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


  • Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

    Posted on 19, June, 2017

    traffic jam, brake lightsQ: I have a 2001 Ford Pickup Truck that I am getting ready to sell, and I noticed that the brake line going to the rear is wet with fluid. Is there a way to splice in a line or is there a cheaper way to repair than to replace the line?

    A: Unfortunately, you will need to replace the line. Anytime you are dealing with the hydraulic side of the brake system, you don’t want to cut any corners. If you have a brake line blow out on braking, it could be catastrophic. The proper repair would be to replace all rusted brake lines as well as flushing out the system with new brake fluid. This type of repair can run between $500 - $1000 depending on how much of the systems will need to be replaced. On some vehicles, the brake lines and the fuel lines are bundled together; the minute you touch one of those lines, the others can be compromised and begin to leak, so be prepared. We have a big problem with this on older cars as they have been exposed to so many winter seasons with all the road salt, which just eats away at the exposed metal lines. The lines we have been using as replacement have a high content of nickel and they don’t corrode like the steel ones do. If you sell this vehicle as is, make sure you disclose the problem area to the buyer; you wouldn’t want them to have a problem. Good luck, and I hope this is helpful. 

  • Keep that Light Shining Bright - Headlight Restoration

    Posted on 12, June, 2017

    The headlight lenses on my 2001 Honda Odyssey have clouded over the years, and I have had them professionally restored/polished to make them clear. I have also done the restoration polishing twice myself. While I have been successful in restoring the lenses to almost new condition each time, my questions are:

    1) What causes the lenses to cloud over time—is it UV exposure, chemical exposure or something else?
    2) Is there something I can do to prevent, reduce or mitigate the cause of the plastic getting cloudy?
    3) Since the headlight restoration product I use (Rain-X Headlight Restorer) acts like a mild abrasive, is there a limit to how many times I can use this product until I wear out or damage the headlight lens to the point where polishing will not work anymore?

    I have two newer cars in the family that have not shown any headlight lens clouding yet, and I would like to do what I can to avoid having to keep on polishing the lenses. What do you suggest?


    Doug:  Great Questions. It is primarily the UV exposure that degrades the plastic lenses. When they are new, there is a coating on there that inhibits the exposure but over time, it wears off. The natural impact from sand and road grime does not help either.

    When we do the headlight restoration, we use three or four grades of abrasive with the final sanding being extremely fine (3000). We do the sanding with orbital pneumatic tools that run at different speeds. We then finish off with a polish that has a UV inhibitor. We have had good luck with this process, and it seems to last, so I am not sure why you have had to do them so often. I am sure the farther you sand into the plastic, the less effective it will be.

    The best thing you can do for the headlight lenses that are still in good shape is to keep them clean and waxed; this will help protect them as best you can. Taking the time or spending the money to clean up those cloudy lenses is well worth it. Not only will you have better vision at night, but it makes the whole car look much better.

  • Don't Forget: Inspecting Your Trailer is Important Too

    Posted on 05, June, 2017

    As you start thinking about summertime, now that it’s finally arriving, you might want to get your trailer inspected before the summer trailering season begins.

    Whether it be a boat, Jet Ski, camper or just a utility trailer, they can get neglected. It is easy to forget that the lights, tires, brakes and wheel bearings should be serviced at least once per year. Boat and Jet Ski trailers especially get abused because of being backed into the water to launch the watercraft. This can be very hard on the wheel bearings and the lighting. The wheel bearings should be cleaned thoroughly and inspected for pitting. If they are good, they should be repacked and reinstalled with new grease seals. If there is any pitting on the bearing, it should be replaced with a new bearing and race.

    If the trailer has brakes, make sure they are cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. You will want to check all the lighting and wiring, and make any repairs that are needed; every light should work. Finally, inspect the tires for proper tread depth and any dry rotting. If there is any observed, they should be changed. Inspect the latch mechanism for proper adjustment; clean and lube as necessary, and be sure the safety chains and hooks are in good shape.

    Following these guidelines will ensure a trouble-free trailering experience this summer.

  • Keep Your Car Cool this Summer - Check Your Air Conditioner

    Posted on 29, May, 2017

    Your car’s air conditioning system, you love it, you depend on it, so if you don’t want to find yourself sweltering in the summer heat, maintain it.

    The rule of thumb is to have your vehicle’s A/C unit checked by a trusted mechanic once a year BEFORE anything goes wrong...and there are several things that can go wrong.

    If your A/C is blowing less cold air than it used to, that could signal a couple of things. 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.

    Typically, he or she will also test the system for leaks. A leak could be coming from your A/C line or from the compressor.  A line leak is easy enough to fix, but if it’s your A/C’s compressor, it could be a leak or a complete fail if the oil in it has depleted. If it is the compressor, you’ll need to have it replaced.

    It’s an expense you can avoid by taking your car in for that yearly A/C service.

    If the problem isn’t the condenser, it could be other components of your a/c system such as the evaporator, the expansion valve or the receiver dryer. Depending on the age of your car, some or all of those parts could need replacement due to normal deterioration.

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

  • Car Owner Frustrated with String of Alternators

    Posted on 15, May, 2017

    Q. I have a 1992 Toyota Corolla with 105,000 miles on it. I am the second owner. I bought it used at around 40,000 miles. The concern I have is that I have replaced the alternator three times with an aftermarket alternator in the last five years, and when I looked at the history of the vehicle, I noticed the alternator was also replaced twice while the vehicle was under warranty with the original alternator.

    Any idea if there is something that could cause the alternators to go bad? Or was there a problem with the alternators on these vehicles?

    The only thing that seems odd to me on the vehicle is that when the turn signal is blinking (when other accessories are turned on -- headlights, wipers, etc.), the vehicle's RPMs seems to surge.


    A. I could not find any pattern failures for your car on the charging system. The only thing I can suggest is to make sure you are getting a good quality alternator and that you have the shop check that every positive connection is good.

    I would also have all of the ground connections checked and since you have had so many problems consider having a ground strap connected right to the alternator case to be extra sure that you have a good ground. I hope this helps!