Crystal Lake Auto Repair & Tire (815) 356-0440 SEND SMS 123 E Virginia Rd
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Barrington Auto Repair & Tire (847) 381-0454 SEND SMS 417 W. Main Street
Barrington, IL 60010
Fox River Grove Auto Repair & Tire (847) 639-4552 SEND SMS 416 Northwest Highway
Fox River Grove, IL 60021


  • Should you change your car's power steering fluid?

    Posted on 20, August, 2018

    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 sealed, adds Angie's List.

    Other than that, experts suggest changing power steering fluid anywhere from every couple of years to every 100,000 miles, so consult a trusted mechanic, who can advise you on the best times to change your power steering fluid for your vehicle.

    One word of caution: Never substitute a "universal" power steering fluid for the power steering fluid recommended by your manufacturer, adds Family Handyman. Also, never use additives or stop-leak products which can clog the filter screens in your steering system, costing you big money in repairs.

  • How to clean your car's battery terminals

    Posted on 09, August, 2018

    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 your battery with a wrench. Then pull the cable from the post. Repeat this process with the positive cable. Don't touch other metal parts of your car while doing this to avoid shorting out the battery.

    Check the battery for cracks and the cables for signs of damage. Replace them, if necessary.

    You're now ready to remove the corrosion. Mix equal parts water and backing soda to form a paste. Scrub the mixture into the corrosive build up using an old toothbrush or wire brush, reapplying as needed. Then, spray off any residue with a spray bottle full of water. Dry the terminals and clamps with a rag and lubricate the petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion.

    Important: Make sure you connect the red cable the positive (+) terminal and the black cable to the negative (-) terminal or your battery could explode upon starting.

  • Should you buy a new or used car?

    Posted on 31, July, 2018

    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 manufacturer's incentive that will take care of your down payment.

    Depreciation is another important factor that points to buying used as being the better deal. On average, a new car loses between 20 and 30 percent of its value the moment it rolls off the dealer's lot. Some cars can depreciate up to 50 percent in the first three years. You can refer to Kelley Blue Book's Cost of ownership calculator designed to figure the average five-year costs of any vehicle, including depreciation.

    Bottom line, if money is no object, opt for a new car. If it is - and it is for most people - consider the above points before making your purchase.

    Tagged: Douglas Q&A , new car
  • About car warranties

    Posted on 20, July, 2018

    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 your car in a way it wasn't meant to be used, such as a snow plow, or if driven off road or on a racetrack, which put undue strain on the powertrain and other components, adds Autotrader.

    Read the fine print on your new-car warranty before you buy, then make a note of when your warranty expires. Douglas Automotive, with locations in Crystal Lake, Barrington, and Fox River Grove offers free inspections before your warranty expires. Douglas has access to the same information on known issues that the dealerships have and will give you a list of everything covered under warranty so you can have it repaired before your warranty runs out.

    The dealer won't remind you to check your car before your warranty ends, nor will they warn you about known problems that could cost you thousands of dollars after it expires. Douglas can make repairs not covered under warranty before they become expensive issues.


  • Should you lease or finance your next car?

    Posted on 13, July, 2018

    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 don't own the car.
    • Mileage is limited to 12,000 miles a year or extra charge.
    • You pay more in the long run.
    • Wear-and-tear charges are significant.
    • Terminating the lease is expensive.

    Buying Pros:

    • Modify your car as you please.
    • Save money long-term.
    • Drive as much as you like.
    • Sell the car whenever you want.
    • Trade-in value on your next car.

    Buying Cons:

    • Hefty down payment.
    • Higher monthly car payments.
    • When warranty expires you pay for repairs.
    • Must trade in or sell it when you get your next car.
    • The longer you keep in the more it depreciates.

    So, ultimately, the choice to buy or lease boils down to a combination of factors based on your personal needs, wants and driving habits.

    Tagged: Douglas Q&A , new car