Crystal Lake and Barrington Auto Repair

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Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Q: I have a 2001 Ford Pickup Truck that I am getting ready to sell, and I noticed that the brake line going to the rear is wet with fluid. Is there a way to splice in a line or is there a cheaper way to repair than to replace the line?

A: Unfortunately, you will need to replace the line. Anytime you are dealing with the hydraulic side of the brake system, you don’t want to cut any corners. If you have a brake line blow out on braking, it could be catastrophic. The proper repair would be to replace all rusted brake lines as well as flushing out the system with new brake fluid. This type of repair can run between $500 - $1000 depending on how much of the systems will need to be replaced. On some vehicles, the brake lines and the fuel lines are bundled together; the minute you touch one of those lines, the others can be compromised and begin to leak, so be prepared. We have a big problem with this on older cars as they have been exposed to so many winter seasons with all

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Brakes

Keep that Light Shining Bright - Headlight Restoration

Keep that Light Shining Bright - Headlight Restoration

The headlight lenses on my 2001 Honda Odyssey have clouded over the years, and I have had them professionally restored/polished to make them clear. I have also done the restoration polishing twice myself. While I have been successful in restoring the lenses to almost new condition each time, my questions are: 1) What causes the lenses to cloud over time—is it UV exposure, chemical exposure or something else? 2) Is there something I can do to prevent, reduce or mitigate the cause of the plastic getting cloudy? 3) Since the headlight restoration product I use (Rain-X Headlight Restorer) acts like a mild abrasive, is there a limit to how many times I can use this product until I wear out or damage the headlight lens to the point where polishing will not work anymore? I have two newer cars in the family that have not shown any headlight lens clouding yet, and I would like to do what I can to avoid having to keep on polishing the lenses. What do you suggest?

Doug:  Gr

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Headlights

Don't Forget: Inspecting Your Trailer is Important Too

Don't Forget: Inspecting Your Trailer is Important Too

As you start thinking about summertime, now that it’s finally arriving, you might want to get your trailer inspected before the summer trailering season begins.

Whether it be a boat, Jet Ski, camper or just a utility trailer, they can get neglected. It is easy to forget that the lights, tires, brakes and wheel bearings should be serviced at least once per year. Boat and Jet Ski trailers especially get abused because of being backed into the water to launch the watercraft. This can be very hard on the wheel bearings and the lighting. The wheel bearings should be cleaned thoroughly and inspected for pitting. If they are good, they should be repacked and reinstalled with new grease seals. If there is any pitting on the bearing, it should be replaced with a new bearing and race.

If the trailer has brakes, make sure they are cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. You will want to check all the lighting and wiring, and make any repairs that are needed; every light should

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Trailer

Keep Your Car Cool this Summer - Check Your Air Conditioner

Keep Your Car Cool this Summer - Check Your Air Conditioner

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.

It’s an expens

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Air Conditioner

Car Owner Frustrated with String of Alternators

Car Owner Frustrated with String of Alternators

Q. I have a 1992 Toyota Corolla with 105,000 miles on it. I am the second owner. I bought it used at around 40,000 miles. The concern I have is that I have replaced the alternator three times with an aftermarket alternator in the last five years, and when I looked at the history of the vehicle, I noticed the alternator was also replaced twice while the vehicle was under warranty with the original alternator.

Any idea if there is something that could cause the alternators to go bad? Or was there a problem with the alternators on these vehicles?

The only thing that seems odd to me on the vehicle is that when the turn signal is blinking (when other accessories are turned on -- headlights, wipers, etc.), the vehicle's RPMs seems to surge.

A. I could not find any pattern failures for your car on the charging system. The only thing I can suggest is to make sure you are getting a good quality alternator and that you have the shop check that every positive co

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Alternator

Worry-free Road Trips - Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

Worry-free Road Trips - Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

I love this time of the year! I love boating and sitting on the back porch enjoying the outdoors, and I love going on a road-trip vacation.

I also love to help my clients get ready for their road trip, unless of course it goes something like this …

Client: "Hi Doug, I would like to get my car checked over for a trip we are going to take."

Doug: "That's great. We would be happy to check it out. Where are you going?"

Client: "We're towing our camper out to Yellowstone and to see the sights out West. I thought it would be a good idea to have the Tahoe checked before we leave."

Doug: "Sounds like a lot of fun, and I definitely think it's a great idea to get your vehicle checked out before you go. When are you leaving?"

Long pause …

Client: "Tomorrow. Do you have time?"

Doug: (Gulp) "Yea, we can fit it in." (In my mind I am trying to figure

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Douglas Q&A

Road trip? Check your tires first

Road trip? Check your tires first

Good tires are important all the time, but if you’re planning a summer road trip, they become even more essential.

How do you know if yours need to be replaced? The rules have changed, said McAllister.

“We used to say a tire down to 2/32 of tread was considered bald, and wouldn’t pass a safety test,” McAllister said. An old rule of thumb was if you placed a penny upside down into the tread and saw the top of Lincoln’s head, it was time for new.

“Now, If you use a quarter and see the top of Washington's head you’re at 4/32nds of tread,” McAllister said. “That’s kind of the new standard.” Road tests have proven that even that small difference can lead your car to need 180 feet more to stop.

Worn tires also are more prone to injuries. “And who wants to be bothered on vacation getting a tire repaired or replaced?” McAllister said.

McAllister recommends a good all-sea

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Tires

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Tires

Diagnosis code often only a starting point

Diagnosis code often only a starting point

Q. I have a 2007 Camry that has a "check engine" warning light on. I took it to one of the parts stores and they told me the code was for an oxygen sensor, which I bought. I installed the sensor and cleared the codes but the light came back on. I'm a little frustrated because now I have spent money and time and still have the problem. Any ideas?

A. First off, you have learned a valuable lesson with a fairly inexpensive part. You cannot make a diagnostic decision based on a code alone. This is why the so-called "free diagnostics" that some of the parts stores offer is a bit misleading.

I like to make the analogy that a code will generally tell you what aisle of the supermarket where you can find an item, but it does not tell you what shelf it is on. It takes a skilled diagnostic technician armed with the code, the right tools and the proper information to get to the bottom of most DTC's (diagnostic trouble codes)

With theses codes, t

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Categories:

Dashboard Lights

Changing fluids on a used car is a starting point

Changing fluids on a used car is a starting point

Q. I am getting a 2005 Toyota Camry from grandma in Arizona. It has been garaged-kept (never driven in summer months) and has only 25,000 miles on it. What parts and fluids should be changed? I would like to keep it another 10 years.

A. What an opportunity for you to get a great car with such low mileage! Because of its age and how it was driven, I would recommend changing/flushing all the fluids. This would include the coolant, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, brake fluid and the engine oil.

If it has a timing belt, I would change that, too, and I would scrutinize all the rubber parts of the car for any signs of dry rot or deterioration. These parts would include, but not limited to, the belts and hoses, axle boots, tires and brake hoses.

Finally, don't skip the normal inspection you would give any older car like the brakes and filters. Make sure all the lights work. If there are any leaks, you might want to get these taken care of now, too

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Pets in the car. Are you safe?

The McAllisters recently welcomed little Mazi, their new pup, to the family. With all the excitement surrounding this little furball, we thought it would be a good time to review pet travel safety. In a recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 80% of dog owners drive with their pets in the car. There are 43.3 million households with pets, so it’s an impressive number of people traveling on the road with animals. Of those who travel with animals in their car, only 16% of those people use proper safety restraints. So, as you can see, the potential for distraction is high … very high. 

Restrain your animal with a crash-tested pet safety product. According to the National Safety Council, more than 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported every year, making them the most common type of automobile accident. An unrestrained 10-lb dog will exert 300 pounds of pressure in an accident, according to the AAA. Without a crash-tested safe

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