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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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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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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

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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

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Categories:

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 fric

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Categories:

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 light

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Categories:

Headlights

The importance of turn signals

The importance of turn signals

Your car's turn signal exists for a reason. Yet, many drivers hardly or never use their signals, which is a mistake. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, two million vehicular accidents a year occur due to a driver's failure to use a directional signal, and the Society of Automotive Engineers says that more than a fourth of drivers don't use them. And, did you know it's illegal in all states not to?

Turn signals let other drivers know your intentions to turn or change lanes. If you don't signal those intentions, others naturally assume you will continue on as you are.

While switching lanes, you should activate your turn signals at least five seconds before merging, according to Traffic School Online. Always turn them off, after you've completed your lane change.

When turning, activate your turn signal well before you start to slow down to make the turn. Waiting until you're already into the turn is not only frustr

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Douglas Q&A

Check your car's headlights

Check your car's headlights

Have you ever been pulled over by police becuase one of your headlights is out? You may not have noticed it. Headlights are one of those components of your car that you probably take for granted - until they don't work.

Headlights are necessary in order for you to see to drive at night or in rain, snow or fog. But they are also important in the fact that they allow others to see your vehicle so that everyone on the road can drive safely. In fact, some states require headlight use in the daytime.

Check your headlights periodically, to make sure they are in good working order. Problems can include a burned out or dim bulb, or inability to switch to low beams. Causes can be your car's battery, bad wires, a bad alternator or a loose alternator belt. If one bulb has burned out, replace both at the same time for consistent lighting. Your vehicle's owner's manual lists what type you need.

In addition to a burned-out bulb, headlights may malfunction f

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Headlights

Check your car before a road trip

Check your car before a road trip

Summer is not far away, and if you're planning on taking a road trip, don't wait to get your car in rop running condition to avoid any breakdowns that could ruin your fun.

Check your battery to make sure it's connection is not only tight but clean. Does it have a good charge? If it's nearing its life expectancy, buy a new one. Check all your car's fluid levels and top off, if necessary.

Do your tires have adequate tread? Check tread by inserting a quarter into the tread with George Washington's head upside down. If you can see the top of Washington's head, it's time to replace your tire. Check tire pressure. The correct pressure is listed on your car's door jam and your owner's manual.

Do your brakes squeak? Sounds like it's time for new brake pads.

Bring along emergency supplies, adds Consumer Reports. Include a flashlight, jumper cables, extra windshield washer fluid, first-aid kit, a small tool kit

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Categories:

Maintenance

When is it time for new tires?

When is it time for new tires?

Once we put tires on a car, many of us don't give them another thought, until something goes wrong.

It's important to check your tires regularly to make sure they are inflated properly so they last a long time, and to make sure they have adequate tread on them for safety. Driving on bald or nearly bald tires is dangerous. If you're forced to brake suddenly, your car may not stop in time.

There are a number of signs to look for in determining if it's time to retire your tires. Cracks in the sidewalls are red flags. So is uneven tread wear, which can be the result of under-or-over inflation, wheels that are out of alignment or suspension problems, according to consumer reports. If the tread is REALLY worn, less than 1/16th of an inch, replace your tires. Most tires come with tread lines that show you how much tread you have left.

Another way to determine tread wear is to take a quarter and place it on edge with George Washington's head upsid

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Categories:

Tires

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Tires
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