Teson Automotive

1200 Armstrong Street

Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Mon -Fri  7:30am to 5:30pm

Phone: (847) 658-7700

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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.

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Traffic

From all of us at Teson Automotive, Happy Holidays! This season is one of the busiest for holiday travel. And with unpredictable weather and road conditions in Algonquin, IL, and across the country, long road trips can be stressful.

Before you head out for your holiday road trip this year, bring your vehicle in for a pre-trip inspection. Our ASE Certified technicians will thoroughly inspect your vehicle, fix any issues before they lead to costly repairs, and give you the peace of mind to embark safely on the road.

Here are a few more tips to stay safe and avoid holiday traffic this season:

Holiday traffic can be avoided with a little planning!Plan ahead – If you have the flexibility, avoid traveling on the busiest days. When possible, avoid major highways during rush hour (7:00–10:00 am and 4:00–7:00 pm). Plan your route ahead of time, or use a GPS or smart phone to identify alternative routes.

Stay alert – When driving in heavy traffic or slick winter road conditions, the best thing you can do is pay attention. Avoid distractions like the radio, cell phones, makeup, etc. and focus on the road ahead of you. Staying alert will help you react to changing road conditions faster, stay safe, and avoid unnecessary congestion from distracted drivers.

Know your route – Familiarize yourself with the street names, exit numbers, and alternative routes before heading out. If you’re traveling on a congested highway and know your exit is coming up, think ahead and don’t wait until last opportunity to merge. Merging at the last minute creates bottlenecks, the cause of around 40% of traffic congestion.

Prevent breakdowns –Breakdowns and accidents cause nearly 25% of traffic jams. The best thing you can do for your vehicle before a road trip is to stop by for an inspection, and tend to any threatening issues. If you find yourself in an emergency on a high-traffic road, pull over quickly and completely to avoid further delaying traffic. And if you see an incident on the side of the road, avoid the impulse to slow and watch the commotion – this only further contributes to slow traffic.

Traffic apps – Before you head out, check your favorite source for traffic updates. Google maps now can show real-time traffic conditions, and there are a variety of apps and websites (as well as local radio stations) that provide current traffic reports. Tune-in before you head out, and plan alternative routes as needed.

Check the weather – Rain and snow can contribute to traffic delays. Consider the forecast (you can check at local and national conditions at weather.com) and plan accordingly. If it looks like rain or snow, plan extra time for your commute and check your tire condition before longer trips. Poor traction increases your risk of an accident on slick road).

Be prepared – Prior to long trips, make sure your emergency kit is stocked and packed in your vehicle. Check the tire pressure in your spare tire (you can’t replace a flat tire with a flat spare!) and make sure your jack, lug nut wrench, and tools are in place. A quick check will confirm that you are prepared to handle a flat tire or other auto emergency on the road.

Relax and be courteous – On roads with heavy traffic, a little patience goes a long way. While you may not be able to control the speed of traffic or attentiveness of other drivers, your attitude is in your control. Avoid road rage and be courteous to other drivers. If someone in the next lane is signaling to merge, slow to let them in. These small acts help you to avoid stress and unnecessary bottlenecks.

With a little planning and patience, you can make the best out of holiday traffic. Traffic is uncontrollable, but you can adjust your attention and attitude to avoid contributing to the problem.

For your pre-trip inspection, give us a call at (847) 658-7700 or schedule an appointment. Wishing you a happy holiday season, and safe travels this winter!

Preparing for Fall and Winter Road Conditions

fall-car-care-winter-road-prepIs your car ready for the changing weather? As summer comes to an end, we know that means cooling temperatures, rain, and falling leaves in Algonquin, IL. It also means winter will be here before we know it!

As National Fall Car Care Month, this month is the perfect time to ask, “Is my car ready for autumn and winter?” Here are eight things you should check to make sure your car can handle the coming weather and road conditions:

  1. Tire pressure – Cooling temperatures can affect the pressure in your tires, as external pressure changes with the weather. Take a few moments to check your tires with a pressure gauge and make sure it’s filled to the recommended level. Proper tire pressure not only reduces the chance of a flat, but also improves fuel efficiency.
  2. Tire treadCheck your tire tread too! While 2/32” is the minimum acceptable tread on your tire, rain and snow conditions require more tread for safe driving. Your tires should have at least 4/32” of tread, without bulges, wear, or bald spots, so you don’t risk losing control of your car on slick roads.
  3. Windshield wipers – If you wait for the next rain storm to check your windshield wipers, you’re risking your safety. Get in the habit of running your washer fluid periodically – you’ll be able to monitor if your wipers need replaced, and you’ll have a cleaner windshield!
  4. Defroster/Heater – Also test your defroster before the cold weather hits. On the next cold morning, turn on your heater to make sure it’s working. Make sure air flow reaches your windshield and isn’t blocked in any spots. If it takes too long to warm the interior, bring your car in for a heating system inspection.
  5. Battery condition – As temperatures drop, your battery may begin to show signs of failure. Test your battery’s condition using a multimeter (or have it tested) to ensure it is operating in the acceptable range. If your battery is getting old or can’t hold the proper charge, your vehicle may not be able to start on cold mornings.
  6. Brakes – When roads are slick with rain and snow, your brakes are put to the test! Brakes are subject to wear and tear with normal use of a vehicle, which means you’ll need to have them serviced and replaced periodically. Have them inspected before the first storm so you know that they are up to the task.
  7. Cooling system – If you’ve been putting off your coolant flush, have it done before winter arrives. Coolant (aka antifreeze) is critical to keep your engine running at the proper temperature even when the weather gets cold.
  8. Winter tools – Chances are you took that pesky ice scraper out of your car to make room for summer gear. Now is the time to put it back in your trunk or glove box so you are prepared for early frosts of the year. It’s also a great time to start prepping your auto survival kit.

Pay attention to your vehicle as the weather changes – some systems that work fine during the summer may start to reveal warning signs this season. Make sure your vehicle is up-to-date on manufacturer recommended maintenance, and address any concerns before they lead to bigger problems and costly repairs.

Stop by our shop for an inspection to make sure your car is ready for this fall!