5 Back to School Car Care Tips

When it is back to school time, there are a lot of things you need to get ready for the new school year.

You need school supplies, new school clothes for the kids, and you need to get the car ready for those daily trips to drop the kids off at school.

Getting the car ready may not be the first thing that comes to mind but it is definitely important to help ensure your kids get to school safely.

The Car Care Council and AutoNetTV have created a video to promote tips for getting your car ready for safe travel to school.

 

Back to School Car Care Tips Video

 

Back to School Car Care Tips

  • Check lights and wipers for visibility. With shorter days and inclement weather ahead, make sure lights and wipers function properly so that you can see and be seen. Check wiper blades for signs of wear and replace if necessary.
  • Get an annual brake inspection. The braking system is your car’s most important safety feature. Before carpool season gets in full swing, make sure that your brakes are functioning properly. Schedule a brake inspection and look for warning signs that your vehicle may need brake service, such as an illuminated brake light or screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.
  • Check tires for under inflation or excessive wear. Check tire pressure and refill underinflated tires, including the spare, and look for uneven wear and check tread depth.
  • Make sure everyone is buckled up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website has important tips on seat belt fit and position. For the younger ones riding along, the site has information about how to install car seats as well as guidelines on selecting a car seat or booster based on your child’s age and size.
  • Consider a back-up detection device. Consider having a back-up detection device installed that provides rearview video or warning sounds when moving in reverse. While drivers should not rely solely on these devices, they can help to reduce the risk of back-over incidents along with following other prevention tips from NHTSA.

 

Video and information from the Car Care Council

 

Need a reliable repair shop 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

Road Trip Checklist for Car

road trip car maintenance tips

Most of us end up driving a lot more during the summer.

Summer is the season of vacations and the season of road trips.

Before you go on a road trip, you definitely want to make sure that your car is ready for driving so you don’t get left stranded at the side of a row missing out on all your fun plans.

“With summer vacation upon us, a thorough vehicle inspection will give you peace of mind and make your journey safer,” says Rich White of the Car Care Council.

Below is a checklist of items to make sure your car is road trip ready.

 

 

Road Trip Car Maintenance Checklist

  • Make sure you have fresh oil and a clean filter.
  • Check your fluid levels: windshield washer, coolant, power steering, brake, transmission.
  • Check your tire air pressure.
  • Change your air filter.
  • Have an extra set of car belts.
  • Check your spark plugs.
  • Check your lights, blinkers, and nighttime hi-beams.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire, tire iron, and jack.
  • Have a spare car key and keep it on your person.
  • Make sure you have your car owner manual
  • Start your trip with a clean car.

 

Wear seat beltsBesides making sure your car is ready, make sure you’re ready for the trip too.

Don’t stay up late packing the night before. Fatigue and lack of sleep can affect your driving.

Related: Summer Driving Tips

Don’t push yourself driving too far and for too long every day. If you’re feeling tired, pull over and have a rest or take a nap. Or take a hike to get your heart and blood moving again.

Having your favorite podcast, stand up comedy albums, audiobooks, or your favorite up-tempo diving music can help pass the time in the car.

If you’re a passenger, it will probably help your driver to engage them in some conversation at times, as long as it’s nothing too distracting.

As always, obey the speed limit and make sure that you are always driving sober.

 

It is also recommended that you check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make sure your care does not have any active safety recalls such as the recent Tanaka airbag recall. Check here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls

 

Please enjoy your trip and drive safe!

 

Need a reliable repair shop 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

How To Prepare Your Car for Spring

Spring flowers

In this post, we review what you should do to get your car ready for spring so it is running at it’s best and protect it from future damage.

When the ice and snow have finally melted (FINALLY!) then it is time to get your care ready for spring.

The weather is going to change, the long winter is over, and your car needs some special care to run at it’s best.

Spring cleaning is an important tradition for your home, but it’s also good for your car too. It’s part of an important process getting your car ready for spring and summer that can help keep your car running at it’s best later on.

Here is what we think you should know about getting your car ready for spring weather:

 

Getting your car ready for spring

Wash your car

You can start your spring cleaning by making sure your car gets a good wash to remove all that salt from the winter.

It’s always good for your car to stay clean but that winter salt and grime can really build up on the underside of your vehicle and contribute to rusting and damaging your car.

Here are the DMV’s recommendations to keep your car clean from salt.

View from the rainy windowReplace your wiper blades

We know that spring means plenty of rain. Are your car’s wiper blades ready to keep you safe?

When was the lasts time you changed your wiper blades? They should be changed every year, and sometimes even twice a year.

Make sure your wiper blades are ready to protect you during harsh rainy conditions in the spring and summer.

 

Check your brakes

Rough winter roads and weather can really take a toll on your car’s brakes. They have to deal with extreme cold, ice and salt all winter long. This can start to wear them out and make them less effective.

Take a close listen to see if your brakes are sounding a little noisier than they did last summer. If they’re starting to sound a little scratchy, it’s time to get them checked.

Related: Even in Spring There Can Be Dangerous Driving Conditions

 

Check your alignment

Checking your alignment is simple to do yourself. You can check alignment by carefully watching to see how your car veers to one side or the other. Center the alignment while your driving at a moderate speed, then watch to see if it veers out of the center and to one side. Hitting a pothole in the center can cause your alignment to become crooked.

Getting your alignment fixed can not only make your car safer but can keep your tires from wearing out sooner.

 

Check your tires

Make sure to check your tire pressure. The extreme temperatures of winter can deflate your tires and you may not realize that they are running low on air. Make sure they are inflated to the correct pressure so that you can drive safely and get the best possible gas mileage.

If you are someone who puts on snow tires for the winter, then it’s time to swap them out for your all-season tires. They will wear down more quickly if you drive them in the summer.

Check your tires for worn tread and make sure to replace your tires if it has become too worn.

 

Check Engine Light

Check your fluid levels

Making sure your car’s fluids are all topped off is an important part of getting your car ready for spring.

Make sure to check your engine coolant so it is at the right level and helps maintain your car’s engine temperature at the proper level.

Check your windshield wiper fluid, because it tends to get used up during the messy winter conditions.

And while everything is being checked, don’t forget to check your brake fluid and engine oil too. They need to be topped off so that your car isn’t damaged by being too low.

Related: Spring car maintenance checklist

 

Need a reliable repair shop 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

Do You Need to Warm Up Your Car in Winter?

car covered in snow

In this post, we answer a question that has become more common recently: Do I need to warm up my car in winter?

The answer may surprise you.

If you need auto body or engine repairs in New Lenox, CALL (815) 485-8411

 

For many people, warming up the car first before driving on a cold day is just common sense. It’s just what you do in winter.

It’s what your parents told you to do when you got your first car. It’s what you’ve always done.

However, it turns out that this “common sense” may not be so sensible after all.

Both the Car Care Council and the Environmental Protection Agency advise against warming up your car and say it is unnecessary. 

“Unless you are trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior of your car, idling is not required for today’s vehicles,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

From the EPA:

“When a car idles for more than 30 seconds, it has several negative effects, such as increasing air pollution unnecessarily, wasting fuel and money, and causing excessive wear or even damaging a car’s engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs and the exhaust system. Contrary to popular belief, idling isn’t an effective way to warm up most car engines.”

 

Warming up your car before driving may have been good advice at one time, but in today’s modern cars, it is no longer necessary.

 

Why warming up your car is no longer necessary

Car stuck in snowAlmost all cars built before 1995 used a carburetor, which is the device in your vehicle that combines air and fuel.

Old cars with carburetors needed warming up on a cold day. If not, the carburetor might not be able to get the right mix of air and fuel in the engine, causing the engine to stall.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the auto industry started changing over to the electronic fuel injection method, and by the 1990s it was widely adopted, eliminating the need for a carburetor.

The change over to fuel injection made the problem of warming up the car before driving unnecessary because the fuel injection sensors monitor and adjust to temperature conditions.

This means warming up your car hasn’t actually been a necessity for your vehicle for over 30 years.

Still, this old practice still remains and is still even passed on as advice to people all the time, but it is no longer valid.

 

Conclusion

Low angle view to car tires.

If your car is not starting up on a cold day, it is likely because of a dad battery, frozen fuel line or a clogged injector.

Warming up your car in winter has no benefit to your car. Experts say that you should warm up the car no more than 30 seconds before you start driving in winter. “The engine will warm up faster being driven,” the EPA according to the EPA.

What does warming up your vehicle do? It wastes fuel, gives off greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution. It does nothing for your engine.

If your windshield needs defrosting, by all means, crank up the heat and defrost your windows before driving. But if you’re starting your car five minutes early because you think it’s good for your engine or car, you can stop.

 

Probst CollisionNeed a reliable repair shop you can trust?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repairdent removalmechanical 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

How to Prevent Odometer Fraud

Odometer

The NHSTA has issued a consumer advisory to warn the public about the threat of odometer fraud.

Estimates from the NHSTA say that more than 450,000 vehicles per year are sold with false odometer readings. That’s a lot of fraud!

With numbers that large, car buyers need to be aware so they can take steps to protect themselves.

In this post, we review steps you can take to help protect yourself from odometer fraud during the car buying process.

 

Protect yourself from odometer fraud

With hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the United States having potentially fraudulent odometer readings, you need to protect yourself when buying a car.

Check Engine LightIn September 2018, a father and son team from Mississippi plead guilty to a large scale odometer rollback scheme. They were buying large numbers of high mileage vehicles from various sources and altering the odometers to show a lower mileage. They also created fake paperwork to secure new titles showing the false lower mileage on the vehicles, so they could then resell them to individuals and auto dealerships at inflated prices.

This is not the first case like this. There is both large and small odometer fraud happening every day.

Knowing the lifetime mileage of a car is a good indicator of how many miles it may have left. The sale price of a used car is heavily influenced by the number of miles. Buying a car with a rolled-back odometer likely means paying more than it is worth.

Related post: What is my car worth?

Not only will a vehicle with its mileage reduced sell for an inflated price, but it will also deceive you about the potential durability and safety of the vehicle. You are both overpaying and increasing the chances you will have to spend more money on upkeep and repairs.

A car with the odometer rolled back is a rip-off worth protecting yourself from.

 

How to prevent odometer fraud

According to the NHTSA, you should take these steps to protect yourself from odometer fraud:

  • Ask to see the title and compare the mileage on it with the vehicle’s odometer. Be sure to examine the title closely if the mileage notation seems obscured or is not easy to read.
  • Digital odometers can be reprogrammed to display a lower or false mileage. Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage indicated on the vehicle’s maintenance or inspection records. Also, search for oil change and maintenance stickers on windows or door frames, in the glove box or under the hood.
  • Examine the tires. If the odometer on your car shows 20,000 or less, it should have the original tires.
  • Look at the wear and tear on the vehicle—especially the gas, brake, and clutch pedals—to be sure it seems consistent with and appropriate for the number of miles displayed on the odometer.
  • Request a vehicle history report to check for odometer discrepancies in the vehicle’s history. If the seller does not have a vehicle history report, use the car’s VIN to order a vehicle history report online.
  • If you suspect fraud, contact NHTSA and local law enforcement

OdometerAnother effective way to prevent odometer fraud is to purchase a CARFAX Vehicle History Report for any used car you are seriously considering buying.

Some used car dealers even offer them for free as a service to their customers. It costs $40 for a CARFAX report or $60 for three reports if you are looking at multiple vehicles.

Good luck with your search for a used vehicle! We can help inspect any car you’re interested in purchasing.

To report odometer fraud to the NHTSA call 800-424-9393 or 888-327-4236. You can also file a complaint online at NHTSA.gov/Equipment/Odometer-Fraud.

 

Need a reliable repair shop you can trust?

Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repairdent removalmechanical 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

 

Summer Driving Tips

Summer driving tips

Summer driving tips

With summer road trip season about to begin, the car safety blog Carwise has released a list of summer driving tips to help keep you, your family and vehicle safe for your summer vacation.

It won’t surprise you to hear that more Americans travel during the summer months than any other time of the year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 90% of families will use their car to go on a trip, even if it’s only for a weekend.

All these vehicles on the road mean that there are more opportunities for car accidents to occur. Besides busier roads with more cars, there will be more road construction during the summer as well. Extreme heat and rain can also increase the chance of accidents.

You owe it to yourself to take a few extra steps to help ensure you have a safe trip.

Here are some safe summer driving suggestions originally published by Carwise.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for extended trips

Prior to embarking on your vacation have a mechanic inspect your vehicle’s brakes, tires, belts, hoses, fluid levels, A/C, transmission, and oil. In the summer heat, it’s also important to make sure that your car stays hydrated just like your body. That means inspecting the radiator, radiator hoses, and coolant level. Right before setting out on your trip also check the following:

  • car maintenanceTire pressure including the spare
  • Wiper blades
  • Battery strength and cable connections
  • Oil level
  • Look for suspicious fluid leaks underneath the vehicle
  • Headlights, brake lights, turn signals and emergency signals

The last thing you need while transporting your family cross-country is to get stranded alongside the road in the blistering heat. Instead, make sure that your car is as road-ready as possible.

Related post: Spring Car Maintenance Checklist

 

Plan for potential roadside emergencies

Planning in advance will still never totally eliminate the occasional travel emergency, but you can be ready for anything the road sends your way. Make sure that your car is stocked with these items:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight
  • Tire tools and a road-ready spare
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone charger
  • Plenty of water
  • Hazard triangle or road flares

If you are going to be traveling many miles across sparsely-inhabited areas, like a desert, it’s also not a bad idea to pack some non-perishable food items and warm blankets.

Related post: Top check engine light causes

 

Secure pets and kids safely

Any parent who’s gone on a summer car vacation with kids knows that Johnny and Susie oftentimes end up fighting in the back seat. Insurance industry studies have found that kids and loose pets can be up to 12X more distracting to a driver than a cellphone.

To improve those odds, make sure that your family pets are secure in the vehicle before setting out, and that the kids are comfortably spaced about inside the interior. Bring along plenty of entertainment items for them like books, games, IPads, movies, and music. And don’t forget to pack lots of healthy snacks and drinks for your family members, including the non-human ones!

 

Pack your car carefully

When the average family goes on a driving vacation their vehicle is usually stuffed full of personal items, and oftentimes cars get packed in a hurry. Take time to make sure that the weight is distributed evenly, and that the driver has a clean line-of-sight all around the vehicle. If you are placing bicycles, kayaks, or other “toys” on the roof rack, know how high those items stick up if you encounter low bridges or tree limbs, along with the weight limit of the rack itself.

 

Take driving breaks

It seems that most men are programmed with the notion that they have to do most of the vacation driving. Unfortunately, they get fatigued like everyone else, and when that happens the likelihood of an accident goes way up as reaction times and concentration suffer. On long trips when there’s only one driver in the vehicle, it’s advisable to stop at a rest area and allow them to take a stretch break every 2 to 3 hours. If other drivers are available, everyone should take turns behind the wheel while others nap or simply relax for a while. A fresh driver is a safer driver no matter how you slice it!

 

Need a reliable repair shop 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

Spring Car Maintenance Checklist

Time for a spring check up

You did it! You survived another Chicagoland winter.

It seemed like it would last forever, but it is over and now you can enjoy warm weather again.

Now that spring is here, and summer is around the corner, it’s time to make sure that your vehicle is ready for the change in seasons as well.

In this post, we share our spring car maintenance checklist to get you and your car ready for summer driving.

 

Spring Car Care Checklist

Check vehicle exterior

  • Headlights and tail lights
  • Wiper blades
  • Tire tread wear
  • Tire pressure
  • Check for chips or scratches
  • Clean and wax your car

Wiper blades should be replaced every 6-9 months because they directly affect your visibility and safety. Check your tires for wear. Uneven wear on your tires can indicate an alignment issue. Your tire pressure can fluctuate during cold weather so it should be checked after winter.

 

Check under the hood

  • car maintenanceOil change
  • Battery and connections
  • Hoses and belts
  • Schedule a tune-up

A change in seasons is always a good time to get an oil change to keep your car running efficiently. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power. Make sure your belts and hoses are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or excessively worn.

 

Check your fluids

  • Engine oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Windshield washer solvent
  • Antifreeze/coolant

Now is a great time to check the levels of all your vehicle fluids. If you take your car in for a professional oil change, make sure they are checking fluid levels.

 

Other

  • Check brakes
  • Check your air conditioning
  • Check for any leaking fluids on your driveway
  • Check for any vehicle recalls

Inspect your brake linings, rotors and drums for wear. Check your air conditioning now instead of waiting until the first 90-degree day to find out it’s not working.

Check if there is a defect in your vehicle on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website at nhtsa.gov/recalls by using the VIN look-up too.

 

Need a reliable repair shop 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

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

How to choose the right tires for driving conditions

The Right Tires For Your Car

Choosing the right set (or sets) of tires can help create a safer, more comfortable ride in a variety of weather and driving conditions.

Which tires best match my driving conditions?

It is important to analyze your driving conditions and then pick the tires that best suit them. Do you drive your vehicle in dry weather? Or in rain and snow? Do you drive your truck only on highways, or do you also go off-roading? These tips and other similar information about specific driving conditions can help you choose the right tires for your needs.

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