Things people ask us often

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Service Center

When should I change my spark plugs?

For peak engine performance, you should follow your manufacturer's spark plug replacement schedule unless you are experiencing drive-ability issues. Some vehicles are equipped with platinum-tipped spark plugs and do not need replacing until 100,000 miles.

Should I consider using synthetic motor oil in my vehicle?

Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines. It also can be beneficial to vehicles that operate in very cold or hot climates or towing. Although more expensive than blends and standard oils, synthetic can improve fuel economy and provide longer mileage intervals between changes.

When should I get my oil changed?

Most vehicles are going to require that you change your engine oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. Simply ask our service advisors for more details on the best oil change type and schedule for your vehicle.

Why is my engine oil milky brown?

If you have checked your oil and it is a milky brown color, this can be an indication of having coolant in the oil. Unfortunately, this is usually caused by a blown head gasket and is a serious problem that needs to be inspected by a technician as soon as possible.

What should I do if my car starts to overheat?

The best thing you can do is to kill the A/C, crank the heat (to pull heat away from the engine), and discontinue driving. Find a safe place to pull over and turn the vehicle off. This will help prevent damage to the engine. We advise against immediately trying to check under the hood as the coolant and engine may be dangerously hot and the fluid in the radiator can cause severe burns. The best thing to do is let your car cool down and have your car towed to your trusted auto repair shop if possible!

What does it mean if my "check engine" or "service engine soon" light comes on?

There are many electronic components and sensors that manage your vehicle's emissions and performance. When one of these fails, the "check engine" light or "CEL" is illuminated (commonly yellow) on your dashboard. Although your car may seem to run or drive fine, it is important to have the issue addressed to prevent damage from occurring. There are times when a check engine light is a simple fix, and others where it is a much more serious problem.

Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?

Simply put, yes. If a timing belt fails, many cars will result in major engine damage when the belt goes. Especially with interference engines. This can cause broken or bent valves and damage to your pistons. The cost of repairing your engine with this damage is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.

How often should I rotate my tires?

We find that neglecting to rotate tires is a major cause of premature tire wear. Your tires should be rotated every 6000 miles or every other oil change.

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Collision Center

When can I drop my vehicle off?

We have a 24/7 hour drop-box at the front of our building where your keys and information will be safely stored. You may also have your vehicle towed to our location at anytime and we will handle the rest! 

When can I wash and wax my car?


You can wash the vehicle immediately. Wash the vehicle by hand with cool water and a very mild car wash solution using a clean sponge, or wash mitt. Always use clean fresh water and wash your vehicle in the shade.


Do not wax or polish the vehicle in the first 90 days. This will allow the finish to cure completely. After the first 90 days, you may keep a coat of polish or wax on the vehicle to keep the finish looking new. Do not use a touch commercial car wash. Stiff brushes or sponges could mar the finish and damage the surface. Dry wiping can scratch the finish. Avoid parking under trees and utility lines which are likely to attract birds. Bird droppings have a high acid content and will damage a freshly painted surface. Also, tree sap can mar or spot a freshly painted surface. Do not scrape ice or snow from the newly painted surface. Scrapers can act like a paint scraper on a newly painted finish.

How will I know when my car is done?

You will be notified when your vehicle is ready to be picked up. Feel free to call or e-mail your advisor during the repair process if you have questions or concerns.

Do I have to pay a deductible? Who do I pay it to?

Your deductible will be determined by your insurance policy. If you need to learn more about your deductible and the amount you owe, please contact your insurance agent. It is your responsibility to pay Gateway Collision Center when you pick up your vehicle.

What is betterment?

Betterment is parts that need replacement after wearing out with use and time. I.E., batteries, suspension parts, and tires can be subject to betterment during the repair process when they are replaced. Note that betterment is pro-rated based on actual age and miles of your vehicle and determined by your insurance company.

Do I need to go to the dealership for repair to maintain my manufacturer's warranty?

We receive this question quite often. Simply put, Independent Collision Repair facilities have access to and use the same parts as the dealership in the repair process.

How is the Actual Cash Value (ACV) determined?

The insurance company will assign an appraiser to inspect the vehicle to determine its condition prior to the accident, or in some instances allow the repairer to make the determination. They may use a vehicle evaluation service to determine pre-accident value. The owner should also determine the value independently. Sometimes, if you feel the ACV offered by the insurance company is too low, then you are obligated to prove this either through documented receipts of vehicle enhancement or written statements by qualified experts to determine the proper value.

The other insurance company says my vehicle is a total loss, what does that mean?

The cost of repairs plus the value of the vehicle in damaged condition (salvage value) is greater than the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle prior to the accident. You have the right to retain ownership of the vehicle, but the amount of the settlement may be reduced by the salvage value.

If my vehicle’s frame is damaged is it a total loss?

No. A vehicle is only a total loss when the price of the repairs exceeds the insurance companies determined value of your vehicle. Most cars today are also built using a unibody design. If the frame section is bent beyond repair, this section can be replaced. Our I-CAR Gold Class certified technicians, with the help of our state-of-the-art frame measuring system, can restore your vehicle to its original factory specifications.

Can you match my paint color?

Today’s modern paint finishes utilize multiple layers of highly specialized paints. This includes three stage paints along with metallics, pearls, and much more. We have made a major investment in the latest paint system available, along with color matching technology, and constantly upgrade to ensure that each vehicle’s paint matches. We are proud of our ability to match factory finishes in our repair process.

Will the parts be ordered before I drop off my vehicle for repairs?

Yes. Regardless upon if this is being approved through insurance, or private pay, we generally order your vehicle’s parts at the time that we write the estimate and schedule your vehicle for drop-off shortly after. This enables us to provide a quicker turnaround time by not waiting for parts. If your vehicle is found unsafe to drive, we would then help you arrange for a rental vehicle as soon as possible.

How long will the repairs to my vehicle take?

Our team will give you an estimate of the time it will take to complete the repairs to your vehicle. Our goal is to provide a quality repair in the shortest amount of time possible. Repair time is dependent on the extent of the damage. We will start by dis-assembling your vehicle to eliminate any unknowns. We will then formulate an estimate with repairs needed, the cost and how long the repairs will take.

Is there a warranty on the repairs to my vehicle?

Yes. We guarantee all repairs with a Lifetime Warranty (link). This is a lifetime warranty on all body repair labor services and paint work performed for as long as you own your vehicle.

Do you repair all types of vehicles?

We repair and paint all types of cars, trucks and SUV's. Yes, even hybrid and electric vehicles too.

Can I get a ride home when I drop off my car?

Yes, we would be happy to provide a shuttle home. We understand that dealing with an accident is not easy, and we want to do whatever we can to help the situation.

How can I get a rental car and will my insurance pay for it?

Insurance companies will only pay for a rental car if you have that option on your policy, or if you are the claimant. Check your policy and/or call your insurance company to find out if you have rental coverage and what your specific limitations are. Some policies pay the full amount, some will only pay a percentage. If the claim is a liability claim (the accident was not your fault), the full amount will be covered. Gateway Collision Center will work with the rental company to setup a pickup and drop-off of your rental on-site at our location.

Do I have to take my vehicle to a drive-in claims service?

Unless your insurance policy states otherwise, it is not mandatory to take your vehicle to a drive-in claims service. You can usually call your insurance company and tell them where you would like the vehicle to be inspected by a claims representative.

Can I decide where to take my vehicle to get repaired?

Always be sure to remember: In the state of Nebraska, no matter who the insurance company is, it's always the vehicle owners choice on where the repairs will be completed. It is your responsibility, and your right, to choose who will repair your vehicle. Also, if you cannot decide on a repair facility, your insurance company can recommend a repair shop.

Do I need more than one estimate and is there a fee?

No, it is up to you to decide how many estimates you would like and if you want to discuss the repairs with more than one shop. Our body repair estimates or quotes are completely free. If you have selected a shop, have your insurance company deal directly with them. We accept insurance work from all providers. Remember, it is your right to decide where you have your vehicle repaired. Our team here at Gateway Collision Center will be pleased to provide you with a free estimate!

Where do I get my claim number?

Claim numbers are issued by your insurance company when you report your accident. Your insurance representative will provide this information to you. Simply bring this in with you when you come to Gateway Collision Center and we will handle the rest.

Price Shopping

Compared to the average American, you're going to save nearly $144 annually with Gateway Auto

Average American Indivdual Spend, Annually
Average Gateway Auto Customer Spend, Annually
Average Service Cost Savings, Annually