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Air Conditioning Service in CHICAGO

Hey CHICAGO! Let's talk about one of our Illinois summertime must-haves: your car A/C. It's real easy for CHICAGO drivers to take their car's air conditioner for granted. Just push the right buttons and out comes cool, dry, clean air. But your air conditioning system needs attention from time to time to help it keep its cool. Do you hear loud noises under the hood when you turn on your air conditioner? Do you only get cool air sporadically? If so, it is time to get your air conditioner checked at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO. When most CHICAGO folks hear the words "air conditioning problems." it sends a shiver up their spine. That is because the air conditioning system is fairly complex. It has a lot of parts and when it's broken, it's hard to repair.What things can CHICAGO drivers do to prevent air conditioning breakdowns?A common cause of air conditioning failure is leaks. Water ... read more

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Air Conditioning

Breathe Free in CHICAGO: Cabin Air Filter Replacement at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on CHICAGO drivers' vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in CHICAGO. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our CHICAGO area atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Illinois prone to air pollution.Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you'll probably want to go to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Thom's Four Wheel D ... read more

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Cabin Air Filter

Beware of Cheap Tires in CHICAGO

Do you like to shop for shoes in CHICAGO?When buying a running shoe, is quality important?Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pairs of lower quality shoes at the same price?Is the warranty important when buying tires? CHICAGO drivers should also think about the safety aspect of tires. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction on Illinois freeways and surface streets. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer on Illinois highways, the tires need a high load rating.Ask your friendly and knowledgeable CHICAGO tire professional at Thom's Four Wheel Drive. I think it's important that CHICAGO residents understand the effect of price on a tire's quality, performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad would say, “Pay twice as much an ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

Procrastination Prevention in CHICAGO

Every one of us has a little procrastinator inside us. Some put off getting our teeth cleaned. Others put off answering our emails. Yet others put off calling friends and family (sorry, Uncle Joe). And there are those of us who put off getting our vehicle's service done, whether it's a repair or regular maintenance. You may make the excuse that you don't have time, it can wait until tomorrow, you have other things to do. Well, there are some things you should NEVER put off when it comes to your vehicle because that procrastination could have dire consequences down the road. The biggest one is changing your oil. Yes, it's one of those things you may hear somebody nag you about, but changing your vehicle's oil regularly is probably the one thing that will do the most to keep things running smoothly… and well. It's the lubricant that keeps metal engine parts from wearing out. Oil doesn't last forever and it gets dirty, so you have to swap it out for fresh every so often. How often ... read more

Fuel Filter Replacement

Hello CHICAGO resident! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your vehicle feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel economy. The fuel filter's job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won't start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your vehicle will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow particles into your engine.A vehicle with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around CHICAGO, but sputter and strain on the because it's starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in Illinois and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural Illinois ... read more

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Fuel System

PCV Valve Service at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. Unburnt fuel is forced into the crankcase as your engine runs.  The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve vents this unburnt fuel and oil vapors from the crankcase and sends it back into the air intake system to be burned in the engine.  A clogged PCV will not allow these vapors to escape. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause vehicle engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Thom's Four Wheel Drive. At high speeds on Illinois freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak. Back in the old days, vehicles were simply installed with a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the vehicle's engine.This is much better for ... read more

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Parts

Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

A lot of us CHICAGO drivers like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We're picky about color and body style. We'll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for Illinois motorists to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.Fifteen or 16-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, but today, because a lot of CHICAGO drivers like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with 17 or 18-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of 20 inches or more are also available in CHICAGO.If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it's not a do-it-yourself project. There are factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn't jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.First of all, you need to understand rolling diameter. The rolli ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

Straight and True in CHICAGO: Wheel Alignment

Most CHICAGO folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by drivers in CHICAGO is a periodic alignment inspection. Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in CHICAGO. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in CHICAGO. Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents and can seriously damage your vehicle. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident since the vehicle may not steer properly. One or more wheels on your vehicle can be knocked out of align ... read more

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Alignment

Sniffing Out a Problem

Your parents probably taught you to have common sense. When it comes to your vehicle, common scents can also come in handy. Different smells may tell you about some conditions in your vehicle that need attention. For example, you know what rotten eggs smell like.  If you smell them around your vehicle, it means sulfur can't be far away. Here's a surprising fact: Gasoline has a little sulfur in it.  There's a device in your exhaust system that's supposed to convert it to something that doesn't pollute the atmosphere. That device is a catalytic converter.  If you are smelling rotten eggs, maybe your catalytic converter is wearing out.  But it could also be a problem with your fuel injectors.  Either way, something's rotten that should be repaired. Ever smell something sweet around your vehicle, maybe a little like pancake syrup? If you sniff out a little sweetness just when your engine is warming up or after you shut off your engine, you might be smelling some co ... read more

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Fluids

Thom's Four Wheel Drive Guide to Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Thom's Four Wheel Drive Guide to Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Today's Thom's Four Wheel Drive post focuses on using coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won't protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your vehicle owner's manual. Of course, your Thom's Four Wheel Drive service advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.Brake fluid is confusing for some CHICAGO drivers. Back when we opened Thom's Four Wheel Drive, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some CHICAGO residents mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That's not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your vehicle.Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Thom's Four Wheel Drive: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in vehicle automatic transmissions, there have been several new types ... read more

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Fluids
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