Articles:

Power Steering Service at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO

Many CHICAGO drivers have been hearing about technological advances in power steering, specifically electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering. Power steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects vehicle components from rust and corrosion.CHICAGO car owners should be aware that vehicle manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At Thom's Four Wheel Drive, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.Unfortunately, many CHICAGO drivers don't realize how important it is to service their power steering, and some may not even know that it's necessary in the first place. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks that will shorten the life of the pump.CHICAGO drivers should be aw ... read more

Categories:

Alignment

Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in CHICAGO: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Taking care of our tires is part of vehicle care for CHICAGO drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve and extend the life of the tires, so it's well worth the effort and expense for CHICAGO drivers to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle's tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver's side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it's an important number for CHICAGO vehicle owners to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction and handling on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.Don't be t ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

When "Shady" is a Good Thing

Just like your skin can burn from too much sun, so can the paint on your vehicle.  It can turn dull, oxidize and fade the more ultraviolet rays beat down on it. One solution is to park in a shady spot, or you can buy a cover for your vehicle and put it on when you know it's going to be sitting in the sun for awhile. Yes, it takes a couple of minutes to put on, but in the end, keeping the gloss on your paint will help it retain its beauty… and its value. And it's not just the sun that can damage your vehicle's paint.  Grit, bird droppings, sap, dust and dead bugs can all ruin the paint.  So, keep your vehicle clean.  Wash it with a soap made especially for vehicles. Dry it with special towels that won't scratch your paint.  Remember:  DON'T WASH YOUR VEHICLE IN THE SUN. Once your vehicle is washed, protect the paint even further with a coat of wax.  DON'T WAX YOUR VEHICLE IN THE SUN, EITHER. Don't forget the vehicle's interior.  Plastic com ... read more

Your Vehicle Is NOT Maintenance Free, CHICAGO Car Owners

A generation ago, CHICAGO drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle's preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Taking your vehicle in to your CHICAGO shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.For example, almost everyone in CHICAGO used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the vehicle was in for a tune-up at Thom's Four Wheel Drive, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.Today's engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles/160,000 km. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Breathe Deep in CHICAGO With a New Cabin Air Filter

Poor interior air quality is nothing to sneeze at, and CHICAGO auto owners might be interested to know that more and more new cars are coming equipped with a cabin air filter. Check your vehicle owner's manual, but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000 to 24,000 kilometers).The filter is usually under the vehicle hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have your friendly and knowledgeable Thom's Four Wheel Drive service advisor take care of replacing them.As we said, many CHICAGO people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and come to Thom's Four Wheel Drive saying "my vents are smelling bad." It usually turns out to be a dirty cabin air filter. A switch out and they're on their way, smelling sweet.CHICAGO residents who suffer from allergies can really benefit from a cabin air filter as it keeps irritants to a minimum.If you're one of them, you'll want to repla ... read more

Categories:

Cabin Air Filter

Keeping Your Engine Cool in CHICAGO, Illinois

The cooling system keeps Illinois vehicle's engines from overheating while they are driving around CHICAGO. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let's talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.The radiator is the part most CHICAGO drivers associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there's enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the vehicle is idling.In some vehicles, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your vehicle off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The wat ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

What to Do In Case of an Accident

If you've ever been in a vehicle accident around CHICAGO, Illinois, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It's hard to think straight and know what to do.Let's review what you should do in case of an accident in CHICAGO, Illinois:When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime in Illinois, even if it's not your fault. And hit-and-run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your driver's license or even jail time in our local CHICAGO lockup.Most places, including Illinois, require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able.Warn other CHICAGO motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood.Call 911 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.Always file a police report. It's t ... read more

Drive Defensively in Illinois

Car care is part of auto safety in CHICAGO. But the most important thing we can do to improve safety on Illinois roads is to drive safely.Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won't let anyone take your safety away from you. You'll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.Don't leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you're not paying enough attention.Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.Keep your ... read more

Categories:

Safety

In the Hot Seat (Repair and Maintenance of Seat Heaters)

It's chilly outside. You flip on that switch that looks like a picture of a seat with little heat waves rising from it.  You expect soon you'll feel that warmth but… wait! It's not getting warmer.  Oh no, what's wrong with my seat heater? There could be lots of reasons it's not working, and it could be as simple as a fuse or as major as the heating element itself.  But it's something to leave to a pro to diagnose and repair. Let's say it turns out to be a blown fuse.  Simply replacing the fuse may not fix it because there was a reason the fuse blew in the first place.  It's possible the on-off switch has worn out or corroded.  Perhaps the wiring connection isn't completing the circuit (could be corroded or full of dirt) or the voltage reaching the heating element isn't correct.  There's a little sensor that keeps track of the seat heater's temperature called the thermistor.  When the seat is hot enough, it will stop the juice from heating ... read more

Service Center Standard and Procedures

All Illinois pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget steps. It is also how they can assure a predictable outcome. That is why CHICAGO automotive service centers including Thom's Four Wheel Drive have procedural standards for each service they perform. Thom's Four Wheel Drive technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, Illinois service centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and CHICAGO customers leave happy with how their vehicle performs. Each company trains its technicians to standards. The Illinois automotive industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual Illinois service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they serv ... read more

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