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What to Do Immediately Following a Car Collision

Posted on January 22, 2015

A car collision near Chicago can be scary, and it typically catches most drivers off-guard. There are a few necessary steps to take once the collision has occurred in order to sort out the situation and make sure that everyone can efficiently recover. Read on to find out what to do immediately following a car collision.

Stay Calm

Although car collisions may range from mild, injury-free fender benders to traumatic multi-car pileups, it is important that you try your best to stay calm after a car collision occurs. It may be difficult in certain circumstances, but staying calm allows you to assess the situation more productively. There are a number of elements that you will want to remember after the accident; having a clear sense of what happened during the collision and how it was caused can help to expedite the process of sorting out the aftermath. It is also important to find out if everyone involved in the accident is okay. If you have not sustained an injury, make sure that all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians that may have been involved are not injured either. If there are injuries, seek the appropriate medical attention immediately.

Exchange Information and Call the Police

After making sure that everyone involved is unharmed, move your vehicles out of the road so they are not in the way of traffic and call the police. The role of the police may vary depending on the severity of the collision; a minor accident may warrant a simple incident report, which allows you to exchange information with the other parties. A more severe accident requires an accident report; this will provide an official record of the incident that can be used by insurance companies and legal entities.

Repair Your Vehicle

Your collision repair options may be limited based on your insurance, but you should always push for original manufacturer's parts. If you are taking care of repairs on your own, be sure to use a certified collision center or precision auto body shop that provides high quality collision, dent, and bumper repair and warranties their work.

For more than 30 years, people of Chicago have trusted B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc. to work on their vehicles. If you were recently in an accident and need a collision repair shop, call us at (773) 877-3448.

Checking Your Brake Fluid

Posted on December 3, 2014

Checking your brake fluid is an important part of owning a car. It typically does not need routine maintenance like an oil change, but inspecting it will help ensure that your brake system works properly. First, you should check the owner’s manual to see if it suggests pumping the brake pedal before checking the fluid. The next step is to locate the master cylinder, which holds the brake fluid reservoir. Making sure that the cap is clean before opening it is critical, because any dust or dirt that gets inside can damage it. Upon inspection, if the brake fluid is any darker than iced tea, consider having a mechanic change it. If your fluid level is more than a half-inch below the full mark, consider topping it off. For more information on checking your brake fluid, watch this video.

Even if your brakes are in great shape, accidents can still happen. At B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc. in Chicago, we help restore your vehicle after being in a collision. Call us today at (773) 463-1622 to see how we can help you. 

Getting Your Car Ready for Winter Driving

Posted on November 25, 2014

Depending on where you live, weather conditions in the winter can range from mild to extreme. Preparing your vehicle for these conditions in advance can make it easier on your car, and help to prevent any unnecessary damage.

Traffic in winter evening

Battery and Fluids
Getting your battery tested is important, and will help you from getting stranded on those fiercely cold winter days. You can take your car to your local mechanic to run a battery test, and see if it needs replacement. Additionally, making sure that all of your fluids are topped off is crucial. In particular, you will want to make sure you have enough coolant to prevent the water in your radiator from freezing. This will help ensure your engine does not overheat. It is also a good idea to replace your current windshield wiper fluid with a formula made for colder weather, so it won’t freeze when you need it most.

Brakes and Tires
It is critical to make sure your brakes are in adequate shape. If you think you need new brakes or pads, consider getting them done before the roads get too slippery. Furthermore, checking to see if your tires have sufficient tread is essential to safe winter driving. Even if you don’t have to replace them, it can help to rotate and align them to ensure even wear. You may also want to consider replacing your current tires with ones made for driving in the snow, depending on the winter weather where you live.

Packing Your Car with the Right Materials
Emergency situations can happen, and it is best to be prepared. If you do not already have them, you may want to look into purchasing tire chains and jumper cables to help you in difficult situations. Consider packing extra clothes such as boots, a blanket, and an extra jacket.  If you live in a remote area, and think there is a chance you may get stuck for hours at a time, it could be helpful to pack portions of food and water.

B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc. has been helping people in Chicago prepare for winter driving for more than 30 years. To find out how we can help you, call us at (773) 463-1622, or visit our website. 

The Steps of Choosing a Car Mechanic

Posted on November 20, 2014

No matter what kind of car you drive, every vehicle will need maintenance and repair at some point. Choosing the right mechanic to work on your car can prevent a lot of unwanted headaches. Since a good amount of consumers do not know standard industry jargon or procedures, it is very important to pick a mechanic and automotive shop that can be trusted to do the right job for the right price. Follow these steps to pick the best mechanic for you.

Mechanic At Work

Become Informed Before You Need One
Getting familiar with your car and local mechanics before you need any work done can be extremely helpful. This will help to ensure that you do not make a rushed decision that you might later regret. Consider reviewing the owner’s manual to become familiar with the manufacturer’s schedule for maintenance.

Look for Signs of Credibility
You will want to choose a repair shop that specializes in your brand of vehicle. They are more likely to be knowledgeable on the intricacies of your car, and have all of the up-to-date parts for it. Secondly, scoping out the business online can be very beneficial. You can read customer reviews on sites like Yelp, and it is always recommended to check the shop’s review on the Better Business Bureau website.

Getting Some Work Done
When you find a shop that you want to try out, think about starting with a small repair to see if you like the job they do. Before getting anything done, it is advised to get a written estimate for parts and labor, so you know what price to expect. In addition, make sure to ask what warranties are offered. Once the work is done, it is recommended to get everything in writing in an itemized list. That way you can refer back to it in the future.

At B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc., we have been faithfully serving the Chicago community since 1978. To find out more information on how we can repair your vehicle, call us at (773) 463-1622, or visit our website to see what our customers say about us. 

Diagnosing Battery Problems

Posted on November 11, 2014

Are you having trouble starting your car? Startup failure is not always caused by a dead or ailing battery, but it often is. For information that can help you determine whether your battery or some other component of your vehicle is responsible for your car trouble, check out this video.

The automotive expert featured in this clip offers advice for differentiating between battery, alternator, and starter problems after turning the ignition. A clicking sound usually indicates battery or starter failure, whereas a whiny sound is more likely a sign of alternator failure.

If you have recently been involved in a car wreck and are having trouble starting your car, call B & L Automotive Repair, Inc. at (773) 463-1622. Proudly serving the Chicago area since 1978, we are a full-service collision repair service center that can restore your car’s body and mechanics to their pre-accident condition.

A Motorist's Guide to Wheel Alignment

Posted on November 6, 2014

Car wheels can fall out of alignment when a driver hops a curb or runs over a pothole. Following involvement in a collision, a car’s wheels are especially likely to be misaligned. To better understand wheel alignment and the importance of visiting an insurance-approved collision repair shop following a car wreck to have your vehicle alignment inspected and corrected, check out the answers to the questions addressed below.

computerized wheel alignment machine clamp

Why is Proper Wheel Alignment Important?
Properly aligned wheels are a key to safe, smooth driving. Keep an eye on your wheels and have them aligned when necessary, and you can get the most from your car’s suspension and tires. This improves handling and makes for a comfortable, more natural ride.

What Could Happen to My Alignment in a Car Wreck?
Wheel alignment issues are common following involvement in a vehicle collision. Most frequently, impact and structural damage alter the angle of a car’s wheels, causing the car to veer to the left or the right when the steering wheel is centered. The angle of the steering pivot, referred to as caster, may also be altered in a car collision.

When Should I Have My Wheels Aligned?
Two tell-tale signs that a vehicle’s wheels are out of alignment are pulling and steering wheel vibrations. If you have to turn your steering wheeling in order to drive straight or your steeling wheel vibrates much more than it normally does when you are driving on roads with which you are familiar, your wheels probably need to be aligned.

What Happens During a Wheel Alignment?
During a typical wheel alignment, a mechanic adjusts the angles of a vehicle’s suspension. Your car’s wheels and axles may be adjusted so that they are aligned with one another to the standard angles designated by your vehicle manufacturer. If your steering wheel is out of kilter, it will also be centered.

At B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc. we realign wheels, straighten frames, replace bumpers, professionally paint exteriors, and provide other car collision repair and vehicle restoration services. For a free cost estimate from a reputable insurance-approved collision repair shop in Chicago, call us today at (773) 463-1622.

Caring for Your Car's Fluid Levels

Posted on October 29, 2014

From engine oil to air conditioner coolant, fluids are vital to the optimal performance of your vehicle. Proper maintenance of these essential automotive fluids is an important component of any safe and comfortable driving experience. Below, we offer advice for proper vehicle fluid maintenance that can help you avoid preventable visits to the collision repair shop and spare you from other trouble on the road.

Brake and clutch fluid check.

Engine Oil
Without oil in your engine, your car cannot run. Low oil levels and dirty engine oil can affect the performance of your car and damage its essential parts. Most vehicles no longer require an oil change every six months or 3,000 miles, but you should still check your oil levels frequently and change your oil as recommended by your owner’s manual.

Transmission Fluid
If you drive a manual vehicle, routinely check your transmission fluid. Cars that operate using hydraulic clutch systems also have a small reservoir where brake fluid that lubricates the clutch is stored, Locate the reservoir to ensure it is at least two-thirds full. Vehicles with automatic transmissions rarely require transmission fluid maintenance.

Brake Fluid
Your car’s brake fluid level should also be maintained at two-thirds full or higher. Consult your owner’s manual to locate your brake fluid reservoir, and check its level any time you are doing under-the-hood maintenance or are concerned that your brakes are acting up.

Battery Cell Fluid
Does your car run on a six-cell battery that needs occasional refilling? If so, check the fluid levels in the cells and add distilled water if the levels are low. Do this every six months or as recommended by your manufacturer. Drivers of cars with maintenance-free batteries do not need to do this.

Radiator Fluid
Radiator fluid is what keeps your engine from overheating. You can determine whether your car’s radiator needs more fluid by removing the radiator cap and peering in. To avoid burning yourself, only check your radiator fluid after your car’s engine has been switched off for several hours.

Follow the recommended maintenance schedules for automotive fluids in your owner’s manual is necessary to make outings in your car as safe and comfortable as possible. If you are involved in a car wreck, visit an insurance approved collision repair shop to have your car’s vital components and fluid containers inspected and repaired if necessary. For cost-effective, thorough service from an experienced collision repair expert in Chicago, call B & L Automotive Repair, Inc. at (773) 463-1622.

Diagnosing Battery Problems

Posted on October 21, 2014

Are you having trouble starting your car? Startup failure is not always caused by a dead or ailing battery, but it often is. For information that can help you determine whether your battery or some other component of your vehicle is responsible for your car trouble, check out this video.

The automotive expert featured in this clip offers advice for differentiating between battery, alternator, and starter problems after turning the ignition. A clicking sound usually indicates battery or starter failure, whereas a whiny sound is more likely a sign of alternator failure.

If you have recently been involved in a car wreck and are having trouble starting your car, call B & L Automotive Repair, Inc. at (773) 463-1622. Proudly serving the Chicago area since 1978, we are a full-service collision repair service center that can restore your car’s body and mechanics to their pre-accident condition.

Signs That You Need New Tires

Posted on October 13, 2014

exploded truck tire

Driving with tires that have run their course decreases fuel economy and makes driving less safe. To keep your car’s performance high and minimize your risk of being involved in a car collision, familiarize yourself with signs that you need new tires and take action if you experience or detect any of them.

Cracks, blisters, bulges, and other features that suggest your tires have sustained damage generally warrant a visit to a tire service center. Another sign that your tires are well past their prime is if you experience shaking or vibration that is more noticeable than usual.

Properly inflated and maintained tires are generally effective until their tread wears too thin. You can check the tread depth of your tires by reading the tread wear indicator or performing a penny tread depth check. If you are involved in an accident and your car’s tires, bumpers, or body sustains damage, B & L Automotive Repair, Inc. can efficiently repair your car to its pre-collision state. For a free collision repair cost estimate, call our shop in Chicago at (773) 463-1622.

An Essential Guide to Maintaining Your Brakes

Posted on October 7, 2014

As a leading cause of car wrecks, brake failure is a terrifying experience that endangers drivers experiencing brake failure and everyone in their vicinity. Since brake failure is rarely a problem that occurs out of the blue, it is important for drivers to stay on top of their brake maintenance and be aware of signs that their brakes are losing efficacy. Steps you can take to properly maintain your brakes and keep the likelihood that you will be involved in a brake-related car collision to a minimum are discussed below.

Car mechanic repair brake pads

Go Easy on Your Brakes
The rate at which brake pads wear down varies considerably based on a driver’s habits. Keep your brakes performing well for longer by making it a habit to coast rather than stop and go. When there is plenty of space between you and the vehicle or stop sign in front of you, apply pressure to your brakes gradually rather than waiting until the last minute and slamming on them.

Familiarize Yourself with Warning Signs
Early signs of brake failure include pulsating brake pedals and the presence of clicking, grinding, or squealing noises when pressure is applied to the brakes. Other warning signs of brake failure include  to be on the lookout for include poor brake performance, a car’s tendency to pull to one side when brakes are applied, and the illumination of ABS or other brake check lights on the dash.

Schedule Regular Brake Inspections
Even if your brakes seem to be holding up well, you should arrange to have them inspected by an automotive expert every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, or as recommended by your owner’s manual. It is also important to flush and replenish your brake fluid and carry out any other maintenance procedures recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Regardless of whether your brakes played a role in a car wreck in which you were recently involved, you should have your vehicle inspected by a collision repair professional. At B & L Automotive, Inc. in Chicago, we can repair exterior vehicle damage and identify and repair automotive problems that can help make your car safer to driver. For a free cost estimate or more information about our collision repair services, call (773) 463-1622. 

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