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


  • How to adjust and aim your car's headlights

    Posted on 03, October, 2018

    If you find yourself needing to replace one or both of your vehicle's headlights (also called headlamps), you'll need to adjust them to aim correctly.

    Your headlights may also need adjusting if you're planning on transporting a heavy load that can make the front of your car aim upward.

    To do the job yourself, first, drive your car close to a wall, facing it straight on, then bounce it, front and back, to settle the suspension. Turn on your headlights, then make a T with tape in the center of each light beam on the wall, making sure the lines are level and at the same height, advises wikiHow. 

    Back your car 25 feet from the wall, exactly, although different manufacturer's require different distances, so check your owner's manual first. Turn on the lights and remove the trim to reveal the screws that adjust the lights, one for vertical and one for horizontal, according to wikiHow.

    Cover one headlight while you check the other. A clockwise turn of the screw adjusts the lights higher; counterclockwise, lower. The top of the brightest part of the light on the wall should be even with the tape line. 

    Do the same with the horizontal adjustment, making the brightest part of the beam just to the right of the vertical tape line. 

    Your headlights should be adjusted now. Take your car for a night drive to check. If they are not correct, you can repeat the process until they are adjusted correctly.

    It's important to note that adjusting your headlights yourself should only be a temporary fix that should be completed by a trusted mechanic in order to ensure safe driving for you and other drivers on the road.

    Tagged: headlights
  • How to get bugs, tar and tree sap off your car

    Posted on 06, September, 2018

    Summer is winding down, and you may have noticed those months of warm weather have resulted in an accumulation of bugs, tar and/or tree sap on your favorite vehicle that just won't budge in your run-of-the-mill car wash.

    You can remove the disgusting gunk - with all due respect to the unwilling bugs. Keep in mind, that bug stains are acidic and you can eat into your car's paint job., so it's important to do this as soon as possible.

    The National Auto Parts Association (NAPA) suggests using a spray bottle full of water (tap water is okay, unless you have well water, then use spring water.) Spray a fresh dryer sheet to wipe off the bugs mess. That also works for tar and tree sap.

    NAPA cautions that it's also important to follow-up with a car wash cleaner to remove the chemicals from the dryer sheet. Then wax your car.

    There's another way to remove tar, sap and bugs, and that's using a product made for the job.

    Road tar is petroleum-based, soap-and-water are ineffective. Here's where a commercial tar remover comes into play, because they contain kerosene, mineral spirits or petroleum distillate, adds, which ads that if it's particularly hard to remove, use a paint-cleaning polish.

    If your ride had been bombarded by tree sap, don't scrape or you can ruin the finish. Instead, hand-rub the spots with mineral spirits, which acts as a solvent, said Guide to Detailing. This could take some time, however, but it's the safer way to go.

    Again, no matter which cleaning method you use, it's important to rewash your vehicle and then wax again. If you don't have time to wax, just ue a spray wax, says Guide to Detailing.

    Tagged: Maintenance
  • How to replace your car's A/C compressor

    Posted on 30, August, 2018

    If your car's air conditioner isn't blowing as cold as it used to, it could be a leaky compressor. If the oil has leaked out of it, it's time to replace the compressor with a new one. 

    To do the job yourself, you'll need to flush and evacuate the system, add oil and refrigerant and install a new drier, O-rings, expansion device and compressor pressure switch.

    First, flush the system, using an AC flush solvent. Then check for impurities by running what comes out the flush through a coffee filter. If you see debris, flush it again. If you still see impurities, replace the condenser. 

    Add AC oil, recommended by your owner's manual. If your new compressor comes with oil in it, flush it out and add your own. Then add the refrigerant, following directions, also specifically for your vehicle. Next, install the new drier, which filters out debris in the system. Now, install the new O-rings, which are critical in preventing leaks in the AC system, making note of exactly where the old ones were located before installing the new ones.

    Your new expansion device is either a valve, block or orifice tube. If your AC has a tube, always replace it. If it has a block or valve, they may only need to be cleaned.

    Finally, install a new AC compressor switch, doing the following: Drain the refrigerant in the compressor, then remove the switch and replace it. Remove condensation, add new refrigerant, then turn off the engine for a few minutes and start it up again, running for five minutes. Turn AC on maximum and listen for the switch to turn on.

    If the project looks like more work than you'd care to tackle, take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic who can install your new AC compressor for you.

    Tagged: a/c
  • Three tips for cleaning your car's interior

    Posted on 23, August, 2018

    If your car is smelling a little on the funky side and looks like you've set up your own food truck inside, it's probably time for a little interior cleaning job.

    Here are three tips to get it spotless and smelling new-car fresh again, or almost.

    1. First and foremost: Declutter, removing everything that isn't tied down so that you actually can clean - sports gear, school gear, mail, fast-food cups and wrappers, as well as floor mats. Then start by cleaning you vehicle's carpet and upholstery, vacuuming first. Then use a carpet and upholstery cleaner made just for cars. Most come with their own plastic brush to massage the foam cleaner into grungy carpet and fabric. Then vacuum again when dry to lift nap, if necessary. If you have leather seats, use a leather cleaner, following directions.

    2. Clean your central console. Using household or glass cleaner, clean the dashboard and center console, cup holder, inside door pockets and gear shifter, making sure to clean the buttons and knobs on the dashboard. Don't forget the steering wheel, both front and back, which, over time, can pick up lots of grease and grime from your hands. Use a cotton swab or old toothbrush to clean out crevices and other hard-to-reach spaces.

    3. Windows tend to pick up film and dust while driving, so clean them on the inside. Use a window cleaner and a microfiber towel, which removes dirt without leaving streaks. Buff with the towel after cleaning. Use a cleaner without ammonia, however, which can make the plastic on your dash dry out. Don't forget your rear window and sunroof or moonroof.

    Tagged: Maintenance
  • 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.

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