Why Use an Axalta Coating Systems Certified Repair Shop?

When your car gets scratched, dented, or dinged, the paint may chip away, exposing the bare metal underneath. This cosmetic damage may not seem like a big deal, but leaving it unrepaired could lead to rust and other more difficult-to-fix problems. Professional auto body painting is also the last step when repairing your car after an accident, returning it to like-new condition.

Don’t choose just any auto body shop in Chicago to find your car’s perfect shade—team up with an Axalta Coating Systems certified shop like B&L Automotive Repairs. Our technicians provide absolutely flawless results thanks to the technologies we invest in from Axalta.

Who is Axalta Coating Systems?

Axalta develops, manufactures, and sells high-quality liquid and powder coatings for vehicle manufacturing, auto body refinishing, and industrial applications. With over 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, Axalta has solidified its place as a leading global coatings company. The firm is based in Philadelphia, PA, and conducts business in 130 countries, with over 100,000 customers worldwide.

In addition to exceptional refinish products, Axalta offers advanced color-matching tools and application technologies. These systems, combined with our team’s technical skills and application know-how, ensure results that exceed our customers’ expectations every time.

Refinish Products

The art of vehicle refinishing demands the very best products to meet customer approval. Every refinish product from Axalta is formulated to meet the needs of body shops operating in different climates and coating different substrates. The latest waterborne coatings meet stringent environmental standards, providing better coverage with fewer coats than conventional products.

Fast-cure, low-energy systems support body shops by offering the perfect balance between speed and energy savings. The surfacers, basecoats, and high-gloss clearcoats from Axalta can cut processing times by up to 50% and energy costs by up to 70%—all without compromising on quality.

Look for Axalta’s flagship global brands—including Standox, Spies Hecker, and Cromax—along with leading national and regional brands. These are the trusted choices among refinish technicians working worldwide.

Color-Matching Tools

In years past, body shop technicians had to make their best guest when mixing paint to match the color of a vehicle. A good place to start was to look up the manufacturer’s paint code based on the vehicle’s make, model, and year. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t account for slight variations in manufacturer dye lots and color fading that occurs after years of exposure to sunlight, road chemicals, and other elements.

These days, advanced paint matching tools from Axalta eliminate the guesswork, resulting in a perfect color match every time. Here’s a look at the tools Axalta provides its certified auto body repair shops.

Tinting Charts

Tinting charts contain color wheels, color chips, tint codes, color names, and shading information to help technicians match paint faster. Color chips are arranged by color family to make them easier to navigate.

Fan Decks

Fan decks provide a comprehensive color-matching reference to help technicians match even the most challenging colors and variants, including metallics, pearls, and special effects. This resource makes it easy to determine if blending, tinting, or using the color as-is will achieve the best color match.

Each chip within the fan deck is sprayed with the actual coating product for a real-life representation of the color. In an effort to ensure ongoing accuracy, Axalta releases new fan decks anytime a color variant is updated.

Computerized Color Proofing

While physical tinting charts and fan decks are useful, computerized color matching all but eliminates the need to reference these tools. An easy-to-use computer application from Axalta called ColorNet provides precise onscreen color proofing in seconds. The vivid, accurate visualization of this digital color rendering enables the technician to proof an alternate color formula without using a single drop of paint.

Retrieving digital information and comparing colors onscreen significantly increase the speed of paint matching during the collision repair process. This technology can even eliminate the need for time-consuming spray-outs, improving turnaround times even more.

The process begins by scanning the car with a spectrophotometer. This device measures the wavelength of light reflected off the paint and sends the information to a computer. Then, ColorNet calculates the exact formula of pigments required to reproduce that paint color. To double-check the calculations, the technician sprays newly mixed paint onto a chip. Once dry, the chip is compared to the car, and any necessary adjustments are made before applying the first coat.

Application Technologies

Color technologists are always looking for new application tools to improve the finished product. After all, a refinish job at an auto body shop is only as good as the tools used to apply the new coating.

Cutting-edge application technologies from Axalta provide consistent application of water-based and solvent-borne coatings adapted for different temperatures and humidity levels. This results in a superior refinish job with fewer coats and faster turnaround times.

Visit an Axalta Coating Systems Certified Repair Shop in Chicago, IL

When nothing but a perfect refinish job will do, turn to B&L Automotive Repairs. Our auto body shop can provide an exact color match and apply a high-quality coating product in fewer coats, all thanks to the innovations available to us as an Axalta Coating Systems certified repair shop. Investing in these advanced collision repair technologies allows us to ensure the very best results for our customers!

Have you been in an accident or want to repair cosmetic paint damage on your car? If so, please stop by, call us at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule professional auto body painting at our family-owned and operated auto collision repair shop in Chicago.

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How Collision Repair Technicians Use Welding

Welding is a crucial aspect of auto collision repair. From basic welds to advanced structural sectioning repairs, the proper welding tools and adjustment controls take the guesswork out of the repair, promoting a job well done every time. Learn more about the welding tools available today and how collision repair technicians use them.

Welding Aluminum and Other Lightweight Materials

Automotive technology is on a continuous path toward improved fuel economy, engine performance, and driver satisfaction. To meet these increasingly higher standards, today’s vehicle bodies and superstructures are moving toward lightweight, ultra-thin materials like aluminum and high-strength steel. This places new demands on auto collision repair shops, which are expected to have the tools and knowledge to fix modern vehicles in accordance with new procedures and guidelines.

Many collision repair shops are less familiar with welding aluminum and high-strength steel. Technicians undergo multi-level certifications ranging from prep, painting, and welding to advanced structural welding, so experience levels vary. However, as the industry continues to evolve, it will become critical for auto body shops to have welders capable of repairing mixed materials.

Auto Collision Welding Tools

The first step to ensuring a quality weld is choosing the right tool and process for the application at hand. Older welders don’t provide the ease of use or technologies that newer equipment offers. In addition, some welders are simply more complicated or in-depth than a collision repair environment requires. Modern tools that make it easier to produce high-quality welds include:

  • Stick welders: This welding system uses an electrical current to generate heat. Because they’re less precise, stick welders are typically reserved for working on thick pieces of metal.
  • Metal inert gas (MIG) welders: Aluminum has a much lower melting point than steel, so it transfers heat away from the weld faster. This makes aluminum more prone to burn-through and warping, especially in the thinnest areas. Pulsed MIG welding offers a lower heat input, reducing the risk of distortion and burn-through of aluminum and other thin sheet metal while still providing good penetration and fusion.
  • Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welders: This welding tool uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The controlled heat index of a TIG welder is highly desirable, but this system requires more advanced training to use correctly. Skilled technicians often use a TIG welder to create high-end, clean-looking welds primarily reserved for aluminum car parts.

Types of Welding

Different parts of a car may require welding after a collision. Some common examples include:

  • Vehicle frame welding: Severely bent or warped sections of a damaged vehicle frame may need to be cut out. Then, new pieces are welded into position. If repaired correctly, the welded frame should support the vehicle’s weight without issue. Stick welding is the primary method used for frame repair because it works effectively on the thick metal parts of a vehicle’s frame and suspension system.
  • Fender welding: Car accidents involving bent, ripped, or torn fenders require welding. Collision repair technicians often use MIG welders to repair fenders with this kind of damage.
  • Wheel welding: Certain collisions—even driving through deep potholes—can damage metal wheels and cause them to crack. Most wheels are made of aluminum. If the crack is located on the back, inboard side of the wheel, an experienced technician can repair it using a TIG welder.

Collision Repair at B&L Automotive Repairs

The bottom line is that the proper welding tools and techniques can repair your car quickly and correctly, getting you back on the road in no time. B&L Automotive Repairs is a certified collision center with access to the industry’s best welders. Choose us with confidence, knowing you’ll receive the highest-quality repair at an affordable price. If you’ve been in a car accident, please stop by, call us at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule services at our family-owned and operated auto collision repair shop in Chicago.

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The Importance of a Car Repair Warranty

Your car is probably one of your most valuable possessions, not to mention an important transportation tool. When you go to get your car fixed up after an accident, you want to feel confident that the repair work is in the right hands. The best way to get this assurance is to work with trained auto body specialists who have the skills and experience to get the job done.

Warranty coverage is another important factor when choosing an auto body repair shop. Consider how a car repair warranty can give you peace of mind and what it should include.

Why is a Car Repair Warranty Important?

Appliances, household items, and auto repairs often come with a warranty. This coverage is critical in case something goes wrong. Whether it’s a faulty part or a mechanic’s error, warranty coverage ensures you’re not held liable if the repair doesn’t last. Instead, the collision repair shop will set things right at no cost to you.

What a Car Repair Warranty Should Cover

At B&L Automotive Repairs, we offer a limited lifetime warranty on all repair work we perform. This means we stand behind our work for as long as you own the vehicle. Feel free to make a warranty claim if any defects occur under normal driving conditions. However, your coverage may be void if the damage occurs due to a collision, negligence, abuse, or misuse. Be aware that to make a warranty claim, you must visit the same auto body repair shop that issued the warranty in the first place.

Here’s a look at the limited lifetime warranty coverage from B&L Automotive Repairs.

Metalwork

Enjoy warranty coverage against defective workmanship related to all metalwork repairs, including welding and the application of materials utilized when making a collision repair. We guarantee our metalwork won’t crack, flake, pit, or otherwise deteriorate in normal conditions. If you are not satisfied, we will repair or repaint any warranted metalwork at our discretion.

Paint, Stripes, and Decals

Our paint jobs are some of the best around, so we’re confident our priming and painting work will never blister, peel, haze, or lose excessive pigmentation. Similarly, we can ensure exceptional quality if you have us paint custom stripes or apply decals to your car. We will reprime, repaint, restripe, or re-decal any work that doesn’t stand the test of time. The only stipulations are that the original factory finishes must be free of defects, and your car must not have been exposed to extreme environmental conditions.

Mechanical Repairs

We guarantee the performance of all mechanical-related repair work pertaining directly to the original collision damage. If a warranted mechanical assembly or component proves defective, we will repair it at no extra charge.

Parts and Materials

The best auto repair shops strive to only use the finest quality parts and materials. Still, warranty coverage associated with vehicle components is subject to the guarantee of the supplier. If you need help filing a claim related to a defective product, B&L Automotive Repairs will assist you. In addition to this coverage, we also guarantee that used parts or other-than-original equipment manufactured parts are only used with your authorization.

What a Car Repair Warranty Does Not Cover

The factors specifically excluded from B&L Automotive Repairs’ limited lifetime warranty include:

  • Rust from scratches or rock dings
  • Suspensions, air conditioning, and other electrical assemblies or components
  • Incidental costs, including towing fees, rental car charges, or travel expenses
  • Assemblies and components not specifically covered by the warranty
  • Consequential damages, such as damage to other assemblies and components resulting from a defective part or installation of such part during the repair

Choose B&L Automotive Repairs for Excellent Warranty Coverage

As a certified collision center, B&L Automotive Repairs can ensure your repair work is done right. We use only the best parts, materials, and repair techniques to return your car to its pre-accident condition. Because we back everything we do with a limited lifetime warranty, you know you can choose us with complete confidence. If you’ve been in an accident, please stop by, call us at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule auto collision repair in Chicago.

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Why and When to Get Your Car Waxed and Buffed?

Car waxing is often seen as a necessary evil by car owners. However, there are actually several good reasons to keep your car waxed and buffed. Read on to learn about the benefits of car waxing and buffing.  

 

Protects the Clear Coat of Your Paint Job 

Car wax protects your car’s paint job from the elements. Wax creates a barrier between the paint and the environment, which can help prevent fading, scratching, chipping, and other damage. 

 

Simplify the Car Cleaning Process 

Car wax makes your car easier to clean. When dirt and grime build up on your car, they can be very difficult to remove. However, if you have a layer of wax on your car, it will be much easier to simply wash the dirt away. This can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. 

 

Improves Your Car’s Appearance 

A car that is well waxed will have a deep, shiny finish that looks great and makes your car stand out from the crowd and looking new. 

 

Raises Your Car’s Resale Value 

If you’re looking to get the most money possible when you sell your car, it’s important to take good care of it. Waxing and buffing your car helps you to keep it looking great, significantly increasing your car’s resale value. 

 

Prevents Rust 

Car wax helps to prevent rust in several ways. First, it creates a barrier between the metal surface of your car and the elements. This barrier helps to protect the metal from moisture and oxygen, which are two of the main factors that contribute to rust formation. Second, car wax makes it more difficult for dirt and other contaminants to adhere to the metal surface, which can also lead to rusting. Finally, car wax gives the metal surface a shiny finish that helps to reflect light and make it less likely to attract water or dirt. All of these factors together help to keep your car’s metal surface free from rust. 

 

Types of Car Wax 

There are a variety of different types of car waxes on the market, but not all of them are created equal. Some provide better protection against the elements than others, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing a wax. Some of the most common types of car wax include: 

 

  • Carnauba wax: This is a natural wax that comes from the Brazilian palm tree. It’s one of the most durable types of wax and provides excellent protection against weathering. 

 

  • Synthetic sealant: This type of wax is made from synthetic materials, making it more durable than natural waxes. It also lasts longer and supplies better protection against the elements. 

 

  • Polymer sealant: This is a type of synthetic sealant that is made from acrylic polymers. It’s less durable than other types of wax, but it delivers better protection against UV rays. 

 

  • Paste wax: This type of wax is applied with a brush and is one of the most durable types available. It is known for its excellent protection against scratches and fading. 

 

  • Liquid wax: This type of wax is easy to apply and can be used on both painted and clear-coated surfaces. It doesn’t provide as much protection as paste wax, but it’s more durable than synthetic sealants. 

 

Choosing the right type of car wax can make a big difference in the overall appearance and protection of your vehicle. Be sure to research the different types available before making a purchase. 

 

How Often Should You Get Your Car Waxed? 

How often you should get your car waxed depends on the type of wax and how often you drive your car. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to get a new coat of wax every three months. If you drive in an area with a lot of dirt and dust, you may need to wax your car more often. You can also test the condition of your wax by rubbing a fingernail against it; if the wax scratches off, it’s time for a new coat. When applying wax, be sure to follow the directions on the label. Applying too much or too little can affect the performance of the wax. 

 

Tips for Waxing Your Car on Your Own 

If you’re planning on waxing your car on your own, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you get the best results: 

 

  1. Make sure the surface is clean before you start. Any dirt or grime will make it harder for the wax to adhere properly. 

 

  1. Use a quality wax that’s designed for automotive use. This will ensure better results and protection for your paint job. 

 

  1. Follow the directions on the wax container carefully. Don’t try to shortcut the process by using too little or too much wax. 

 

  1. Apply the wax in small sections, using circular motions. Work one area at a time until it’s completely covered, and then move on to the next one. 

 

  1. Let the wax dry completely before buffing it off. Don’t rush this step or you’ll end up with a streaky finish. 

 

  1. Use quality products. Choose only quality car buffer to polish the waxed surface until it’s shiny and smooth. 

 

What Does Car Buffing Do? 

Car buffing is a process of polishing the paint on a car to make it look shiny and new. It can be done by hand or with a machine, and it usually takes about an hour to complete. Buffing removes scratches, stains, and other imperfections from the paint, and it also makes the car’s finish more resistant to future damage. 

 

If you’re not currently waxing or buffing your car, start now! Car waxing is a quick, easy way to protect your car’s paint job and keep it looking its best. Make an appointment at B&L Automotive Repairs in Chicago and see what a difference car waxing and buffing can make! Contact us today at (773)-463-1622 and enjoy your car’s new shine! 

 

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How to Spot Hail Damage, and What to Do About It

If you’re unfortunate enough to experience a hailstorm, here are some tips on how to spot hail damage to your car, and what to do about it.  

 

Far too many people lose money every year to hail damage because they don’t understand that hail damage is not merely cosmetic damage. Any hail damage greatly reduces the value of your car.  

 

Identify the Damage 

The best way to tell if your car has been hit by hail is to look for dents or broken windows. You may also see damage to the paint or roof of the car. If you spot any damage, take a picture of the damage, contact your insurance company, and take it to a mechanic to get it fixed. 

 

What Hail Can Do to Your Car 

Hail can be a major problem for your car. Not only can hail damage the exterior of your car, but it can also damage the interior. The following list comprises some of the risks of hail damage to your car: 

 

  • Frame damage. If your car has been hit by hail, the metal frame may have been weakened. It’s important to get the frame fixed as soon as possible, or the car may not be safe to drive. 
  • Electrical problems. Hail damage can also cause the electrical system in your car to short out. If you notice any strange electrical problems, take your car to a mechanic right away. 
  • Windshield issues. Often, if your car has been hit by hail, you will need to replace the windshield with a reputable company.  
  • Windshield wiper blade problems. Hail can also cause problems for your car’s windshield wipers. The blades of the wipers can become bent or warped if they are hit by hail. This can cause the wipers to not work properly, which can be a safety hazard. If your windshield wipers are not working properly, you may need to replace them. 
  • Paint job damage. Hail can also damage your car’s paint job. If the hail is large enough, it can cause the paint to chip or peel. If your car’s paint is chipped or peeling, you may need to have the car repainted. 

 

If you take your car to a mechanic after it’s been hit by hail, make sure to get a written estimate for the repair work. This will help you when you file a claim with your insurance company. 

 

What to Do When a Hailstorm Strikes 

A brief hailstorm can inflict major damages to your car, so it is important to take steps to protect your car from hail damage. If you are driving in a hailstorm, make sure to pull over and park your car in a safe place.  

 

If you know that a storm is likely, take steps to protect your car by parking it in a covered spot. The extra effort you take to cover your car will save you time, expense, and frustration. 

 

Which Hail Damages to Your Car Need to be Fixed? 

Some hail damages are more severe than others and require immediate attention. For example, a dent in the hood or roof of your car is a more serious issue than a few dings on the side. If the hail has broken your windshield, that’s an even bigger problem and you’ll need to take it to a repair shop as soon as possible.  

 

Other hail damages, while not as severe, still need to be fixed eventually. For example, if the hail has caused your car paint to chip or peel, you’ll want to take it in for a paint job. Otherwise, the chips and peels will only get worse over time.  

 

In short, if you’ve been hit by hail, examine your car, and decide which hail damages to your car need to be fixed. Then take it in for repairs as soon as possible! 

 

How Are Car Hail Damages Fixed? 

Repairing hail damages requires a few steps to save you time and money. Read on to learn what those vital steps are! 

 

Involve Your Insurance Company 

If your car is damaged by hail, the first thing you should do is call your insurance company. They will send out an adjuster to assess the damage and determine how much it will cost to fix. Most likely, the damages will be covered by your insurance policy. 

 

The adjuster will work with a body shop to get the repairs started. The body shop will order the parts that are needed and then repair the car. Once the repairs are finished, the body shop will send a bill to your insurance company. 

 

If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, you may be able to choose your own body shop. However, if you have only liability coverage, you must use a body shop that is approved by your insurance company. 

 

Partner with a Reputable Auto Repair Shop 

There’s a good chance that if you live in an area that experiences hail, your car has been damaged by it at some point. Hail can cause significant damage to cars, ranging from small dents to broken windows and extensive body damage.  

 

Most auto repair shops will be able to fix the damage caused by hail. However, there may be some shops that are not equipped to handle this type of repair. It is important to ask the shop beforehand if they can fix hail damage. If they are not able to do the work, they may be able to recommend a shop that can. 

 

Hail damage can be a significant expense, but it is important to get the damage fixed as soon as possible. Not only will the car look better, but it will also be safer to drive. If you have any questions about hail damage or auto repair shops, please contact us. We would be happy to help. 

 

Paintless Dent Repair  

Paintless dent repair (PDR) is a process of fixing minor dents and dings in a vehicle without the use of paint or filler. It is a common method for fixing small dents, especially those that are located on surfaces that are difficult to reach or see. 

 

PDR is often less expensive and faster than traditional auto body repair methods, and it can be done without having to remove the damaged area of the vehicle. In most cases, PDR can be completed in a single visit to an auto body shop. 

 

The process of PDR uses a special tool to push and pull the metal back into place. Sometimes, a light tap with a hammer may be needed to restore the dent to its original condition. 

 

If you are looking for a fast, affordable way to fix minor dents and dings on your car, consider having your car damage repaired with paintless dent repair (PDR). 

 

B&L Automotive Repairs in Chicago is your go-to shop for all your auto repair needs, both autobody and mechanical. We service insurance, fleet, and commercial customers. Contact us today at (773)-463-1622 to set up an appointment for hail damage or any other repair work you require—you’ll be glad you did! 

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New Car Safety Features

Used cars usually offer a substantial savings compared to new cars, but with used car prices going through the roof lately, car shoppers have more cause to check out new cars. One reason is all the advanced safety features that newer models have these days.

 

Front and Side Cameras

Rear view cameras have been around for decades, but front and side cameras are a relatively new addition to car safety. They are used for other safety features to avoid collisions on the road, but they can also help you park safely. Some vehicles use all your car’s cameras (front, side and rear) to simulate an overhead view to assist you when parking. Land Rover uses a camera below the vehicle to show the driver the upcoming terrain. This is called “ClearSight ground view.”

 

Blind Spot Detection

Every car has blind spots that can keep you from seeing other vehicles. This can lead to an accident when you enter an intersection or turn or change lanes. Blind spot monitoring systems alert you with audio and visual cues when a vehicle is moving in one of your blind spots. These alerts become louder or brighter if you signal to change lanes, and some systems provide a video feed of your blind spot areas when needed. Some systems will adjust the brakes or steering to prevent a collision.

 

Lane Departure Warning 

Lane departure warning systems, which often rely on a camera near the rearview mirror, keep track of your car’s position in a lane. Any indication that you’re leaving the lane accidentally, such as merging without signaling, creates an alert. This can be a sound, vibrations in your steering wheel or seat, and/or visual cues on the dashboard. Some systems will attempt to correct an unintentional lane departure with light steering or braking adjustments.

 

Forward Collision Warning 

Forward collision warning systems use forward-facing sensors to monitor the distances and relative speeds between vehicles. If the system senses a crash may occur, it emits sounds, visual signals and/or physical sensations such as a vibration of the steering wheel.

 

Curve-Adaptive Headlights 

Curve-adaptive headlights pivot in the direction that you steer, helping your visibility on curves. Studies have shown that they reduce accidents by giving drivers more time to react to oncoming cars.

 

HID Xenon Headlights

HID stands for “high intensity discharge,” which is used to create an electrical arc in a bulb containing xenon gas. Each headlight has a built-in ballast to create the high voltage and current. They’re often used only for low-beam headlights, with the high beam using a halogen system. The light is emitted by a projector lens, so the beam is more targeted and can shine farther. The light is bright white, similar to daylight, giving better illumination. HID xenon systems last twice as long as halogen bulbs. Replacing them can be pricey, running $100 to $200 per bulb. Also, the little units that control the system can fail, too, and they can cost as much as $600 a piece.

 

ADB Headlights

Adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlights, also called “smart headlights,” shine more light onto the road ahead without blinding the drivers in oncoming cars. Some ADB headlights use shades within the headlamp assembly to protect oncoming cars from glare. Others consist of multiple LEDs and can selectively shut off some of them so the light doesn’t shine directly at other drivers. The technology has been available for years in Europe and Canada, but wasn’t approved for use in the United States until recently.

 

Center Airbags

We’ve gotten used to front, side and curtain airbags. Some new models are now featuring center airbags, which spring from the inside of the front seat to shield front passengers from colliding with each other. They also minimize neck and spine twist injuries.

 

Active or Adaptive Cruise Control  

These advanced cruise control systems read the traffic ahead and will slow down or speed up according to traffic flow. More advanced systems can conform to changing speed limits, or even stop a red light for you. They can even steer to maintain a lane on curves.

 

Safe Exit Warning or Assist

These systems are designed to protect passengers when they exit your car. If you’re driving very slowly and there’s a car or bike approaching, the system will lock the passenger doors using the child lock.

 

AEB with Intersection-Scanning

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) uses radar technology, and employs the brakes if you’re heading towards a collision with an object, building or other vehicle in front of you. These have been around for a while but newer systems, referred to as “intersection collision warning systems,” “junction AEB” or “intersection-scanning AEB” go further, warning you of vehicles on either side of you that pose a collision risk.

 

While all these advanced safety features are making driving safer, accidents will still happen. If you’ve been in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact the pros at B&L Automotive Repairs. A family-owned business, we have over 30 years of experience handling every kind of body and mechanical repair, and we’ve even got a play area to entertain the kids while you wait. Our expert staff is continually trained and updated, and our state-of-the-art equipment allows them to serve you with the highest level of expertise. No matter what make and model you drive, or which insurance company you use, we will provide fast and reliable service to make sure your needs are met. Call us today at (773) 463-1622, or contact us through our website for more information.

 

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Trees Can Damage Your Car

Trees can add a lot of charm and beauty to your home. They can also pose some risks. Falling leaves, acorns and pine needles can clog up your gutters, and falling limbs can damage your home. They also pose a very similar risk to your vehicles, if you don’t park them in a safe place.

 

Falling Trees and Limbs

The biggest threat from a tree is that it will fall on your car or drop a heavy limb on it. This is an overlooked hazard that has wrecked countless cars and, much worse, has killed thousands of people. Take a good look at all the trees on your property, not just the ones near your car, to make sure that you don’t have any dying trees that can cause damage or injury. Hiring a tree service can be expensive, but it’s worth it if a tree is dangerous.

 

If you see smaller dead branches and feel comfortable removing them, make sure to do that before they fall onto your car or house. Some branches are heavier than they look at first glance, or they can fall at just the right angle to break your windshield and ruin your weekend. Lighter limbs can cause minor damages like dents and scratches that can be costly to repair.

 

Minor Debris

People often don’t consider the damage trees can cause to cars, but when they do they tend to think of falling trees or big limbs. There are other ways that trees can damage your car. Dripping sap, rotting berries, acorns, pollen, leaves, oak blossoms, pine cones and pine needles can all do some damage to your car’s paint job, especially if combined with heat. Some of this debris can get into your car’s air filter, or get under your hood and cause damage there, or make your windshield wipers less effective.

 

If you have a convertible, make sure to leave the top closed. Keep the fabric clean, and check the hinges for debris that may hinder its operation. If you have a sunroof, keep it closed, and don’t let tree debris accumulate on top, as this can affect your sunroof’s operation.

 

Much of this debris can be removed with a brush or with a hose. A broom head can also work. Many auto parts stores carry a tool that’s a windshield scraper with a brush attached. Larger objects like acorns and pine cones may need to be removed by hand to avoid causing damage from scraping.

 

Tree Dwellers

A tree can be teeming with animal life, which can exacerbate the threat to your car. The most obvious threat is from bird droppings, which can cause serious damage to your car’s paint job, especially if left to dry in the heat. If this is a frequent problem for you, keep a package of wipes in your car, and some little trash bags to put them in after use. This will help you stay in a routine of cleaning this stuff off your car as soon as you see it.

 

Other than birds, squirrels can be a problem too. Squirrel droppings aren’t often an issue, but squirrels can be messy with food, dropping parts of acorns or nuts onto your car. Some trees are home to insects such as bees, hornets and wasps, who may consider making your vehicle their new home. Tell them no.

 

Protect Your Car

The obvious way to protect cars from tree limbs and debris is with a garage or carport. Clearly this isn’t an option for everyone. Adding a garage to a property is very expensive. Adding a carport is less costly, but still a major expense. And of course you’re constrained by the shape and size of your property and your driveway. Zoning restrictions can be an issue as well.

 

If you have a garage that you can’t park in because it’s full of stuff, make an effort to clear it out. If it’s been filling up with family items for years, this can be a very daunting task. Try working on one section at a time, or focus on types of items. Maybe some things can be moved to the attic. Maybe you can rent a storage space, or have a garage sale. Another option is to add shelving and hooks to clear floor space. It can be a lot of work, but it will be worth it when you finally get your car into that garage and don’t have to worry about it being damaged by tree limbs and debris, or other threats such as hail stones or birds.

 

Another option to protect your car is to buy a cover. These are widely available in a variety of colors and styles, and in sizes to match nearly any car. A good car cover will protect your car from smaller limbs and minor debris, but not larger limbs of course.

 

Insurance

Comprehensive coverage is optional, and covers damages to your car not from collisions. This includes theft, vandalism, deer strikes, hailstones, flooding, fires, and tree damage. Most customers will have to pay a deductible of some sort, but much of the repair (up to the coverage limit for your plan) will be paid by the insurance company. Call them as soon as you notice any damage. They will send an adjuster to you to evaluate the damage. If your car is declared a total loss, they will help you pay for a new car.

 

If your car has been damaged by tree debris, don’t hesitate to contact the pros at B&L Automotive Repairs. A family-owned business, we have over 30 years of experience handling every kind of body and mechanical repair, and we’ve even got a play area to entertain the kids while you wait. Our expert staff is continually trained and updated, and our state-of-the-art equipment allows them to serve you with the highest level of expertise. No matter what make and model you drive, or which insurance company you use, we will provide fast and reliable service to make sure your needs are met. Call us today at (773) 463-1622, or contact us through our website for more information.

 

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Pros and Cons of DIY Touchup Paint

If the paint job on your car has gotten faded or scratched, you have a choice to make. Do you try to ignore it, take it to a body shop, or try to fix the paint yourself? Here are some pros and cons of trying to fix it yourself.

Pro: Cost

The most-cited benefit of DIY touch-up paint is not having to pay for a professional job. Depending on the severity of the paint damage and the quality level you want, a professional paint repair can easily cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. (This may or not be partly covered by your insurance, depending on your policy and a number of factors.) DIY car paint kits are usually much cheaper than getting professional service, but a paint sprayer is often needed, which can be expensive. You might not want to buy one for one job. If you call around, you might find someone willing to rent you one, but this is kind of a hassle.

Pro: Time and Convenience

DIY touchup paint and products can be purchased online. You don’t have to schedule an appointment for paint work or leave your car at a body shop for any length of time. There are lots of YouTube videos with instructions on how to use these touchup paint supplies and products.

Con: Color Match Challenge

DIY touch-up paints are available in a wide variety of colors, and you can probably determine the official shade of your car’s original paint and order it pretty easily. But paint jobs fade over time. Professional car painters have special tools to create the correct shade based on what your car looks like now (as opposed to how it looked when it was new) and to blend the new paint with the old. This can be a huge challenge for an amateur, and can lead to some embarrassing results.

Con: Learning Curve 

Your car’s paint consists of three layers: primer, paint, and clear coat. If your car suffered a very superficial scratch, you can probably fix it pretty easily with an inexpensive DIY product. But if it was deeply scratched, the job becomes a lot more complicated. Your job may involve a sanding disc, sandpaper, masking tape, putty, wax, a blending solvent, paint brushes, a paint sprayer, etc. Many of these items require a bit of experience to use correctly. Using them the wrong way can make your paint job worse instead of better, which can result in you needing to pay a professional more than you would have initially had you not bought materials and tried to do it yourself.

Con: The Professional Advantage

Even if you watch hours of YouTube videos (many of which offer contradictory advice), and find the perfect paint and tools, and do everything exactly right, there’s still a pretty good chance that your repair will be noticeable to a prospective buyer giving the car a close look. Professionals have years of experience and access to a wide variety of expensive tools and paints that enable them to make a repair virtually undetectable. One thing they have access to is ventilated spray booths, which enable them to focus on applying paint thoroughly and evenly, instead of also focusing on not getting paint on their garage floor or door, or the driveway, etc. Most body shops also will give you a lifetime guarantee of their workmanship and show you a certification that their technicians have reached a professional level of expertise and training. Look for technicians who are I-Car Gold Class certified & ASE certified. Some body shops also offer pickup and delivery, or will loan you a car for the duration of the service.

 

If your car has any paint or body damage, don’t hesitate to contact the pros at B&L Automotive Repairs. A family-owned business, we have over 30 years of experience handling every kind of body and mechanical repair, and we’ve even got a play area to entertain the kids while you wait. Our expert staff is continually trained and updated, and our state-of-the-art equipment allows them to serve you with the highest level of expertise. No matter what make and model you drive, or which insurance company you use, we will provide fast and reliable service to make sure your needs are met. Call us today at (773) 463-1622, or contact us through our website for more information.

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Is It Okay to Use a Bike Rack, or Cargo Box or Bag on My Car?

Your car is important to you, and you want it to look good. You also want to use it to haul everything you need hauled. These desires can be in conflict. Luckily there are a variety of products (bike racks, cargo bags, and boxes) designed to help you haul stuff without causing damage to the paint or body of your vehicle, but you need to choose and use these products carefully or you’ll risk incurring some damage.

Convenience

There’s no denying the convenience of some of these products. If you’ve ever crammed a bike into a car (or tried to) you know how awkward that can be, and the damage it can cause to your car’s interior. It can also hinder your view of the rear window of the car, making driving less safe. You may have to disassemble the bike to fit it into the car and reassemble it later, which requires time and effort. A bike rack allows you to haul your bike (or bikes) on the top or back of your car. This frees up the interior of your car for passengers or cargo and saves you a lot of grief.

 

A cargo bag or box is a similar concept. If it’s a quality product, it gives a safe and waterproof space behind or on top of your car for your cargo, freeing up interior space. For both of these products, read some reviews before making your purchase, and make sure to read the instructions thoroughly when you set them up. Don’t skip any steps. If a bike rack or cargo container falls off your car when you’re driving it can not only damage your car and your stuff; it can also cause a serious accident, for which you are liable.

 

Possible Damage to Paint

Another reason to follow these products’ instructions to a T is to avoid any possible damage to your car’s paint job. Bikes and cargo can be heavy, and roads can be rough. These factors in conjunction can cause paint damage if you’re not careful. Many bike racks or cargo containers will come with buffer material to protect your car’s paint. Remember to use it, and don’t misplace it.

 

Possible Body Damage

Misuse of these products (or faults in their design) can cause a similar risk to your car’s body. Read the weight recommendations for each product to avoid putting a dangerous strain on the structure of your car. Items that are too heavy (a set of weights for instance) can dent the top of your car or your trunk top, in addition to causing an unsafe strain on the straps and/or latches that keep everything from falling off your car. Also, if any component of your car gets bent, a roof rack, for instance, this damage can lead to rust, leaks, and other structural problems.

 

Other Ways to Avoid Damages

Besides following the installation and operating directions carefully, there are a few more safeguards to help you protect your car, bike, and cargo. Before driving, test the sturdiness of your bike rack or cargo container by tugging on them firmly. If they pivot or shift around too much, tighten the straps or latches. You might need to rearrange things a bit or move some cargo to your trunk. Once you’ve begun to drive, be mindful of your bikes or cargo. If you see any unusual movement or hear your stuff banging around excessively, quickly, and safely find a safe place to pull over and check everything out.

 

Also, be mindful of your car’s capabilities. A Mini Cooper or Smart Car will obviously not have the hauling power or stability of a Ford Expedition, so pack accordingly. If your car or truck has a trailer hitch, look for a bike rack or cargo container that attaches to it. This arrangement reduces the friction between your cargo or bike and your vehicle, reducing the possibility of paint or body damage. The only drawback is that you need to be more careful backing up because your vehicle is now effectively a foot or two longer than before. If your stuff is on top of your vehicle, pay attention to clearance restrictions at drive-thru restaurants and banks.

 

If your car has any paint or body damage, don’t hesitate to contact B&L Automotive Repairs. A family-owned business, we have over 30 years of experience handling every kind of body and mechanical repair, and we’ve even got a play area to entertain the kids while you wait. Our expert staff is continually trained and updated, and our state-of-the-art equipment allows them to serve you with the highest level of expertise. No matter what make and model you drive, or which insurance company you use, we will provide fast and reliable service to make sure your needs are met. Call us today at (773) 463-1622, or contact us through our website for more information.

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Does Your Bumper Need to Be Replaced?

So, you got into a little accident, without much noticeable damage aside from a dent in your bumper. Do you really need to go to the trouble of getting it repaired? While a little fender bender doesn’t always warrant a trip to the body shop, there are some very clear signs that your bumper has sustained significant damage. Ignoring those signs could be dangerous, so it’s important to educate yourself.

You may not realize it, but the bumper is an important part of your vehicle. Bumpers are designed reduce the amount of damage your car suffers in a low-speed crash, protecting the hood, trunk, grill, fuel, exhaust, and cooling system. It also acts as a shield, absorbing shock from a crash. If your bumper is damaged, then, your car is left vulnerable to severe damage if an accident occurs.

There are a few different symptoms indicating that a damaged bumper needs attention:

  • If the bumper is loose or dangling, the bumper hooks are probably broken. Your bumper is attached to your car with hooks, and if they are broken, it compromises the integrity of the bumper. It could just seem loose, but it could also suddenly fall off without warning. Unfortunately, once hooks are broken, they cannot be reattached. To make sure the bumper will stay on your vehicle, you have to replace it with an entirely new bumper, hooks already attached.
  • Damaged paint may or may not necessitate replacement. If the damage is minor, a professional auto body repair shop can probably fix it without much trouble. On the other hand, a bumper full of deep scratches or with large spots bare of paint may need to be replaced. That’s because to repair and repaint the bumper and get it back to factory condition can require extensive labor and cost almost as much as a new bumper. Taking your car to the body shop for an inspection and estimate is the best way to determine which option is appropriate in your situation.
  • A cracked bumper often needs to be replaced. Cracks in bumpers are similar to paint damage, in that the smaller cracks can be repaired without too much labor and expense. To repair a crack in a bumper, an auto body specialist must fill the crack with body filler, sand, prime, and paint it. For a small crack, this is often sufficient. On the other hand, when a crack is large or goes all the way through the bumper, repairing it can damage the bumper’s structural integrity and make it ineffective at protecting the vehicle and passengers. That’s why bumpers with significant cracks should be replaced.

No matter how minor your accident may seem, it’s wise to contact B&L Automotive Repairs. We’ll assess the damage, including damage to your bumper, and determine exactly what needs to be done. If your bumper needs to be replaced, we can do it in a way that’s unnoticeable, seamlessly matching it to your vehicle. A family owned business, we have over 30 years of experience handling every kind of body and mechanical repair, and we’ve even got a play area to entertain the kids while you wait. Our expert staff is continually trained and updated, and our state-of-the-art equipment allows them to serve you with the highest level of expertise. No matter what make and model you drive, or which insurance company you use, we will provide fast and reliable service to make sure your needs are met. Call us today at (773) 463-1622, or contact us through our website for more information.

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