Crystal Lake and Barrington Auto Repair

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Check-engine light on? Check with a professional.

Check-engine light on? Check with a professional.

If your vehicle’s check-engine light goes on, don’t ignore it.

Having it checked by a professional can make a big difference in long-term cost savings because it can signal anything from an expensive engine repair to something as simple as a loose gas cap.

The check engine light is part of your car’s onboard diagnostics OBD system and an indicator of the condition of your car’s emissions system. If it does go on, the light will do one of two things: blink, or remain constant.

In either case, you’ll need the problem fixed and the light turned off in order for your vehicle to pass state inspection. According to CarMD.com ten percent of all cars on the road have a check engine light on, and more than half of them have been on for more than three months.

If it’s blinking, get to a mechanic immediately, if not sooner. That blinking usually means a severe engine misfire, which lets unburned fuel into the exhaust system, o

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Don’t Start with an Old Battery

Don’t Start with an Old Battery

Your car’s battery provides the power that starts your car, so it’s important to make sure it’s in top condition.

If you ever accidentally leave your lights on after you shut off the engine, you know firsthand how you can inadvertently drain the battery.

You can tell your battery is getting old when it takes longer for your car to “turn over”. Prevention is in order to avoid being stranded with a dead battery. It is not uncommon for a battery to seem to work fine one day and not the next. They don’t always give warning. A battery can also fail just as easily on a hot summer day as on a cold winter one.

Not all batteries are created equal. Different vehicles require different types of batteries. You will want to purchase the correct battery for your car, stay away from the lowest price because in the long run that may end up costing you the most.

Do you live in extreme weather conditions, hot or cold, drive long haul

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Categories:

Battery

“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
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