Can Your Car Last Another Year?

Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at Huntington Beach car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and – well a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of Huntington Beach, California folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more for smart Huntington Beach motorists.

The old adage: ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is really true for Huntington Beach motorists when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.

Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Huntington Beach motorists have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule.

Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.

Don’t let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at Gustafson Brothers is a great way to keep your operating costs down in Huntington Beach.

Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the costly damage that can be caused by failure.

We know that this is a lot for busy Huntington Beach area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at Gustafson Brothers keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your car maker recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.

Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent expensive repairs and maintain your warranty coverage. Call Gustafson Brothers today for an appointment; you can reach us at 7148475600.

Let us take good care of your car at Gustafson Brothers in Huntington Beach, and it’ll take good care of you.

Gustafson Brothers
Give us a call today at 7148475600.
Or stop by at 19161 Gothard Street, Huntington Beach, California 92648

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Is Your Huntington Beach Driving Severe?

People near Huntington Beach California often ask Gustafson Brothers how often they should have a particular service done. It’s a great thing to ask. You can look at your owner’s manual, or have your Huntington Beach California service advisor at Gustafson Brothers look up your vehicle in a service database. What you find is often a surprise to people – there are actually two service schedules.

One is the regular schedule and the other is the severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe service schedule. When asked, most folks in Huntington Beach California will say that their driving is normal and that the ‘regular’ schedule probably applies to them. ‘Severe service’ sounds pretty extreme – ‘I don’t drive like that’.

Well, here is what the manufacturers say constitutes severe driving conditions; you can draw your own conclusions.

  • Most of your trips are less than four miles.
  • Most of your trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing.
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway. You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
  • You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
  • Drive with a car-top carrier.
  • Stop and go driving.
  • Driving in very hot or very cold weather.

If that’s severe driving, what constitutes regular driving? Well, it would look something like this: I live somewhere with moderate temperatures all year round – I’m thinking San Diego here. And I live close to a freeway on-ramp. Everywhere I need to go is right off the freeway, at least four miles from my home. I can drive at a steady 60 miles per hour when I’m on the freeway.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like my normal driving. It sounds more like ideal conditions. I live where it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I run short errands around Huntington Beach. Occasionally we load up for family trips.

For me, normal driving includes elements of severe service driving. So here’s what I tell people: think about how you drive, where you live, where you go and what you are expecting to with your vehicle in the near future.

Picture a line with ‘regular’ on one end and ‘severe’ on the other, and make a judgment on where you fall. If your regular oil change recommendation is 5,000 miles and the severe service recommendation is 3,000 – when should you change your oil? For me, it’s closer to 3,000 miles. For my wife, it’s closer to 5,000 miles. Your Huntington Beach California auto service advisor at Gustafson Brothers will be happy to have this discussion with you and help you sort it out.

Just a quick word on why severe service intervals are shorter. One has to do with heat. That can either be external heat from the weather or engine and transmission heat from stop and go driving or working extra hard moving heavy loads or towing. The heat causes the fluids like oil and transmission fluid to break down more quickly and then they aren’t as effective.

Another factor is water. Moisture naturally collects in fluids as they cool. In your motor oil, for example, if you don’t drive long enough for the oil to fully heat up, the water won’t evaporate. Water in the oil can lead to the buildup of damaging sludge.

If you live where the air is dusty or polluted, fluids will become contaminated and filters will get dirtier more quickly.

So make an honest evaluation of your driving conditions. You’ve made the commitment to take care of your vehicles, so it only makes sense to follow the right schedule.

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Hitting The Brakes In Huntington Beach

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Safety should always be an important element of your car care. So even if you don’t care about how your car looks, you should practice preventive maintenance to protect yourself — and other Huntington Beach motorists — on the road. And good safety starts with good brakes.

Brakes need a regular inspection. There are critical parts that wear out or wear down, and it’s best to replace them before you have troubles.

Of course, if you are having trouble with your brakes, NOW is the time to fix them. If your brake warning light is on, that’s a good sign that you need your brakes checked. Huntington Beach drivers can also tell something is wrong with their brakes by the feel of the pedal or unusual sounds while braking. If the brake pedal is low, feels spongy when you press it or is hard to push, that indicates a problem with your brakes. If you hear squealing, grinding or clunking noises when you brake, that can also indicate problems. If vibrations accompany braking, then it is critical to get your brakes checked.

Brakes come in two basic types. With disk brakes, a rotor is attached to the axle of the vehicle. Padded calipers straddle the rotor, which close when the brakes are applied. The resulting friction causes the rotor — and the axle — to stop turning. With drum brakes, brake pads (also called shoes) press against the inside of a drum to create friction and stop the drum, and hence the sedan’s wheels, from turning.

When Gustafson Brothers services your brake system, your friendly service advisor checks all of the brake pads for wear. If they are too thin, they need to be replaced. This is an inexpensive repair at Gustafson Brothers compared to what procrastination will cost you. If pads wear away completely, then the rotors and drums can be damaged. They will have to be either resurfaced or replaced, and that can be pricey. But if your sedan brake pads are worn out, then your brakes are compromised and your stopping power is greatly reduced. You could easily wind up in an accident.

Brake pads come in several different grades such as regular, metallic and ceramic. The higher grades are more expensive in Huntington Beach, but they also work better. California car owners who want better and smoother braking, should consider upgrading. However, Huntington Beach drivers should NEVER use a brake pad that is lower than your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.

After you your brake pads are checked at Gustafson Brothers, it’s important to have your brake fluid checked. This is a critical element in your brake system. When you press your brake pedal, you are compressing the brake fluid, creating pressure that activates the brake pads. If your fluid pressure is low, it will reduce your braking power. The pads just won’t be able to press hard enough against the rotor or drum to stop your sedan. Just as with worn pads, insufficient brake fluid can lead to a detrimental and pricey accident in Huntington Beach.

Water can build up in your brake fluid, which can cause dangerous corrosion in your braking system. Eventually this can cause your brake fluid to leak. So Huntington Beach drivers should also change their brake fluid periodically. Your sedan owner’s manual will have guidelines on how often it should be replaced or ask a friendly service specialist at Gustafson Brothers. We have been servicing brake systems in Huntington Beach for 40 years. 

Remember, Huntington Beach folks, safety first. It’s essential auto advice for all Huntington Beach car owners on the road. You’re not just protecting others; you’re protecting yourself.

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Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money On Tires

Huntington Beach auto owners want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your service specialist at Gustafson Brothers puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a sedan wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Huntington Beach to Westminster, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help Huntington Beach folks’ tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more critical with them. Give Gustafson Brothers a call to get our recommendation for your sedan.

See your owner’s manual or ask your tech at Gustafson Brothers for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tires are costly and they are one of the most vital safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

Gustafson Brothers
19161 Gothard Street
Huntington Beach, California 92648
7148475600

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Fuel Saving Tip: Car Weight And Your California Driving

Weight is the enemy of fuel economy. Everyone from here to Westminster knows this makes sense.

Some of us in the Westminster area carry a bunch of unnecessary weight, and I’m not talkin’ what you see in the mirror.

sedan Weight Guys; sports equipment and tools. Ladies; well, just take a look around the passenger compartment and trunk. I think my car has about forty-five pounds of French fries on the floor.

All that extra weight wastes gas as you drive between here and Westminster, and everywhere else.

Lose the junk and save some money.

…And you really only need one of those spare tires.

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Emergency Items For Your sedan

Local Huntington Beach roadside emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So you may want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car at all times and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip.

Your close-to-home kit for around Huntington Beach would have some basic items to work on your car: everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You’ll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools.

Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots. Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card.

People who live in areas with frequent severe weather or earthquakes may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies.

For trips away from home, consider the weather and geography as you assemble your emergency supplies. You’ll need to have a source of light and heat and will want to provide protection against the elements as well as adequate food and water for everyone in the car.

Always tell people where you are going and have a plan for checking in at waypoints. Then if you run into trouble, you can be reported missing as soon as possible and rescuers will be able to narrow the search area.

The key to safe travel is to keep your vehicle properly maintained, plan ahead, and let others know your itinerary.

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It

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There are a lot of things in life that Huntington Beach residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Huntington Beach dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don’t stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.

Scheduled maintenance is also part of good car care. Huntington Beach drivers should take their sedans in regularly for a good check-up. But many Huntington Beach folks struggle to remember, or actually even ignore, this auto advice. When it comes to our cars, we’re more likely to listen to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.

Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze, for example, vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?

One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting; we can smell how dirty our clothes are; but we don’t notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our sedans is like trouble in our bodies—ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can’t know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Gustafson Brothers in Huntington Beach.

Another reason us Huntington Beach auto owners put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Huntington Beach auto owners don’t know.

Of course, our sedans come with owner’s manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Huntington Beach drivers actually read them?

The good news is that all Huntington Beach car owners have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Gustafson Brothers in Huntington Beach. Like a good doctor, your friendly Gustafson Brothers technician will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your car needs and when. The service center can track your car’s maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.

Here are some guidelines to help Huntington Beach motorists understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it’s a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner’s manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.

Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.

Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There’s no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.

Fuel. Obviously your sedan needs gas on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.

These are the basics of car maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don’t need to be replaced as often.

If you are taking your sedan in for the basics, then your Huntington Beach service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you’ll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.

If you’re not convinced yet that your sedan needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased MPG, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to expensive repair bills and costly accidents.

Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at Gustafson Brothers in Huntington Beach can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.

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Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Gustafson Brothers

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When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.

Buying tires at Gustafson Brothers in Huntington Beach is a lot like buying shoes, except that Huntington Beach motorists’ vehicles don’t have changeable apparel and don’t need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of California road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.

Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Huntington Beach area drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around Huntington Beach need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough California mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.

The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the Huntington Beach area tire market, although prices don’t vary much from brand to brand.

Tire chain stores in Huntington Beach often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires, but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in Huntington Beach are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don’t hesitate to ask your Gustafson Brothers tire professional who makes their private brand.

The cheapest tires on the California tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don’t have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, Huntington Beach folks get what they pay for.

At Gustafson Brothers, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40-thousand-mile tire,” or a “60-thousand mile tire.” This refers to the number of miles a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.

Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you’re really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It’s always better for Huntington Beach car owners to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.

That said, if you’re driving on Tier 3 tires, it’s a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That’s the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires, and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Huntington Beach auto owners.

So, some good auto advice for Huntington Beach car owners would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you’ll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there’s some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to purchase tires as often.

Good car care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.

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Cool Running In Huntington Beach

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Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your sedan engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the expressway in Huntington Beach waiting for your sedan engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Gustafson Brothers, your service professional will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your sedan owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your friendly tech will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the sedan radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an inspection regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your sedan cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your sedan cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your tech will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Gustafson Brothers is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Huntington Beach for 40 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Huntington Beach repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in California.

At Gustafson Brothers, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

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Blind Spot Safety For Huntington Beach Driving

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Blind spots may be a good thing when it comes to a spouse’s annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Huntington Beach, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it’s not good marital advice, it’s good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Huntington Beach motorists’ blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn’t include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn’t designed to be a baby monitor.

Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver’s side window. Now adjust the driver’s side mirror so that it just catches the side of the sedan. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger’s side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.

Of course, you can’t eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can’t see what’s there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup’s or SUV’s blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the sedan for a few minutes before backing up, it is vital to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Huntington Beach. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.

Once you have taken care of your own blind spots, be aware that other Huntington Beach drivers have them, too. And avoid them. Trucks and buses have large blind spots, and they have blind spots on all four sides, so they should always be given extra room on Westminster roads. They are also heavy, which means they need more room to stop, and their length means they need a wider area for turns, and their large size makes them less maneuverable than a car.

Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in California, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Huntington Beach drivers learned to properly share California roads with trucks.

Never follow a truck too closely. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, then he can’t see you. If you need to pass a truck, it is essential to make sure you give yourself enough time to pass the rig. Wait for the right opportunity rather than “cutting it close.” On a two-lane California highway, it’s always a good idea to wait for a passing zone if they are available. A little patience could save your life or the lives of others. Turn on your turn signal so the truck knows what you’re planning, and pass on the left whenever possible. Remember those blind spots? They are much larger on the right side of a truck.

Once you’ve committed to passing the truck, don’t muck about. Pass it quickly and give yourself plenty of room to move back over. It is essential to wait until you can see both headlights in your rearview mirror before pulling back in front of the truck. Once again, use your sedan turn signals. After you pull in front of the truck, decelerate to the regulated driving speed slowly. Remember that the truck has a long stopping distance, which translates into a long slowing distance. And, since trucks are so big, we often perceive them as traveling more slowly than they really are. Trucks are a lot of weight moving at a high speed, and we need to treat them accordingly.

Never pull to the right of a truck at an intersection unless you are absolutely certain it is not going to turn. Check if its turn signals are on or if it has angled to the left or right. (Trucks often begin a right turn by angling to the left to widen their turning area.) Trucks need a lot of room on city streets, and they probably can’t see you if you pull along their right side. Too many cars have ended up in Huntington Beach body shops because the auto owners thought they could beat that truck to the right turn, or they only noticed the seemingly open lane, and not the truck angling into a turn.

While learning to share Huntington Beach area roads and expressways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good Huntington Beach car care. Keeping your sedan out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.

The team at Gustafson Brothers in Huntington Beach urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!

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