How to Choose an Auto Repair Shop

It can definitely be stressful when something goes wrong with your car. Whether it’s engine problems or dent removal after a car accident, you want to get your car fixed right at a fair price.

How do you choose the right auto repair shop though? Every town has plenty of places to get your car fixed but it can be tough to find a mechanic you can trust. We’ve all heard horror stories about unethical auto shops. Some of us have unfortunately experienced it too.

In this post, we review tips to help you find a good mechanic for your car.

 

Tips for finding the right auto repair shop

  1. Our Probst mechaniics are ASE, ICAR or Manufacturer trainedAsk your friends. When it’s time to spend money on repairs, there’s nothing like a referral from a good friend who has experience with the auto shop. A lot of repair shops get by entirely on referrals. Their work is of such high quality, their word-of-mouth is enough to generate new customers.
  2. Choose a repair shop with ASE-certified technicians. The credentials and affiliations awarded to a shop and its employees help show they are professional, well trained and “on the level. Everyone in our shop has ASE, ICAR or Manufacturer training in their personal area of operation within our system of restoring your vehicle to pre-accident condition. (Read: Why Choose Us?)
  3. Choose a repair shop that is clean and well organized. Cleanliness and organization are signs of a well-run business. It’s not hard to look at the outside of a business and start to gain an impression of how the place is run. Is the waiting room clean and inviting or a dirty afterthought? It helps demonstrate their commitment to quality.
  4. See how they treat customers. Are customers greeted in a friendly manner? Are they treated with respect? Do the people that work there seem to enjoy their jobs or hate being there? Sometimes a phone call to the repair shop will show you all you need to know about how they treat customers.
  5. Make sure the give written estimates. Sure there are businesses you may trust with a verbal estimate and a handshake, but when it’s your first time dealing with the business, you want to get their quote in writing. They should give you a written estimate and request your signature before they do any repairs on your car.
  6. See if they offer warranties. Most auto repair businesses stand behind their work and will offer you a warranty on parts and labor.
  7. Shop around before an emergency. Don’t wait until you’re in a tough spot and are forced to take your car to the closest shop. Ask your friends and do your research ahead of time and lower your stress and the chances you’ll pick the wrong mechanic.

 

Need a mechanic you can trust?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repair, dent removal, mechanical repair, airbag replacement, and auto body painting in the local area to customers from New Lenox, Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan and other southwest Chicagoland cities. Contact us or get an online estimate.

Call Today: (815) 485-8411

Top Check Engine Light Causes

Check Engine Light

Is your check engine light on? Then it is time to visit the auto repair shop

Sometimes when the light comes on, people want to avoid getting the car looked at because they’re afraid of an expensive repair bill.

The problem is, the longer you put off that repair, the worse the damage can get and the more expensive your repair bill will end up being.

You’ll need to get that check engine light turned off anyway, or your vehicle won’t be able to pass the Illinois vehicle emissions test.

 

Why is my check engine light on?

If your check engine light is on, it’s usually one of five most common reasons. We’ll expand that list a little further to cover the top ten most common causes of your engine light turning on. The chances are very high that one of the items on this list is causing your issue.

 

Most common reasons check engine light is on

  • Check Engine LightGas Cap
  • Oxygen Sensor
  • Catalytic Converter
  • Mass Airflow Sensor
  • Spark Plug or Spark Plug Wiring
  • EVAP Purge Control Valve
  • EVAP Purge Solenoid
  • Ignition Coils
  • Thermostat

 

How much will it cost to fix my check engine light issue?

Gas Cap – A loose gas cap is one of the most common reasons why the check engine light turns on. Sometimes the cap will need to be replaced, but this won’t be an expensive fix. Will cost around $20.

Oxygen Sensor – The oxygen sensor is the part that monitors unburned oxygen from the exhaust and how much fuel is burned. A faulty sensor means it’s not providing the right data to the computer and causes a decrease in gas mileage. This will cost on average around $200, but if it’s not fixed, it can harm the catalytic converter and then you’ll have a really expensive bill.

Catalytic Converter – This is one of the most common issues and the list, and unfortunately, also the most expensive. It will cost in the range of $1,200 or more. We hope you’ll be able to get your engine checked before it damages the catalytic converter. Normally it will last the life of your car, unless you ignore other issues.

Mass Airflow Sensor – The mass air flow sensor controls the flow of air coming into your car’s engine, which determines how much fuel to inject into the engine. An issue with it can hurt your fuel economy by 10%-25%. It will cost on average $350-$400.

Spark Plug or Spark Plug Wiring – When spark plugs fail, they can cause the engine to misfire and hurt gas mileage. Ignoring issues with spark plugs can result in permanent damage to your catalytic converter. If only the spark plugs need replacing, it can be easy and cheap to do it yourself. If you have to go to a mechanic and also replace wiring, it can cost $200-$300

EVAP Purge Control Valve – This valve prevents vapors from the gas tank from being released into the atmosphere and channels them into a charcoal canister to be burned in the engine. Replacing it can cause $175-$200.

EVAP Purge Solenoid – The solenoid is another part of the EVAP system that controls how much fuel vapor escapes into the atmosphere. It will wear out over time and it will cost around $200 to replace.

Ignition Coils – Ignition coils are used to provide an ignition source for the fuel to combust in an engine. The average cost to replace ignition coils will be around $250.

Thermostat – The thermostat is responsible for regulating the engine coolant temperature to warm and cool your vehicle. This may cost $200-$250 to replace.

 

Need a mechanic you can trust?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repair, dent removal, mechanical repairairbag replacement, and auto body painting in the local area to customers from New Lenox, Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan and other southwest Chicagoland cities. Contact us or get an online estimate.

Call Today: (815) 485-8411

 

Image: Check engine light photo by Wikiuser100000 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

How Does Paintless Dent Repair Work?

 Paintless Dent Repair

What is paintless dent repair?

Paintless dent repair is a method of removing minor dents from the body of a car or truck to return it to its original condition without major work or expense of repainting.

It is not available on all types of dents to an auto, only minor creases, dents, and dings where the paint is not chipped or scratched.

Some people have the ability to do this work at home themselves if they have the right tools. It’s recommended for most people that you instead have an auto body repair shop do the work for you instead. They can do it quickly, affordably, and make sure the job is done right.

Related: Most common types of car accidents

 

Paintless dent removal steps

Assess the dent – Examine the dent to see if it is possible to remove with paintless dent removal (PDR). How big is the dent? Can you get to it?

Gain entry to the damage – To remove most dents, you will need to be able to gain access to the back side of the dent. This may require removing exterior or interior panels in order to get a path to it.

Get the best view of the dent – Trained mechanics use special lights to get a good look at the dent. The light will reveal the full damage on the inside of the panel and show what needs to be pushed out.

Apply slow pressure to work out the dent – Once you have accessed the dent and have a good view, then you can use specialized tools to slowly “massage” the exterior back to its original position.

Related: Five things that ruin your car resale value

 

Benefits of paintless dent repair

When dents are removed using PDR, the original factory finish is preserved and there is no need for grinding the paint off, using Bondo, primers, or sealers. This makes it simpler than conventional body repair work and environment-friendly because no chemicals or toxic materials are used.

Because your original factory paint is preserved, you can avoid problems with color matching any new paint.

Modern vehicle factory paints are more flexible than paint on older vehicles and will not be damaged by paintless dent removal when done by an experienced technician. Dents will not come back at a later date because the metal was properly restored to pre-accident condition.

The main benefit of all these is that paintless dent repair is more affordable than collision repair. No parts, no paint, no primers or sealers and less time all mean that you get a more affordable repair bill at the end.

 

Need professional paintless dent removal?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repair, dent removal, and auto body painting in the local area to customers from New Lenox, Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan and other southwest Chicagoland cities. Contact us or get an online estimate.

Call Today: (815) 485-8411

Photo by Mikes Photos from Pexels

How to Avoid Winter Breakdowns

                             How to Avoid Winter Breakdowns

Winter is the hardest time for all of us when it comes to health or vehicles. As the changes in season are predictable, so are the breakdowns of the car.

It is always a clever idea to prepare yourself to avoid the winter breakdowns.

 

Avoid dead car battery

Nothing spoils a day quicker than a dead car battery. No matter how expensive your ride, it still has a lead-acid battery under the hood. The average lifespan of the car battery is around 4 to 5 years. It’s always good to get them tested. The test is cheap and most of the shops complete the load test on your battery at no cost.

It’s also easy to discharge a good battery in normal winter driving; if you’re stuck in slow traffic during a short run on a freezing day, you can run a battery down with excessive use of electrical accessories combined with lower engine speeds. If you are a daily traveler you can give your battery a fighting chance by turning off the accessories for the last few miles before turning it off for the rest of the day.

 

Flooded engine

There are vehicles that come with independent ignition coils on the spark plug that are not as prone to cold weather failures. But there are also some cars that face problems during every winter. When the spark plug is worn their electric supply cables become deteriorated, that makes it easy for the injected engines to flood in the cold start. To be safe it is required to check the system in every 100 miles and maintenance is required.

 

Related Post: Winter checklist 

 

Frozen Doors/locks/ windows:

If you ever bought silicone spray you can save it for the winters and use it to protect your doors, windows, and locks before they freeze. When the temperature is hot during the winters, you can apply that silicone spray on the door locks and windows. Don’t try to substitute just any lubricating spray for these jobs. If there are any oil compounds in the spray they will deteriorate rubber weather-seals and certain plastics faster.

 

Flat Tires:

If your car is older than six years that means your tire needs inspections since you can be driving the leaky wheel rims. The alloys can create some leaks as the time passes and because of the leaks, the tire rubbers can seal. The minor leaks in the warm weather can be risky in the chilly weather. An effortless way to test your wheels is to wipe a sudsy wet wash-mitt on the rim’s edge (where the rubber meets the metal) and look for bubbles caused by escaping air. Applying the coats on the wheel can keep the leak away.

 

 

Need your car repaired after a winter accident?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repair and dent removal in the local area including Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan, Chicago and the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Call (815) 485-8411

Picture source: Autofinity

Tire Pressure in Winter

Tire Pressure in Winter

 

It important to remember to check the tire pressure this winter before driving so you have a safe journey and optimal tire performance.

 

Here are some strategies to make sure that the tire pressure is perfect for driving in the cold weather.

 

Remember that the tire pressure varies as the temperature fluctuates and in this area, the temperature often changes daily. In winters as the time changes, when days are shorter and colder, it’s very important to check tire pressure.

 

Its recommended that you review your car’s manual to check the correct tire pressure of the car. The recommended tire pressure is in the manual and the placard of the vehicle is based on the inflation pressure. Your manual’s recommended tire pressure is more reliable than the number listed on the tire.

 

Related Posts: Preparing your car for winters 

 

In North America, the temperature fluctuation is at the average of 50 degrees which means that the tire pressure changes by 5psi and every 20 degrees the pressure drop by 2psi. A drop of 5psi during winters can affect the handling, traction, and durability.

 

If your car is parked in the heated garage and later your car goes out in the wintry weather, with every 10 degrees drop the tire pressure reduces by 1 psi. Incorrect tire pressure can also lower the gas mileage by 0.3% and can improve the fuel efficiency by 3.3% if the correct tire pressure is maintained.

 

It’s important to check the tire pressure whenever there is a change in the weather and check the tire PSI more often in the winter.

 

 

Need your car repaired after a winter accident?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repair and dent removal in the local area including Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan, Chicago and the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Call (815) 485-8411

Cars Winter Checklist

There are few things that needs to be checked before we think of driving in snow. It helps us to be prepared, minimize the roadside risk and inconvenience in the mornings. Driving in winters are uncomfortable but it’s also dangerous if not prepared , here are some tips that can make your winters season driving SAFE:

Car Winter Checklist

  • Battery and charging system – Get you battery and charging system checked by a technician. Well maintained and charged battery is important before starting an engine in wintry weather.
  • Engine horse – A visual inspection is important to check if there are any leakage, cracks or loose lamps in the cooling system hoses.
    Tire type and tread – To have the best traction control in winter season, changing all four tires to snow tires is important.
  • Transmission brake and power steering fluids –  Make sure to check the fluids level are at or above sale level. Check your engine coolant and antifreeze levels – antifreeze is a substance that protects your engine from freezing during winters.

Related: Preparing Your Car for Winter

  • Use winter windshield wiper fluid – Using winter windshield fluid in essential because its not the same as windshield fluids used in other weathers, winter windshield fluid defreeze the windshield quicker.
  • Switch to a winter-grade oil at your next oil change – Oil change is useful for operating a vehicle in the winters, when chilly weather begins to set in, you should consider switching to an oil with a lower chilly weather viscosity grade. If you normally use a 10W-30 oil, switching to 5W-30 at your next oil change for the winter is a good move.
  • Replace dirty filters –  engines running poorly is less efficient and burns more gas.

Following these winter driving tips are a good method to stay warm and safe in the freezing weather and avoid the mid-trip breakdown.

 

Need your car repaired after a winter accident?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repair and dent removal in the local area including Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan, Chicago and the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Call (815) 485-8411

Preparing Your Car for Winter

Car stuck in snow

Winter can be hard on us with it’s cold, snow, overcast days and additional stress. But it can also be hard on our cars.

When winter and snow finally arrives, will your car be ready?

The things that go wrong with your car in winter and the emergencies you face are actually fairly predictable. That’s a good thing because it means you have a chance to prepare yourself.

It’s going to get snowy and slippery. There will be extreme temperatures. Engines don’t start and car batteries are vulnerable. You may find yourself temporarily stranded somewhere.

All these are events you can prepare for.

Let’s review a list of ways you can prepare your car for winter.

 

Preparing your car for winter

  • Have your battery tested or replaced
  • Check your fluid levels
  • Test heater and window defroster
  • Replace your windshield wipers
  • Check your tire pressure
  • Have a winter emergency kit in trunk
  • Wash and wax exterior

Related: Winter Driving Tips to Stay Safe

car maintenance

Have your battery tested

Battery testing takes only a few minutes. Your mechanic might even do it for free, especially if they’re doing another service such as changing your oil.

Check your fluid levels

Too keep your car running at its best, especially in winter, make sure all your fluids are topped off.

  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Engine coolant
  • Brake fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Oil

Winter car accident

Test heater and defroster

This is an easy one to do. Don’t wait until it’s 20 degrees to find out the heater isn’t blowing hot air.

Replace your windshield wipers

Windshield wipers will only typically last 2-3 years until they show signs of wear. This can really affect your vision during a snowstorm and make your car unsafe.

Related: Tips for avoiding winter collisions

Check your tire pressure

When temperatures drop, so will your tire pressure. Check that they are filled to the proper pounds per square inch listed on the sticker inside the driver’s door or your car’s owner manual.

Have a winter emergency kit in trunk

  • Spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Small shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Toolkit
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Windshield cleaner
  • Reflective triangles or flares
  • Candles, lighter or matches
  • Portable cell phone charger
  • Nonperishable, high-energy foods like unsalted, canned nuts, dried fruits and hard candy
  • Blankets, mittens, socks, and hats

Wash and wax exterior

Washing and waxing your car can make rain, snow and ice slide off your roof easily as well as protect your exterior.

 

Most importantly, slow down! Most car accidents are a result of driving too fast for conditions. All-wheel drive and driving an SUV won’t prevent an accident due to driving fast in slippery conditions.

 

Need your car repaired after an accident?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. Serving the local area including Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan, Chicago and the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Call (815) 485-8411

 

Winter driving safety resources

How to prepare your car for winter – Chicago Tribune
Here’s how to avoid five common winter breakdowns – Driving
It’s easy to prepare your vehicle for the ice, snow and freezing temperatures – Driving
Be Prepared for Winter Driving – National Safety Council
5 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Winter – US News & World Report
How to Prepare a Car for Winter Driving – WikiHow

What is My Car Worth?

Used car value lot

Are you wondering how much your used car is worth? 

It’s not as easy to determine used car value as one would hope. You want to make sure that you’re getting the best price for your car but figuring out that price can be a challenge.

One good place to start your search is by using online used car price estimators. There are several good ones available. The prices they give you may be different but they will give you a range to work with.

 

Where to get used car value estimates

These are the top five online car value estimation tools.

 

Factors that affect used car value

  • Brand
  • Condition
  • Mileage
  • Color
  • Upgrades
  • Geography
  • Climate
  • Timing

 

These are some of the main factors that will affect used car values. All these factors will affect price, some more than others.

Brand – Some cars brands retain value better than others. Honda, Toyota, and Subaru all tend to maintain a higher used car value.

Condition – This one is pretty easy to figure out. A car with a sparkling exterior condition is going to have more value than one with dents or rust spots. A history of collision repair can lower value.

Mileage – This is another factor that won’t surprise you. A car with lower mileage will naturally have a higher value.

Color – Some colors are more popular and others less popular. You may be a fan of your bright yellow car but a lot of people won’t be. Automotive repainting may not be worth the cost on an older car.

Upgrades – Options like anti-lock brakes, leather seats, and backup cameras can all increase car value.

Geography – Different cars have higher and lower values depending on where you sell them. A convertible will have a higher value in Florida than in Minnesota.

Timing – Sometimes value can come down to timing. High gas prices could affect resale value, as could the current demand of the market or the time of year.

 

Before you put your car up for sale, take the time to make it as good as you can. Wash and wax the exterior and consider having a professional detail the interior. You can boost the perceived value of your car with just a little extra work.

Photo by Paul Sableman

Tips for Avoiding Winter Collisions

Winter car accident

When harsh winter weather arrives in northern Illinois, car accidents and vehicle collisions begin to rise.

Even though this will keep our auto body repair shop busy, we don’t really like all these accidents. Many collisions result only in dents to be repaired but any car accident puts people in danger and can cause serious injuries.

Accidents happen but often they can be avoided. We’ll share some tips for avoiding winter car accidents. 

Illinois is ranked #7 in the nation for winter car accidents by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (Ohio is #1 with Pennsylvania close behind.) That’s not really a top ten we want to be in but we hope it reminds you that winter collisions are a real threat in our state.

In Illinois, the average cost of a winter collision repair is $2,600. Slow down to save lives – and money.

 

Avoiding winter collision tips

  • Slow down when weather conditions are wet, cold or snowy.
  • Leave extra space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Avoid distractions: phone, playing with the radio, eating in the car.
  • Replace your windshield wiper blades to improve visibility.
  • Replace your tires if their treads are worn.
  • Make sure your tire pressure is at the recommended level.
  • Don’t overreact if you start to skid.
  • Accelerate/decelerate slowly and try to avoid braking abruptly.
  • Don’t underestimate slipperiness of the roads.
  •  Beware ice on bridges, underpasses, low areas or shaded areas and intersections.
  • If you’ve been in a minor accident or your car stalls, pull over and stay in your vehicle.
  • Watch for deer in rural areas, especially in November and December.

Most common times for winter car accidents

The most common times for deadly winter car accidents were around 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Related: Tips to Avoid Hitting a Deer with Your Car

Most common day of week for winter car accidents

Saturday, by far, is the most common day to get into a deadly accident. Friday is a close second.

Most common causes winter car accidents

The most common causes of car accidents in winter aren’t really any different than any other time of the year: distracted driving, excessive speeding, and tailgating.

Related: How to choose the right tires for driving conditions

All three of these common causes of accidents are preventable!

When the snow is falling, put away your phone, slow down for conditions and leave extra room between you and the car in front of you.

Bonus tip: Put away your phone, don’t speed and don’t tailgate all year long and you will be less at risk for accidents.

 

 

 

 

 

Need your car repaired after an accident?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. Serving the local area including Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan, Chicago and the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Call (815) 485-8411

Most Common Types of Car Accidents

Front end collision

There is over 5 million car crashes in the United States each year. Luckily, most car accidents are not fatal. Even so, any car accident has the potential to cause you financial distress and sometimes long-term pain.

The average American will be involved in three car accidents during their lifetime. Most car accidents are preventable. The more you can avoid the better, so by learning about types of accidents, you can help yourself avoid them.

Here are the most common types of car accidents:

  • Rear end collisions
  • Single vehicle crashes
  • T-Bone collisions (accidents at intersections)
  • Sideswipes where lanes merge
  • Low-speed accidents

Rear end collisions

Rear end collisions are by far the most common type of car accident. Most of the time these accidents do not lead to serious injury but that doesn’t mean they can’t be avoided. The majority of rear-end collisions could be avoided simply by not following the car in front of you so closely. This gives you more time to react and even a half of a second could be the difference between a collision and a close call.

Single vehicle crashes

Single vehicle crashes, meaning there is only one car involved in the accident are also very common. These types of car accidents include sliding on ice or rain, running off the road, swerving too quickly, breaking too hard, and hitting other objects. Single vehicle crashes often happen because a driver overcorrects for a small mistake, such as steering to the left too quickly when the car enters the shoulder slightly. Other common causes include speeding and driving too fast for conditions. Many can be prevented by slowing down, going the speed limit, not driving too fast during a storm and not overreacting to other hazards.

Related: Winter Driving Tips You Need to Know to Stay Safe

T-Bone accidents

T-bone collisions happen at intersections where lanes of traffic cross each other. They are most frequently caused by a driver running a red light or by making a left turn without yielding to oncoming traffic. These can be very dangerous accidents but are almost entirely preventable. You should use caution at intersections and not try to speed through them. Pay attention to other vehicles because even though you may be driving carefully, others may not be.

Sideswipes where lanes merge

Swiping other vehicles where traffic lanes merge is a common type of accident. These are commonly caused by a failure of the merging driver to check their blind spots. Always carefully check all sides when merging lanes and don’t speed other because it may prevent other drivers from seeing you in their blind spots.

Related: Tips to Avoid Hitting a Deer with Your Car

Low-speed accidents

Low-speed accidents often happen in areas such as parking lots. They may not be a serious threat to drivers but can be a big danger to pedestrians. Check carefully for pedestrians, avoid driving to fast and look out for other drivers before reversing.

We hope this information can help keep you safe!

 

Need your car repaired after an accident?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. Serving the local area including Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan, Chicago and the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Call (815) 485-8411