Crystal Lake Auto Repair & Tire (815) 356-0440 SEND SMS 123 E Virginia Rd
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Barrington Auto Repair & Tire (847) 381-0454 SEND SMS 417 W. Main Street
Barrington, IL 60010
Fox River Grove Auto Repair & Tire (847) 639-4552 SEND SMS 416 Northwest Highway
Fox River Grove, IL 60021


  • Tips to check your car's A/C unit

    Posted on 12, June, 2018

    Summer has hit the Chicago area. Well, not technically, but with temperatures already in the 90s, you might want to think about your car's air conditioning unit and how much you love it. 

    It's good practice to have your mechanic check it annually before anything goes wrong.

    You can also check it yourself periodically and take steps to make sure it doesn't take a nosedive while you're sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on that long summer road trip.

    With your fan on high and your AC set to the coldest temperature, run it weekly for 10 minutes to keep the compressor in working order. Then turn on your defrost for five or ten minutes to stave off mildew. Do this year-round. It's also a good idea to recharge your A/C every other year.

    If, even after you've faithfully carried out these maintenance procedures, you notice your A/C is blowing less cold air than it used to, there could be several reasons. It may just need to be recharged with more refrigerant. Your mechanic can recharge the system to levels specifically for your vehicle to have it blowing icy cold again.

    The weak cold air output could also be caused by a leak in the A/C line or from the compressor. A line leak is easy to fix. However, if the compressor is leaking to the point where all the oil is depleted, the compressor will have to be replaced.

    The experts at Douglas Automotive, in Barrington, Fox River Grove, and Crystal Lake, can diagnose your A/C problem and have your on the road in air-conditioned comfort in no time. They can also perform your annual A/C service to keep it that way.

    Tagged: a/c
  • Manual vs automatic transmissions

    Posted on 29, May, 2018

    If you're in the market for a new or "newer" car, you may have noticed that stick shifts can often cost significantly less than automatics.

    We're referring here to the car's transmission. In the "old" days all cars were stick shifts (aka: manual transmissions.) Today, less than four percent of cars sold are.

    Should you buy a manual or an automatic?

    That depends, say automobile experts. Until now, manual transmissions have offered better gas mileage. However, technology is now producing some automatics that are actually better on gas than manuals, according to Edmunds.

    There's also a good reason there are more automatics than manuals today. They're easier to drive. Manuals require more engagement on the part of the driver. With a manual, you have a clutch, and you have to coordinate your clutch and brake each time you want to shift gears. Stopping on hills or even a slight incline can also be challenging.

    But, there is a good argument for manual transmissions in that proponents say they enjoy being more engaged, getting a better "feel" for the car, and having more control than is possible with an automatic transmission.

    Bear in mind that it's harder to find a car with a manual transmission now. And even if you do, if you're not familiar with a manual, are you willing to learn/ If you're a "lazy" driver (if you want the car to do the work for you) you'll likely want to continue driving automatic.

    Also, consider the fact that if you drive in heavy, congested traffic, a manual transmission means frequent shifting of gears. And if you decide to sell your car later you may have a harder time finding a buyer, notes Consumer reports, which advises doing your research on the particular model you're interested in before buying, looking at fuel economy, acceleration and shift quality.

    Tagged: transmission , repair
  • Memorial Day Weekend

    Posted on 23, May, 2018

    Last year, heavy rain along the Fox River caused hundreds od homes and businesses to flood. In fact, the media described the torrential rains as "absolutely catastrophic".

    Memorial Day Weekend is the official launch of summer - and boating season. Currently, the status of the chain of lakes and the fix river is no wake boating only. Most likely this no restriction will be in place for most of if not all of the Holiday weekend.

    One thing for sure, or no boat, restaurants are open and welcome your business. This holiday weekend take time to enjoy one of the many fine establishments along our beautiful waterways with family and friends. YOU can play an important role in helping these businesses succeed despite this unpredictable weather. Need some suggestions? Visit:    To check waterway status of the river visit:

  • Don't put off changing brake pads

    Posted on 21, May, 2018

    Out of sight, out of mind. Until you suddenly hear the squealing sound.It's your brake pads, and they're crying to be changed.

    As with the other components of your car, maintenance is the key to having brakes that do their job, which is a pretty important one, considering that if they go out - and they can - you're putting yourself, and your passengers, in real danger.

    So when that squeaking sound beckons, take heed. It's time to have your brake pads changed. There are two ways to check for brake wear on disc brakes, according to J.D. Power. The first is by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel's spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor, and there should be at least 1/4 inch of pad. If there's less, have your mechanic install new pads.

    The second way you'll know your brakes are near the end of their lives is that familiar squeal they will all of the sudden start making every time you apply your brakes. The source of the squeal is a metal shim, called an indicator, that's telling you it's time, advises J.D. Power.

    Now, you could just ignore that screech, but if you do, your brake pads will eventually wear away completely and then your brakes will start digging into the rotors. You'll know this has happened when the squealing is replaced by a grinding noise. Not only will it be harder to brake at this point, but you'll be looking at spending more money at the repair shop because not only will you have to replace your pads, you've just messed up your rotors, which will either need to be "turned" or replaced entirely.

    Tagged: Brakes , brake
  • The Douglas Automotive Basic Guide to Synthetic Oil

    Posted on 21, May, 2018

    Synthetic motor oil has been around for a long time, and more and more new vehicles are leaving factories with synthetic in their engines. But a lot of drivers don't really know much about it.

    Let's start with conventional oil - the kind folks are used to. Conventional oil is made up of naturally occurring hydrocarbon chains, which means its molecules are long and have various lengths. Like a pile of pencils. Some synthetic oil starts with a petroleum base that's modified and others are entirely synthesized from other materials.

    Synthetic motor oil works better in both hot and cold temperatures. It's more chemically stable so it doesn't readily evaporate or break down in the high heat produced inside your vehicle engine. This means it resists turning into sludge, which is a real engine killer.

    Remember that marbles and pencils thing we were talking about? Well, that makes synthetic oil slipperier than conventional oil which means less friction in your engine. Your vehicle engine runs cooler, wears less and lasts longer. You also get a boost in power and maybe even an improvement in fuel economy.

    Synthetic oil lasts longer so you change it less often - which is great for the environment. With longer oil change intervals, you need an oil filter specifically built for the longer service life of synthetic oil. Talk with your family and knowledgeable Douglas Automotive service adviser about synthetic oil and synthetic blends - they might be just what you need to improve engine performance and extend the life of your vehicle.

    Give us a call. 

    Tagged: oil , oil changes