Articles:

To Fix or Not To Fix: That Is the Question.

No matter what vehicle you drive, when certain things break, you have to make a decision.  Should I get it fixed now, later or never?  Air conditioning is one of those things.  You can certainly live without air conditioning, but it sure is nice to have on a sweltering day. Let's say your air conditioning breaks in the fall and you live in a climate where it gets quite cold in the winter.  Should you get it fixed now, wait until spring since it won't get warm until then or maybe not get it fixed at all? That can be a tough decision.  There are several reasons air conditioning in vehicles break.  One is fairly simple: It could be an electrical problem, perhaps a relay or solenoid is not turning on the system.  It's also a fairly inexpensive repair and doesn't require hours of labor. Or, the problem is that the coolant has leaked out.  Your service facility can find the leak and replace the parts that are leaking.  With a refrigerant recharge ... read more

Defensive Driving in CHICAGO, Illinois

Defensive Driving in CHICAGO, Illinois

  There was a man in the CHICAGO area who learned that most car accidents occur within a mile of home – so he moved. (Just kidding!)When we think of defensive driving, we often focus on our local Illinois highway situations. The fact of the matter is we need to be just as careful close to home in CHICAGO, because that's where we do most of our driving. We can't let our familiar surroundings keep us from driving defensively.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 ... read more

Categories:

Steering

Clean Air for Your Engine: A New Engine Air Filter at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

All of us in CHICAGO know we have to get the oil changed in our vehicles periodically. That's just part of good vehicle care. But when Thom's Four Wheel Drive technicians change your oil, they also usually inspect your air filter. That's why they sometimes let you know that your air filter needs to be changed before releasing your vehicle.Don't just chock this up to trying to sell you something else. CHICAGO area drivers really do need to change their air filter when it gets dirty. You can check your owner's manual to see how often your air filter should need to be changed, but remember, if you live in an area in Illinois with poor air quality, or if you drive a lot or drive under harsh conditions in the CHICAGO area, you may need to change that filter more often than is recommended.Changing an air filter isn't guesswork. If a filter's dirty, it needs to be replaced. Air filters aren't very expensive ... read more

CHICAGO Car Owners Ask: Why Do I Need to Change My Serpentine Belt?

Any CHICAGO driver who understands preventive maintenance knows that “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” is bad auto advice. Replacing a part before it breaks is much less costly for CHICAGO residents than repairing the engine damage that comes after a part breaks or fails. A good example of this is the serpentine belt.The serpentine belt gets its name because of its circuitous path around the engine. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine and powers a number of systems, as follows:1. The serpentine belt spins the compressor that generates the cool air for the air conditioning system.2. The serpentine belt powers the alternator. The alternator generates electricity for use in the vehicle's electrical systems and to charge the battery. Without the alternator, the battery wouldn't last more than a few miles.3. In many CHICAGO residents' vehicles, the serpentine belt runs the pumps for both the power steering and the power brakes. In other vehicles, the power steering pump ... read more

Categories:

Timing Belt

Thom's Four Wheel Drive Service for Your Exhaust System

Thom's Four Wheel Drive Service for Your Exhaust System

Your vehicle's exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your vehicle. The manifold is attached to the vehicle engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is important American Fork residents keep their exhaust system in good repair. The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air.The catalytic converter is the next component of your vehicle exhaust system. It sort of looks li ... read more

Categories:

Exhaust

Fuel Injectors

Fuel Injectors

The last new American vehicles sold in CHICAGO with a carburetor rolled out of the Illinois dealerships in 1990. Since then, all new vehicles here in CHICAGO, and nationally, have had fuel injectors. In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much gas to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute. Fuel injectors deliver fuel far more precisely than carburetors. That translates into better fuel economy and more power for CHICAGO drivers. Virtually all fuel injectors for gas engines are known as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. Port fuel injectors operate at about 40 to 80 pounds per square inch of pressure.A few vehicle manufacturers have introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines recently. These systems inject the gas ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

Automotive Tips from Thom's Four Wheel Drive: Alignment Inspection

Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for CHICAGO drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor at Thom's Four Wheel Drive will inspect your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He?ll also compare your current alignment with the vehicle manufacturer?s settings.Your vehicle owner?s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in a crash, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around CHICAGO, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your Thom's Four Wheel Drive service advisor perform an important alignment check.Thom's Four Wheel Drive4118 N PULASKI RDCHICAGO, Illinois 606417735775701http://thomsfourwheeldrive.com

Categories:

Alignment

The Thom's Four Wheel Drive Guide to Custom Wheels

The Thom's Four Wheel Drive Guide to Custom Wheels

If you're interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your vehicle, there are a few things you should know first.Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many CHICAGO drivers have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don't fit right and the tires rub against the vehicle when they turn or go over a bump.To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your Thom's Four Wheel Drive tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your vehicle. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you'll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you're willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you should ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Combustion Choreography: Timing Belt Replacement at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO

Have you ever seen a ballet performance? Have you wondered how all of those dancers manage to travel all over the stage jumping and twirling and never crash into each other? That's the job of a choreographer.Our auto engines are also highly choreographed. Pistons travel up and down inside cylinders. Valves at the tops of the cylinders open to let air and fuel in or exhaust out. These valves have to open and close at precisely the right time or the engine will run poorly if at all. The movement of the valves and pistons must be in harmony with each other. This choreography is the job of the timing belt or timing chain.Timing belts, or chains, rotate the shafts that control the opening and closing of the valves. Timing chains are metal and durable enough that they may never need to be replaced.Most vehicles, however, use a timing belt. Timing belts are tough and flexible, and considering the work they do, they last a long time for CHICAGO auto owners . But they do wear out. If they ... read more

Categories:

Timing Belt

Tire Rotation and Balancing at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO

Tire Rotation and Balancing at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO

Tires do a lot of work for CHICAGO drivers. They transfer engine power and braking forces to the road; they handle steering control; and they cushion all those bumps and jolts while driving around CHICAGO. They also support the entire weight of the vehicle, including you and your passengers. With such important work to do, you want your tires to do their job well. And since replacing tires is fairly pricey, you want them to last as long as possible. There are three keys to long, even tire wear for CHICAGO driving: Proper tire inflation Proper wheel alignment Regular tire rotation and balancing The front tires on a car take the brunt of the steering forces. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate. That's especially true of front-wheel-drive vehicles whose front tires steer and put the power to the road.SUVs and pick ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels
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