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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 or three years with less sales tax and no trade-in hassle. Leasing Cons: You d ... read more

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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 DMV.org. Also, don't ... read more

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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 a warped cylinder head and an ... read more

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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 everything from cardboard to reflective foi ... read more

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Uncategorized

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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 recharged with more refrigeran ... read more

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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. But, there is a good argument for man ... read more

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Transmission

Memorial Day Weekend

Last year, heavy rain along the Fox River caused hundreds od homes and businesses to flood. In fact, the media described the torrential rains as "absolutely catastrophic". Memorial Day Weekend is the official launch of summer - and boating season. Currently, the status of the chain of lakes and the fix river is no wake boating only. Most likely this no restriction will be in place for most of if not all of the Holiday weekend. One thing for sure, or no boat, restaurants are open and welcome your business. This holiday weekend take time to enjoy one of the many fine establishments along our beautiful waterways with family and friends. YOU can play an important role in helping these businesses succeed despite this unpredictable weather. Need some suggestions? Visit: https://foxchainguide.com/    To check waterway status of the river visit: Foxwaterway.com

Don't put off changing brake pads

Don't put off changing brake pads

Out of sight, out of mind. Until you suddenly hear the squealing sound.It's your brake pads, and they're crying to be changed. As with the other components of your car, maintenance is the key to having brakes that do their job, which is a pretty important one, considering that if they go out - and they can - you're putting yourself, and your passengers, in real danger. So when that squeaking sound beckons, take heed. It's time to have your brake pads changed. There are two ways to check for brake wear on disc brakes, according to J.D. Power. The first is by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel's spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor, and there should be at least 1/4 inch of pad. If there's less, have your mechanic install new pads. The second way you'll know your brakes are near the end of their lives is that familiar squeal they will all of the sudden start making every time you apply your brakes. The sour ... read more

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Brakes

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Brakes , brake

The Douglas Automotive Basic Guide to Synthetic Oil

Synthetic motor oil has been around for a long time, and more and more new vehicles are leaving factories with synthetic in their engines. But a lot of drivers don't really know much about it. Let's start with conventional oil - the kind folks are used to. Conventional oil is made up of naturally occurring hydrocarbon chains, which means its molecules are long and have various lengths. Like a pile of pencils. Some synthetic oil starts with a petroleum base that's modified and others are entirely synthesized from other materials. Synthetic motor oil works better in both hot and cold temperatures. It's more chemically stable so it doesn't readily evaporate or break down in the high heat produced inside your vehicle engine. This means it resists turning into sludge, which is a real engine killer. Remember that marbles and pencils thing we were talking about? Well, that makes synthetic oil slipperier than conventional oil which means less friction in your engine. You ... read more

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Oil Changes

When to use your car's fog lights

When to use your car's fog lights

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 ... read more

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Headlights
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