Crystal Lake and Barrington Auto Repair

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Should you change your car's power steering fluid?

Should you change your car's power steering fluid?

Your vehicle runs on fluids - oil, transmission, brake, antifreeze. But what about the vastly overlooked power steering fluid? Is it necessary to change it like the others?

Simply put, power steering fluid makes it easier to steer your car. Those who ever drove a car with manual steering back in the day can attest to how difficult it was to turn the steering wheel as opposed to today's power steering.

But there's more to power steering than ease of turning the wheel. Auto experts say a periodic change of steering fluid can prevent sludge and grit from accumulating, getting into your car's rack and pinion seals and destroying them, according to Angie's List.

How do you know when to replace your power steering fluid? Dirty fluid or a moaning sound during steering which signals low fluid level. Both indicate a fluid change is needed. If the fluid level is low, it means there's a leak, which needs to be fixed, since power steering systems are

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Maintenance

How to clean your car's battery terminals

How to clean your car's battery terminals

A car that won't start can have many causes, from simple to super expensive.

Before you have your vehicle towed, have your checked the battery cables? If they are corroded, that could be your problem. The corrosion may be preventing your battery cables from making contact with the battery.

Corrosion will appear as a whitish powder where your battery terminals connect to the negative and positive posts on your battery. The substance is composed of sulfuric acid and hydrogen crystals that form when your battery gives off gas.

You can clean it off yourself, but it's important to take certain precautions first, because sulfuric acid will burn through your skin and clothing if you touch it. First, make sure your engine is turned off. Then, use a wire brush to brush off the sulfuric acid powder.

Starting with your negative terminal (your battery should be marked with a plus and a minus symbol at each terminal), loosen the nut attaching the cable to

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Battery

Should you buy a new or used car?

Should you buy a new or used car?

If your old vehicle is on its last tires, you may be wondering if you're better off replacing it with a new or used vehicle.

That depends on a number of factors.

Typically, car experts say buying used is a better deal. It's true that when you drive a new car off the lot, it automatically depreciates by thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you'll pay more in repairs for a used car.

There are other things to consider, however, such as do you have enough cash on hand for a down payment? Do you have a trade-in that's worth the equivalent of a down payment? If you have good credit it may be easier to buy new with less down payment than if you buy used, according to Autotrader. There is a plethora of manufacturer incentives for new cars in the form of cash back and lower financing costs.

By contrast, buying used means putting money down upfront or a trade-in with equity, so sometimes its is possible to find a new car with a manufact

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Douglas Q&A

About car warranties

About car warranties

So you're looking to buy a new car and wondering if the warranty covers any problems you may encounter down the road.

Even though the warranty may say "bumper to bumper" your coverage isn't necessarily.

A new car warranty typically covers mechanical defects, says Autotrader. What it usually doesn't include are what's known as wear items; things that fall under maintenance because they wear out periodically. These include tires, brakes, engine belts and hoses, headlight bulbs, rust and a clutch, if you have a manual transmission. What it does cover are issues like a blown engine, a failed transmission or windows that won't open.

Warranties won't cover your car's body panels, either, so an accident, crunch or a scrape is on your, and your insurance company. Likewise, if you damage a part of the interior, you also foot the bill, unless it's a manufacturer defect.

Certain new car warranties are voided if you use y

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Categories:

Maintenance

Should you lease or finance your next car?

If it's time for a new ride, you might be wondering whether to buy or lease? 

There's no easy answer, since both have their advantages and disadvantages. It boils down to your lifestyle and needs/wants.

Financially, buying a car is better in the long run because once it's paid for, it's yours. You can do anything with it or to it and drive it as much as you want. When you lease a car, once your lease is up, you have nothing.

However, there are advantages to leasing. Your monthly payments are lower when you lease, you don't need a huge down payment and repairs cost less because your car is under warranty. Plus, you get to drive a newer car.

Automotive resource Edmunds lists pros and cons of both financing and leasing:

Leasing Pros:

  • Lower monthly payments; low or no down payment.
  • Drive a better car for less money.
  • Lower repair costs under factory warranty.
  • A new car every two
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Douglas Q&A

Detailing your car

If your car is looking a little "tired" lately, maybe it could use some TLC. Detailing is one way to make it shine again.

As the name implies, detailing takes care of the details, cleaning the small things that ll add up to a great looking ride. If you do the job yourself, automotive experts advise allocating from four to eight hours to properly detail your car inside and out, advises DMV.org.

Inside clean everything from dash to dirty cupholders, corners and crevices, clutter and debris. Get into vents, switches, and seat seams where crumbs and dirt gather, using a toothbrush, small paintbrush or cotton swab. Canned air works well in areas too small to reach with these. Then wash using soapy water and a cotton cloth. Dry with a clean cloth.

Clean interior windows with glass cleaner. Vacuum tight spaces and carpeting using a crevice tool. Remove pet hair from seats and carpeting with duct tape. Clean seats and carpets with spray foam cleaner, adds D

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Uncategorized

What to expect when your car hits 100,000 miles

What to expect when your car hits 100,000 miles

So your car has made it to 100,000 miles. Congratulations are in order. And in order to keep it going for another 100,000, there are a number of maintenance procedures you need to follow. Today's cars are built to last way past that milestone, and proper maintenance is like money in the bank compared to buying a new vehicle.

It's important to read your owner's manual to review the maintenance for your specific vehicle, and it's a good idea to visit a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection.

So here's what we're looking at at the 100,000 mile mark:

Your vehicle's fluids break down the age, so change your oil, coolant, and transmission, brake and power steering fluid.

Check your timing belt. At some point in its long life it will begin to wear and crack will eventually break, which can ruin your engine. Replace it before it happens. Likewise, replace your water pump before it fails because if it does, you're looking at

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Categories:

Maintenance

Protecting your car's interior from the sun

Warm weather is finally here, with longer days full of sunshine. 

While most all of us are happy about that, the sun can turn our car into an oven, wreaking havoc on the interior, making it unbearable hot, smelly, faded and even causing damage.

How to protect your car from those rays?

The easiest and most affordable way is to park in the shade. A closed car in the sun can reach 130 degrees inside. Shade keeps the temperature much lower. While it's now always possible to park, there are other ways to protect your ride.

Many people keep their windows cracked, just a little, which can keep the temperature down somewhat, but it also carries the risk of break-ins or rain.

Your dash bears the brunt of the sun's rays, which can cause it to fade and crack, especially if it's a dark color hat absorbs more light. Foldable and pop-up windshield sunscreens hide it from damaging UV rays. They're relatively inexpensive and come in every

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Uncategorized

Tags:

summer

Tips to check your car's A/C unit

Tips to check your car's A/C unit

Summer has hit the Chicago area. Well, not technically, but with temperatures already in the 90s, you might want to think about your car's air conditioning unit and how much you love it. 

It's good practice to have your mechanic check it annually before anything goes wrong.

You can also check it yourself periodically and take steps to make sure it doesn't take a nosedive while you're sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on that long summer road trip.

With your fan on high and your AC set to the coldest temperature, run it weekly for 10 minutes to keep the compressor in working order. Then turn on your defrost for five or ten minutes to stave off mildew. Do this year-round. It's also a good idea to recharge your A/C every other year.

If, even after you've faithfully carried out these maintenance procedures, you notice your A/C is blowing less cold air than it used to, there could be several reasons. It may just need to be

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Categories:

Air Conditioner

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a/c

Manual vs automatic transmissions

Manual vs automatic transmissions

If you're in the market for a new or "newer" car, you may have noticed that stick shifts can often cost significantly less than automatics.

We're referring here to the car's transmission. In the "old" days all cars were stick shifts (aka: manual transmissions.) Today, less than four percent of cars sold are.

Should you buy a manual or an automatic?

That depends, say automobile experts. Until now, manual transmissions have offered better gas mileage. However, technology is now producing some automatics that are actually better on gas than manuals, according to Edmunds.

There's also a good reason there are more automatics than manuals today. They're easier to drive. Manuals require more engagement on the part of the driver. With a manual, you have a clutch, and you have to coordinate your clutch and brake each time you want to shift gears. Stopping on hills or even a slight incline can also be challenging

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Categories:

Transmission
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