Sometimes busy Schaumburg residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Chicago in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Schaumburg motorists spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.
Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Schaumburg motorists would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Schaumburg auto owners didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Schaumburg area auto service centers.
Schaumburg drivers should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Schaumburg is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, Illinois drivers can avoid many costly sedan repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.
Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Chicago car owners can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.
These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Hanover Park drivers know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your sedan will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.
Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):
According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more costly than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.
Just a bit of auto advice from Schaumburg Automedics: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Illinois auto insurance with an older Schaumburg vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for critical preventive maintenance in Illinois, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less pricey!
A generation ago, Schaumburg car owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your sedan in to your Schaumburg shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.
For example, almost everyone in Schaumburg used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the sedan was in for a tune-up at Schaumburg Automedics, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.
Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our sedans don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.
Modern Schaumburg car owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Schaumburg service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Schaumburg Automedics in Schaumburg, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and fuel economy. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”
Modern sedan engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of important parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the sedan isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.
As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your sedan engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the sedan engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this expensive damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.
Timely oil changes are more critical for Schaumburg motorists than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to vital engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.
One word of warning to anyone in Chicago who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Schaumburg folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.
Schaumburg auto owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel economy, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.
We’re living in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term “built to last” goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They’re still a very big investment and we want to make them last as long as possible – and we want to make keeping them as cheap as possible. When talking cars, it’s all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, “a stitch in time saves nine” and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your car. A great example is coolant service.
Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing – it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That’s why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.
The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, don’t forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.
Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don’t forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs down.
Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don’t forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent mechanical damage and reduce fuel consumption.
Now this is a lot to remember – too much really. But it is your Schaumburg automotive technician’s job to keep on top of this stuff. At Schaumburg Automedics we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which maintenance schedule you should use – the regular schedule or the severe service schedule – depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older vehicle.
Bottom line – take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent costly damage and maintain your warranty coverage.
Of course, you want your car to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you’ll be proud to drive it longer.
Most of us can’t afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient – and expensive – problems down the road, and can keep driving “old faithful” for years to come.
Today in our Schaumburg Automedics blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your sedan isn’t the only aspect of your life in Schaumburg with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?
Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.
Clearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Schaumburg takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.
So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our sedans? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Schaumburg neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.
From a practical standpoint, Schaumburg people don’t need to memorize their sedan owner’s manuals. You can let your Schaumburg Automedics advisor remind you of the guidelines established by car makers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your sedan. You really can rely on Schaumburg Automedics professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.
For Schaumburg drivers who want to be more proactive with their sedan care, here are some simple ways for Schaumburg car owners to remember what has a maintenance interval.
First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.
Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.
And what makes your sedan go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Schaumburg car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Schaumburg Automedics for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.
And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy gas mileage, your sedan doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.
Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.
Your sedan engine really needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving around Hanover Park, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?
The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your sedan needs a lot of air to keep going in Hanover Park. A lot of clean air is better.
You’ve seen the pictures of the crowds in Asia wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your sedan also works better when its internals are clean. When your sedan air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the dirt just passes through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the engine itself. And burning dust and pollen in your sedan engine does you no good.
So, we’re talking potential damage for Hanover Park drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your sedan engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with fuel efficiency.
In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Schaumburg Automedics can improve your fuel economy in Hanover Park by up to ten percent. At today’s fuel prices in Hanover Park, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.
The verdict: When your sedan engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on how dirty the air is where you drive in Hanover Park. A simple visual inspection at Schaumburg Automedics will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.
When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Schaumburg Automedics technician brings out your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and change it out.
The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Schaumburg Illinois: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Schaumburg Illinois motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.
Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Chicago area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Chicago have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin’.
Give Schaumburg Automedics a call to schedule your next maintenance. 503 Lunt Avenue Schaumburg, Illinois 60193 847-352-2886
Some owner’s manuals don’t specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.
First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don’t hold the fluids as well as they used to.
It’s also time to make sure you have a good Schaumburg Illinois technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble’s brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.
And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car’s appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.
High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.
Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it’s way cheaper than a new car payment!
A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the news. Schaumburg people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel economy and receive a government rebate.
A lot of Schaumburg motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their sedans for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.
There are plenty of Schaumburg drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own sedans on the road in Illinois.
Schaumburg drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.That may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your sedan’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that can damage your engine.
There’s another reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Schaumburg car owners. It’s simple – a Schaumburg Automedics professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your Schaumburg Automedics technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or costly repair.
Your Schaumburg Automedics advisor will also visually inspect your sedan for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.
And your Schaumburg Automedics advisor will be able to remind you of other services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Schaumburg dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.
Realistically, things are going to wear out as your sedan gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.
Of course, these things cost money, but they are far cheaper than new sedan payments. With proper service at Schaumburg Automedics and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.
If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your sedan. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Schaumburg. Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.
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 sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures. On some Schaumburg cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.
When they understand what it does, Schaumburg drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail.
At Schaumburg Automedics, we can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.
If it has lost a significant thickness, it also needs to be replaced. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Schaumburg Automedics, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.
As mentioned, a squealing sound could be a sign that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your sedan.
All in all, the serpentine belt’s an important part for the function of your sedan. And it’s not that expensive to replace at Schaumburg Automedics – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
If you’ve ever been driving around Schaumburg and had a headlamp go out, you’ve probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won’t have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.
To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Schaumburg Automedics. We’re at 503 Lunt Avenue in Schaumburg, Illinois 60193. Or give us a call at 847-352-2886
Experts in Schaumburg recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Schaumburg winter nights.
There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can’t believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that’s a lot like daylight.
You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they’ll last for the life of your car. If you want your Schaumburg friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint – no one needs to know.
Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can’t react to what you can’t see. You need headlamps that’ll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.
You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That’s because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Schaumburg service centers offer a service to restore the lens that’s a lot cheaper.
You can’t drive if you can’t see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don’t forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.
For advice on how to make your sedan last longer, visit us at Schaumburg Automedics 503 Lunt Avenue Schaumburg, Illinois 60193 847-352-2886
These days many people in the Chicago area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you’ve got to start with what you’ve got. It’d be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you’ve had the vehicle for a while, or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that’s where you start.
Go through the maintenance schedule for your sedan and see what’s been done and when. Have your Schaumburg service advisor at Schaumburg Automedics do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.
Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles. You might be pretty overwhelmed.
To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there’s a failure. In consultation with your Schaumburg service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you’ll be prepared for it in a few months.
Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.