Bartelso, IL

About Us

Our Mission

To offer every customer that calls or walks through our doors the assurance that we will provide the highest quality products along with a friendly, professional staff, emphasizing integrity in every action.

Our Story

Three years after completing college and receiving a degree in automotive Technology, and with his love for race cars, 4-wheeling and fixing things that challenged him, Carl’s 4-Wheel Drive and Performance Center was established in 1977.

Located in a small town called Bartelso, where the population is approximately 600, Carl welcomed his first customer through his doors. It was a small three bay shop, built on a corner lot of his father’s farm and was originally known as Carl’s Automotive & 4-Wheel Drive Center.

Back in the late 70’s, the 4-wheel drive industry was in its infancy. Being involved in drag racing since his high school days, Carl’s interest started to turn to the fun of 4-wheeling in the mud to satisfy his need for that “adventure rush’ we all look to find.

If you have been around a long time, you know back then about the largest tire that was available was a 33” tall Gumbo Mudder and Ground Hawgs. If you had anything bigger than a 4” lift kit you were ahead of the times and definitely a local “bad boy”…my how times have changed.

Seeing the desperate need for a supplier and a knowledgeable source for 4-wheel drive and performance parts for his local area, Carl’s can be considered being on the ground floor of the industry. For over 35 years, he and his knowledgeable staff have taken that one customer the day he opened and expanded their customer base to now include thousands of satisfied customers, not only local, but across the region and states. Now serving them in a 10,000 square foot facility and unlimited parts access, the satisfaction and friendship of our customers is the foundation on which the company stands.

With the explosion of so called dealers and internet companies wanting to sell you a suspension kit and etc. and are recommending to you the product they think you should put on your $40,000.00 vehicle while sitting in their skivvies at the kitchen table (office), think twice. At Carl’s, because of our extensive background, we can help you find the answer or the product you need for your application in a timely and affordable manner. We are a true brick & mortar place that treats all our customers with respect and honesty. If we cannot help you with something you are looking for, we will recommend only places that value their customers as much as we do.

We look forward to working with you!

Oh yeah…I almost forgot, if you cannot make the trip to see us, we can drop ship almost any part to your front door in a matter of days.


carl carl's 4wd carl carl's 4wd vehicle

Carl realized at a very young age that half the fun of going somewhere was “how you get there.”

That was when his love for motorsport fun was born and currently at 59 that thought is still engraved in his business philosophy today.

Over 35 years he has been able to share his love of motorsports with others by establishing his business back in 1977, not with the goal of being the biggest, but being one of the best!

Carl has been married to his wife Geri for 35 years and they have five daughters. He enjoys spending time with his family and helping others, along with attending many motorsport activities as a participant, promoter or a fan.

One of his passions has been drag racing for over 35 years and currently still races his 88 Firebird.


brennan carl's 4wd brennan carl's 4wd vehicle

Brennan has been an integral part of our company ever since he was in the 7th grade starting out as our clean-up “kid”. (remember he was in grade school) He has worked in all facets of the business through the years and in 2010 joined our sales staff up front and now serves as our Sales Manager.

Brennan is always ready to listen to what our customers want and using the skills he learned in the shop, he is able to make sure our customers get the correct products they need to meet their goals of performance and visual up-grades to their vehicle. He is always working hard to please our current customers to keep them coming back, along with bringing in new ones.

Brennan is big into Diesel Performance upgrades and can recommend a combination of add-on’s you will be happy with on your vehicle. He enjoys off-roading in his highly modified Razor and weekend projects at his hobby shop at home.

Oh yeah….he drives this cool looking Dodge! Check it out!


keith carl's 4wd keith carl's 4wd vehicle

Keith has been with our company for over 20 years and has extensive hands on experience. Keith’s duties include scheduling and advising of everything that comes through our doors. Whether you purchase a lift kit, need your 4-wheel drive train rebuilt, or you need something small repaired in our modern 12-bay service facility, he can advise you on what does or does not need repaired or replaced and can help you make an informed decision on any service issues.

Keith has extensive knowledge on almost every kind of lift kit on the market and on most makes and models. He possesses the canny ability to diagnose the hard to find problems that frustrate many capable technicians.

In his fast paced world, he enjoys 4-wheeling trips and spending time with his family. He serves on his home town (Aviston, IL) village and park board.

By the way his fun vehicle is this little samurai!


Dan brings over 30 years of hands on experience and knowledge to our service department. Dan has been with our company for 20+ years. There is not much that Dan has not seen when it comes to working on and analyzing your automotive and truck needs. When it comes to “picky, picky” on making sure your vehicle is performing right, Dan is your man.

Dan Black has had a sudden health issue and had to step down from Carl's as a mechanic for time being. Keeping thoughts and prayers to him and his family for his full recovery

He enjoys riding his Harley in his spare time.


travis carl's 4wd travis carl's 4wd vehicle

Travis is currently attending SIU Carbondale working towards his degree in Automotive Technology.

Travis joined our staff in the summer of 2011 and joins our Service Department every summer and during school breaks. He is well on his way to being a standout technician and we are happy to have him on our team.

He enjoys trap shooting and all outdoor activities during his free time.

Yeah, he’s a Chevy guy … here is his super clean everyday driven Monte Carlo!


joey carl's 4wd joey truck carl's 4wd

Joey currently attends Kaskaskia College’s Automotive Technical Program. Joey joined our company in the Spring of 2012. He currently works in our Service Department doing general maintenance and clean up and is an all around fix it type of guy. He has a bright future in the industry.

He loves working on diesels and tractor pulling in his free time.

You guessed it…he drives a Ford. Check it out!


cindy bike carl's 4wd

Cindy has been with our company for over 15 years. Chances are when you first call our business the very first voice you will hear will be that of Cindy, our long time office manager. Cindy’s friendly voice will guide you to the right person to meet your needs and will be able to help with any questions that may arise in the business office day to day operations.

Cindy is an avid health nut, from bicycling to running to lifting weights, she loves it all. She also promotes an “eat to live” lifestyle to all of us at the shop.

Hey…maybe we should all take note a little more!


chris carl's 4wd chris truck carl's 4wd

Chris joined our staff in 2010. He has been a great addition to our service department. He handles a lot of our lift kit installations and accessory add-on’s, along with the general maintenance of everyday vehicles.

On most weekends, he enjoys just hanging out with friends and helping them with their projects. Chris drives one nice looking 2010 Silverado 1500 with a 7”lift and wheels and tires etc.

Check it out….it’s cool!