Crystal Lake and Barrington Auto Repair

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“Use” it to Your Advantage

“Use” it to Your Advantage

Time to trade in your old car?

There are important reasons to consider buying used instead of new.

“The biggest reason is the price,” said Doug McAllister, owner of Douglas Automotive in Crystal Lake.   “When you buy a new car it depreciates over a very short period of time very rapidly.”

According to Edmunds.com the average new car loses 11 percent of its value the minute it’s driven off the lot. By the fifth year, it’s worth only 37 percent of what you paid the dealership.

“That’s the obvious advantage of buying a one- or two-year-old car,” McAllister said. “You eliminate taking all that depreciation on yourself, and you’ve still got a current model vehicle with low mileage and something that’s going to serve you for a long time.”

That being said, it’s important to make sure the pre-driven vehicle of your dreams is roadworthy.  Douglas Automotive pr

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Another Oil Change?!

Another Oil Change?!

Longer oil-change intervals may not be the best way to go.

Many vehicle manufacturers have pushed the oil change interval out to 5,000 or 8,000 and even 10,000 miles. These higher intervals may not be the way to go based on some recent findings.

In one case the manufacturers' standard oil-drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles, but people following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. Oil sludge was building up in the engine causing small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail. The manufacturers extended the warranty on these engines but started requiring shorter oil-change intervals. We have seen several of these cases in our shops where clients let long periods of time go between oil changes, which caused the oil to sludge up in the engine.

One of the components that seems to be very susceptible to problems from oil sludge is the Variable Timing Actuator. There are very tiny passages in this co

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Categories:

Oil Changes

Repair in Pairs

Repair in Pairs

The bad news is many of us don't take care of our cars the way we should and that lack of maintenance will eventually catch up to us.

I wanted to focus in on one habit I would like to recommend you develop; that is to replace things in pairs. Whether it be a light bulb or a suspension part like a ball joint or a brake caliper, it is a good practice to replace both sides.

If you think about it, both sides of the car have the same amount of wear, so if one side wears out or breaks, you can be pretty sure the other side will not be far behind. Even if the part looks good, do yourself a favor and change it anyway. You won't know it, but, trust me, you will save yourself a fair amount of aggravation.

Here are some of the parts you should change in pairs that come to mind, though not everything.

• Brakes and brake components like calipers and wheel cylinders, drums and rotors.

• Suspension parts like ball joints, tie rod ends, stru

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Polish up on windshield fine scratches

Polish up on windshield fine scratches

Q. I have a lot of little scratches on my windshield. When The sun shines on it, I can see the scratches, but when the sun is not shining, I don't see them.

Is there anything that I can put on the windshield to make the scratches go away so I don't notice them when the sun shines on it?

A. The rule of thumb is, if you can feel the scratch with your fingernail, it is too deep and the windshield will have to be replaced. A scratch like that is typically caused by a worn out or broken wiper blade.

If the windshield has real fine scratches like you are describing, you may be able to polish the glass. If you Google "windshield polishing kits," several will pop up.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to give this a try before replacing the windshield.

Good luck

Categories:

Maintenance

Keep your cool in the heat- Maintain your car's A/C

Keep your cool in the heat- Maintain your car's A/C

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

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Categories:

Antifreeze

Why is my dashboard display not bright enough?

Why is my dashboard display not bright enough?

Q. I own a 2007 Chevy Malibu LE 4 cylinder with 46,000 miles. I love the car except for one thing: the information located in the radio area cannot be read on a bright day. This displays the time, temp, radio station, etc.

On cloudy days it is fine. I have tried adjusting the brightness of the interior lights, which makes no difference. Is there anything that I can do to make the information readable on a bright day?

A. I am not really sure what is going on here with your Malibu. Typically, when you have the headlights turned off, or if it is bright out and the auto headlights are off, your dash lights, radio and heater control will be at its brightest. When the lights are on you should be able to bring the brightness all the way up with the dimmer.

Is the brightness OK on all the other controls? Has it always been like this or did something change?

After a quick search on the Internet it seems several other Malibu ow

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Categories:

Dashboard Lights

Road Trip! Is your car ready?

Road Trip! Is your car ready?

It’s summer vacation time and families are preparing to head out on the open road.

While you’re packing the sunscreen and swimsuits, don’t forget something much more important - a car that’s ready to take on hundreds of miles you’ll put it through.

Check the following before you take off.

1. Fluids. Check the oil and all the other fluids under the hood as well. Your car can’t function if your

oil is so old. Also, make sure there IS oil. Let it run dry and you’ll lock up your engine because they require clean oil to function properly.

2. Battery. Make sure yours has plenty of life, fluid, and the terminals aren’t corroded. If your battery is more than 5 years old you may want to replace it.

3. Brakes. You don’t want to think about what might happen if your brakes fail. Get ‘em checked.

4. Belts and hoses. If they’re old or cracked, you’re in f

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Categories:

Maintenance

When is enough, enough?

When is enough, enough?

Q. When is enough, enough? How much has to be wrong with a car before you decide it's time to let it go?

A. This is a decision only you can make because anything can be fixed -- all it costs is money.

Hypothetically now, what if a $3,000 engine would put a car in like-new condition; would it be worth it?

A question you can ask yourself is, what if this car was advertised for sale for $3,000 with a new, perfect engine? Would that be a good deal? In many cases you could not go out and buy a good used car for the amount of money needed to put your current paid-for car in "like new" condition.

There are instances though where you may have let the car go to a point where there are multiple problems, when you can find a nice car in better shape for less than what it would cost to repair yours. Let's say it has an engine problem and it needs brakes, tires, a catalytic converter, shocks and struts, a steering rack and the body is all beat up

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Categories:

Maintenance

What happens if I use the wrong type of fuel for my vehicle?

What happens if I use the wrong type of fuel for my vehicle?

Q. If the manufacturer says a vehicle needs premium fuel, what happens if you use mid-grade or regular?

A. The car will run on regular, but it has been designed to run on the higher octane fuel. The simplest way to describe this is in order for it to run on regular gas, the computer will need to detune the engine a bit, sacrificing performance and fuel economy.

As a result, you will probably burn more fuel and gain nothing in cost savings -- and your car will not run optimally.

If your car calls for premium fuel, you should put premium fuel in it, and if your car does not call for premium fuel there is no advantage to you using it

Categories:

fuel

Tags:

gas , fuel

Rising temperatures change tire pressure

Rising temperatures change tire pressure

Q. I put air in my tires yesterday and had all the tires at the same pressure. My question is that if the tires are in direct sunlight, will that increase tire pressure? I have two tires that were in the shade and two tires in the sun. The tires that were in the shade were the same pressure that I had filled them up with. The two tires in the shade were 1½ pounds heavier. Is that because of the sun hitting the tires?

A. Temperature has a big effect on the air pressure in tires, so what happened to you makes sense. The sun heated up the tires on that side of the car and the tire pressure went up. When you check the tire pressure you always want to set it first thing in the morning to the cold tire pressure, as the day warms up the tire pressure will go up.

Tires have to be checked periodically, especially when we go through a change of season, which we'll be doing soon. As colder weather sets in, you could see the tire pressure drop by as much as 5 pounds p

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Categories:

Tires

Tags:

Tires
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