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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