Teson Automotive

1200 Armstrong Street

Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Mon -Fri  7:30am to 5:30pm

Phone: (847) 658-7700

See map: Google Maps

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My Car Has a Computer?

Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, including our vehicles!

All modern cars have at least one computer built-in. But unlike the internet-browsing laptops and desktop computers that come to mind, the computers in your vehicle serve a more limited but vital function – keeping your vehicle safe on the road.

The primary computer in your vehicle controls many aspects of its operation, including:

  • Fuel injection
  • Spark plugs
  • Idle speed
  • Engine emissions

Various sensors in your car (oxygen, engine temperature, throttle position…) send information straight to the car’s computer, and it automatically adjusts the engine operations to accommodate for the best performance and keep emissions as low as possible.

Computers in your vehicle precisely control aspects of your drive for better performance - for proper auto maintenance come to Teson AutomotiveJust as important, the on-board computer can alert you to potential problems with your vehicle. When one of the sensors indicate a problem, the computer can trigger a warning light or the “Check Engine” light to let you know something has gone wrong.

When you bring your vehicle into our independent auto repair shop, our certified technicians use sophisticated technology and up-to-date software to pull the codes stored within your vehicle’s computer. The computer automatically saves the information it receives from the sensors, and our expert technicians are able to take that data to accurately identify problems and quickly find the best solution.

But it doesn’t stop there… many modern vehicles have multiple computers, each with a specific function and role to play in delivering the best experience in your vehicle. Some vehicles have separate computers to control individual systems, including:

  • Transmission
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Air bags
  • Climate control
  • Radio
  • Cruise Control
  • Navigation
  • and more…

And each of these computers have similar functions: reading sensors, saving important information, and alerting you to potential issues with error codes.

The computers in your vehicle work together to give you the best experience in your vehicle. And as technology continues to develop, computers may play a bigger and bigger role in our driving experience. (Think about a self-driving car – computers control EVERY aspect of the drive!) Which is why it is important for auto repair shops to stay up-to-date with the latest training, technology, and equipment.

Our ASE-Certified technicians undergo continued training and education to expand our expertise and keep up with the ever evolving industry. With the latest diagnostic tools and expertise, our independent shop can perform the reliable services your vehicle needs – from gathering critical data from on-board computers to performing repairs and maintenance to keep your vehicle running smooth.

To learn more about your vehicle or schedule your next appointment, stop by our shop in Algonquin or call our team at 847-658-7700.

What Octane should I use in my Car?

When you pull into a local gas station in Algonquin to fill your empty tank, it may be tempting to reach for the fuel with the lowest price tag. After-all, how can one little number be so important?

But reaching for the regular grade isn’t always the right choice – consult your owner’s manual, the sticker on the gas cap, or call our techs at (847) 658-7700 for advice for your vehicle – keep reading for more information about gasoline octane and when it matters.

What do the numbers on the gas pump mean?

Use the right octane for the best gas mileage in Algonquin - tips from the auto repair experts at Teson AutomotiveWhen you stop at the pump, the numbers indicate the octane rating of the fuel. This rating (87, 89, 93, etc.) relates to its ability to be compressed in the engine without igniting prematurely.

In a typical engine, gas and air are combined in the cylinders then compressed into a smaller volume. Once compressed, the fuel is ignited with a spark plug to create the combustion that powers your vehicle.

But different engines compress the fuel and air at varying ratios – high performance engines often have higher compression ratios that gives your vehicle higher horsepower.

The octane grade relates directly to the compression in the engine. Higher octane gasoline can withstand more pressure and compression without spontaneously igniting.

Can I use the cheaper gas to save money?

When the fuel ignites on its own (during compression instead of with the spark plug), you’ll notice a knocking sound in the engine. Did you recently fill the tank? You might be using the wrong grade of gasoline.

If you notice this sound, bring your vehicle into a trusted auto shop right away. Pre-ignition can damage the engine, so catching the problem early can help prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Uncontrolled combustion inside the cylinders is called knock or ping, and can cause severe engine damage. Using the lowest grade of gasoline might save you a few pennies now, but it’ll cost you much more when you have to repair or replace your engine later.

Is “Premium” fuel better for the engine?

Higher octane or “premium” fuel won’t boost the performance of your vehicle. If you put 93 grade fuel into your engine that calls for 87, you won’t see any increase in power, speed, or performance. Horsepower comes from the engine, not the fuel.

It’s always best to use the grade of fuel recommended in your owner’s manual. The manufacture can calculate the best octane rating based on the compression ratio and running temperatures inside your engine. Use the recommended fuel – if your engine calls for regular, there’s no need to pay more for premium!

Will I ever need to change fuel types?

As your car gets older, you may notice changes in the performance. If you notice knocking or pinging as you drive, you may need to consider putting in a higher octane. Carbon deposits inside the cylinders can raise the combustion ratio, requiring higher octane.

However, with proper care and maintenance, you can keep your engine in its best condition to keep running as it was designed!

Services like regular oil changes, cooling system flushes, fuel injection cleaning, and motor vac will keep your engine in shape for a long and healthy life. Stop by Teson Automotive  in Algonquin, IL, for your preventative maintenance services or if you notice ping or knocking in the engine.

If you have any questions about the right gasoline for your vehicle, different fuel types, or the services needed to care for your engine, call our team of certified technicians and advisors: (847) 658-7700.

Spring Car Care Tips

Spring has officially arrived in Algonquin! But that doesn’t mean your vehicle is in the clear – changing seasons means it’s time for maintenance to make sure your vehicle will keep you safely and comfortable on the road through the spring and summer.

April National Car Care Month - visit Teson Automotive for auto maintenance and an inspectionAs we kick off National Car Care Month, here are 8 things you should check on your vehicle to prepare for spring:

1. Antifreeze
Many people think of antifreeze only in cold months. But antifreeze (also known as coolant) also cools the engine in the heat of the spring and summer. This fluid is responsible for keeping your vehicle running at a consistent temperature. Don’t ignore it just because it has “freeze” in its name – antifreeze will become even more important as the weather warms up to prevent overheating engines and vehicle breakdowns.

Stay cool all spring and summer in Algonquin with an auto air conditioning inspection and service2. A/C temperature and check
As the days get warmer in Illinois, we’ve already noticed the need for air conditioning to stay cool and comfortable driving on the roads. But not using this system in the winter months means you’ll likely notice latent problems as the weather gets warm. Stop by our shop and our ASE Certified technicians will perform an inspection, checking the temperature and components in your vehicle’s A/C system. (Be leary of DIY Refrigerant flushes – leave this to the professionals to avoid damaging your vehicle).

3. Tire pressure
Warming temperatures affect tire pressure – a 10 degree increase can drop pressure by 1-2 psi. Low tire pressure means you’ll get fewer miles to each gallon and means your tires will wear faster than if they were properly inflated. Every time you stop at a gas station, check your tire pressure. Many stations even have air available for a top off on-the-go, or stop by our shop and we’ll fill your tires to the right pressure to get you back on the road!

4. Potholes
Road damage, from cracks to potholes to bumps in the road, can wreak havoc on your vehicle in the spring. Even a small pothole can damage your alignment and suspension. If your daily commute involves risks like these, stop by for an inspection early to prevent worsening the damage and premature tire wear.

5. Fluids
Spring is the perfect time to take care of routine maintenance before warm weather puts a toll on your vehicle. From your oil to coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid, winter can be harder on your vehicle. Small problems may become more noticeable as we head into the spring season. Have your fluids checked and replace as needed. When you bring your vehicle in for an inspection, our ASE certified technicians will check all of your fluids and recommend maintenance as needed – we’ll even top off your windshield washer fluid to keep you safe through spring showers!

6. Wash exterior
Winter roads can leave your vehicle covered in dirt and salt. Not only is this unsightly, it can actually harm your exterior. A thorough wash can remove chloride, salt, and chemicals from the exterior of your car. Be sure you clean the underside too! This is where the most dirt and chemicals can collect and post the biggest threat. As an extra bonus, take pride in your vehicle again when it is clean and looks like new!

penny7. Tire tread
Take a look at the tread on your tires using the penny test, looking carefully for any uneven patches or bald spots. While it might not seem as important in the spring, this time of year is the rainiest and wettest season. Good traction is important for driving on wet roads, especially unexpected or panic stops. If you’re not sure how to check your tires, stop by our shop and our technicians will help!

8. Spring Inspection
The best thing you can do for your vehicle this spring is stop by for a full inspection. When you bring your vehicle into our shop, our auto technicians can check all of the issues above, and can fix any problems we find right away. Most issues, including alignment, coolant, and fluid flushes, can be performed right away to get your vehicle back on the road quickly and safely.

Don’t be fooled thinking that just because it’s spring your car is now in the clear – changing seasons mean changing conditions for your vehicle. Check the elements above in your vehicle, or stop by our shop for a full inspection. Wishing you a fun and safe National Car Care Month!

If you have any questions about the care of your vehicle, preparing for spring in Algonquin, or scheduling an appointment, call our advisors at (847) 658-7700.

Replacing your Timing Belt

Changing your timing belt is NOT optional – but waiting until it breaks to address any issues is. And that is a risk you shouldn’t take.

Most manufacturers recommend changing the timing belt at a specific mileage, usually between 90 and 105 thousand miles. But you should NOT wait until the last possible minute to have your timing belt replaced. Replacing it early can save you thousands of dollars.

If your vehicle is due for a timing belt replacement, or to find out what your manufacturer recommends, call our experts at (847) 658-7700.

Timing Belt ReplacementWith the timing belt, it’s not if it will fail – it’s WHEN. This rubber belt is critical to your vehicle’s performance – and the operation of the auto engine.

The timing belt is a rubber belt with teeth, which travels on pulleys through the engine in your vehicle. The teeth on the belt catch on gears, like on the water pump to regulate the coolant entering the engine.

There are two common reasons that your timing belt would fail:

  1. Age & Miles – As your vehicle travels more miles, the rubber teeth on the timing belt wear down. If worn to the point that the timing belt can no longer grip the gears, it will slip and cause the pistons and valves to pump out of sync. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt between 90 and 105 thousand miles.
  2. Water Pump Seizure – If the water pump in your vehicle seizes, the gear will stop turning and the force will break the timing belt. This is often caused by cooling system failure. If the coolant hasn’t been flushed regularly, your vehicle is at risk of cooling system and water pump failure.

If your vehicle has an interference engine, a broken timing belt could mean thousands of dollars in damage. (The average cost to replace an engine after a blown timing belt can run from $3,000 to $10,000 and higher depending on the vehicle.)

In interference engines, pistons (the large cylinders in the illustration below) move up and down. Above these pistons, there are smaller valves that simultaneously pump up and down. The timing belt controls the operation of both these elements, ensuring that they move in sync so the valves and pistons never meet.Timing Belt Pistons Valves Interference Engine

When the timing belt slips or breaks in an interference engine, the pistons and valves become out of sync – the pistons continue to pump, forcefully hitting (and almost always breaking) the valves.

What should have been routine maintenance, replacing the timing belt in your vehicle, has now become a costly engine repair – replacing the timing belt early can save you THOUSANDS of dollars.

To find out if your vehicle needs a new timing belt or schedule your next appointment, call us at (847) 658-7700.

Even in non-interference engines, a broken timing belt can immediately shut off your vehicles engine, leaving you and your family stranded on the side of the road with a vehicle that can no longer run. By putting off timing belt replacement to save some money now, you’re risking the safety of your family and vehicle – and risking extensive damage that will cost much more.

In this video, the Monday Morning Mechanic reviews the importance of Changing your timing belt EARLY to save BIG BUCKS!

“Changing your timing belt isn’t optional, but waiting until it breaks before you do can cost you thousands. While you’re having it changed, though, you can have several other items addressed at the same time, which can save you a ton of money for labor. While your shop is under the hood replacing the timing belt, have them change the water pump, and the tensioners, and you’ll save a lot in the long run.”

If your vehicle is due for a timing belt replacement, don’t delay! Give our auto repair experts a call at (847) 658-7700 to schedule your service, replace your timing belt, and save yourself from the danger and inconvenience of extensive damage and costly repairs.

3 Cat Litter Auto Myths – True or False?

Kitty litter often makes an appearance in lists for auto emergency kits or winter safety tips – but why is this strange “tool” so popular? What is it for? Does it really work?

Here, we address three “myths” about cat litter to help you stay safe on slick winter roads in Algonquin, IL. Before you find yourself stuck (without cat litter), make sure your car can handle winter conditions – call our team at 847-658-7700.

 Cat Litter_Car EmergencyMyth #1 – Cat litter provides Traction

TRUE! If your vehicle gets stuck in a snow bank or on a slick road, cat litter can help create the traction you need to get out. Pour a little around your tires to give them something to grip as you navigate onto the road. The non-clumping kind works best for extra traction on slick roads.

Myth #2 – Cat Litter Weighs Down your Car

TRUE! As cat owners know, bags of cat litter are heavy. When you’re not stuck in the snow, the weight of cat litter in your trunk can also help improve traction by adding weight to the back end of your vehicle. Especially in trucks and cars that are front heavy, a little extra weight in the rear of your vehicle can help stabilize you, keeping you in control of your vehicle on slick roads.

Cat litter provides traction on slick winter roadsMyth #3 – Cat litter is an alternative to “Ice Melt”

FALSE! Cat litter does NOT act as an “ice melt” for your driveway. While it will provide traction for vehicles and pedestrians on ice, it will not speed up melting of the ice (the way salt ice melt does – salt lowers the freezing point of water to help it melt faster). In fact, as the ice starts to melt, the kitty litter may absorb the moisture, leaving you with slippery, wet clay to sweep away.

Drive safely on the winter roads across Algonquin this season. Don’t forget to pick up some cat litter for your winter auto emergency kit – store a bag in your trunk for weigh and traction on slick roads. To make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter road conditions, schedule an appointment or call 847-658-7700.

Don’t Ignore that you just Hit a Curb!

Hitting a CurbWinter roads are slick in Algonquin, and across Illinois. As you drive along snowy, icy roads this winter, use extra caution to remain in control of your vehicle to avoid slides and skids.

At Teson Automotive, we’ve seen many of our customers’ vehicles suffer damage from sliding into a curb on slick winter roads. Even though this seems like a small mistake, hitting a curb can have major impacts on your car. Don’t ignore it! Stop by our auto shop to have an inspection before small damage causes big problems. Call us at (847) 658-7700 to schedule an appointment.

Potential issues from hitting a curb:

  • Hitting a curb even going as slow as 5-10 mph can have a major impact on the performance of your tires. Tire wear damage is possible in as little as 200 miles after a curb impact.
  • Tie Rods are the connection between your steering system and the wheels. Any damage to the tie rods can severely inhibit your ability to steer, especially important when roads are slick.
  • The control arms allow up and down movement of the suspension while holding the knuckles, spindles, and axles firmly onto the car. Jarring from hitting a curb can cause extreme damage to the control arms and suspension of your vehicle.
  • steering knuckle contains the wheel hub or spindle and attaches to the suspension components. It is variously called a steering knuckle, spindle, upright or hub, as well. Damage to steering knuckles also impacts suspension and steering your vehicle.
  • Tires and Wheels can be damaged as well. If you suspect tire damage, have it inspected immediately to avoid costly problems.

What should you do?

If you hit a curb, call us at (847) 658-7700 to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. Our certified technicians will make sure your vehicle can keep you safely on the road, without risking extensive damage and costly future repairs.

Damage from Curb SlideAn alignment check is a small expense, but can save your vehicle many miles and dollars from costly issues. If an adjustment is needed, this inspection can save many miles on your tires, and help you get more miles out of every dollar if other issues are found (by catching and fixing small problems before they lead to extensive damage and costly repairs). But more importantly, a check will provide peace of mind that you and your family will stay safe while driving, especially as it gets really cold in Algonquin.

Don’t ignore the fact that you just hit a curb! Call today to have your vehicle inspected.

Stay safe and warm this week (and all winter) in Illinois. To prepare your vehicle for cold weather, stop by Teson Automotive for an inspection: (847) 658-7700.

 

Need new tires? Find out with this trick that only costs a penny!


Did you know that you officially need to replace your tires when the tread is below 2/32” thick? And did you know that the distance between the edge of a penny and the top of Lincoln’s head is exactly 2/32”?

Convenient, right?

Whether you’ve put extra miles on your tires with summer road trips or they are simply nearing the end of their life, this quick test will let you know if it is time to consider new tires.

Most tires have “wear bars” that run across the tread pattern. When these become visible, connecting patterns across your tire’s tread, they serve as a warning that your tread is getting bare. But not all tires are designed the same, and sometimes you just need an extra test to know with confidence that it is time to replace your tires.

So for a quick tread check, grab a penny! Place the penny, with Lincoln’s head down and facing you, into the tread of the tire.penny

If all or part of Lincoln’s head is obscured by the tread, your tires still have some life left – but if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tire.

Note: Measure each tire in multiple places – both the inside and outside edge across the tire, and on multiple points around the tire. If your alignment is off, or if you have neglected tire rotation, they may have uneven wear. This also can cause bald spots that mean you need to replace your tires prematurely.

If you don’t have a penny handy, a quarter can also do the trick! The distance between Washington’s head and the edge of a quarter is exactly 4/32” (which also happens to be the recommended thickness for tire tread if you are driving in rain, snow, or icy conditions).

Use the same method, placing the quarter with Washington’s head upside down and facing you in the tread across multiple places on your tire. When you can see all of Washington’s head, you know you will need to replace your tires soon.

You may consider replacing your tires before they reach the 2/32” point. As your tread thins between 4/32” and 2/32” you may start to experience performance issues, especially in wet and slick conditions.

tire

The good news? There are easy steps you can take to extend the life of your tires! Keep your tires properly inflated to reduce extra friction and wear. Rotate your tires regularly to ensure they wear uniformly without creating bald spots.  Have an alignment performed periodically. Treat your tires with care – following these recommended maintenance tips can help them wear evenly so you get more miles out of every dollar! Stop by or schedule an appointment for a tire rotation, alignment, or inspection.

Cooling System Flush – is it really necessary?



Overheating is the most common cause of vehicle breakdowns and internal engine damage. As the heat rises in the summer, our shop sees more and more people coming in after breakdowns due to cooling system failure. But there is an easy answer!

A cooling system flush can keep your engine running smooth and cool even on the hottest days. Regularly changing your coolant, aka antifreeze, can prevent larger problems for your cooling system and engine and keep your family safe on the road!

What is the Cooling System?

Cooling-System

The cooling system is responsible for keeping your vehicle’s engine from overheating. The engine runs best at a high temperature, so the cooling system helps it to heat up quickly then keep the engine at a regular, constant temperature without overheating as it runs. It accomplishes this by transferring heat into the air with the help of coolant, or antifreeze, and the other components of the cooling system.

In most cars, the cooling system works by circulating radiator fluid (the mixture of coolant and water) through parts and pipes in the engine to absorb the heat and cool the engine. A radiator at the end of the system captures and transfers the heat from the fluid into the air.

But my coolant still looks clear, why should I change it?

New coolant usually appears a bright green or a bright red color, as in the picture below.

coolant-fluid-green

As the coolant runs through the engine, rust and contaminants caused by oxidation and corrosion mix in with the fluid. Unfortunately, when you look under the hood to check your fluid, it may still appear clean and clear even though these contaminants rest under the surface, unseen and threatening the life of your engine.

This video from Monday Morning Mechanic shows the striking visual of these hidden contaminants, and the threats they pose: http://mondaymorningmechanic.com/helpful-money-saving-videos/?mmmvideo=38#video

How often should I flush my coolant?

Most manufacturers recommend that you change the radiator fluid (the mixture of antifreeze coolant and water) every 24,000 to 36,000 miles or 24 to 36 months. Depending on your driving habits, you may need to flush your coolant more often – we recommend every 1-2 years.

Be leery of “extended life” coolants that tout 100,000 mile lifespans – even these can accumulate rust and contaminants that threaten your engine life. These impurities could add up and cause bigger problems before you reach the 100,000 mile check.  Even with “extended life” fluids, you should have these coolants checked frequently.

What happens if I don’t?

Failing to change your coolant can take as much as 100,000 miles off the life of your engine, in addition to big problems and expensive repairs.

Coolant flows through your entire engine, leaving behind contaminants. They can collect on the radiator, inside the water pump or thermostat, getting stuck and preventing the components from working appropriately. Plastic components, like the water pump, can wear and break apart. If the water pump breaks, the system won’t be able to move the water and coolant through the engine. Hoses can also react to contaminants, becoming swollen and rusty on the inside even as they appear normal on the outside. With excess heat, belts that control the cooling system and steering will start cracking, eventually breaking and disabling the systems (imagine a steering belt break, not being able to control your vehicle!).

Bottom line – contaminated coolant can lead to cooling system failure, causing your engine to overheat and break down, leaving you stranded on the road!

We assume your family’s safety is at the top of your priority list, so having your coolant flushed or even just checked while it’s still scorching outside, and before it gets cold, should be as well. Avoid expensive engine breakdowns by having your coolant flushed before problems arise. Call us at 847-658-7700 or stop by our shop.

Oil Change Basics – Different types of Motor Oil

Changing your vehicle’s oil is one of the most basic aspects of maintenance – every vehicle needs it regularly to continue to function properly. If you are setting up an appointment with your mechanic, chances are it’s to have your oil changed. But how much thought do you usually put into this process? Or, like many of our customers, do you simply follow the 3 months/3,000  mile rule and let our techs handle the rest?

Our technicians are here for just that – we keep track of the details, know the manufacturer recommendations, and identify the right type of motor oil for your vehicle so you don’t have to. But if you have ever wondered what makes different types of oil unique, or why you should use one type over another in your vehicle, read on!

This guide from How Stuff Works discusses 5 types of oils and how manufacturers specify oil type for your vehicle:

“Often times a manufacturer will suggest two or more motor oil viscosities for an engine, such as a 5W-20 or 5W-30, based on several different factors — including temperature. The reason for this is that engines often need a different viscosity based on operating conditions. Knowing how scientists see viscosity will help an owner determine the best oil for the engine.

Viscosity, at its most basic, is a fluid’s resistance to flow. Within the engine oil world, viscosity is notated with the common “XW-XX.” The number preceding the “W” rates the oil’s flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). The “W” stands for winter, not weight as many people think. The lower the number here, the less it thickens in the cold. So 5W-30 viscosity engine oil thickens less in the cold than a 10W-30, but more than a 0W-30. An engine in a colder climate, where motor oil tends to thicken because of lower temperatures, would benefit from 0W or 5W viscosity. A car in Death Valley would need a higher number to keep the oil from thinning out too much.

The second number after the “W” indicates the oil’s viscosity measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). This number represents the oil’s resistance to thinning at high temperatures. For example, 10W-30 oil will thin out at higher temperatures faster than 10W-40 will.

The owner’s manual will advise the best viscosity range and the owner can then work within those parameters.

With the right viscosity in mind, it’s time to start shopping for a type of oil. Most commuters follow the 3-month and 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) rule. Frequent oil changes means there’s less tendency to need other types of oil than conventional. However some car companies, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, recommend only synthetic oil in their cars. The following list, as well as the car’s owner’s manual, will provide a good idea of what type of oil to use. It’s also a good rule of thumb not to switch between types. If your car started with conventional, stick with that. If it first used synthetic, be wary about switching to conventional.

  • Conventional Oil: This is the oil used in bulk at dealerships and is the cheapest at the auto store, too. Most adhere to API and SAE standards but offer little in the way of additive packages. This is good oil for owners that are religious about frequent oil changes and have low-mile (but well broken-in) engines.
  • Premium Conventional Oil: This is the standard new-car oil. Most leading brands have one for SL, or highest level, service. Most are available in the common viscosities. Car manufacturers usually specify 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil, though some require 10W-30. These three ratings cover just about every light-duty vehicle on the road, though this is changing as engines become more precise and fussy about specific types oil.
  • Full-synthetic Oil: These oils are made for high-tech engines. If these oils pass stringent special tests (indicated by their labeling), it means they have superior, longer-lasting performance in all the critical areas, from viscosity index to protection against engine deposits. They flow better at low temperatures and maintain peak lubrication at high temperatures. While excellent oil, synthetics are about three times as expensive as conventional oil and not always necessary for most engines. Use the owner’s manual as a guide. If it doesn’t call for synthetic oil, using it will only be an additional expense that may not add anything to the engine’s performance or life.
  • Synthetic-blend Oil: This is essentially premium conventional oil hit with a dose of synthetic. They’re formulated to offer better protection during heavier engine loads and the associated higher engine temperatures. These oils are popular with pick-up and SUV drivers because they do offer better protection, but usually cost only a fraction more than premium conventional oils.
  • High-mileage Oil: More than 60 percent of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles (120,701 kilometers) on the odometer. Playing to this growing market, oil refiners and labs developed high-mileage oils. Seal conditioners are added to the oil (the oil can be synthetic or conventional) to expand and increase the flexibility of internal engine seals. The conditioners are very precise and can benefit some engines while not affecting others.”

To read more about types of motor oil, read the full article from How Stuff Works. To discuss the motor oil options for your vehicle, call our experts at 847-658-7700! Stop by our shop anytime, or schedule your next oil change with us today!

New Technology in Cars – Car Swapping vs. Keeping Current Cars Longer

Do you keep up with the latest gadgets and technology in your vehicle? A new study shows that Americans would trade in their cars for a new one every 2 years – as often as we get new cell phones! A large motivation for this trend is the vast technological changes between new and old (or even less new) vehicles.

With increasing changes in technology, like Bluetooth, GPS, audio inputs, USB connections, and more, it takes time for car manufacturers to develop platforms for the latest technology in vehicles. There are also new technologies specific to driving, like self-parking, heated seats, rear cameras, and more. New cars often feature vastly superior technology to their older counterparts.

At the same time that technology is increasing, people are keeping their cars longer than ever before. Vehicles now have an impressive average age of nearly 12 years. With advances in preventative maintenance and repair, cars are able to keep running smoothly through the years.

This blog from Jim Motavalli at Car Talk explore this topic further:

“If wishes were horses, we’d all be equestrians. A new study shows that Americans would be happy trading in their cars as frequently as their mobile phones, and that’s pretty often.

According to Swapalease.com, the typical life of an American cellphone is just 21.7 months. By then, it’s hopelessly outdated, right? And there’s a big parallel with cars, which struggle to incorporate the latest technology into platforms that take years to develop.

The Swapalease.com survey finds 59.5 percent of men and 60.7 percent of women wanting to trade in cars as often as phones. More than 10 percent of either sex would actually want to do it more frequently. What I find telling is that 31.4 percent of men and a whopping 39.5 percent of women say their primary reason is to have “a vehicle with the latest features.” What they’re talking about, largely, is infotainment, which is moving at lightning speed.

Chances are, you’re swapping out a car that doesn’t even have an audio output, let alone a USB connection. Still rockin’ cassettes? The cars coming onto the lots now may not even have CD players. There’s lots of other cool tech, too, including self-driving and parking features, lane departure warnings, heated steering wheels and traction control. You can’t get any of that stuff in a 2003 Honda Civic.

Scott Hall, an executive vice president of Swapalease, concurs with my analysis:

Our cars are becoming feature-rich vehicle devices, with technology that evolves much faster than in years past. As such, people want to always stay current with this latest technology, similar to what’s happening in the mobile phones industry.

Ah, but there’s a big gap between our wish lists and our actual purchases. That 11-year-old Civic may not be “feature-rich,” but it’s durable, and trading in cars every two years is really expensive in this economy—the darned thing depreciates as soon as it’s out of the showroom door.

In actual fact, we’re keeping cars longer than ever, with the average age in 2013 an impressive 11.4 years (just like that Civic). Since 2007, the average age has gone up two years, says Polk research. The number of cars going to a scrapyard in any given year is down 50 percent. Hall thinks this trend is going to reverse itself as we come out of the recession, and people have money again to make their fantasies come true.

Since I always consider the green angle, I’d have to say that keeping cars longer is basically good for the planet, since according to the Environmental Defense Fund, 11 percent of a car’s lifecycle emissions is in its manufacture. That percentage is going down as automakers clean up their plants, with a special emphasis on the paint process.

The downside, as Janet Wright of SellMart points out, is that older cars can become gross polluters. You’ve seen the Bondo specials trailing a cloud of blue smoke—they’re doing a lot of damage. Owners of beaters, Wright said, “really need to consider whether it is worth shelling out on repairs time and time again or whether they should just bite the bullet, sell their old car, and invest in something newer.”

It’s funny that Swapalease asked people if they’d want a new car “assuming cost was not an issue.” When is cost not an issue when we’re talking about cars?

Incidentally, most cited as objects of desire in the poll were (in this order) BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Cadillac, Lexus and Acura.”

What do you think? Would you rather keep up with the latest technology, trading in for the latest and greatest cars? Or would you rather keep your current car running as long as possible with regular care? With so much to consider, come in to talk with our mechanics to discuss all of your options!

To keep your vehicle running smoothly, bring it to our shop for regular preventative maintenance. If you are considering buying a used car, bring it in for a pre-purchase inspection and evaluation. To talk to our professionals or schedule an appointment, call us at (847) 658-7700!