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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. 

Signs and Symptoms of an Alternator Problem

Posted on September 30, 2014

As the component of a car that charges the battery and powers the car’s electrical system when the engine is on, an alternator is essential to the operation of any modern motor vehicle. Thankfully, alternators usually give off warning signs well before they croak. If you experience the following signs and symptoms when starting your engine or driving, you should have a collision repair expert inspect your alternator.

Alternator

Dash and Headlight Irregularities
If there is an “ALT” or “GEN” light on your vehicle’s dashboard, its illumination is a strong indication that your alternator needs work. When an alternator starts to fail, it is also common for the lights on your dash to flicker, brighten, or dim suddenly. Dimmer-than-usual headlights are another warning sign.

Battery Failure
If you maintain your car as recommended by your owner’s manual and your battery is less than two or three years old, failure to start is not necessarily a sign that your battery has run its course and needs to be replaced. There is a good chance that your engine will not start because the alternator is not charging the battery, and that the alternator needs to be repaired or replaced.

Unusual Sounds and Smells
Growling, hissing, and whining noises coming from under the hood of your car could be a sign that your alternator is failing. Even if this is not the case, it is a good idea to have your vehicle inspected by an automotive repair specialist anytime that you hear strange noises or smell something that resembles burning rubber or electrical components.

If you detect any of these signs while on the road or you have been involved in a vehicle collision and your car will not start, schedule an appointment with an insurance approved repair shop. Proudly serving residents of the Chicago area, B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc. offers a range of collision repairs and other automotive services. For a free estimate or access to 24/7 emergency towing, call (773) 463-1622. 

Testing an Alternator

Posted on September 25, 2014

When you have trouble starting your car, what is your first thought? If it is that your battery is likely dead, you think like most drivers. While your battery may be dead for now, it is not necessarily dead for good. The root of your automotive problem may lie with your alternator and not with your battery.

To learn about the relationship between an automotive alternator and a car battery, watch this video. In the clip, a car expert discusses how alternators charge car batteries and how you can test your vehicle’s alternator to determine whether or not it is working properly.

If you have recently been involved in a car collision and are having trouble starting your car, have it towed to a reputable collision repair shop. To request a tow truck or a free collision repair service cost estimate in Chicago, call B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc. at (773) 463-1622.

 

Signs That You Need New Tires

Posted on September 19, 2014

Inspecting Tire Tread Using a Penny

The productive life of a car tire varies based on tire type, maintenance habits, road conditions, and other factors. Since tires in poor condition negatively impact a vehicle’s fuel economy and make driving less safe, replacing your tires is not something you should wait until you have no choice to do.

Rather than wait until a certain amount of time has passed or you have driven a specific number of miles since last replacing your tires, you should keep an eye out for warning signs that your tires are well past their prime. Check tire wear and tread depth every few weeks, scheduling an appointment to have your tires changed when the tread depth drops below 1/16th of an inch. When checking your tire tread depth, examine your tires for cracks, blisters, and bulges. If you detect any of these blemishes or notice that your vehicle vibrates more than it usually does on roads that you know well, it is time for you to have your tires changed.

If your tires have seen much better days due to considerable use, lack of maintenance, or involvement in a car collision, schedule an appointment at an insurance approved repair center. For a free estimate from a reputable collision repair shop in Chicago, call B & L Automotive, Inc. at (773) 463-1622.

Steps to Follow When Filing an Insurance Claim Following a Collision

Posted on September 12, 2014

An automotive collision is a highly stressful experience for any driver. If you find yourself in an accident on the road, it is important to remain calm. By taking all of the necessary steps to collect information from the other motorist involved in the incident, you will be prepared to file an insurance claim that will cover the cost of your vehicle repairs. Here is an overview of the steps to follow when you are filing an auto insurance claim.

Loss Adjuster Inspecting Car Involved In Accident

Gather Information
The first step of filing an auto insurance claim is to gather information at the scene of the accident. If anyone has been injured, be sure to call 911 immediately. Next, take down the license plate number, contact information, and insurance policy number of every motorist involved. This information will be highly important to you when you contact your insurance company to make a claim.

Contact Your Insurance Company
The next step of filing an insurance claim is to contact your insurance company. You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible following the incident. When you speak with your claims representative, you will determine the services that are covered by your policy.

Create a Damage Estimate
Once you have filed a claim with your insurance company, you will be ready to take your car into the auto body shop for the repairs. The technicians at the body shop will create a damage estimate for your vehicle. After your insurance company has received the estimate, they will send you a check to cover some or all of the costs of your repairs.

If you have been in an accident, be sure to contact B & L Automotive Repairs for all of your auto body service needs. We provide our many satisfied customers in the Chicago area with all types of collision repairs and auto body services. To learn more about the benefits of bringing your car to our shop, call us at (773) 463-1622. 

How Professionals Repair a Car Paint Job

Posted on September 5, 2014

A professional paint department at an auto body shop will be fully equipped to provide your car with a beautiful new paint job. When the professionals repair a car paint job, they use an advanced spray booth system that evenly covers each surface of the vehicle. With their specialized techniques, your auto body shop will be able to restore your vehicle to brand new condition. To take a look at the professional paint job process, watch this video.

The highly skilled technicians at B & L Automotive Repairs can provide you with a complete range of auto body services. We provide motorists in the Chicago area with paint job restoration, collision damage repair, and more. Give our Chicago auto body shop a call at (773) 887-3448 to make an appointment for your car today!  

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