Yearly Archives: 2019

Engine Hydration for CHICAGO Drivers: Role of Your Water Pump

The cooling system in an engine has five components: the radiator, the radiator cap, the hoses, the thermostat and the water pump. The water is literally the heart of the system. Just as your own heart keeps your blood circulating through your body, the water pump keeps coolant circulating through your engine.The water pump is driven by a belt, chain or gear and only operates while the engine is running. It has a limited life span and sooner or later will have to be replaced. You can check your owner's manual to find out how long your water pump should last. Some can fail at only 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers), but almost all of them fail by 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers).Water pumps don't gradually wear out; they fail. In other words, they're either working or they're not. A failed water pump has to be replaced.Water pumps can fail in two ways: they can spring a leak or their bearings fail. Leaks can come from a cracked pump but usually develop at the gasket whe ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System

Serpentine Belt Service at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO

Serpentine Belt Service at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO

If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges the battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead after a short distance.The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some CHICAGO vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.When they understand what it does, CHICAGO drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this imp ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

What Is a Differential and Do You Have One?

What Is a Differential and Do You Have One?

With front-wheel drive being so common these days in CHICAGO, Illinois, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most CHICAGO drivers don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of CHICAGO customers' minds. It's not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service. Call Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO at 7735775701 for information about differential service, or stop by our CHICAGO, Illinois, auto center at 4118 N PULASKI RD, 60641. To better understand what a differential does, think about our local CHICAGO high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to c ... read more

Categories:

Drive Train

Line Them Up: Wheel Alignment Service at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Line Them Up: Wheel Alignment Service at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Hello CHICAGO! Let's talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly for drivers in CHICAGO.It can even damage your suspension system, which is costly to repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for CHICAGO drivers and their passengers.It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday Illinois driving. CHICAGO road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, and even the bumps and bounces of normal CHICAGO roads and surface streets can gradually put your vehicle tires out of alignment.So it's good auto advice t ... read more

Categories:

Alignment

NOT JUST ANOTHER CUSTOMER (Finding the Right Service Facility)

You might remember a hit TV sitcom that was set in a bar, a place where "everybody knows your name."  The idea, of course, is people feel more comfortable where they aren't just another customer among many; they're special because their relationship goes back a few years.   That comfortable relationship can extend to professionals you deal with, too.  Think of your accountant, your dentist, your doctor.  Most people try to stick with the same person or firm in those businesses.  They have grown to know their work over the years and they've learned to trust their professionalism, the quality of their work and their track record.    Ideally, you should have that same relationship with your automotive service facility, like your friends here at Thom's Four Wheel Drive. You may have tried several facilities over the years until you found one that did good work at a reasonable price.  The longer your relationship with your service facility, the better ... read more

Fuel Injector Cleaning at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Fuel Injector Cleaning at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your vehicle engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute in every single fuel-injected vehicle driving down CHICAGO roads.Most fuel injectors for gas engines are known in the CHICAGO automotive community as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. The fuel pump provides pressure needed to squirt the right amount of fuel into the engine. A few have recently introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines. They are now available at some Illinois dealerships. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure – many times the pressure of port injection systems. Although more complicated, direct i ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

E-85 Fuel Safety Advice from Thom's Four Wheel Drive

E-85 Fuel Safety Advice from Thom's Four Wheel Drive

  Today at Thom's Four Wheel Drive we want to talk with you about a very important safety issue. This automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: fire fighting experts. You've probably heard of E-85 gasoline being offered in the CHICAGO area. Some newer vehicle models are specifically built to run on E-85 – the rest are not. Does your vehicle use E-85 gasoline? Bring it down to Thom's Four Wheel Drive at 4118 N PULASKI RD in CHICAGO, Illinois 60641, to find out, or give us a call to make an appointment by calling 7735775701. E-85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption. E-85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, a grain-base alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E-85 gas. The result is lower exhaust emissions to our local CHICAGO community.All gas engines can run wit ... read more

Categories:

Warranty

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

If You Are Using A Screen Reader And Are Having Problems Using This Website, please call Thom's Four Wheel Drive and Auto Service, Inc. (773) 577-5701 For Assistance.