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Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.Buying tires at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO is a lot like buying shoes, except that CHICAGO vehicles don't have changeable apparel and don't need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work sho ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

If you drive, you know at some point, something's going to go wrong with your vehicle.  And sometimes, it's pretty easy to figure out what's wrong, like a flat tire.  But sometimes your vehicle's symptoms can be really puzzling. One driver in Illinois was heading to work on a hot July day and noticed when he pressed the accelerator, sometimes it wouldn't do anything. He also noticed his cruise control wouldn't work and his traction control light was constantly on, very unusual. He was trying to figure it out, but none of it made any sense.  His cruise control had always worked perfectly, his traction light never had gone on before and there was never any issue pressing on the accelerator. It was time to take his car in for a professional diagnosis, and boy, was he surprised that it was a freak accident he'd had the previous WINTER that was the root of his problems.  You see, in January, his car had slipped on ice when he was in reverse and had gently tapped a tree ... read more

Check Engine Light Diagnosis at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Hello CHICAGO . Have you ever had your Check Engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for CHICAGO drivers?First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That's why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious vehicle engine trouble. That's why CHICAGO residents often don't know how to respond to it.The Check Engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO ASAP. No, you don't need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can't wait to get your car serviced. If your Check Engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow t ... read more

Keeping Your 'Old Faithful' Auto Running

At Thom's Four Wheel Drive we've had a lot of CHICAGO customers asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that's been building for several years in Illinois. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. It looks like it's going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Illinois folks are putting off buying a new car. So let's say you're one of the average in the CHICAGO area; you've got a nine-year-old car with 80,000 miles (130,000 km) on the odometer. What can you do to make it last another year or two?Let's start with the premise that there's no reason that a modern car can't run for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care in CHICAGO. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there's no re ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

I'm Cool With That (AC Exchange)

On a hot day, you want your vehicle's air conditioning to work.  When the air blowing out of your vents isn't cold, it's easy to think, "I'll just take it by the shop and have them top off my refrigerant." But while some people think air conditioning is that simple, it's actually not. If your refrigerant is low, something has to have happened for it to be depleted.  Perhaps there's a leak in the system.  Or some hoses or clamps have failed.  If the system isn't evaluated by someone who knows air conditioning, it's possible that adding refrigerant will just be a band-aid solution. It's also possible that contaminants have gotten into the refrigerant, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, or air.  Some of those gases do not condense like refrigerant does which can increase the pressure inside the system and strain the lines and other components. At that point, the best course of action may be to have the old refrigerant (with its contaminants) bled from the sy ... read more

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Make Your Vehicle Last

We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, Illinois folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most CHICAGO drivers couldn't afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.It's a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Illinois penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us CHICAGO vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and f ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

More than Pads and Rotors (Brake Caliper Replacement)

You might be familiar with brake pads and rotors, two components of your vehicle's brakes that have to be regularly serviced.  Here's another important component of your brakes: the calipers. Calipers are used in disc brakes, the type of brakes now found in most recently manufactured vehicles.  A caliper is the part of the brakes that squeezes the brake pads against the discs, or rotors, which turn with your wheels.  There are different kinds of calipers, but the basic principle is the same.  You press down the pedal, brake fluid activates a piston or pistons that squeeze the brake pads against the disc and the friction slows down your vehicle. While modern vehicles have a warning system to let you know it's time to get your brakes checked, your brake light usually goes on when your fluid level is low or your fluid pressure is low.  But you may have to look out for signals your calipers are the problem.  If your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake, th ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Cool Running in CHICAGO

Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don't hear much any more about cars overheating. That's because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn't mean you can't overheat your vehicle engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the road in CHICAGO waiting for your vehicle engine to cool down.When you service your cooling system at Thom's Four Wheel Drive, your technician will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good vehicle care. Your vehicle owner's manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.If your engine overheated, your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the vehicle radiator for c ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

What Is an EGR Valve? (EGR Valve Service)

If you've ever felt your vehicle hesitate, go, then hesitate again, you might think there's something wrong with the transmission.  After all, it's not moving smoothly  down the road.  But there are plenty of malfunctions that can cause those symptoms, one of them being something you may have never heard of: the EGR valve. EGR stands for Exhaust Gas Recirculation. It's a system that channels small amounts of exhaust back into the engine to cool down the cylinders and reduce polluting gases.  Those include nitrogen oxides that can cause smog. The EGR valve regulates how much of the vehicle's exhaust gas is recirculated. After years and long distances traveled, that valve can get clogged or fail. Sometimes the EGR valve can stick open.  When the EGR valve isn't working properly, your vehicle can start releasing those nitrogen oxides and pollute the air. The symptoms of a malfunctioning EGR valve include: Engine losing power Engine idling roughly Pinging and knoc ... read more

Categories:

Exhaust

Questions to Ask Your CHICAGO Service Advisor

We find that a lot of CHICAGO drivers are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions but don't want to be embarrassed or seem pushy. Vehicles are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it's because vehicles have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn't need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.You know, your local hospital has a Patient's Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our CHICAGO automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.It's all about the communication. It's a little harder when you're trying to find the right ... read more

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