Articles:

Distracted Driving

When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that. Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics. Nearly 23% of all accid ... read more

Categories:

Auto Safety

Steering Clear in CHICAGO

Those who know vehicles believe the steering system may be the most vital component of them all. Perhaps you've found over the years your steering has gotten loose. Or maybe suddenly, your steering wheel has gotten very hard to turn. Let's steer you in the direction of understanding why this may be happening. First, loose steering. This can likely be the result of wear and tear on the components that connect the steering mechanism with the wheels. Those parts can be ball joints, Pitman arms or tie rods. These parts take a lot of abuse on the road, thanks to railroad tracks, potholes, uneven surfaces: you name it. It's important that they be checked regularly and maintained at Thom's Four Wheel Drive. Second, the hard-to-turn wheel. Virtually all vehicles on the road have power steering. There are a couple of different types, though, so let's deal with each. By the way, when they fail, your vehicle's steering can suddenly go from easy peasy to really hard to control. Some vehicles have ... read more

Categories:

Steering

Does My Choice in Oil Affect Change Intervals?

Does My Choice in Oil Affect Change Intervals?

Oil changes are probably the most recognized service on a vehicle. Almost all CHICAGO residents know about them. But do we know enough?Several decades ago, oil changes were fairly standard: every three months or 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But recent advances in both engine technology and oil quality have led to longer oil change intervals.Delayed or skipped oil changes are a problem for CHICAGO residents because they lead to the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Oil sludge forms when engine oil breaks down, which happens with both time and miles. Obviously, driving will take its toll on engine oil, but the oil also breaks down even as the vehicle just sits in the garage. This is why oil change intervals are listed in both time and distance traveled, and the phrase “whichever comes first” is applicable.Oil sludge is essentially petroleum jelly. Imagine this stuff squishing around in your vehicle engine, pushing into small engine passageways and blocking passa ... read more

Categories:

Fluids

CHICAGO Drivers: Is It Time to Replace Your PCV Valve?

CHICAGO Drivers: Is It Time to Replace Your PCV Valve?

The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine. When you are diving around CHICAGO, fuel is burned in your vehicle engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine, leading to damage. Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our air quality in CHICAGO, Illinois.Enter the PCV valve. It's a small, one-way valve that lets out the gases from the crankcase and routes them back into ... read more

Categories:

Parts

Air Conditioning Service in CHICAGO

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

Categories:

Air Conditioning

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

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

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

Categories:

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

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

Categories:

Fuel System

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

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

Categories:

Parts
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