Crystal Lake and Barrington Auto Repair

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What to do if your car's heater is not working

What to do if your car's heater is not working

There are few things more annoying than jumping into your car on a freezing winter day only to discover that your heater isn't working.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few reasons that could cause this.

If you heater fan isn't blowing it's likely the blower motor has gone out. But it could also be that a switch has gone out. If, however, your fan does blow but only when you're driving at certain speeds, the culprit could be a bad blower resistor. The good news is that the repair is likely not expensive.

If you've got heat but it's just not up to par, you could have a bad thermostat, especially if your dashboard temperature indicator is low. This condition could turn on your "check engine" light.

Another cause of less-than-adequate heat could lie in your car's heater core. If it's blocked it won't heat. A flush can solve the problem. If you hear a clicking sound and no air is blowing from the vents, a blen

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Categories:

Douglas Q&A

Tags:

Coolant , heat

How much gas should your car have during winter?

How much gas should your car have during winter?

You may have heard the old saying that you should keep your gas tank at least half full, especially in winter when the temperature dips below zero.

There are arguments both for and against this practice, and your location and driving habits will likely dictate what you will ultimately do.​

It's true that the "old days" it was important to never let your tank get lower than half full. That's because colder temperatures can cause condensation to form in the area of your gas tank that's not filled with gas. The water droplets that form are heavier than the gas so they sink to the bottom of your tank. This is where problems can arise.

Allowing your gas level to fall below half full in winter can cause corrosion in the tank (if it's metal). If the water freezes it can block the fuel line so the gas can't get into the engine. Condensation can keep your car's air pump from staying cool, which ca

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Categories:

Winter

Check out these winter safety driving tips

Check out these winter safety driving tips

It’s been a cold, snowy winter so far in the Midwest, and unfortunately, there’s plenty of time left for more. With that in mind, the following tips can help you stay safe when you have to venture out in your vehicle in not-so-friendly weather.

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Categories:

Winter

What you should know about winter tires

What you should know about winter tires

Winter snows have already started in the Chicago area and careful driving is more important than ever.

Do your tires stand up to the challenge?

Most drivers today use all-season tires, which do give a smoother, quieter ride than winter

tires, also called snow tires. But if you do a lot of driving in heavy snow and ice, a winter tire may be a better choice for you. 

Winter tires are manufactured to specifically for cold driving conditions below 45 degrees. Their tread

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Categories:

Winter

Tags:

Brakes , Tires

Should I put money down when buying a car?

Traditionally, buying a car meant putting 20 percent down. However, the cost of new vehicles has risen dramatically over the years. In fact, according to automotive resource Edmunds, car buyers today put only about 12 percent down.

But should you put any money down at all when buying a vehicle? Putting as much as possible down on a new or used vehicle has important advantages. It makes your monthly payments smaller, and, if you’re buying new, it can offset the depreciation that takes place when you drive off the lot, adds Edmunds. - a full 20 percent in the first year alone. If you put down very little or no down payment at all, you’ll owe more on your car than it’s worth, you’ll have higher monthly payments and higher finance charges.

Simply put, it’s better to put money down when buying a car, but your down payment should be one you can reasonably afford. Depending on the condition of your current car, your trade-in can be your down pa

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Categories:

Douglas Q&A

Timing is Everything For Timing Belts

Timing is Everything For Timing Belts

​Q. I have a Nissan Maxima and was told I should replace my timing belt and water pump. I have owned the car since it had about 42,000 miles on it and have been good about keeping the oil changed. Other than tires and brakes it has not needed much service. It has 122,000 miles on it now and runs fantastic; I don't understand why I need to spend $800 to have this work done when I am not having any problems?

A. I am glad to hear that you have had such good luck with your Maxima. My advice would be to replace the timing belt if you want to keep having good luck. If you wait until you need one (the belt breaks) you most likely will be spending over $2,000 to do the belt and repair the bent valves.

A timing belt is made out of rubber and over time it deteriorates to the point where it can break. Most manufacturers have a maintenance interval ranging from 60,000 miles to 105,000 miles. Your Nissan is overdue; how overdue depends on the year of the car. The reason

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Douglas Q&A

Having Steering Wheel Issues?

Having Steering Wheel Issues?

​Q. When I turn my steering wheel right or left it makes noises. What could that problem be? I had it worked on last summer and a steering arm was replaced, but the noise is back again and very irritating. This happens intermittently, but more often than not. The temperature can be hot or cold; it does not seem to matter.

When I drive down the road I hear this noise around the wheel area. It is very noticeable. Last summer I had the bushings replaced and the noise is back again and very irritating. I feel I am taken to the cleaners by mechanics and would appreciate your help. Suggestions?

A. I am not sure if you are talking about two different noises or the same noise, but it sounds like you have a dried-out ball joint or tie rod end. These are steering and suspension components that used to be greaseable but in most cases today they do not have fittings that can be greased. You will have to have someone isolate which one it is and most likely it will have to be

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Categories:

Douglas Q&A

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

I've had a lot of calls lately from my clients either looking to buy or sell a car or truck.

Have you considered speaking to your repair shop when you are in the market to purchase a replacement vehicle or sell your existing one? It's a great place to go for either of these transactions.

When you are looking to buy, your shop may not only know of a client who is looking to sell, but you will be able to buy with confidence knowing no one will know the car or truck better than those at the shop who serviced it. They will have records for when various services were performed and would most likely pass any service guarantees on to you as the new owner.

When you are looking to sell your car, no one knows it better than your shop and staff may just have a buyer looking for a car like yours. Everybody wins and the new owner can drive away with confidence.

I always encourage my clients who are purchasing a replacement vehicle, if they don't know a

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Categories:

Douglas Q&A

Fuel Efficiency Tips For The Summer

Fuel Efficiency Tips For The Summer

Summer is here which means more traveling for you and your whole family. Fuel efficiency is on our minds more when we are driving more. Most of us can't just dash out and buy a new, more economical car. Also, for many of us, a smaller economy car just does not meet the needs of our family or business.

In reality, replacing a good reliable car just to gain a few miles per gallon may not be the most economical or environmentally friendly move anyway.

Today I thought I would offer some tips that can help you get the most out of every gallon of gas for the vehicle you drive now.

Let's start with the basics like tire pressure, since low tires can rob you of several miles per gallon. For every 1-pound drop in pressure on all four tires, you increase your rolling resistance by 1.4 percent. Based on that, you can see how being down several pounds on air pressure can increase rolling resistance by quite a bit. Look on the door sticker of your vehicle for

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Categories:

fuel

Decisions, Decisions Decisions- Ethanol

Decisions, Decisions Decisions- Ethanol

Q: Hello Doug. Love your column every Sunday in the Daily Herald; it's helped me out a few times so thanks. I have a question regarding grades of gasoline. We travel to Iowa about 1-2 times a month. At one gas station, they sell gas with 10% ethanol and gas without ethanol. The price difference is 40 cents more for ethanol-free. Is there an advantage of using ethanol free as far as performance and mileage, assuming a car gets about 30 mpg? A: Thanks for the question. I don't know for sure if you would see a significant enough performance or mileage increase to offset the 40 cents per gallon. You may want to try it once and see if you notice any improvement. Today's cars tolerate the 10% ethanol fine; it is when you put the 15% or higher in where you could start having problems unless it is a flex fuel vehicle. I do not recommend using the E15 in your car or truck unless it is a flex fuel vehicle. Using fuel with 15% or higher ethanol could damage your vehicle and in fact

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Categories:

fuel
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