TEXT US T4WD to (773) 850-3917

Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Articles:

How to Radiate Cool (Radiator Care)

There's nothing that radiates cool like a vehicle radiator that's helping to keep your engine running at the proper temperature.  You don't have to baby it, but you can't simply ignore it, either.  Let's take a quick dive under the hood to let you know what the radiator is doing.  It takes the heat your engine produces and moves that heat outside.  It's not an easy job and heat is an engine's number one enemy.  Now that you're thinking how nice you want to be to your radiator, we have a couple of ideas how you can take care of it. The easiest thing is to pay attention to your vehicle's temperature gauge. If it gets in the "too hot" or "not hot enough" range, have it checked out soon.  Make sure your coolant is kept at the correct level and if you see a trend that you have to add coolant more than a couple of times a year, you might have a leak. Even if there are no obvious problems, every couple of years or so, consider taking your vehicle in for radiator ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

Fresh Air Inside Your Car in CHICAGO

Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There's a filter that cleans the air going into our vehicle's engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers haven't been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. CHICAGO residents who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don't have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.Cabin air filters are still fairly new in the CHICAGO area, so you'll have to check your vehicle owner's manual to see if you have one ... read more

Categories:

Cabin Air Filter

Greeted by a Screech (Loud Noise when Starting Vehicle)

No one likes to be greeted in the morning by having someone screech at you.  The same goes for a loud, high-pitched noise your vehicle greets you with every time you start the engine.  If you're wondering if that's normal, no, it isn't.  And it is worth getting checked out.  The good news is that it might be nothing serious.  Then again, it may be. The first things to suspect any time you hear a high-pitched sound coming from the engine are belts.  They have tension on them and they're trying to turn lots of different pulleys, pumps and other equipment the engine needs to work properly.  The noise could come from the belts starting to wear out and dry out. If one of those belts breaks at an inopportune time, not only can it strand you somewhere, the damage to the engine could be very expensive to fix. Other things that will cause a high-pitched sound are the pulleys and tensioners.  The tensioners keep the right amount of pressure on the belts an ... read more

Are There Blind Spots in CHICAGO?

  All CHICAGO drivers have blind spots – and no, I'm not talking about the fact that you really don't sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can't see when you're driving around CHICAGO.First let's talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others...To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your vehicle before you start to drive.First, CHICAGO drivers should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their vehicle. CHICAGO folks don't need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It's pretty obvious, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver's side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car ... read more

Categories:

Automotive News

The Flat Fix that Fits (Tire Repairs)

Can you think of anyone who likes getting a flat tire?  Of course not.  But when one of your tires winds up with a flat or leak, whether it be from things like hitting a curb, running over a nail or picking up a sharp stone, it's time to have someone who knows what they're doing take care of it. If you're thinking you'd like to avoid having to buy a new tire, you wonder if a patch or plug will suffice.  It depends where the puncture is and how big the hole is.  Most tire experts will say if the hole in the tire is less than ¼ of an inch or 6 mm, a patch can work.  But a patch likely won't work if the compromised part of the tire is on its shoulder or sidewall. Here's why.  The shoulder of a tire is the part between the sidewall and tread and it's usually rounded.  It's under a lot of pressure, more than even the sidewalls. And because of that curved shape, it's hard to get a patch or plug to hold. The sidewall is the side of the tire.  Sid ... read more

Categories:

Tires

When Do My Shocks Need to Be Replaced?

A good suspension system gives a vehicle a smooth, even ride while providing CHICAGO drivers with good handling and control. But like any system on your vehicle, parts of the suspension system can wear out, leading to a lower ride quality and safety concerns. So it's a good idea for drivers in CHICAGO to remember their suspension system in their schedule of preventive maintenance. Springs do most of the work of the suspension system. The most common types of springs are coil and leaf, but air springs and torsion bars are becoming more common. The body of the vehicle is “suspended” by the springs.If springs were the only working component in your suspension system, however, you'd spend your travel time bouncing up and down like a bobblehead. That's where your shocks come in. They keep the rebound, or bounciness, of the springs under control. Shocks also keep your tires on the road, which keeps the driver in control of the vehicle. Some vehicles have struts in their suspensi ... read more

Categories:

Shocks & Struts

Winter Watch List (Winter Maintenance Items)

Don't love winter weather? Here's a list of four things you need to keep a watch on during the winter months. Let's start with coolant levels.  Coolant is as important in cold weather as it is in hot weather.  Think of the term "anti-freeze." Your coolant needs to be adjusted for climate and temperature so the coolant doesn't freeze when the vehicle isn't running. Your service facility will know the right mixture. Next, windshield wiper fluid. Winter weather can be challenging when it comes to visibility, so it's important to have the correct windshield washer fluid.  Some of it is specially formulated for ice and freezing temperatures. And it won't freeze if your vehicle has to sit out in below-freezing temperatures.  And don't forget you can get winter wiper blades that stay clearer in snowy, icy weather than ordinary blades. Don't forget your tire pressure and tread.  After all, tires are what connect your vehicle and the road.  As temperatures go down ... read more

Categories:

Winter Prep

The Turn Signal Mystery (Turn Signal Problems)

Some problems are easy to diagnose on a vehicle; others aren't.  Figuring out what's wrong with a malfunctioning turn signal sometimes fits into both categories.  By the way, if your tempted to just leave your broken blinker broken, remember you can get a ticket for not using them, not to mention you are missing a great chance to communicate your intentions to other drivers on the road. There can be lots of signals that your signals are on the blink.  Does only the driver's side signal not work or the passenger's side? Do your hazard signals work? Do the lights illuminate but not flash? Can you see the indicators on the dash blinking? Do your turn signals turn off after you've finished your turn or do they stay on?  These are all great clues for the technician. Here's one common symptom to take note of.  Your signal all of a sudden starts blinking much more quickly than it used to.  It could be a simple as a burned out bulb.  But there are many differ ... read more

Categories:

Auto Safety

A Sticky Brake Situation (Parking Brake Service and Maintenance)

We've all been there.  You park your vehicle on a steeper than usual hill and worry about it rolling down while you're running your errands.  So you decide you'll use the parking brake.  When you get back, you release the parking brake, hit the ignition, put it in gear and—uh, oh—you can feel the parking brake is still on.  It's stuck.  What do you do now? Welcome to the world of infrequently-used parking brakes.  Yes, they do stick for several reasons. It's common for components to corrode and get locked up.  Sometimes if you have applied it extra hard, it can jam.  Could be a rusty cable, could be a spring that doesn't return the brake to its disengaged position.  Some pieces just break when they're stressed for the first time in a while. A caliper or the pivot arm it's on can also stick. There are a few things you can try to unstick it.  Carefully rock your vehicle by putting it first in drive and then reverse.  You ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Right or Left? Thom's Four Wheel Drive Power Steering Service

Have you ever driven a vehicle without power steering? If you have, then you probably appreciate how much easier it is to drive today's modern vehicles. Before power steering, all of the force to turn a vehicle had to come from the driver's arms. That's why old cars had such large steering wheels: they needed plenty of leverage to steer. There were some CHICAGO folks who had difficulty driving because they just weren't strong enough.Power steering is now standard on all vehicles, but there are several ways that power can be delivered. Most vehicles use a hydraulic power steering system system. In this system, a serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump that pressurizes the power steering fluid. The pressure activates hydraulics that provides steering power.Other vehicles use an electric pump to pressurize the power steering fluid rather than the belt-driven pump. Some newer vehicles actually have electric motors that provide steering power and don't use steering fl ... read more

Categories:

Steering
Thom's Four Wheel Drive and Auto Service, Inc. is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Thom's Four Wheel Drive and Auto Service, Inc. (773) 577-5701 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.