Among the Elite: Collision Repair’s Top 5 Articles of 2020

Toronto, Ontario — In a  year like 2020, it’s no surprise that Collision Repair’s most popular article was a lighthearted one.

This year, Jeep owners–who already have an unspoken bond–banded together to bring a smile to each other’s faces by placing rubber ducks on unattended parked vehicles. When Collision Repair shared this story in August, it’s clear the industry was looking for something to bring a smile to their face in a year full of hardship.

Check out the rest of our top five stories of 2020 below–from rubber duck pranks to Calgary CARSTAR locations providing free vehicle detailing.

Toronto, Ontario — Jeep drivers have an unspoken bond, anyone who drives one knows to wave to fellow jeep drivers when they cross paths. However, this bond has been further strengthened with a new trend called ‘Jeep Ducking,’ and it all started in the great white north. 

In essence, Jeep owners are purchasing rubber ducks, writing a little note on them and leaving them on other Jeeps as a way to spread goodwill and positivity. 

As quirky and fun as this trend is, it has a rather heartbreaking origin. Creator Allison Parliament, 31, said she started ducking in July after she was physically assaulted in Ontario, for having an American license plate, According to the Taunton Daily Gazette.

Parliament works in both Alabama and her birth country of Canada, splitting her time between both countries. She explained that she was driving her car, which has Alabama license plates when she was approached by a man who pushed her into her vehicle and told her to go back to the U.S.

Instead of getting angry, Parliament and her friends decided to react to the situation with positivity. She went to a nearby store, purchased a rubber duck and placed it on a Jeep with a note explaining its purpose. 

After that, Parliament and her friends took to Facebook and the trend blew up. There is now a private group on Facebook, called Official Ducking Jeeps with over 14 thousand members from all over the U.S. and Canada. As well, an Instagram account that features people who have participated in the ducking challenge. 

Parliament told Taunton reporters Jeep dealerships and mechanics around the country are now participating, and that she’s working to make Ducking Jeeps a nonprofit to help raise money for teachers in need of money for school supplies. 

Happy ducking jeep drivers. 

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Toronto, Ontario ⁠— Three of Canada’s largest automotive suppliers have agreed to assist in the producion of much-needed ventilators during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Magna International Inc., Linamar Corp., Martinrea International, the government of Ontario and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association met last week and agreed that the trio of suppliers will focus their efforts on helping manufacture ventilators.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Friday at a news conference in Toronto that the provincial government has “an active order” for 10,000 ventilators, which the suppliers will help fill.

“This is going to be vital. We need to have these in our hospitals,” she said. “We’re…reaching out to Ontario companies who are actively involved in changing their production lines, doing whatever they can to produce this supply.”

Two weeks ago, Flavio Volpe, president of the APMA called on Canada’s suppliers to assist in the production of needed personal protective gear and medical equipment as health officials warned about a shortage of both, likening the need for the auto industry to retool to that of the industry’s efforts during World War II.

Magna, Linamar and Martinrea will work with three manufacturers in the health-care field; Toronto-based Thornhill Medical to build ventilators, O-two Medical of Brampton, Ont., where they build portable and transportable ventilators, and with General Motors Co., and Ventec Life Systems, which together have agreed to build ventilators at a General Motors factory in Indiana.

“GM, our suppliers and Ventec are partnering to scale up ventilator and Level 1 surgical face mask manufacturing at big volumes, quickly,” GM Canada said in a tweet Friday. “COVID-19 is a global challenge, and working with our partners GM intends to contribute to global solutions wherever feasible.”

Magna says it will be supporting the initiative with some components, logistics and purchasing.

Linamar issued a statement on Friday:

“Linamar is actively investigating the feasibility of manufacturing ventilators working with a variety of partners. We are hopeful that we can play a role in helping to deal with the consequences of this global pandemic. Linamar is working closely with government, industry experts and other manufacturing companies to find a way to expedite expanding capacity for ventilators. It is a top priority project for us at the moment and one we are highly focused on.”

The companies have not said how many ventilators each intends to produce, or when production will start.

Meanwhile, Canadian auto suppliers can now tap into a $50-million fund if they choose to retool to produce medical equipment needed to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization steering Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, said Wednesday that it will invest the money to support any Canadian manufacturer as they prepare to produce critically needed supplies, such as test kits, gloves, gowns, masks and ventilators.

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Calgary, Alberta ⁠—  For the months of May and June of 2020, certain Calgary CARSTAR locations are offering free detailing to frontline healthcare workers. 

“The strength demonstrated by doctors, nurses and healthcare workers is extraordinary and offering this service is our way to express our sincerest gratitude towards these heroes,” says Mark Kharfan, owner, CARSTAR Airdrie, CARSTAR Okotoks, CARSTAR High River and CARSTAR Calgary Heritage. “As they go to and from work in their vehicles, we hope they don’t have to worry about the state of their vehicles’ cleanliness.”

“Our team will thoroughly clean both the interior and exterior of the vehicle,” said Kharfan. “We will also apply a disinfectant in an effort to remove any contamination.”

 These CARSTAR facilities are all a part of the MK Group within the CARSTAR system. Actively engaged in their community, this team donates to their local food banks, sponsors teams and regularly raises crucial funds and awareness for its charitable cause, Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

 To book a free vehicle detail, frontline healthcare workers can email frontlineworkers@carstarab.ca and for more information, visit CARSTAR.ca.

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Toronto, Ontario — May 11, 2020 — If there’s one thing Al Quiring really wants to see his fellow towing professionals do, it is to take their personal safety more seriously.

In fact, when asked what advice he would share with ambitious young people in the towing sector looking to build-up their businesses would be, he says: “Pay attention to what is coming down the road, and make sure it pays attention to you.”

It is good advice. Being struck by a fast-moving vehicle during a roadside operation will end a career far more quickly than any particular business decision.

The Highway Thru Hell star, whose profile on the show has increased significantly in its more recent episodes, has teamed up with U.S. manufacturer J.W. Speaker in order to promote his message—and to promote the company’s own lighting solutions.

It is difficult to imagine a more charming pitchman. Even when promoting J.W. Speaker’s products, Quiring seems absolutely sincere.

“The SmartHeat, is the cat’s meow for keeping the lens clear. I use the Model 8800 SmartHeat Headlights.” explains Quiring. “What is most important to me is that the  SmartHeat lets drivers working in adverse road conditions spend less time outside of their cabs, where it is dangerous.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t know his stuff. Even when taken by surprise by a question about the advantages of the SmartHeat lenses over halogens, Quiring doesn’t miss a beat.
“A halogen light generates a lot of heat—most of which is directed inside, not onto the lens. That makes them a big power draw. With my lights, the SmartHeat technology is incorporated into the LED light itself. There’s also a grid pattern on the front, which means nothing is going to stop them from beaming clear down the highway.”

The veteran road warrior, however, can only be held back for so long.

“Look, whether it is a kid chasing a ball, or a herd of wood bison, I don’t want my truck hitting it,” Quiring says. “I could pay $15 for bulbs, but the investment is worth it.”

It is clear J.W. Speaker has no interest in reducing Quiring’s famously frank style into a bunch of agency-approved sound-bites. In fact, long before he was a celebrity, J.W. Speaker had sought out Quiring’s input on product performance.

“I wasn’t featured on the show too much until one episode, when I did something all of the crew thought I wouldn’t pull-off. I did.”

“In fact, when I caught the director’s eye, it was the first time I’d ever used LED seeing lights, which J.W. Speaker had asked me to try out. By the time I got home, I had a set for my partner, Gord. I couldn’t let him go another mile without them.”

Quiring isn’t the only towing professional who has worked with the manufacturer to ensure the quality of its products. The J.W. Speaker team says it relies on the input of towing professionals and members of the other industries it creates products for, in order to make sure it is meeting the market’s needs.

“For towing and a lot of our other markets, we get out in the field. We identify what problems towing professionals, agricultural workers, mining engineers – are having, and then we apply our technologies to finding solutions. The SmartHeat itself was originally designed for forklifts,” says Gary Durian, engineering director at J.W. Speaker.

Durian also says that the company’s relationship with industry members means it sometimes receives its best ideas from tow operators without even asking.

“We are very proud of how many ideas come to us directly from industry professionals. They reach out to our customer care folks on a daily basis,” says Durian. “Recently, we were asked if it would be possible to come up with a light that shifts between white and amber, depending on a driver’s needs. It was simple to do, but it hadn’t been done before!”

That idea led to the design of the Model 234 Flash LED Tail Lights with SmartHeat. The taillights are also available in five different colour options: amber, blue, green, red and clear with programmable strobe patterns.

The technology is exciting to Quiring, who had not heard of the colour-changing system, and the pair immediately begin bouncing application ideas off each other, and discussing emergency lighting conventions in different parts of the world.

While the pair may have moved past their speaking notes, the exchange makes it clear why Quiring is the perfect person to pitch J.W. Speaker’s products. He shares the company’s passion for industrial lighting. He wants everyone to be as passionate about it as well.

As he puts it, “We operate in avalanche zones, flood zones and–generally—in bad driver zones. You have to think about your lighting. You’ve got to check it, and adapt it if you want to get home.”

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Toronto, Ontario — Hyundai Auto Canada and Kia Canada have released a recall⁠—or, in the automakers’ words, a ‘product improvement campaign’—affecting more than 300,000 vehicles in Canada.

The recall affects the automakers’ natural aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, as well as the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. Both Hyundai and Kia will perform an engine control module update on the affected vehicles to assure its ability to detect potential problems prior to engine failure. Not only could a failed engine cost thousands of dollars to repair, but it causes a sudden loss of power⁠—introducing huge risks to safety.

Hyundai Canada is recalling 275,533 cars and SUVS, including the 2019 Santa Fe; the 2019 Veloster; all Sante Fe Sport models from 2013 through 2018; 2014, 2015 and 2019 Tuscon models; and all Hyundai Sonata models from 2011 through 2019. 

Kia Canada is recalling 26,082 cars and SUVs, including the 2019 and 2020 Sportage models, the 2019 Optima and the 2019 Sorrento.

Hyundai Canada has said owners of Santa Fe Sport, Sonata and Tuscon vehicles who received a similar recall fix in March 2019⁠—which involved 255,000 vehicles⁠—do not require the new update. 

Hyundai owners can visit www.hyundaiengineinfo.ca for more information.

Kia Canada owners can click here for more information.

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