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


  • Road trip? Check your tires first

    Posted on 24, April, 2017

    Good tires are important all the time, but if you’re planning a summer road trip, they become even more essential.

    How do you know if yours need to be replaced? The rules have changed, said McAllister.

    “We used to say a tire down to 2/32 of tread was considered bald, and wouldn’t pass a safety test,” McAllister said. An old rule of thumb was if you placed a penny upside down into the tread and saw the top of Lincoln’s head, it was time for new.

    “Now, If you use a quarter and see the top of Washington's head you’re at 4/32nds of tread,” McAllister said. “That’s kind of the new standard.” Road tests have proven that even that small difference can lead your car to need 180 feet more to stop.

    Worn tires also are more prone to injuries. “And who wants to be bothered on vacation getting a tire repaired or replaced?” McAllister said.

    McAllister recommends a good all-season tire for wet weather traction, but noted that not all tires are created equal.

    There’s a big difference between a $59.99 tire and a quality tire, depending on size. An inexpensive off-brand tire is not going to perform the same. You really do get what you pay for. Just because it’s round and black doesn’t mean it’s the same.”

    Douglas Automotive, with locations in Barrington, Fox River Grove and Crystal Lake, carries Michelin, BF Goodrich and Uniroyal.

    Tagged: Tires
  • Diagnosis code often only a starting point

    Posted on 17, April, 2017

    Q. I have a 2007 Camry that has a "check engine" warning light on. I took it to one of the parts stores and they told me the code was for an oxygen sensor, which I bought. I installed the sensor and cleared the codes but the light came back on. I'm a little frustrated because now I have spent money and time and still have the problem. Any ideas?


    A. First off, you have learned a valuable lesson with a fairly inexpensive part. You cannot make a diagnostic decision based on a code alone. This is why the so-called "free diagnostics" that some of the parts stores offer is a bit misleading.

    I like to make the analogy that a code will generally tell you what aisle of the supermarket where you can find an item, but it does not tell you what shelf it is on. It takes a skilled diagnostic technician armed with the code, the right tools and the proper information to get to the bottom of most DTC's (diagnostic trouble codes)

    With theses codes, there is research to be done and pinpoint tests to perform to accurately rule out good components and condemn the faulty one. While you have to invest some money into the diagnosis labor, in the end you often save money by replacing or repairing only what's needed as opposed to replacing parts that you don't need -- like in your case the oxygen sensor.

    At this point the only advice I can give you is to take it to a good shop that you know and trust, tell them you would like to have this problem diagnosed and also tell them what you have already done. The more information you give will save the technician some time and you some money. Good luck and I am sure you will get this resolved quickly.

  • Changing fluids on a used car is a starting point

    Posted on 10, April, 2017

    Q. I am getting a 2005 Toyota Camry from grandma in Arizona. It has been garaged-kept (never driven in summer months) and has only 25,000 miles on it. What parts and fluids should be changed? I would like to keep it another 10 years.

    A. What an opportunity for you to get a great car with such low mileage! Because of its age and how it was driven, I would recommend changing/flushing all the fluids. This would include the coolant, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, brake fluid and the engine oil.

    If it has a timing belt, I would change that, too, and I would scrutinize all the rubber parts of the car for any signs of dry rot or deterioration. These parts would include, but not limited to, the belts and hoses, axle boots, tires and brake hoses.

    Finally, don't skip the normal inspection you would give any older car like the brakes and filters. Make sure all the lights work. If there are any leaks, you might want to get these taken care of now, too.

    If you put a little money and time into this car now, I don't see any problem with you getting the 10 years out of it that you would like. Best of luck with it!

  • Pets in the car. Are you safe?

    Posted on 04, April, 2017

    The McAllisters recently welcomed little Mazi, their new pup, to the family. With all the excitement surrounding this little furball, we thought it would be a good time to review pet travel safety.
    In a recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 80% of dog owners drive with their pets in the car. There are 43.3 million households with pets, so it’s an impressive number of people traveling on the road with animals. Of those who travel with animals in their car, only 16% of those people use proper safety restraints. So, as you can see, the potential for distraction is high … very high. 

    Restrain your animal with a crash-tested pet safety product. According to the National Safety Council, more than 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported every year, making them the most common type of automobile accident. An unrestrained 10-lb dog will exert 300 pounds of pressure in an accident, according to the AAA. Without a crash-tested safety restraint, your pint-size pooch can injure passengers and become severely injured on impact.

    According to, not only should animals be restrained, but they should never travel in the front of the car. Keep your animal in the back seat or the cargo space if you drive an SUV. The front passenger airbag is designed to prevent injury to an adult human. These airbags could cause a significant amount of harm to an animal.

    Animals should never be left in a vehicle for an extended amount of time. The State of Illinois now has laws that prohibit you from leaving an animal in a vehicle for an extended period without proper ventilation or other protection from heat and cold. Reference the State of Illinois’ Humane Care for Animals Act (510 ILCS 70/7.1) for more information.

    Now that we’re entering into the spring/summer months, traveling with your pet may require a bit of planning.  Keep them and your family safe this season, and enjoy the ride!

    Tagged: Community
  • Douglas Automotive Is Now Text-Friendly

    Posted on 04, April, 2017

    We know you live a busy life. We also know bringing your vehicle in for maintenance is just one of many things on your to-do list. We’ve heard your feedback and incorporated the ability to text any of our main lines to set up an appointment, follow up on service or ask a question. It’s easy! As you would with any other number, send a text message to our shop line to communicate with a service advisor. This process now gives those who like to text a preferable option, but it also gives Douglas Automotive the ability to send you a message if other means of communication don’t work. Give it a shot and text your chosen shop at the corresponding number below. 

    Crystal Lake: 815-356-0440 | Barrington: 847-381-0454 | Fox River Grove: 847-639-4552

    Tagged: Uncategorized