Giving back to Schools

Giving back to the community has always been a part of Schaefer Autobody Centers culture.   Employees of Schaefer regularly volunteer their time and efforts towards many charitable programs that help families in need.

In 2014, Schaefer Autobody Centers is giving back to community schools and has partnered with the Parkway Alumni Association to raise funds for its many programs.

Click link to view video from recent Show Me St. Louis segment.

Schaefer Autobody donating to Parkway Schools

From the Parkway Alumni Association website.

The Parkway School District has educated and shaped the lives of students and their families for more than 50 years. The Parkway Alumni Association is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides innovative programs, grants for students and recognition initiatives for outstanding teachers and staff who make a difference in the lives of students each day.”

To help support PAA, Schaefer Autobody Centers will make a donation of $50 for every Parkway Alumni, employee and family member that has their car or truck repaired at one of their 8 St. Louis area locations. The donation will be made in the name of the Parkway Alumni or employee and requires a minimum purchase of $250.

The people at Schaefer Autobody Centers look forward to helping Parkway Alumni with their vehicle auto repair needs and giving back to this great organization.  To learn more or participate in this program simply call (636) 305-8288 or visit any one of the locations and a Schaefer employee will be happy to assist you.

 

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Resolutions For Your Car

It’s that time again! We’ve closed the chapter on 2013, and we drive forward into a new year. 2014 is fresh with hope for better and brighter things. Many of you are making resolutions to get in shape, eat healthier, stick to a budget, and organize your house. While you’re making that list, may we suggest a few resolutions for your car?

Resolve to get serious about maintenance. Everybody knows that maintaining your car will keep you safer and will make it last longer, but not everyone acts on that knowledge. With numerous maintenance apps, it has never been easier to keep car maintenance fresh in your mind.  Budgeting ahead and learning a few DIY tasks keep the costs more manageable; also remember that the cost of maintenance is much lower than the cost of repair (not to mention towing, an accident, or lost work from being stranded).

Resolve to end distracted driving. Focus on the road. Period. Encourage others to do the same.

Resolve to keep it clean. Just like proper engine maintenance will keep your car running smoothly, proper cleaning will keep your resale value high and your vehicle looking great. Road salt is particularly harmful to your car’s paint job, so don’t wait until spring to begin this routine. Keeping the interior clean is also a safety issue, as loose objects can become projectiles in the event of an accident.

Resolve to save when you can. Life is not cheap, and neither is gas. So, when it is possible, carpool. Plan to run errands all at once instead of making multiple trips. Don’t idle for more than a minute or two. With a bit of thought, you can easily save some money by filling up less often. Also, remember that proper maintenance will improve your fuel efficiency. So, keep your tire pressure at the optimal level and keep to that maintenance schedule we discussed above.

When setting your New Year’s resolutions, whether for yourself or for your car, remember to keep your goals simple and reasonable. You’ll be more likely to stick to it and finish 2014 with a sense of accomplishment.

 

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Schaefer Saves Christmas!

In exactly ONE week, many of you will be waking up to giggling children excitedly looking under the tree, a hot cup of coffee or cocoa with loved ones, or hurried preparations for the arrival of anticipated company. Depending on what you do in the days leading up to Christmas (or whatever day you celebrate), you could experience an irritable rush of anxiety or an easy-going last minute prep-time. Consider these simple things that will save you time in the long run!

One Week Before (today): Sit down and make a list, or find the lists you made before and check them twice. Here’s what you need to cover: gifts that need to be bought, people coming to visit, chores that need to be completed, and food that needs to be cooked. Look at your calendar for larger blocks of time, considering where you’ll fit in those shopping trips or baking sprees.

6 Days ‘til Christmas:  Simplify! Think about what you can do to reduce the list. Delegate chores to your spouse or children. Consider hiring a friend, family member or neighborhood teen to clean your home or wrap your presents, or watch your children while you do so. Look also for areas that can be cut. Unless you enjoy it, don’t bake! You can buy treats that are tasty and beautiful. If you enjoy baking but are strapped for time, try mixing up one basic dough that can translate into many types of cookies.

5 Days ‘til Christmas:  This is likely the day you’ll be shopping (Saturday). Give yourself lots of extra time, as stores will be crowded. Check your pantries before you leave and make a detailed list of what you might need. While you’re out, pick up a few extra gifts, in case you need them: a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, a coffee mug, or gift cards. If you realize at the last minute that you forgot a gift, you’ll have something on hand.

4 Days ‘til Christmas: Whatever you’re making for dinner, make double. You won’t have to cook on Monday night, which will free up some time for your other needs, or give you time to relax. Review your lists and complete one task. Remember to concentrate on one job at a time instead of trying to multitask. You will save time in the long run and be more productive.

3 Days ‘til Christmas: Do some prep work in the kitchen.  Clean and chop veggies for all of your dishes. Mix up that casserole for Christmas dinner. As long as it doesn’t have raw meat or eggs, it should be fine to refrigerate. Whatever you’re making for dinner, make double so you won’t have to cook on Christmas Eve.

2 Days ‘til Christmas: Look through your closets, in the basement, and in all your hiding places to make sure you haven’t forgotten any presents. Finish all the wrapping and baking. Deliver gifts to neighbors if that is part of your tradition (but it’s also okay if you cut that this year), so that you don’t interfere with their family events.

1 Day ‘til Christmas: Rally the troops for a bit of focused cleaning. Give specific chores and work hard together to get the house in shape. This isn’t the time to clean the baseboards or organize closets; simply straighten, dust, vacuum, and wipe down bathrooms. Let go of perfection and move on to an enjoyable tradition, such as looking at lights, reading the Christmas story, or having a cup of cocoa together in your new pajamas.

Christmas Day: Relax and enjoy the day! If you’re stressed about your gathering, make certain that you have at least 15 minutes before it begins to be quiet by yourself (even if you have to get up early). Take that time to meditate, journal, pray, or make a list of things for which you are grateful. Refocus and purpose yourself to focus on the positive in every person and every moment. Make memories, take pictures, eat, drink, and be merry!

 

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Gift Ideas for the Car Enthusiast

Hold onto your Santa hat! We are here to tell you that there are just TWO weeks left until Christmas day! If you have yet to finish (or begin) shopping, it is time to kick into high gear. Make your list and check it twice. If the guys or gals on your list are car lovers, we have some ideas they will love to unwrap.

Electronics: New cars come with all kinds of built-in gadgets, but not everyone has a new car. Check out the latest in GPS devices that will get your car enthusiast traveling in the right direction.

Tuned in: For those that know where they’re going, but just want to jam along the way, you may consider this hands-free device that plays your music through your radio. Of course, you can also consider a subscription to satellite radio.

Keeping It Clean: Rubber floor mats are a great idea to protect your car’s interior, and can make a good easy-to-find gift for the car owner. Seat covers, sun shields, and steering wheel covers can fit the bill as well, but be sure to check style, fit, and need. This may be best for a teen or new driver. A car-care kit with bucket, sponges, and various cleaners is a nice gesture, but unless you know that your loved one enjoys washing and waxing at home, consider a car wash gift card or a paid monthly membership to a car wash, especially one that offers unlimited washes.

Prepared Present: No one should be without an emergency and first aid kit in the vehicle. Fortunately, these can be purchased from department stores for a very reasonable price. Beyond standard emergency supplies, you could consider an umbrella, a picnic blanket, a handheld cordless vacuum, and toys or games for the children to play in their car seats.

Event Tickets: Car “guys” love car events, right? Your gift could give something to look forward to, such as a car show or race. Our favorite is anything at Gateway Motorsports Park, especially DriftSTL racing!

However or whenever you “wrap up” your holiday shopping, we wish you great parking spots, short lines, free shipping, and all the best!

 

 

 

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Driving In a Winter Wonderland

It has been a beautiful, up-and-down, typical St. Louis area autumn around here. But we know that winter is on the way!  In fact, forecasters have predicted that temperatures will drop drastically this week and that we may even see some winter precipitation.  Now, before you rush out to buy bread and milk, let’s review a few winter driving tips.

Proper Preparation:  In a recent blog, we discussed preparing your car for winter. A quick double check of your tires, lights, wiper blades, and battery is a good idea. Make certain your cell phone is charged, gas tank is more than half full, and your emergency kit is stocked, including extra weight for those light pickup trucks and something for traction (such as kitty litter). Our very own Scott Schaefer recently appeared on News Channel 5, and shared a detailed list of what you need to have on hand, as well as some additional driving tips.

Pay Attention: Almost every blog contains a warning against distracted driving. However, have you ever noticed how many drivers out there are on the phone, texting, or doing other things that take focus from the road? So, let us again say, giving the task at hand (driving) your full attention is vital, especially when winter weather is part of the equation.

Slow Down: Winter precipitation alters your ability to control the vehicle and to stop. So, slow down and give yourself plenty of extra room between you and the other drivers.

Be aware that some dangers are unseen. Make sure that you remember to turn on your lights whenever your wipers are on, but don’t assume that other drivers will do the same. Watch carefully for stalled or stopped vehicles. Also watch for “black ice,” which describes a virtually invisible glaze of ice. It is most likely to form on bridges and overpasses, especially at night when the temperature drops and refreezing occurs. If you hit an icy patch, let off the gas pedal and gently steer through it., looking to find traction. Sudden braking and rapid movements can cause you to lose control.

In the event of an accident, remain calm and get off the road as quickly as possible if it is safe to do so. However, do remain with your car, as it provides shelter and safety. Call emergency responders, and then call Schaefer Autobody at 636-305-8288 and we can Make It Like It Never Happened.

 

 

 

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Black Friday Driving and Shopping

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Thanksgiving, and even more so, that there are 34 days left until Christmas! There’s one high-stress, high-traffic, and sometimes fun day in between called Black Friday. It’s the infamous day of long lines, super sales, and packed parking lots. We have a few tips to help you navigate through the day and arrive home safely with all your deals.

Do your homework. Stores are competing for your business – big time! Some experts predict that remaining uncertainty in the economy and a shortened period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas will result in much lower spending this year. Retailers are responding accordingly, trying to lure shoppers by releasing ads even earlier and using social media to promote their sales. You may have to like a page or sign up for emails, but you can use this to your advantage. You have several days to plan ahead and choose where you are going to shop.

Do more homework. Know your prices and know them well. Black Friday is designed to generate excitement. If you go into a store unaware of normal prices, you may spend too much, thinking you’re getting a great deal. Keep an app like RedLaser or ShopSavvy handy, so you can compare prices while you’re in the store.

Drive safely on the road. Stores open earlier and earlier every year. In fact, despite much controversy, several are offering big deals on Thanksgiving Day, at least before the clock strikes midnight. Remember, there is the possibility of folks on the road who have been drinking or remain in a daze from too much turkey and pie. Don’t be one of them, of course! Also, make sure you get enough rest to be driving safely. It also wouldn’t hurt to take along a friend.

Park wisely. Parking lots are notorious for trouble on Black Friday. Park a bit farther away and enjoy walking off that extra piece of pumpkin pie; you’ll save a lot of time when you’re leaving. Be especially careful when backing out. Drive slowly. Many folks travel fast enough in parking lots that the airbags may deploy if hit; keep this in mind and buckle up immediately. Watch for pedestrians. Also, make sure you put your shopping bags, especially for electronics, where they cannot be seen from the windows. It takes only seconds for a thief to smash and grab, doing a lot of damage along the way. Also, remember to keep your cool. No deal or parking space is worth a confrontation with a stranger.

Don’t forget alternatives. Retailers are also offering deals online, so you may save by shopping from the comfort of your home. Support local businesses; you may find some amazing buys on unique finds on Small Business Saturday, which is November 30 this year.

Whatever you choose to do on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, we wish you a happy holiday shopping season!

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Winter’s on the Way!

Ready or not, here comes winter! There’s a chill in the air and holiday decorations have replaced the Halloween candy. Though the winter season doesn’t officially begin until December 21st, here in the Midwest, we feel its effects long before.

It is vital that you prepare your vehicle for its winter duties, so that you and your loved ones remain safe.  Here are a few tasks to get you started:

Check your tires.  If you’re going to stay safe on the road, especially one that is wet or icy, healthy tires are a number one priority. Most tires have tread indicators; if you can see these, you tires need to be replaced. Check your air pressure and adjust according to manufacturer’s guidelines. Most experts recommend rotating your tires every 6000 miles to ensure even wear.

Be aware of your battery. The last thing you want is to find your battery is dead when you’re out and about in the cold weather. Clean any corrosion around your battery and ensure that it is maintaining a charge.

Don’t freeze up. Make certain that your antifreeze to water ratio is just right for your vehicle and that the level is correct. Ensure that wiper blades are in good working condition and that headlights, taillights, etc., are operational for those longer winter nights.  Other parts worthy of a check at this time include brakes and spark plugs.

Prepare your interior. Heavy-duty rubber floor mats will protect your car from the icy sludge on your passengers’ feet. Cleaning up before winter hits full force is a good idea. Also, check your emergency kit in case you need to replenish or refresh items. Make sure you have a blanket in case you get stranded.

Prepare your exterior as well. A nice coat of wax will help protect your vehicles paint from the weather and the road salt that comes with it.

Whether you do it yourself or go to a professional, taking the time to ensure that your car is ready for winter can save you time and money. It can also help prevent accidents and keep you safe in the event of a breakdown.

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Happy (and Safe) Halloween!

Very soon, goblins, ghosts, and ghouls will take over the streets. Who doesn’t love to see the scary little creatures, brave superheroes, and precious princesses as they come to the door to say “trick-or-treat!”

Unfortunately, the fun on Halloween can quickly turn scary when people don’t observe basic safety. The CDC reports that children are four times more likely to be involved in a serious pedestrian-car accident on Halloween than on any other night.  However, there is no need to hide for this holiday; simply take some common sense measures and all will be fa-boo-less.

  • Take care of your costume. Costumes, especially for younger children, should not limit movement , obstruct vision, or make children likely to trip. Bright colors or reflective material is a good idea, as is a flashlight.
  • Travel together. Children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult. If older children are allowed to venture out, make sure they are in groups, are well-versed in “stranger danger” and safe pedestrian practices, have a cell phone, and have a planned route that they will travel.
  • Walk safely. Travel on sidewalks, cross at crosswalks, and always walk. Never come out from between parked cars. Keep your eyes peeled, and never assume that a driver sees you or that they will stop.
  • Drive safely. Slow down…way down. Always be on the lookout for children, especially near parked cars. Never, ever assume that people will follow the safety guidelines. Watch for little ones on the loose. Be extremely careful when backing out of a driveway; in a very busy neighborhood, consider having another adult outside the vehicle to watch for small children. Do not drive along the road, watching your children go from house to house. This creates traffic flow problems, angers other drivers, and distracts you from watching the road for other cars and pedestrians.
  • Be a helpful host. If you’re hosting a party, keep your walkways and driveways safe, and free of anything that could cause someone to fall or be unable to see while driving. Remind your guests to drive carefully if trick-or-treaters are common in your area.
  • Look for alternatives. If you aren’t sold on trick-or-treating anyway, consider community events such as harvest festivals, trunk or treats, or other parties. Stop by a house or two of friends or family to get the trick-or-treat experience and save the rest of the hassle.

No matter what you choose to do this Halloween, we wish you a safe and happy holiday. May all your scary moments be fun ones!

Sources: cdc.govaap.orgcharleston.af.mil

 

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National Teen Driver Safety Week

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States? In fact, 5,000 teens are killed each year in automobile accidents. Individuals between the ages of 16 and 19 years old are involved in four times as many fatal crashes as adult drivers ages 25 to 69.

Right now, we are in the middle of the seventh annual National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is October 20-26, 2013.  NTDSW is designated by Congress as a time to raise awareness of teen driver safety topics and to encourage safe behavior. The NTDSW website has many resources to help educate teens, parents, and the general public on important topics related to teen driving safety.

Seventy-five percent of serious teen driver crashes are due to critical errors. The three most common errors, which cause over half of the serious crashes, include a lack of scanning for hazards, driving too fast for road conditions, and being distracted. All drivers should be aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but distractions such as passengers or cell phones are especially hazardous for teens. Other high-risk behaviors targeted by NTDSW are speeding, riding with an impaired driver, and not wearing a seat belt.

With this year’s theme, “It Takes Two,” parents are encouraged to be active by discussing driving safety with teens, setting rules, and modeling appropriate behavior. Research has indicated that a teen’s crash risk can be cut in half through parent involvement. Parents are also encouraged to make the most of the graduated drivers license programs and actively help their teens become skilled drivers; AAA has reported that parents may not be teaching the right skills, such as adjusting speed for road conditions. Passengers are urged to wear seatbelts and to refrain from any behaviors that distract the driver or encourage the driver to increase risky behavior.

We encourage you to take the time to explore the website dedicated to National Teen Driver Safety Week and to utilize some of the resources available to help your teen be a better driver. Also, remember that your teen learns more from observing, so strive to be a skilled and safe driver yourself.

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Oh Deer! Part 2

In last week’s blog, we shared some facts about deer and discussed the need to be aware when you are driving so that you don’t become a deer collision statistic. It is important to note that the common sense safety tips also apply to this topic, including eliminating distractions and making sure your vehicle is in good working order. Wearing your seatbelt is especially important, as a minor collision can turn fatal without one.

As you now know, during October and November the likelihood of hitting a deer increases dramatically. We have shared that you must be especially alert at times and in areas where deer travel. But what do you do if such an accident suddenly seems unavoidable?

If you see a deer on or near the road, you need to slow down. Blow your horn one long blast, which may frighten the deer away. However, remember that if you see one, there are likely others nearby. Many a driver has thought he was in the clear as the first deer bounded into the woods, only to have a second deer jump in front of them.

If the deer is in the road, brake firmly. It is vital, though, to remain in your lane. Of course, you don’t wish to hit a deer, but it is better to do so than to risk a more serious accident. Many severe crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer or other wildlife, and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.

If you do collide with a deer, you need to move your car off the road if you can do so safely. Then call the police to report the accident. Do not touch the wounded deer! When an animal is wounded, it is frightened and confused. It is likely to hurt you if you come too close, or to make its own injuries more severe. After you have moved safely off the road and have called the authorities, call Schaefer Autobody Centers at 636-305-8288 to schedule repairs, request a tow, and for claims assistance.

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