Teson Automotive

1200 Armstrong Street

Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Mon -Fri  7:30am to 5:30pm

Phone: (847) 658-7700

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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.

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!