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


  • When to use your car's fog lights

    Posted on 07, May, 2018

    If you've ever driven in thick fog, you no doubt know not to use your car's high beam headlights. That's because regular headlights shine directly into the fog, bouncing the light right back at you, making it more difficult to see. 

    That's where fog lights come in. As the name implies, your car's fog lights are intended to be used so that you can see better while driving in heavy fog, mist, snow and even sand and dust, according to Lifewire. Fog lights are different from regular headlights, which have high-beam and low-beam functions.

    The difference lies in their shape. They are bar-shaped and aimed sharply toward the ground, providing short-range visibility only just in front of your vehicle, according to Lifewire. By contrast, regular high- and low-beam lights aim straight ahead, lighting up the road to a further distance. When it's foggy, that light reflects back into your eyes, making it difficult to see. By aiming downward, fog lights eliminate this glare, allowing you to see better in fog.

    It's important to note that, because fog lights provide light for only a short distance in front of your car, you should always drive more slowly when using them, which you should do in limited-visibility situations anyway.

    There are other driving situations where using your regular headlight's low-beams can help improve visibility. Driving in rain can also cause light reflection, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you drive in the city at night, low beams provide sufficient short-range visibility, which is all you need in urban driving.

    Additionally, when another vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction at night, you'll want to switch to your low-beams so as not to blind the other driver. The same applies while driving behind another vehicle at night.

    Tagged: Safety , headlights
  • The importance of turn signals

    Posted on 27, April, 2018

    Your car's turn signal exists for a reason. Yet, many drivers hardly or never use their signals, which is a mistake. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, two million vehicular accidents a year occur due to a driver's failure to use a directional signal, and the Society of Automotive Engineers says that more than a fourth of drivers don't use them. And, did you know it's illegal in all states not to?

    Turn signals let other drivers know your intentions to turn or change lanes. If you don't signal those intentions, others naturally assume you will continue on as you are.

    While switching lanes, you should activate your turn signals at least five seconds before merging, according to Traffic School Online. Always turn them off, after you've completed your lane change.

    When turning, activate your turn signal well before you start to slow down to make the turn. Waiting until you're already into the turn is not only frustrating to the driver behind you, it's dangerous.

    When pulling out of a side street onto a main thoroughfare where traffic does not stop, using your turn signal lets other drivers know what you are about to do.

    if you come to a stop light with a right turn or left turn only lane, use your turn signal to let other drivers know that your are getting into that lane and leave it on until you have completed your turn, add Traffic Law Headquarters. Using your turn signal is even more important if you are turning from a street that has no turn-only lanes. If you're at a stop sign with no turn-only lanes signal that you are going to merge into the lane well before you slow down to turn. If you don't use your signal, you could cause an accident with other drivers or pedestrians.

    Tagged: Douglas Q&A
  • 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