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

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

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

Categories:

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

10 Services CHICAGO Drivers Often Overlook

10 Services CHICAGO Drivers Often Overlook

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over CHICAGO. Some days it's all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That's why you've gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps - we have to keep track of it all.So let's talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by CHICAGO residents. They're all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.1. Power Steering ServiceBe honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Next time you're in for an oil change, ask your Thom's Four Wheel Drive service advisor if it's time ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Getting New Tires in CHICAGO?

There are so many tire choices in the CHICAGO area that selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for drivers. And even though it's kind of fun to have new tires on your vehicle, they're a significant investment for most CHICAGO area folks so you want do it right.Tip: talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Thom's Four Wheel Drive tire professional. He'll help you sort through the choices.Here are some of the issues you'll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is . All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your CHICAGO tire professional can help stay within manufacturer's specifications or program a different tire size into your vehicle's computer.And you'll want to discuss how and where you drive to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter,  all season ti ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

New Life for Your Older Car in CHICAGO

Isn't it amazing how much of our stuff is disposable these days? Clothes, electronics, housewares, furniture.Remember the days when CHICAGO families mended their clothes, polished their shoes and neatly put away their toys every night? If something was lost or ruined through neglect, your parents just told you to do without, that you should have taken better care of it. They considered the loss a “life lesson.”But today many CHICAGO drivers tend to neglect one of the more expensive and important purchases we make: our vehicles. Vehicles are a lot more reliable today than back when we polished our shoes, and that reliability can sometimes make us take them for granted. Drivers in CHICAGO neglect good vehicle care practices and procrastinate when it comes to preventive maintenance. What we're really doing is heading straight for one of those dreaded “life lessons.” Eventually we'll pay for our neglect in repair bills and ... read more

A New Battery in CHICAGO

A New Battery in CHICAGO

Hello CHICAGO drivers, let's talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in CHICAGO, here's some auto advice to help you.There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.The weather where you live in Illinois also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the vehic ... read more

Categories:

Battery

The Engine Gets a Boost (Turbocharged Engine Maintenance)

If someone told you that your vehicle could have the same power but with a smaller engine, wouldn't that sound like great idea? Just think, a smaller engine would save you money at the gas station and you'd still get the same horsepower. The technology to do just that has been around for a long time. It's called a turbocharger. Race cars and other performance vehicles have been using turbochargers for years. It gives them a power boost without the need of a bigger engine, saving them fuel and pit stops. Automakers have offered turbo gasoline and diesel engines for years, but there were problems with durability. Plus drivers had to make some driving adjustments with the way turbos delivered power. Newer turbos, though, have been vastly improved, and manufacturers are including them in more models. For example, Jeep offers its 2019 Cherokee with a choice of two engines that each make about 270 horsepower. One is a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and the other is a 6-cylinder conventional ... read more

Servicing High Mileage Vehicles at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Servicing High Mileage Vehicles at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

The price of gas and the uncertain economy are both causing Illinois residents to review their finances. More and more CHICAGO drivers are opting to keep their vehicles longer and put off purchasing a newer car. It is estimated that two-thirds of the vehicles on the roads of North America today have over 75,000 miles/120,000 km on them. And the average age of vehicles is now over eleven years. That translates to some car care issues that many CHICAGO men and women haven't dealt with in the past. Older vehicles simply have different maintenance requirements than newer ones. Learning those requirements presents a challenge for people in CHICAGO because many owner's manuals only publish maintenance schedules up to 60,000 or 90,000 miles (96,000 or 145,000 km). Vehicle owners have to keep good records and be more involved in planning preventive maintenance if they want to keep their vehicles on the road. First of all, any service in your owner's manual that comes with a r ... read more

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