Did Your Car Suffer from Hail Damage?

Hail Damage is Repairable!

On Saturday May 21, 2016 Billings was hit with a big storm.  The hail produced by the storm was up to 2 inches in diameter, and it wrecked a lot of houses and cars from Laurel, along the West End, and out toward Roundup.  Was your property damaged?

Hail Damage

If you were one of the thousands of people who suffered property damage from this storm, don’t worry!  As long as your vehicles are insured with comprehensive coverage, you can have them repaired and most likely with paintless dent repair.  And Big Sky Collision Center in Billings can help.


Your First Step after a Storm

If you haven’t done so already, call your insurance company.  They will need to send an adjuster to inspect your vehicle and determine the extent of the damage.  There are two big things that they will be looking for during their inspection.

Hail Damaged Car needs paintless dent repairFirst, the insurance adjuster will look at the value of your vehicle.  Let’s suppose it is worth $5,000.  They need to know the replacement cost of the car to determine if the next step is worthwhile.

Second, the adjuster will estimate how much the damage will cost to repair.  Let’s suppose you were lucky and only the hood of your vehicle was dented.  The adjuster determines that fixing those dents will run around $1,100.

Since the cost of the repairs is less than the value of the vehicle, the adjuster will approve the claim and you can now take your car to the auto body shop of your choice.  However, if the damage would cost more to fix than the vehicle is worth, the vehicle is deemed “totaled” and insurance will pay only the amount that the vehicle is worth (keep in mind that you may have to turn over the vehicle to the insurance company if this is the case).


Immediately After the Adjuster Approves Your Claim

As soon as the adjuster leaves, it is time to call Big Sky Collision Center!  We can be reached at 406-259-6328 and you can schedule a time when you can bring your vehicle in for repairs.

Contact BS Collision Center in Billings


Most hail damage isn’t going to affect how the car performs.  Unless you have suffered from broken glass, it’s OK to drive with hail dents for a while.  And that may have to happen.  This storm damaged thousands of cars, and Big Sky Collision is already booked out for a few weeks.  When we are able to handle your repairs with the attention that you deserve, then bring the car in.  Until that time, just drive it as though there was no hail damage.


The Big Sky Collision Center Promise

Here at BSCC we are in the business of restoring your vehicle.  This means we will give every car that comes through our shop the attention that it needs.  Your vehicle will be repaired with meticulous care to details, and you will leave wondering if it was ever damaged to begin with.

Are you ready to have the hail damage repaired on your vehicle?  Give us a call at 406-259-6328 to schedule your repairs with the best paintless dent repair shop in Billings!

Will Self-Driving Cars Become the Norm?

Are You Even Ready for Self-Driving Cars?

Does the thought a world with self-driving cars excite you, or scare you? Based on a survey done late last year, the driving public is divided between the two. On one end are those who are willing to embrace these vehicles as the future of driving and would jump at the chance to just sit back and relax while their car does all the work to bring them to their destination. On the other end are those who feel they aren’t ready to entrust their fate on the road to technology.

Self-Driving Car

Photo Credits: Mark Doliner/Flickr

A self-driving car is currently defined as a car that can steer, accelerate, and brake with limited driver interaction (semi-autonomous) or no driver interaction (fully autonomous). Self-driving cars are intended to help make our roads safer and our lives more convenient. By using cameras, radars, and sensors, a self-driving car is supposed to brake and stop when there is an imminent collision, adjust the steering wheel to ensure it stays within its lane, and assist a driver in parking, or actually park the car for the driver. More advanced technologies can also monitor the driver and alert him/her if he/she is showing signs of drowsiness, exhaustion, and inattention. Going the extreme length, a self-driving car is eventually intended to do just that: drive itself.


Why there are conflicting sentiments toward self-driving cars

Aside from the fact that there are those who do not entertain the idea of giving up the wheel at all because they simply enjoy driving, there is also that notion that technology can’t be trusted completely. Here are 3 important reasons why.

The Threat of Cybercriminals

We fix cars in BillingsBy using ECUs or electronic control units, vehicles have become more vulnerable to being taken over remotely by cybercriminals. As more features are added for safety, convenience and fuel efficiency, more ECUs are likewise added, giving hackers a wider leeway to attack a vehicle’s on-board control systems. With a successful intrusion comes all kinds of risks and danger stemming from the perpetrator’s malicious intent to take over your car and do whatever he/she wants with it. Absolute security has been unattainable so far and even the most sophisticated and supposedly secure systems can be breached. Vehicles are no different.

My Life or Theirs?

Auto body repairThink trolley problem, and put it in a driving perspective. If, for example, a vehicle is faced with the choice of swerving to save multiple pedestrians but harming the driver, or continue towards a collision course to save the driver at the expense of harming pedestrians, what option will supersede the other? What should it be programmed to do? With an actual driver in control, the decision will be a judgment call based on the individual’s personality, morality, and ethics. But with a self-driving car, the decision will depend on the person who wrote the code that controls the system. For many people, deciding on what to do about a life-threatening situation is something that isn’t to be taken lightly, and certainly not something you let someone else make for you.

Worrying Machines

Help me fix my carA self-driving car will most likely default to protecting its driver and passengers. Which means it might be programmed to assume worst case scenarios. A piece of road debris might be presumed as dangerous, alerting the driver of a threat, causing unnecessary worry or apprehension, ultimately resulting in an irrational response that will make the driving experience more perilous rather than safer and easier.


In spite of the apparent conflict between consumer acceptance and skepticism towards the idea of self-driving cars, auto manufacturers are determined to give this new wave of technology a chance. Clearly there’s no stopping this inevitability as self-driving cars are projected to become a reality in 4 – 5 years. Let’s wait and see.


Big Sky Collision Center will Fix Self Driven Cars

When self-driving cars do become the reality, we will be able to fix them. If your vehicle gets into an accident, we can repair it. If someone damages your self-driving car, then we can fix it. If hail falls and dings up your car… well you get the point.

Big Sky Collision Center is an auto body shop in Billings, MT. We repair nearly every make and model out there beyond industry minimums. Call us at 406-259-6328 to learn more about what we can do.

Safest Cars for Teenage Drivers

New Teen Driver? See Which are the Safest Cars

Here in Billings, Montana we get the joy of having teenage drivers starting at the age of 15.  While it is every teens dream to go ripping down the streets driving a sweet Mustang, or perhaps a Corvette, parents know that a car that is going to get them from A to B safely is in their best interest.  The safest cars don’t have to be the undesirable cars.

Teen Driver collision repair

Photo Credits: State Farm/Flickr

We took a look at the safest cars made in 2010 (most of us aren’t buying brand new vehicles for our teenagers!).  These are the ones that you should consider buying for your teen.  If they do get into an accident, these cars may end up saving their life.


Safest Cars on the Road

There are some caveats to be discussed first.  In order to provide a list that is actually what a teen will end up driving, we had to exclude some very safe cars that no teen would be caught dead in.  For instance, Buick’s frequently are near the top of the list.  These “old people” cars aren’t exactly what teens want to be seen driving.  We took some liberty to find the safest cars that teens would want to drive.

Safest Cars for Teens

Photo Credits: Loubeat/Flickr

Ford Taurus – Ford has long made great small cars.  The Taurus has been around for decades, and many a high school student has driven one as their first car.  It’s not a small car, and not a large car, but a good mid-sized starter.

Hyundai Genesis – Hyundai is known for their safety ratings.  Providing good cars, at affordable prices, that protect the occupants is one reason this company continues to thrive.

Chevy Malibu – The Chevy Malibu isn’t just a great car for the teen driver, it’s a great car for the family!  It’s roomy, has plenty of storage space, and will last a long time if you take care of it.

Ford Fusion – A little smaller and a little lighter than the Taurus, the Fusion is a car for those who want to save on their gas expenditure.  This little car gets an estimated 31 to the gallon on the highway.

Subaru Legacy/Outback – Subarus hold their value.  If you want a car that you can drive for a few years, and then sell for nearly what you paid, then this is the car for you.  These little guys can also make it on snowy roads.


Safest SUV’s on the Road

Of course not everyone wants to drive a car.  Sometimes, especially here in Montana, you have to drive on roads that are less than ideal.  In these cases we want to have four-wheel drive.  We looked at the top four or all-wheel drive vehicles from 2010.

Subaru Legacy/Outback – Subaru makes the list for two reasons.  First, they are great cars, second they are great Montana cars.  They do well in the summer and winter, on road and off road.  Perfect for those looking to truly experience Montana (just ask everyone in Bozeman).

Chevy Equinox – Chevy makes some great vehicles.  The Equinox is a good SUV for those that wish to remain safe.  It has all the perks of other SUV’s, but more safety features.

Jeep Grand Cherokee – Jeep has often gotten a bad rap due to their mechanical problems.  But the crash tests don’t lie.  These all American rigs stand up well in the event of an accident.

Subaru Forester – A slightly larger model than the Legacy or Outback wagons, the Forester is a great car for those that want a little bit more space.

Hyundai Tucson – Taking the Hyundai quality from cars to SUV’s, the Tucson not only looks great, but it keeps the occupants safe!


When it Comes to Driving, Safety First

It might be fun to zip through the streets with a car that has way too much horsepower.  But for teenagers that are just starting out driving, safety is far more important than having a sweet ride.  Keeping the car a little older ensures that your insurance rates stay as low as possible.  Sticking with the tried and tested brands, like those above, ensures that your child’s injuries stay as minimal as possible if a crash happens.

You want the best for your children.  If something does happen, and your teenager’s car is damaged, bring it to Big Sky Collision Center!  We will repair the car the right way, and make sure that all safety features are fully restored.  Don’t trust your child’s well-being to just any old auto body shop; come to the best!

5 Steps After an Accident

After an Accident… Do You Panic?

At some point or another, most people will be involved in an automobile accident.  Whether they are driving, as a passenger, or the victim of a hit-and-run; statistically speaking we are all going to be in this unpleasant situation.  So after an accident, what are you supposed to do?  Most people know the basics, many don’t know what exactly to do.

After an Accident

Big Sky Collision Center wants to make sure that you’re safe on the roads.  If you are involved in an accident (anything from a fender bender to a major crash), keep these points in mind.


Ensure that Everyone is Un-injured

Ensure no injuriesThe first thing you want to do is to make sure there are no injuries.  Many accidents are mere fender benders, and the biggest injury is a damaged ego.  But this goes beyond ensuring the safety of yourself and your passengers.

Get out and make sure that the occupants of the other vehicle are safe.  Likely they will be getting out of their vehicle, so a quick “Are you hurt?” is all that is needed.  If there are injuries, or if the accident is severe and the potential for injuries is there, call 911 immediately.

Get Out of the Way

Pull to the side of the roadIf the accident isn’t severe, and the vehicles are still functional, move them out of the way.  A common misconception is that you have to leave the vehicle as it is until the police arrive.  If you’re worried about insurance, or the person who hit you making up a story, hop out, and take some pictures as you check on people.

Most accidents happen in an intersection.  And too often traffic heading in 4 directions is disrupted because the damaged vehicles are left in place.  Move into a nearby parking lot, or at least to the side of the road.  This helps clear up congestion, and reduces the risk of you being hit by another vehicle that isn’t paying attention.

Exchange Information

Exchange insurance informationEven if the vehicle has no visible damage, and it looks like you can part ways with just a handshake, exchange information.  If you are the victim, get insurance and contact information from the other person.  If you aren’t the victim, then get the contact information from the other person.

There are times when the visible damage looks menial, but the underlying damage is extensive.  Have your vehicle checked out to ensure that major repairs aren’t needed.  If you didn’t get the other person’s insurance information, it is a logistical nightmare to get it after the fact.

Get Police Involved if Necessary

Police InvolvementAfter a wreck, the police don’t have to get involved.  In fact, most of the time they would prefer it if you handle the situation like mature adults without law enforcement present.  Unless the other person is causing a scene, there is damage to someone else’s property (not your vehicle or the other party), or there are injuries, you can skip law enforcement involvement.

Chances are if you are taking care of the wreck, the police will show up and not do anything anyway.  At most, they will write the at-fault driver a ticket for whatever infraction he or she incurred.

You Get to Pick the Auto Body Shop

LogoIf you’re involved in an accident, you will want to get your car repaired.  You never know what underlying damage is out there, and you don’t want to drive an unsafe vehicle.  When you speak with your insurance company, they will likely have a list of their “preferred” repair shops.  These are merely suggestions.

It is illegal for your insurance company to refuse repairs if you don’t use their preferred collision repair center.  You get the choice of who you want to have fix your vehicle.  It doesn’t matter if you are at fault, or you were the one that got hit: the consumer gets the choice.

We hope that choice is Big Sky Collision Center in Billings.


Big Sky Collision Center wants no Crashes

In an ideal world, the only business that we would get is people who need a little help restoring classic vehicles.  Collisions would be a thing of the past, deer would no longer be smashed into, and icy roads wouldn’t claim any victims.  But until that time, we are here to serve you and to let you know what to do after an accident.

If your vehicle has been dinged, dented, smashed, or damaged, we can repair it!  We have the most state-of-the-art equipment around, and we strive for perfection.  When the repair is complete, we detail your vehicle so you get a car that is clean and safe to drive home.

Call us at 406-259-6328 for more details.

When Did You Last Check Your Spare Tire?

Does Your Car Even have a Spare Tire?

Not long ago, a spare tire used to be something that every vehicle owner simply assumed was part of their vehicle. How times have changed! Based on statistics gathered by AAA or the American Automobile Association, more than one third of new cars no longer come with one. Numerically speaking, that’s over 30 million cars without spare tires!

Changing a Spare Tire

If you have been a vehicle owner for quite some time, this information probably comes as a shock to you and you are likely scratching your head wondering what the rationale behind this drastic move is. It’s quite simple, really. Fuel economy. According to car makers, they have started doing away with spare tires to make vehicles lighter, and in turn, be able to meet fuel efficiency standards better.


Why spare tires are supposedly not as essential as they used to be

Spare TireJustifying their move, car manufacturers say that there are 2 main reasons why spare tires are no longer a necessity. First, the number of drivers who know how to use their car tools to change a flat tire is neither impressive nor promising anyway. Simply put, most drivers would rather call for roadside assistance than deal with a flat tire themselves, so having a spare tire might not really be useful at all.

Second, tire technology has supposedly gotten to the point of being too advanced that flat tires have become increasingly rare. A generalization that completely contradicts AAA’s findings as according to John Nielsen, managing director of AAA’s Automotive Engineering and Repair department, “AAA responds to more than four million calls for flat tire assistance annually and, despite advances in vehicle technology, we have not seen a decline in tire-related calls over the last five years.”


Without a spare tire, what then?

There are presently 2 popular options being used in lieu of spare tires. Either a car is equipped with a tire inflator kit, or it comes with what are referred to as run-flat tires.

Changing a Spare

Image Credits: Robmba/Flickr

A tire inflator kit works by coating the inner tire wall with a sealant, then re-inflating the tire with a compressor. For an inflator kit to work, the ideal scenario is that the tire is punctured in the tread surface, and the object that made the puncture remains in the tire. Otherwise, a blowout occurs, or the sidewall gets damaged. In either case, the tire inflator kit will not work and towing assistance will be necessary. Aside from being effective in very specific circumstances only, an inflator kit has a shelf life of only 4 – 8 years, and upon using it, the cost for replacement is relatively high. In contrast, having a spare tire and knowing how to replace a flat will cost so much less.

The other option is run flats. Run-flat tires are exactly that: tires that still run even if already flat. Run-flat tires are designed to stay inflated for a specific distance even after being punctured, giving the driver enough leeway to be able to reach a gas station or any other service station where corresponding assistance can be sought.


A spare tire, a tire inflator kit, or run-flat tires?

Whatever your car is equipped with, your best bet is just being prepared for any eventuality so you won’t be inconvenienced as much when the unexpected happens. If you have a spare tire, make sure you check it regularly to ensure that it’s properly inflated and ready to save the day when you get a flat. And take the time to learn how to use your tools and change a flat by yourself. Alternatively, if what your car is equipped with is an inflator kit, make sure you know how to properly work one so it doesn’t go to waste and can effectively help remedy the situation it’s supposed to be for.


Big Sky Collision Center Wants No Crashes

With properly inflated tires, you not only get better fuel economy, but you prevent an accident. Don’t wait until the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) tells you that the pressure is low, check the pressure on occasion.

If you do get a flat tire, and it results in an accident, bring your dinged, dented, and damaged vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center, your auto body expert in Billings. Your dents will be removed along with your worries. Call us at 406-259-6328 to learn more.

Prep Your Car for Summer Driving

Summer and Winter Take Different Tolls on Your Car

Summer means high temperatures all around, affecting you, your home, and even your car. You take steps to winterize yourself (different clothes, different foods, etc.), so you should take steps to summerizing your car.

Overheating Car

Big Sky Collision Center is here to make sure you have an enjoyable and safe experience in your vehicle. Here are some tips to help ensure you have a safe driving experience all throughout the summer season.


Check Your Cooling System

Probably the biggest and most common car problem during summer is overheating. Avoid facing this inconvenience by making sure your cooling system is in tiptop condition. Start from the outside of your radiator. Check for signs of damage or corrosion, loose connections, and leaky hoses. Then, remove your radiator cap and check your coolant quality and level. Typically, coolant should be flushed and replaced once every year or every 2 years. Don’t experiment or mix different kinds of coolants. Stick to your manufacturer’s recommended type and flushing schedule.

Check Your Battery

Check your batteryTake a look at your battery to see if it has signs of corrosion. If yes, scrape it off with baking soda and a toothbrush. Then, clean all surfaces, and tighten all connections. If your battery comes with a removable cap, check its water level and add distilled water if needed so its level reaches a little above the plate (this is not common with most batteries). Don’t forget to wear protective glasses and rubber gloves to avoid unnecessarily harming yourself.

Check Your Fluids

This means check your oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. Review your manual to see if there’s a need for refilling or replacement. Make sure all your fluids are of adequate amounts and optimal condition.

Check Your Brakes

Avoid needing auto body work with good brakesGood brakes often spell the difference between staying safe and getting into an accident. Consequently, even minor brake irregularities should be addressed promptly. As summer’s hot temperature causes brake pads to deteriorate faster, you should be more meticulous about monitoring the condition of yours so replacement can be done as soon as necessary.

Check Your Tires

Still have your winter tires on? Better replace them with your summer tires. Already using your summer tires? Examine them for any damage, uneven or excessive wear, and sidewall deterioration. Check your tire pressure and see to it that all your tires are properly inflated. Remember that neither under-inflated nor over-inflated tires are good for you. Correct pressure is needed for better fuel consumption and overall car performance.

Check Your Lights

Inspect your lights to make sure all bulbs are working. Replace busted ones and clean your lenses regularly to avoid dirt build up that result in reduced visibility.

Check Your Wipers

Windshield Wipers save livesA dirty windshield is not only unsafe; it can also lead to eyestrain and fatigue. If your wiper blades are worn out, replace them immediately.

Check your Air Conditioning System

With the temperature rising and staying at high readings, summer is the season when you need your air conditioning the most. Have a qualified mechanic inspect your A/C so it can be cleaned, fixed (if there happens to be a leak or any damage), or recharged as needed. When everything is in proper condition, you can be sure your A/C will do its cooling job well.


Big Sky Collision Center Wishes You Happy Driving

Vehicle maintenance is an ongoing task and shouldn’t actually be dictated by whatever season it is. While there might be some differences in car performance because of varying temperature and weather conditions, ultimately, you should still look to your car maker’s recommendations so you’ll know for sure when and what needs to be checked and replaced.

Keep in mind that a clean car is a happy car! We offer auto detailing services to help you enjoy your trips in and out of Billings.

Many People Opt for Low Quality Repairs

Why Many Aren’t Happy with their Collision Repairs

Because the performance of your vehicle is directly related to your safety on the road, choosing quality over cost shouldn’t even be an issue. However, for those who still need convincing that high quality parts such as brakes that stop your car in the shortest distance are infinitely better than low-cost ones like cheap brakes that make you more vulnerable to accidents, this article is for you.

Low Quality Repairs

The reality is that a good quality product is not cheap. Sure, it can be reasonably-priced, just not cheap. This is especially true when it comes to the automotive industry. And if you happen to be involved in an accident or your car just breaks down for some reason, you will realize this quickly enough.


You Have the Right to Choose an Auto Body Shop

Like it or not, your insurance provider plays a big role, perhaps the most critical one when it comes to having your car repaired. The reason is simple enough. They try to dictate which shop you can go to for service. Many of them automatically suggest going to a “big box” auto body shop. Many of these nationwide conglomerates have made reputations for themselves by not necessarily have been consistently living up to expectations. Some insurance companies, on the other hand, give their referrals to auto shops with “cut rates” so that they don’t have to pay out as much when your vehicle needs repaired. Whatever the agreements they have with those big name auto shops or those obscure, cheap ones, you should always remember that insurance companies are business entities. This means the collision repair centers they refer you to are not likely for your benefit, but more for their own.


Your Vehicle, Your Repair Shop of Choice

We’re not saying, though, that going with your insurance provider’s recommended car shops is always a big no-no. Hardly. We just want to emphasize that choosing a car repair shop is not a decision that you should take lightly and you shouldn’t just rely on a single factor to help you make that final nod. In other words, don’t choose based on who is the cheapest.

Auto detailing services in Billings

Is your body shop using filler, or straightening the metal?

You work hard for your money, so it’s not unusual that cost is typically the biggest determining factor when shopping for anything, including auto body repair. When canvassing which shop to go to, and upon finding one that has the most attractive price, you should carefully consider why that particular shop is able to offer such a low rate. Cheap repair might mean inferior parts, low-tech equipment, unqualified or inexperienced mechanics, and low-quality workmanship. Oftentimes, poor quality repair will just mean some savings upfront, but a bigger expense eventually because the temporary fix done has been undone or has caused worse damage, requiring another repair job and all the inconvenience that comes with it. Besides the probability of costing more, are you seriously willing to compromise your safety by saying yes to that low price tag?


Quality Repairs are Worth the Cost

Diagnostic services Billings

Using the proper vehicle diagnostics is important

More than cost, work quality ought to be considered of greater significance when talking about auto repair. Sure, high quality work is expected to cost more. But when your safety is on the line, wouldn’t you be willing to pay more? Shouldn’t you be willing to pay more? With good quality repair, you will pay a bit more initially, but this comes with the assurance that your car will perform optimally for a longer period of time, and a safer driving experience for you.

Needless to say, there’s a question begging to be asked. Why does quality work have to be more expensive? For starters, it is impossible to provide quality work without spending enough time to thoroughly inspect and evaluate what should be done. This will require not just the right equipment, but qualified personnel as well. After which, the appropriate parts will have to be acquired, before finally getting on with the actual repair. The result? A job well done for a satisfied car owner.


Making the Choice of Cheap Repairs or Quality Workmanship

Quality Vehicle Repairs

Quality is not something we compromise on here at BSCC

Cost or quality? Quality should be the hands-down choice. But don’t think for a second that the one which costs the highest is automatically the one that will be able to provide the best quality work. Big auto body shops are a logical go-to for some people who are willing to pay the price for quality work that comes with a warranty. Some still get disappointed, however, and find out the hard way that while the big auto body shops have built formidable reputations, there are still those who actually do not deserve the acclaim. Which basically means a big name doesn’t necessarily guarantee high quality. At least not always.

The bottomline? Quality does not always have to mean exorbitant cost. It’s quite possible to find quality repair at a cost you will be comfortable with. It will just require some amount of research on your end. And when you’re done with your research, turn to your instinct and your gut feeling. You’ll rest easier knowing that you have made the best possible choice.


Big Sky Collision Center Fixes Cars

Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we pride ourselves on two things. Our foremost goal is training leaders. We want every employee to have a sense of ownership, and to take pride in what they do. The result is that when they fix your car, you have the peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is going to be fixed with high quality parts, high quality craftsmanship, and everything will be done the right way.

Are you in need of repairs to your vehicle? Do you need your car or truck detailed? Do you have questions on the repair process before you make a decision? We have been serving the Billings community for decades, and we want to make sure you’re completely comfortable with the service you will receive. Give us a call at 406-259-6328.

Different Types of Car Waxes

There are Many Different Car Waxes to Protect Your Vehicle

Even if some people might consider waxing as an extraneous rather than an essential part of car maintenance, it cannot be denied that a car that undergoes regular waxing will look better for longer compared to a car that doesn’t. Acting as a protectant and a sealant, a good car wax will help maintain the integrity of your car paint by keeping dust, pollution, rain spots, bird droppings, tree sap, dead insects, road tar, and other environmental and weather elements away from it. Car wax will preserve your car’s glossy shine, and also prevent early corrosion of your car’s exterior.

Car Waxes for Auto Detailing in Billings

But with so many car waxes to choose from, how do you know which to use? Big Sky Collision Center, your auto body specialists here in Billings, give you the run down on how each type works.


What are the types of car waxes available?

Car wax can be classified into two main categories: natural and synthetic; and three basic forms: liquid, paste, and spray.

Natural Car Wax: Generally more expensive but often regarded as the better choice, natural car wax is derived either partly or entirely from plants. The most common type of natural car wax is the carnauba car wax. Derived from the Brazil-grown Copernica Cerifa plant, carnauba, in its pure form or combined with oil and other petroleum products, is a major component in most natural car waxes available in the market today. Natural car waxes (both carnauba-based ones and other natural forms) provide superior paint protection and an admirable deep glossy finish, but require regular re-application as most usually last a couple of months at the most.

Synthetic Car Wax: Just as its name implies, a synthetic car wax is made from chemicals (certainly not the best choice if you are an advocate of green and healthy living). Because of the materials it is made of, synthetic car wax is more affordable than natural car wax and is therefore more widely available and commonly used. Usually sold in spray or liquid form (liquid is used loosely, usually the consistency of shampoo), synthetic car wax is easier to apply, buffs out more easily, and lasts longer than natural car wax. The tradeoff? It cannot replicate the glow that natural car wax can provide.

Bees Wax for auto detailing

Bees wax does not work well on vehicles.

Liquid Wax: Best wax for cleaning and lasts the longest. While it is probably the most commonly used form of car wax, liquid wax is a bit difficult to apply evenly because it dries fairly quickly (typically within a minute, depending on factors like temperature, sunlight, and wind).

Paste Wax: Although it provides better protection and a deeper gloss, its overall effect is not as good as liquid wax. Paste wax is harder to apply and requires proper tools, instead of just a simple microfiber cloth. It’s not as durable as well and may require re-application more often than other forms of car wax.

Spray Wax: Ideal for new cars that have superior quality finishes, it’s the fastest way to protect your car’s paint, and perfect for spot-polishing portions of your vehicle. It’s the easiest wax to apply and can be wiped off without the need for drying. However, it’s not good for cleaning even though it’s the one that’s least likely to leave unsightly stains on plastic parts.


Car waxing tip

Whatever your purpose is for waxing your car, and whatever car wax type you choose, always remember this: For best results, only apply wax to your vehicle after it has been cleaned thoroughly, dried completely, and while it is parked under a covered or shaded area.


Big Sky Collision Details Cars!

Did you know that you don’t have to spend your Saturday washing, vacuuming, waxing, and cleaning your car? At Big Sky Collision Center, we can do that for you! A vacuum and wash is just $49; a full detail is $175(check out this note on our Facebook page for details on the auto detailing), and the full detail with a hand wax and polish is $595. Give us a call at 406-259-6328 to schedule a time to bring your vehicle in.

Of course if you want to do an experiment, and see how the different car waxes work on your vehicle, we would love to hear the results!

The Five Elements of a Leader

At Big Sky Collision Center, we Train Leaders


Often we get asked how Big Sky Collision Center flourishes. People ponder if we are just that good at fixing cars, or maybe we have excellent sales staff, or our marketing team is amazing, or perhaps something else. The reality is that having a thriving business is a side effect of doing the right thing. Take a look at how we invest in our employees; having an auto body business that does well is a side effect.

Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money, is a poor business.” What he meant is that any business which wants to thrive and succeed should have their ultimate goal as something more than getting rich.  That goal can be to provide an outstanding service, or perhaps to help the less fortunate, or perhaps inspire and build into the lives of the employees that make the company great.

But a great business doesn’t just happen.  It’s based on the dream and vision of a great leader.  If you want your business to grow, invest in yourself and grow your leadership by honing these five skills.

Confidence – A leader is confident in his or her abilities.  This confidence is not just a mask that is worn, but a demeanor that can’t be shaken.  If you are insecure, but try to put on the mask of confidence, your employees will see through that mask.  They won’t be able to trust a leader that is not confident in making decisions.

Decisiveness – Suppose you are lost in the woods.  The leader of the group brings you to a canyon where you can travel up, or down.  He wonders which way to go, worries about bears, thinks there might be a waterfall downstream, and ultimately hopes he is making the right decision.  Is that someone you want to follow?

Intuition – Any business that doesn’t pay attention to numbers and analytics is doing themselves a big disservice.  But humans aren’t logical or rational (at least not most of the time).  There is a certain “gut feeling” that goes into being a good leader.  Being able to listen to that feeling and having the wisdom to act accordingly makes a great leader.

Influence – Leaders influence.  Influence can be described as pressure.  A gentle pressure in the right direction helps employees to learn and to grow.  Barking orders and doling out punishments creates resentment; guidance and instruction and gentle nudges create a well rounded employee that loves his or her job.

Empathy – A boss says, “Go!”; a leader says, “Let’s go!”  If all you do is give orders to employees, the employees do all they can to distance themselves from you.  Understanding your staff and knowing the best ways to motivate them earns their dedication and their loyalty.  Employees that are cared for care for the company.


Being a Leader Makes the Business

Anyone with a dream and a passion can create a business.  As that business grows, roles begin to change.  The visionary has to step away from the daily work, and learn how to motivate, encourage, influence, and connect with the employees.

The difference between a business that squeaks by and a business that flourishes is the quality of the leadership.

At Big Sky Collision Center we grow leaders; we just happen to be good at fixing cars.

Your Tires Matter!

Your Tires Need Your Attention

As the only component of your car that comes into contact with the road, your tires play a very important role in giving you a quality ride that is not only safe and smooth, but fuel-efficient as well. Choosing the right kind of tires should therefore be considered a critical decision that will help ensure you get the best driving experience.

The right tires matter

When shopping for new or replacement tires, you should keep in mind the driving conditions you expect to face every time you take your car out. As your choice for auto body shop in Billings, we want you to be an informed consumer. Here are the most common tire types you can choose from, depending on your specific requirements.


Summer Tires

Performance TireAs their name suggest, summer tires are ideal for use in dry, humid, or slightly wet conditions, but never during cold, icy weather. Most summer tires are designed without tread sipes, and with tread block elements in orbital wide groove patterns for increased resistance to hydroplaning.


Winter Tires

Collision repair in BillingsEasily identifiable through the letters “M” and “S”, winter tires (also known as snow tires or mud and snow tires) are specifically designed and made of materials that will perform optimally in icy, cold, wet, and snowy weather conditions. With tread patterns that enhance grip and traction, don’t make the mistake of thinking that these tires are purely for use during severe winter weather because they are versatile enough to perform well in dry and hot conditions too.


All-Season Tires

With more traction edges and sipes for added snow traction, all-season tires are suitable for use all-year round in any weather condition and any kind of surface – dry, wet, or ice-covered ones. All-season tires are satisfactory functional through a wide range of driving conditions, though there’s still improvement that needs to be done to make them highly effective even on snow-covered roads. There are 2 basic types of all-season tires:

Ford Truck Dent RepairPassenger Tires: Suitable for most people, passenger tires are the most budget-friendly choice for those with regular driving needs (ex. daily work rides, going to the grocery, bringing kids to school and back home). Passenger tires are generally designed for long wear and provide a high quality ride with minimum noise.

Touring Tires: Performing slightly better than passenger tires, touring tires provide a higher quality ride through better cornering and more responsive steering. Touring tires offer a low noise ride too, but they are more expensive in a sense because they are not designed for a long tread life.


Performance Tires

For the longest time, performance tires can only be found on race cars and sports cars. Not anymore. With shallower but wider treads for better road contact, braking and traction ability, plus softer rubber compounds for enhanced grip, performance tires can now be used on all types of vehicles and are available under four basic types:

Aluminum auto body repairPerformance: Ideal for drivers who want to make their vehicles look better and improve their low-speed traction.

High-Performance: Meant for drivers who drive at high speeds and expect better stability and handling from their vehicles.

Ultra High-Performance: Intended for extreme performance and are generally the fastest tires found on luxury and super cars.

Competition: Designed for specific racing events and typically have a groove-free design (think “Fast and the Furious” movies).


All-Terrain Tires

ATV TiresCommonly used by SUV’s, light trucks and other vehicles that drive on rough or dirt roads, all-terrain tires have stiffer sidewalls to protect against punctures and tears, and wider-spaced tread patterns to help better eject gravel, mud, snow and water. All-terrain tires are available in different load capacities and sizes.


Prevent a Trip to Big Sky Collision Center

Proper tires, ones that aren’t worn, aren’t the wrong type, and are fully inflated, are the key to maintaining control of your vehicle. We don’t want to see any cars or trucks that are damaged because you neglected your tire health!

If your tires are getting old, or designed for the wrong season, it’s well worth the money to have the right tires on your vehicle; it could save you a trip to Big Sky Collision Center in Billings.