeming entirety of the United States driving population will converge on the roads at the same time. Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of time, factoring in stops for food, gas, and just to stretch your legs. Leave early and expect to get to your destination early. Remember that for every great driver out there that will let you merge in front of them there’s somebody that will cut you off and cause an accident if you’re not paying attention. Stay on your toes, relax, and enjoy your vacation this holiday season.

We here at A & J Collision Repair wish you a safe and happy holiday season.  It is the time of the year that I look forwards every year.  Spending time with family and friends is the best.  But if the unexpected happens, you can call us at 501.205.1218 to assist you with your vehicle.

You can learn more about us on the web at www.ajcollisionrepair.com.” Where quality, professionalism and reliability collide.”

Jody Gatchell





Jody Gatchell


A & J Collision Repair


Tips on Preparing Your Car for Summer Driving


Spring is the perfect time to get your vehicle ready for the busy summer driving season ahead. It’s wise to have your vehicle checked out before summer’s heavy vacation traffic and stop-and-go conditions begin in earnest.

The experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offer the following tips on getting your vehicle ready:

* Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules. Pay attention to “regular” vs. “severe” schedules listed, and determine which is appropriate for your driving conditions and habits.

* Look for an orderly repair facility with modern equipment in the service bays and qualified automotive technicians on staff, as evidenced by trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work and training, as well as national certification of the individual technicians by ASE.

* Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. Make sure the engine has cooled down before removing the radiator cap. Engine overheating is the most frequent summer breakdown.

* Have engine performance problems corrected, such as hard starts, rough idling and stalling. You’ll get better gasoline mileage, and you could prevent more expensive repairs.

* Don’t neglect your transmission and brakes. Costly repairs can be prevented by routine service. Neglected brakes can create safety issues, too.

* Seek out a qualified auto technician to check the condition of belts, clamps and hoses, but be proactive by looking for signs of wear, cracking or fraying.

* Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a technician qualified to handle refrigerants. Older units often contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be released into the air through improper or incompetent service.

* Change the oil and oil filter as specified in the owner’s manual. This simple, inexpensive service can increase the life of your vehicle.

* Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV) as recommended in the service manual.

* Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let the tires “cool down” before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, “cupping,” vibrations or “pulling” to one side indicates problems with your tires or suspension system.

These are all important items to look for and have completed before you go on the vacation for the summer. If you have any questions just contact me and I will get you taken care of or will assist you in finding someone that can help you.

I’m Jody Gatchell with A & J Collision Repair. We have been in business for 17 years in Conway, AR, we are located at 1215 Thomas G. Wilson, Conway AR 72032. Call us today at 501.327.1882 to help you get to your vacation this summer. You can also find us on the web at www.ajcollisionrepair.com. Where quality, professionalism and reliability collide.









Jody Gatchell
A & J Collision Repair


A & J Collision Repair is a full service auto body repair shop. We are located at 1215 Thomas G. Wilson Drive in Conway Arkansas 72032. Come by and visit or give us a call at 501.205.1218.
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