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Essential Driving Tips to Help You Extend the Lifespan of Your Vehicle and Avoid Collisions

Posted on January 26, 2014

Smiling Woman Driving

Many cars can be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles before needing major repairs, as long as they are taken care of properly. In addition to seeking routine maintenance at your local car repair shop, it’s important to drive carefully so that the car’s components to not wear out prematurely. Continue reading to learn how to drive your car so that you can extend its lifespan.

Be Easy On Your Car in Cold Weather

In the wintertime in Chicago, it’s best to warm the engine up slowly. It doesn’t need to idle for very long. Simply start it, let it run for 30 seconds, and then drive it gently for the first few minutes.

Avoid Speeding

The less you push your engine, the less wear it experiences, and the longer it will last. And, it's a great way to avoid collisions. While it isn’t safe to drive well below the speed limit, it’s a good idea to try to keep your car’s speed as low as possible to keep engine wear to a minimum.

Break In a New Car Gently

If you have a new car, be very easy on it for the first 1,000 miles. Try to keep the RPM levels low during this time, ideally less than 3,500 RPM. Vary your speed and gear, but do not exceed 75 miles per hour. Breaking in a new car carefully will ensure that its engine components, such as the piston rings, mold correctly into the new engine.

Shift Gears Correctly

Make sure that your car is always in a suitable gear. If the vehicle starts to shake and the RPMs are low, you may be in a gear that’s too high. Instead of braking by downshifting, use the brakes to reduce strain on the transmission and engine.

B & L Automotive of Chicago has years of experience providing quality collision repair services. Browse our website to see how we can extend the lifespan of your car. If you have any questions, call us at (773) 463-1622.

Identifying Common Transmission Problems

Posted on January 19, 2014

Transmission problems can occur at any time. Fortunately, many transmission problems can be identified if you know what symptoms to look for. Watch the video to learn about how you can identify common transmission problems.

In manual transmissions it is common for the synchro-meshes to wear out, which is accompanied by a grinding noise during gear changes, or a tendency for the transmission to pop out of gear when the car is coasting or under load. Excessive gear noise or difficulty shifting can indicate that the fluid level is too low or the fluid is dirty. If you pull the transmission fluid dipstick out and detect a burnt smell, then there is too much friction occurring within the transmission and it needs to be serviced.

If your transmission is producing strange smells or noises, or it is having difficulty shifting, come to B & L Automotive Repairs of Chicago. Call us at (773) 463-1622 if you have any questions about the car maintenance and repair services we offer. 

What Type of Motor Oil Is Best for Your Engine?

Posted on January 5, 2014

Oil changing

The type of motor oil that is best for your car engine depends primarily on two factors: the design of the engine and the current climate in your area. In Chicago, for instance, it’s important to have either synthetic oil or low-viscosity conventional oil in the colder months.

High-viscosity is fine in the summer, but in the winter this type of engine oil hardens and turns into a gooey mess that is not efficient at cooling or lubricating the engine. Ask your local car repair shop if your car engine was designed to handle synthetic engine oil. Before choosing on a type of oil, keep in mind that the higher price of synthetic oil is offset by the fact that it lasts roughly 3 to 4 times longer than conventional oil.

At B & L Automotive Repair, we would be happy to discuss which type of engine oil would be best for your car’s engine. Call us at (773) 463-1622 to speak with one of our car maintenance specialists, and visit our website to see our car repair shop location in Chicago.

Signs That Your Brakes May Need Replacement

Posted on December 27, 2013

Brake disk

As you can imagine, the braking system is one of a car’s most important safety features. Unfortunately, brakes are not built to last for the life of the car; many parts wear down or become damaged and need to be replaced. And when your brakes go out you could be involved in a traumatic collision. If you ever notice any of these signs, it’s likely that your brakes need to be replaced:

Clearly Worn Brake Pads

Perform a visual brake inspection by looking in between the wheel spokes. You will see the outside pad pressed onto a metal rotor. You should see at least 1/4 inch of pad; if you see what could be less than that, visit a car repair shop right away.

Strange Noises

Modern braking systems come with a mechanism that produces a high-pitched screeching noise during braking if the brake pads need to be replaced. If you hear a grinding or growling noise, this means the pads are worn out and the rotors are at risk of being damaged. Any unusual noise that occurs during braking is a red flag that it’s time to visit the car repair shop.

Less Responsive Braking

Does the brake pedal sink to the floor before the car actually begins braking? This usually means that there is a leak in the braking system, a problem that is usually accompanied by a puddle of fluid under the car. If you experience this or a less-responsive brake pedal, schedule a brake inspection immediately.

Pulling to One Side during Braking

Cars that pull to one side during braking likely have unevenly worn brake linings or contaminated brake fluid. This can be fixed at an auto repair shop with a brake adjustment or a brake fluid flush.

If you’ve experienced a collision because your brakes went out, please contact B & L Automotive Repairs at (773) 463-1622. You can find out more about our experience and professionalism by visiting our website today.

Essential Winter Maintenance Tips for Your Car

Posted on December 22, 2013

Driving in Snow

You probably already know that when winter arrives in Chicago your body feels different than it does in summer, and requires special needs—such as a heavy coat and snow boots. A similar transition happens to vehicles in the Chicago area, which is why it’s important to be mindful of your car’s special needs. If you want your car to be a reliable, safe, and efficient means of transportation this winter, visit a car repair shop for the following winter maintenance services.

Change the Engine Oil

Winter cold thickens engine oil, which makes it less effective at cooling and lubricating the engine. If your car has synthetic motor oil or low-viscosity motor oil, you are in good shape. But if you aren’t sure about your oil or have high viscosity oil, get an oil change to prepare for winter.

Check the Engine Coolant

Engine coolant doesn’t just keep the engine cool; it also protects against corrosion. Have a professional technician inspect and adjust the ratio of coolant to water in the radiator to protect and winterize the engine.

Inspect the Battery

Ask your mechanic to inspect the battery, terminals, cables, and fluid to make sure everything is clean and in working condition. Have the battery tested, and replace it if it cannot hold a charge to avoid being stranded in the winter cold with a dead battery.

Consider Snow Tires

Winter tires, also known as snow tires, are ideal for winter driving in the Chicago area. Compared with all-season tires, snow tires will improve your car’s safety and performance by decreasing stopping distances and enhancing handling in the snow and ice.  

Replace the Wipers

Winter-grade windshield wipers are essential in Chicago because they help break up snow and ice on the windshield. While you’re at the auto repair shop, have the windshield wiper fluid filled up, too.

In the Chicago area come to B & L Automotive Repairs if you’ve been in a collision. Visit our website to learn about the collision services we offer, and call us at (773) 463-1622 for more information

The Driver's Guide to Safety On the Road [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on December 17, 2013

Driving is a routine part of many people’s daily lives, but it’s also a privilege that comes with a great deal of responsibility. When you get behind the wheel, you are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of your passengers and other people on the road. Stay alert when you are driving, and never drive if you have been drinking alcohol. Buckle your seat belt at all times, and encourage your passengers to do the same. If a collision should occur, stay calm and check for injuries first. Never admit fault in a collision, and be sure you have an insurance-approved collision repair shop that you trust in case of an accident. Check out this infographic from the Chicago collision repair experts at B & L Automotive Repairs, Inc. to learn tips for staying safe on the road and for dealing with an accident. Please share with your friends and family. 


Avoid Collisions in Chicago this winter by Properly Maintaining your Vehicle

Posted on December 11, 2013

In the winter, collisions in Chicago often increase due to the unsafe weather conditions and due to the fact that vehicles haven’t been properly maintained. Winter car maintenance is absolutely essential in the Chicago area if you want to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the road. An improperly maintained car will experience reduced traction and increased stopping distances, which can mean the difference between avoiding an accident and getting into one. Ensure your safety and the longevity of your car this winter by applying the essential winter maintenance tips in the video clip.

For every 10 degrees of temperature change, your vehicle’s tires lose approximately 2 pounds of air pressure. Driving on under-inflated tires will undermine your vehicle’s handling abilities and traction, and will greatly decrease the overall life of the tires. Check the tire pressure once per month to prevent improper inflation. For optimal safety and vehicle longevity, have the brakes checked and get your engine oil replaced with fully synthetic motor oil. Watch the video for more winter maintenance tips.

B & L Automotive Repairs of Chicago handles all types of car maintenance, repair, and collision repair services. If you have any questions, speak with a car specialist today by calling (773) 463-1622. Visit our website for more information.

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