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Category Archives: Fluids

A Fluid Situation (Check Fluid Levels)

There's one fluid in your car you are always careful to keep at a certain level: the fuel. If you don't have fuel, you're not going anywhere.  Your vehicle has other fluids which are vitally important to proper and safe operation, too.  So, here's a "level" headed approach to those "other" fluids. Engine oil.  This one's probably the most important fluid to maintain at the proper level. Without enough oil, you'll wear out your engine prematurely.  Sometimes vehicles have warning lights on the dash that will tell you to get your oil checked.  Don't ignore that one; get it checked immediately.  Certainly don't go on a long trip at high speeds with your oil level low. Oh, and it's not good to have too much oil in, either. Our pros at Thom's Four Wheel Drive can advise you on oil levels and tell if you if you should be concerned about abnormal fluctuations. Windshield washer fluid.  OK, this is one you probably know about.  You certainly miss it when ... read more

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Fluids

Automobile Fluids For Your vehicle

If you've walked through the automotive fluids section of an auto parts store in CHICAGO, you'll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what's right for your vehicle?As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the CHICAGO area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.First let's talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.Some vehicles around CHICAGO come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the ... read more

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Fluids

Super Slick at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO: Synthetic Oil

When you get an oil change, it's always a safe bet to just use the type of oil the manufacturer recommends. But sometimes we're asked if we'd like conventional or synthetic motor oil. We glance at the price tags on the two options and choose the cheaper one. But in this case, the more expensive oil might be the better bargain for CHICAGO drivers. Conventional oil is made from petroleum. Its molecules form long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil is either more highly refined petroleum or completely man-made. Its molecules are more uniform. This provides advantages over conventional motor oil. First of all, the molecular structure of synthetic motor oil makes it more slippery than conventional oil so it lubricates better. This translates to better wear protection for CHICAGO drivers, cooler operating temperatures and more engine power. Further, synthetic oil is more heat-resistant than conventional oil, and it doesn't vaporize as ... read more

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Fluids

Using Proper Fluids in Your vehicle

Today, Thom's Four Wheel Drive is writing about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It's become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It's not that people in CHICAGO are confused as much as they don't realize how much things have changed in recent years. If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don't hesitate to stop by Thom's Four Wheel Drive. You can find us on 4118 N PULASKI RD in CHICAGO, Illinois 60641.Just give us a call at 7735775701. Let's take engine oil. Twenty or 30 years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it's cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a hea ... read more

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Fluids

Thom's Four Wheel Drive Advice on What to Pour into Your Vehicle

Changes in vehicle design and manufacture have resulted in changed fluid requirements for our vehicles. With the sophistication of engines, transmissions, differentials, etc., it's best for CHICAGO residents to always use the proper type of fluid for their vehicle. Using incorrect fluids can actually damage your engine.As engines have become more sophisticated, new weights (or grades) of engine oil have been introduced. Today, there is a much wider range of weights for engine oil as well as a variety of formulations for different types of engines.Transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant/anti-freeze have changed because the materials that go into making the systems they protect have changed. The fluids in our vehicles generally have two jobs: to lubricate and to prevent corrosion. The fluids formulated for your vehicle are specifically designed to protect the materials that make up its engine parts. Using the wrong fluid may leave some parts vulnerable to corrosion. Further, using t ... read more

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Fluids

How to Know When to Change Your Oil at Thom's Four Wheel Drive

Today in the Thom's Four Wheel Drive auto care blog, we're going to talk to CHICAGO drivers about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, oil change intervals become longer for Thom's Four Wheel Drive customers. For example, recently four of the world's largest vehicle manufacturer's shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers).In real world CHICAGO driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance: quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging vehicle small engine passages so the oil wouldn't flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Thom's Four Wheel Drive in CHICAGO.The vehicle manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a cat ... read more

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Fluids

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 pass ... read more

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Fluids

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

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Fluids

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

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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
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