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


  • Check your car's headlights

    Posted on 19, April, 2018

    Have you ever been pulled over by police becuase one of your headlights is out? You may not have noticed it. Headlights are one of those components of your car that you probably take for granted - until they don't work.

    Headlights are necessary in order for you to see to drive at night or in rain, snow or fog. But they are also important in the fact that they allow others to see your vehicle so that everyone on the road can drive safely. In fact, some states require headlight use in the daytime.

    Check your headlights periodically, to make sure they are in good working order. Problems can include a burned out or dim bulb, or inability to switch to low beams. Causes can be your car's battery, bad wires, a bad alternator or a loose alternator belt. If one bulb has burned out, replace both at the same time for consistent lighting. Your vehicle's owner's manual lists what type you need.

    In addition to a burned-out bulb, headlights may malfunction from a glitch in your car's electrical system or the headlight fuse.

    The type of vehicle you drive usually determines the type of headlight you will use. It's a good idea to check local ordinances to find out which types are allowed in your area.

    Halogen lights use halogen gas for a brighter light, while LEDs use less power and don't get as hot. They also last longer. Finally, Xenon/HID lights use gas so they burn brighter, but also cooler, and they last longer. Of course, they cost more, too.

    Changing your headlights regularly allows you to take advantage of new technology that improves safety and efficiency.

    Consult a trusted mechanic to diagnose and fix any headlight problem and answer questions your may have.

    Tagged: headlights
  • Check your car before a road trip

    Posted on 13, April, 2018

    Summer is not far away, and if you're planning on taking a road trip, don't wait to get your car in rop running condition to avoid any breakdowns that could ruin your fun.

    Check your battery to make sure it's connection is not only tight but clean. Does it have a good charge? If it's nearing its life expectancy, buy a new one. Check all your car's fluid levels and top off, if necessary.

    Do your tires have adequate tread? Check tread by inserting a quarter into the tread with George Washington's head upside down. If you can see the top of Washington's head, it's time to replace your tire. Check tire pressure. The correct pressure is listed on your car's door jam and your owner's manual.

    Do your brakes squeak? Sounds like it's time for new brake pads.

    Bring along emergency supplies, adds Consumer Reports. Include a flashlight, jumper cables, extra windshield washer fluid, first-aid kit, a small tool kit, a gallon of water and non-perishable food. You never know when you might need them. Add food, movies and music, if traveling with kids.

    If you're hauling bikes, kayaks or other equipment in and on top of your car, along with kids, luggage and the dog, compare total weight to your car's weight capacity, also listed on the door jam.

    Don't forget to pack a portable GPS if your car isn't equipped with a system. Most people have them on their phones nowadays. They can help you find the shortest route to your destination, alert you to any traffic issues along the way, and find the closest gas station if you're running low.

    Finally, it's always a good idea to have your vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic about a week before you take off so your road trip is a fun and relaxing one.

    Tagged: Maintenance
  • When is it time for new tires?

    Posted on 29, March, 2018

    Once we put tires on a car, many of us don't give them another thought, until something goes wrong.

    It's important to check your tires regularly to make sure they are inflated properly so they last a long time, and to make sure they have adequate tread on them for safety. Driving on bald or nearly bald tires is dangerous. If you're forced to brake suddenly, your car may not stop in time.

    There are a number of signs to look for in determining if it's time to retire your tires. Cracks in the sidewalls are red flags. So is uneven tread wear, which can be the result of under-or-over inflation, wheels that are out of alignment or suspension problems, according to consumer reports. If the tread is REALLY worn, less than 1/16th of an inch, replace your tires. Most tires come with tread lines that show you how much tread you have left.

    Another way to determine tread wear is to take a quarter and place it on edge with George Washington's head upside down between the treads. If you can see the top of George's head about the tread, it's time for a new tire.

    If you tire has bulges on the side, do not wait. Go immediately to a tire center and have it replaced. Bulges are weak spots creating a risk for blowouts, which can be extremely dangerous.

    If you notice your car vibrating a lot, you could have a damaged tire or a misaligned, bent or unbalanced wheel, adds Consumer Reports. In any case, it's likely time for new tires. Experts recommend replacing all four tires at the same time for even wear and a smoother ride.

    Tagged: Tires
  • My Window Won't Roll Down

    Posted on 15, March, 2018

    Ever pulled up to a drive-through only to find that your car window won't go down when you push the button to order. It's frustrating.

    If you have electric (power) windows in your car - and most people do these days - the causes range from simple to complex. If the window won't budge if could be one of the simple causes, such as a loose connection or a blown fuse, which are easy fixes.

    The reason could also be a faulty switch. If the window has been acting up, sometimes working and sometimes not, but seems to be getting worse over time, the switch is often the culprit. If, when you play with the switch, it works intermittently, that's also a clue that the contacts might be coming apart. You can try pushing if several times to get it to open temporarily. Obviously, however, you'll have to have the switch replaced.

    Another reason your window may not be moving is the gaskets. Those are the rubber strips around the inside of your car's window opening that hold the glass in place. If the gaskets are worn, dirty or have debris stuck in them, they could be preventing your window from opening. You can clean the gaskets yourself and see if that helps.

    There's also the issue of ice in the winter months. Especially freezing rain. When water freezes on your windows, they often freeze on the weather strip. Don't keep pushing the button, hoping it will dislodge itself. You can damage the motor this way and face a hefty repair bill. If you can't wait until your car warms up, try sliding a credit card, comb or other piece of plastic between the glass and the weather strip to break the ice holding them together.

  • What to do if your car's check engine light comes on

    Posted on 15, March, 2018

    It's an instant feeling of dread - heading down the highway and your check engine light comes on.

    Don't panic yet. It's not necessarily a big-ticket fix, although it could be.

    If you're lucky, it's just because your didn't screw the gas cap on tightly the last time you gassed up. However, other causes could also cost your thousands if there is major damage to your engine. In any case, you definitely want to have it checked right away by a trusted mechanic who will use an onboard diagnostics system code reader to determine the exact cause of your problem.

    One common cuase is an aging, faulty oxygen sensor, which can cause gas mileage to plummet and emissions to soar. If you ignore it, it can damage your catalytic converter, which can also cause your check engine light to go on. Its job is to render carbon monoxide nontoxic. If it doesn't work, it really affects gas mileage. Replacement cost is around $2,000. 

    Another reason your check engine light may light up is a faulty mass airflow sensor, which determines the amount of air entering your engine so that the correct amount of fuel is added to the engine. If it's not working properly your car can increase emissions, stall and get bad gas mileage. MAF sensors can be damaged by a dirty air filter.

    Finally, faulty spark plugs could be the culprit. If your car was built before 1996 they should be replaced every 25,000-30,000 miles. In later models they can last up to 100,000 miles. It's an inexpensive fix.

    There are other reasons your check engine light may have come on. Your best bet is to have your mechanic diagnose the exact cause to keep your vehicle running safely and efficiently.