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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Don’t Neglect Wheel Damage

When you look at your car, your eyes are probably not drawn to your tires. While you might notice a scratch on the side of your car or a dent in your bumper, you might not pay much attention to the damage done to your tires. You just replace them when the tread wears down and go on your way. Tires do much of the heavy lifting for your vehicle, though, and they take a lot of punishment. Hit a pothole or a curb, and you’re likely to flatten your tire or damage your wheel.

A flat tire is obvious, but wheel damage can be harder to spot. Especially if you have large hubcaps, you might not even notice damage to your wheel. Even if you do spot it, you might assume it’s not a big deal. However, a damaged wheel can significantly affect your car’s handling and performance. How do you know if your wheel is damaged? Watch for the following signs:

  • Sometimes the damage is visibly noticeable. If you want to get a really good look at your wheel to check for damage, take off the hubcap and inspect the rim. In some cases, though, you might still not be able to see the damage. It may be that your mechanic will notice it when you take your car in for routine maintenance.
  • Your car might vibrate if the wheel is bent. Bent front rims can cause the steering wheel to vibrate, while bent rims in the back can make the whole car feel shaky. If this is happening, it warrants an emergency visit to the mechanic.
  • If your tire keeps losing air pressure, wheel damage could be the problem. Tires and their rims are designed to fit together snugly for an airtight seal. A bent rim can break that seal, causing the tire to lose air.
  • A car with wheel damage will often handle poorly. It might pull to the side, brake poorly, or get terrible gas mileage. All of those symptoms are worth taking to a professional for an assessment.
  • Wheel damage can feel like a flat tire. If you hear rhythmic thumping sounds when you’re driving your car or tire pressure warnings keep popping up, your wheel may be damaged. Leave it unrepaired and you could end up with an actual flat tire.

Driving on a damaged wheel can be extremely dangerous. Because the tire won’t be able to snugly fit against a bent rim, you risk losing control of your car if you don’t repair the damage. In some situations, a damaged wheel can result in a blowout. It’s better to have a professional look at your tire and determine whether it needs to be repaired or replaced than to risk your car and your life driving with a wheel that’s damaged.

When you bring a damaged wheel to a professional repair shop, they’ll look at the wheel and assess the level of damage. Sometimes the damage is purely cosmetic and can be sanded, straightened, or repaired. If the wheel is severely bent, however, it’s safer to replace it.

If you’re concerned that one or more of your wheels might be damaged, contact B&L Automotive Repairs. Our expert staff can assess the damage and offer you a solution, whether it’s wheel repair or replacement. 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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What is Paintless Dent Repair?

Has your car collected a few dents recently? This is to be expected, what with free-swinging car doors, rogue shopping carts, and vindictive hailstorms waiting around every turn. Fortunately, with paintless dent repair, you don’t have to look at your car’s marred surface for long.

Paintless dent repair, or PDR, is a method of repairing dents and dings without compromising the finish. It is widely considered the quickest, most affordable, and least invasive way to remove superficial dents. As long as the process is performed correctly, it will be difficult—if not impossible—to tell where the dent used to be. If you’re interested in paintless dent repair, learn more about how it works and what type of damage qualifies for this repair method.

What are the Benefits of Repairing Small Dents?

Cosmetic dents may not be pretty, but is it worth paying to have them repaired? After all, the damage doesn’t affect the function of your car, so your first instinct may be to disregard it. However, ignoring dents can have several unintended consequences:

  • Drop in resale value: If you plan to sell or trade-in your vehicle anytime soon, it’s important to have cosmetic dents removed first to maximize the car’s value. Otherwise, you won’t get paid what you deserve.
  • Increased risk of rust: Unattended dents could make your car vulnerable to corrosion. Once this process begins, rust will slowly spread, affecting the safety, appearance, and value of your car more than a dent alone. This is why it’s important not to delay fixing dents, even if they seem minor.
  • Damaged reputation: The condition of your car says a lot about you. If your job requires you to impress clients when you drive up to their house, having a clean, dent-free car helps you put your best foot forward.

How Does Paintless Dent Repair Work?

Paintless dent repair is a specialized process that includes a series of crucial steps:

  • A technician analyzes the damage to determine if PDR is a viable option.
  • The technician removes the affected panel, if necessary, to gain access to the reverse side of the dent.
  • Slow, continuous pressure is applied to both sides of the dent to carefully work it out without overcorrecting.
  • If the panel can’t be removed and the dent isn’t accessible from the backside, it may be possible to bond a “tab” to the surface to gently treat the dent from the front.

Because no paint matching, part order, or additional repair processes are required, PDR is cheaper and quicker than traditional dent repair methods. As a result, paintless dent repair is rarely an expensive fix, and you can expect same-day service in most cases.

When is Paintless Dent Repair Used?

PDR is usually best suited for minor, low-impact dents. The smaller and more shallow the dent, the more likely paintless dent repair can be used. In short, if the paint isn’t chipped or cracked, it should be possible to work out the dent without affecting the finish.

Here are some examples of the types of damage paintless dent repair can treat:

  • Door dings
  • Light, localized hail damage
  • Minor fender benders
  • Impacts from baseballs, shopping carts, and other relatively low-force objects

What are the Limitations of Paintless Dent Repair?

PDR only works if the dent has not damaged the paint. An extensive dent that’s wider than your fist or more than one-half-inch deep is probably too severe to qualify for paintless dent repair. Even if the paint hasn’t cracked, the process of working out such a large dent will probably damage the finish.

Examples of dents that PDR probably can’t treat include:

  • Dents with cracked, scratched, or creased paint
  • Extensive or severe hail damage
  • Moderate to severe fender benders
  • Impacts with wildlife

Fortunately, other repair methods are available if PDR is ruled out as an option. After working out the dent, it’s possible to restore the finish in the surrounding area using computerized paint matching. This ensures an accurate color match so no one can tell damage ever occurred.

Visit B&L Automotive Repairs for Paintless Dent Repair

Paintless dent repair is one of the most requested services at B&L Automotive Repairs. Our trained technicians are experts in PDR, using the latest tools and techniques to repair the damage without affecting the original paint job. We also offer computerized paint matching and other bodywork services if it turns out you need to repair more extensive damage. Please stop by, call us at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule paintless dent repair with our family-owned and operated auto collision repair shop in Chicago.

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How Carwise Makes Auto Repair Easier

If you’re looking for auto collision repair in Chicago, the team at B&L Automotive Repairs is here for you. We provide expert service to help get your car back to pre-accident condition as quickly and affordably as possible. Our specialties include frame straightening, paint matching, hail damage repair, computerized tire mounting and balancing, paintless dent repair, and much more.

Our goal is to make the auto repair process as easy as possible. That’s why we use Carwise. With this online service, you can find a nearby body shop, get an estimate, set an appointment, and check your car’s status. Learn more about Carwise and just how easy it is to use.

Find a Body Shop in Chicago

Have you been in an accident? Before taking your car in for repairs, use Carwise to help you find the right auto body shop for your needs. This online network is comprised of over 22,000 auto body shops nationwide, and new shops join every day. To find a shop using Carwise, simply enter your street address, city, and state, or zip code into the Find an Auto Body Shop search bar.

The Carwise Shop Finder provides a list of recommended auto body shops with customer ratings and reviews you can explore to help you make your decision. You can also click on each shop to view a profile page with more information, including the business name, address, contact information, and hours of operation. Most shops in the Carwise network also provide a business description, a list of services offered, and several customer reviews. Some shops also give estimates and book appointments online.

You’ll find B&L Automotive Repairs high on the list of top-rated auto body shops in Chicago. We have well over 1,000 5-star reviews, and 96% of our customers say they would recommend us to others. Our outstanding reputation is all thanks to our top-notch mechanics, who work hard to ensure your complete satisfaction, whether you need a major collision repair or factory-scheduled maintenance.

Get a Collision Repair Estimate

It’s helpful to know how much a repair will cost before you take in your car. But if the vehicle is badly damaged from an accident, you can’t very well drive it from shop to shop. That’s why online estimates are so useful.

Carwise lets you upload pictures of the damage from your phone or tablet. Simply answer a few questions, send the photos directly to an auto body shop, and you’ll have your online estimate in no time. Be aware that only select Carwise partners offer online repair estimates, including B&L Automotive Repairs. The Online Photo Estimator is a website, not an app, so you don’t have to install anything on your phone. This makes it fast and easy to get your online estimate from anywhere.

Set an Auto Repair Appointment

After comparing estimates from a few body shops in Chicago, it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of them. Carwise makes it easy, with a built-in scheduler that allows you to view the shop’s available timeslots. Pick a time that’s most convenient for you, and skip the phone tag that usually goes into scheduling an auto repair!

Only select Carwise participants offer online scheduling, including B&L Automotive Repairs. You can set your appointment after getting an online estimate or wait to receive the estimate in person. We often have same-day appointments available, so we can begin the repair as quickly as possible. Simply give us your name, vehicle information, and insurance company name, along with your phone number or email address to communicate with us via text message or email. We look forward to helping you get your car fixed and back on the road!

Check Your Vehicle’s Repair Status

Carwise is with you from the beginning to the end of the repair process, making it easy to stay informed. If you have communicated with the auto body repair shop through Carwise up to this point, you can check on your vehicle’s repair status at any time. Connect with the shop directly through Carwise to ask questions and even access photos of your auto repair in progress. With this technology, you’ll never be left in the dark during a vehicle repair ever again!

Repair Your Car at B&L Automotive Repairs with Help from Carwise

B&L Automotive Repairs is proud to use Carwise. It’s just another way we make car repair easy and convenient for our customers! To work with our family-owned and operated auto collision repair shop in Chicago, please stop by, call us at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online for more information. You can also request an estimate and schedule your appointment directly through Carwise

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How We Use Computerized Paint Matching to Find Your Car’s Perfect Shade

Every car develops dents, dings, and scratches at some point. If your vehicle has cosmetic damage, it’s important to repaint the exposed metal as soon as possible to prevent rust from forming. Auto body painting is also the final step of restoring your car to the like-new condition following a collision. Learn how auto technicians use computerized paint matching to find your car’s perfect shade.

Begin with the Car Paint Code

Every car comes with a paint code, a series of digits representing the vehicle’s stock paint color. This is tied to the vehicle identification number (VIN), which can usually be found on the information sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb. The paint code—along with the car’s make, model, and year—gives auto body repair technicians the information they need to begin the paint matching process.

Things are a little trickier with classic cars and custom paint jobs. Vehicles manufactured several decades ago often don’t have a paint code, and cars with custom colors may not match the code tied to the VIN. However, even without having the paint code as a shortcut, it’s still possible to match the exact shade using computerized paint matching.

Identify the Color Variant

Knowing the paint code isn’t always enough to find a perfect color match. Years of exposure to sunlight, rain, road chemicals, and other elements can fade a car’s paint color. Slight differences in manufacturer dye lots can also produce minor color variations, or shades, even in brand-new cars.

That’s why it’s necessary to use computerized paint matching to identify the vehicle’s exact color. The system measures the precise amount of light and hues in the car’s finish, allowing it to generate a perfect replica.

Blend the Exact Color Match

Once the computer has identified the right paint color, technicians produce a small batch of high-quality auto paint. Then, just to be sure, the techs spray the paint onto a sample card and compare it to the vehicle’s color. If they determine that it’s a flawless match, it’s time to get painting.

Prepare the Area & Paint the Car

Whether repairing a small chip or repainting an entire panel, preparing the work area is just as important as matching the color. Auto body technicians repair dings and dents, remove any existing rust, and thoroughly sand and clean the surface prior to painting.

Once the car is fully prepped, the technicians can get to work. If an entire panel is being repainted, the crew covers the rest of the car to prevent possible overspray. When repairing a small area, the techs expertly blend the new paint into the old paint around it for seamless results. The new color should be indistinguishable from the old, even under intense scrutiny.

Allow Adequate Curing Time

Soon, your car will be dry enough for you to pick up, take home, and start driving again. But first, it’s crucial to ensure the paint cures without anything marring the finish. That’s why newly repainted vehicles must remain in the shop for a few days, covered with an automotive wrap to protect them from dust and other environmental contaminants.

Even after you pick up your car, be aware that auto body paint needs a full 30 days to cure, so avoid getting a car wash until that time has elapsed. Still, spot cleaning at home with cold water and a microfiber cloth is acceptable. Just be sure to scrub gently to avoid scratching or dulling the finish.

It’s also important to protect your car from the elements as much as possible while the new paint cures. If you have access to a garage, carport, or other covered parking, store your car there for at least 60 days to be safe. Only drive in fair weather during this time as well. Finally, give the paint a full 60 days to off-gas completely before waxing your car.

Schedule Auto Body Painting in Chicago

B&L Automotive Repairs invests in the latest collision repair technology, including computerized paint matching. We have designed our high-quality services to ensure complete customer satisfaction. Whether you need fresh paint following dent repair or full collision service, we’ll make sure your car comes out looking as good as new. Stop by our Chicago auto body shop, call us at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule expert auto body painting today.

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